Staff Policy D-502.00
Institutional Effectiveness Criterion: Operations


The President, in conjunction with appropriate faculty and staff, shall establish a clearly articulated system of College governance that recognizes the importance and value of the representative involvement of all members of the College community in College-wide planning, policy formulation, and decision-making.


  1. College Community's Role and Responsibilities
    Given our commitment to valuing all people, shared governance is most effective when everyone fully engages in the process. As a member of the college community, faculty, staff and students are citizens of the college and as such have a voice in how decisions are made. The governance councils provide the representative structure for articulating that voice. Moreover, as college citizens, faculty, staff and students have the responsibility to stay fully informed on matters discussed at the councils and to share their views with council members.
    Staying fully informed is part of keeping learning at the center of all we strive to achieve. It is the foundation upon which an enlightened citizenry and a dynamic community are built and is a lifelong process in which we are all engaged. As part of this citizenship engagement in the shared governance of the college, every member of the college community needs to be committed to act with the highest degree of ethics, integrity and personal responsibility, exhibited through transparency, openness and trust.
  2. Goals
    Governance processes exist at NMC to fulfill the college's mission and ensure that the college provides an effective governance structure based on the college’s values, which ensures that the college:
    1. Systematically plans for the future based upon a strategic planning process and assessment of current performance and a commitment to continuous improvement;
    2. Acquires and effectively and efficiently allocates resources based on our practice of responsible stewardship;
    3. Establishes policy and procedures to guide faculty, staff, and students; and
    4. Administers processes to ensure fulfillment of its mission, vision, values, and strategic plan, with effective engagement of the faculty and staff in decisions of the college.
  3. Processes
    NMC governance shall be accomplished through the following processes:
    1. A process which establishes the intended purpose, direction, and expected outcomes of the college; establishes a system of evaluating and monitoring progress in achieving those outcomes; and provides for assessment of their effectiveness for the purpose of pursuing continual improvement.
    2. Budget Development. The acquisition and effective allocation and utilization of financial resources.
    3. Policy Development. The establishment and review of staff policy as defined in the Levels and Types of Policy Document.
    4. Administration. The efficient and effective communications and implementation of policy and procedures, initiatives of planning, and the budget.
  4. These primary processes are guided by four college governance councils (Planning/Budget Council, Policy Council, President's Council, and Leadership Council), which report to the President.  This policy outlines the purpose, membership and responsibilities for each process and its council.  In addition to the governance councils, the faculty and staff employee groups each have a representative council for their group's unique interests. The President will appoint members to the Planning/Budget Council and Policy Council with consideration for a diverse representation of employee groups and roles.

Northwestern Michigan College Governance Council Structure

Board of Trustees


  • Planning/Budget Council

  • Policy Council

  • President’s Council

  • Leadership Council
  1. A "council" is defined as a standing advisory body with a formal, representative nature. The above bodies are the governance councils of Northwestern Michigan College. While all governance councils will include representatives from various segments of the college community, the focus of council decision-making will be the long-term best interest of the college.
  2. Additionally, any council or executive officer may appoint a committee, task force, or cross-functional work team to complete a specific charge and report back to the council or executive officer.
  3. Each council, committee, task force, or cross-functional team must have a written charge, which outlines membership, responsibilities, a communications plan, and a timeline for carrying out their responsibilities. Criteria for membership on a governance council include the abilities to:
    1. have a comprehensive understanding of the college;
    2. recognize present and future student and community needs, coupled with a desire to effect the changes required to meet those needs;
    3. recommend actions, which are in the long-term best interest of the college;
    4. work effectively in a team-oriented manner.
    5. communicate effectively with the college community.
  4. Additional criteria for membership on Planning & Budget Council include the abilities to:
    1. envision a future state and define strategic goals to achieve that future state;
    2. offer diverse perspectives;
    3. demonstrate assertiveness in articulating ideas;
    4. review and recommend changes regarding the strategic plan;
    5. make resource allocations.


  1. Planning/Budget Council
    1. Purpose: To make recommendations to the President regarding strategic planning design and implementation, operational planning, resource allocation and the general fund budget. These recommendations will be consistent with the college's annual planning and budgeting processes.
    2. Membership: Membership consists of eleven regular members and additional ex-officio members all of whom are appointed by the President. Regular members include four faculty, three members of varying staff grades and areas, one Student Government Association member, one maintenance/custodial staff, and two members selected at large. The ex-officio members include each of the college's vice presidents. The chair is selected from within the council.
      1. Membership. There are three ways to gain consideration for membership: self-nomination by notifying the President's office; recommendation to the President by the appropriate employee council; or at the request of the President. Additionally, the Chair of PBC may identify and invite others to participate in the strategic planning process as needed.
      2. Term of office. The term of office for members is three years with a limit of two consecutive terms. In exceptional cases, the president may request a member to continue for additional term(s).
      3. Terms will be staggered so that only one-third of the membership will change in a given year. Terms will end on August 31 of the third year of office.
      4. Quorum. A quorum of eight members must be present to conduct council business. No substitutes shall sit in for a regular member.
    3. Responsibilities
      1. To assist the President in developing the strategic plan including recommending goals, measures and targets;
      2. To identify the institutional capacities needed to be developed to achieve the strategic plan;
      3. To assess service levels across the institution for providing input on the college budget;
      4. To recommend revisions to the budget guidelines;
      5. To help align budget recommendations with strategic and operational plans;
      6. To provide feedback and suggestions for the budget input variables;
      7. To recommend allocation of resources guided by the Vice President for Finance and Administration;
      8. To communicate with member constituencies;
      9. To orient new council members.
      10. To address other related topics as deemed necessary by the President.
  1. Policy Council
    1. Purpose: The Policy Council makes recommendations to the President regarding the development of staff policy and procedures. The council guides and oversees the process of such development. This process encompasses the activities which determine staff policy, ensuring appropriate involvement of and communication with those affected by the proposed policies as well as conformance to the Board's policy governance model. The following describes the membership of the policy council, its responsibilities, the definition of policy and policy development procedure.
    2. Membership: The NMC Policy Council will consist of fourteen appointed and three ex-officio members: four regular or adjunct faculty members, one faculty chair, four members of varying staff grades and areas, one member of the maintenance/custodial staff, one member of Enrollment Services, one member of Human Resources, one member of Curriulum Committee, and one Student Government Association member. The ex-officio members are the Vice President for Educational Services. Vice President for Finance and Administration. and Executive Director of the President's Office and Board Operations. The chair will be chosen from within the council. The chair shall have served at least one year prior to selection, and may serve one additional year beyond the normal expiration of his/her term to assist the new chairperson in learning the responsibilities of the position.
      1. Membership. There are three ways to gain consideration for membership: self-nomination by notifying the President's office; recommendation to the President by the appropriate employee council; or at the request of the President.
      2. The term of office for members is three years with a limit of two consecutive terms. In exceptional cases, the president may request a member to continue for additional term(s). Terms end on August 31 of the third year of office.
      3. Quorum. A quorum of at least 50% of council members plus one must be present to conduct council business. No substitutes shall sit in for a regular member. The individual or chair of the committee initiating a policy proposal may join the council meetings when that specific policy proposal is being discussed.
    3. Responsibilities
      1. Receive and evaluate proposals for additions, deletions, or revisions to staff policy and procedure which affect two or more areas of the college.
      2. Maintain a policy development and review process that provides for:
        1. determining whether proposals are appropriate and/or timely;
        2. ensuring that policy statements are clearly drafted and in conformance with the policy model of Board governance;
        3. providing opportunities for review and comment by those who will be directly affected by the policy proposal; and
        4. reviewing all policies on a five-year cycle for relevance and appropriateness.
      3. Develop and implement a communications plan which:
        1. ensures the opportunity for input and awareness on the part of all faculty and staff;
        2. includes appropriate distribution of council minutes to the college community;
        3. includes written guidelines informing faculty and staff of council operational procedures;
        4. ensures that members of the Policy Council receive the orientation, education, and training required to be effective participants in the policy-making process;
        5. conducts its business and meetings in an efficient manner; and
        6. obtains feedback on the effectiveness of the Policy Council and recommend changes as needed to improve.
      4. Address related topics as deemed necessary by the President.
    4. Overview of Staff Policy Development and Amendment Process
      1. Policy Proposal: When an individual or committee within the college community proposes to add, delete, or revise a policy, said policy will be forwarded to the chair of the Policy Council. Proposals will be submitted using the Policy Proposal form, located on the Forms & Instructions web page.
      2. Initial Review: Within 30 days of receiving a policy proposal the Policy Council will determine whether the proposal is appropriate and timely and establish a timeline for processing the policy. If the proposed policy is judged to be improper and/or untimely, the chair or his/her designee will meet with the proposer and provide an explanation of its determination.
      3. Review Process: If the Policy Council concludes that the policy proposal is both appropriate and timely, the council will establish a timeline and process for review of the proposal, which provides for the development of clear and effective policies consistent with the governance model. The process will provide: opportunity for widespread college awareness, comment and review of proposed policies by all those affected by the policy; participation in the review process by the policy proposer; and appropriate revision of the policy based upon input received during the review process. The process will seek to gain consensus for the proposed policy prior to submission to the President for approval and will provide for full publication of policies approved by the President.
      4. President’s Action: The final recommendation of the Policy Council will be forwarded to the President for review.  The President will respond to the Policy Council's recommendations for policy adoption or alteration in a timely and expeditious manner.
  1. President’s Council
    1. Purpose: The President’s Council works with the President in a collaborative and advisory capacity to advance the College’s mission and strategic plan based on its values, as well as effectively manages the College’s operations. Ultimately, President’s Council serves as champions of our learners, helping them achieve their dreams.
    2. Membership: The NMC President's Council is the main administrative advisory body to the President. The President determines the membership and serves as Chair of the Council. 
    3. Responsibilities: Stewarding of the College mission to provide lifelong learning opportunities to our communities, particularly ensuring strategic alignment and that we remain ‘community centered and community serving’.
      • Advancing the vision for the College’s future as an essential contributor to quality of life and a vibrant economy.
      • Role modelling and upholding the College’s values, particularly keeping Learning at the center of all we strive to achieve. This will be exhibited by team learning (e.g., collaboratively creating, planning, deciding, and acting).
      • Creating space for dialogue and deliberation through our shared governance councils--Planning and Budget Council, Policy Council and Leadership Council-- particularly focused on cross-college issues.
      • Striving to engage others as we exceed expectations for quality and service in problem solving – approaching our challenges to overcome obstacles and reach our goals.
      • Serving as the primary decision-making body for the College, especially exhibiting foresight, broad engagement and collaboration, and ensuring transparency, openness, and trust.
      • Building a sense of community where we value all people (a sense of welcoming and belonging) among faculty and staff, through empowerment and engagement, where everyone feels a sense of responsibility and accountability to our students.
      • Championing continuous improvement, innovation and thoughtful risk-taking, ensuring the College has the capacity to meet our students’ and community’s changing needs.
  2. Leadership Council
    1. Purpose: Discuss and review the alignment of the college’s strategic plan with the operational plans of each of the college’s departments and programs. Address college-wide issues that are raised by institutional research reports and other sources. Discuss linkages among all unit plans and initiatives to find opportunities for better coordination of work and resources to meet common goals. Serve as the primary college-wide group to enhance communication and engagement among the college’s units and between the unit leadership and the executive staff.
    2. Membership: Benefits Advisory Committee Chair, Center for Instructional Excellence Director, Curriculum Committee Chair, direct reports to the Vice Presidents/President as required, Educational Services Instructional Management Team members,  employee group chairs, Planning and Budget Council members,  Policy Council Chair, President’s Council members,  project chairs as necessary, and union leaders.
    3. Responsibilities: Bring forward ideas and information from the member’s areas and sharing Leadership Council information with the areas. Provide insight on issues that are discussed at the Leadership Council. The council will also address related topics as deemed necessary by the President.

The President’s Council, in conjunction with the appropriate faculty and staff, is responsible for the
development and publication of any procedures or guidelines that may be necessary to administer this
policy effectively.

If any provision(s) of this policy or set of bylaws conflicts with laws applicable to Northwestern Michigan College, including the Community College Act of 1966, the Freedom of Information Act, or the Open Meetings Act, as each may be amended from time to time, such laws shall control and supersede such provision(s).

Initially adopted as D-1102.01 August 1995
Revised April 14, 2000
Revised September 22, 2000
Revised February 18, 2005
Revised November 18, 2005
Renumbered D-502.01 December 20, 2006
Revised October 19, 2007
Revised December 3, 2009
Revised September 9, 2011
Revised and renumbered D-502.00 January 17, 2019
Revised April 27, 2020
Revised January 15, 2021
Revised December 17, 2021