Terminology as Used in UUA Governance Policies

Please note that the UUA Board currently uses a policy-based governance model. - December 2021

May 27, 2009

Our Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) governance model is built on the foundation of John Carver's "Policy Governance®." If you desire assistance with the terminology of this governance model, please search for "policy governance" on this website, and read from the many books published on the subject. Carver's book Boards That Make A Difference is one example.

While Carver lays out many principles for the governance model, almost every organization implements the model in a way that is tailored to their specific situation, so interpretation is required by the reader in every case. In 2006 and 2007, a small working group of the UUA Board was established to study the text of our policies in order to grapple with aspects of problematic or difficult Carver terminology. Based on our Unitarian Universalist history, theology, and unique relational system, the UUA Board has translated certain key terms from the Carver model into language that is more congruent with our identity and values. For example, in these governance policies:

  • ENDS: (Section 1) or the strategic direction provided by the Board to the President (CEO) is also referred to as the “Shared Vision” of the Association. This terminology reflects the input of General Assembly delegates and the role of the President in our collaborative governance model and in shaping the vision of the UUA.
  • Executive Limitations: (Section 2) is referred to as the “Leadership Covenant and Expectations” .
  • Moral Ownership: (see Section 3) has been renamed "Sources of Authority and Accountability". The struggle of slavery and racism called us to be mindful and to avoid painful language choices (e.g. ownership). We also chose “Vision of the Beloved Community” as the fourth "Source of Authority and Accountability" in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King’s use of the term Beloved Community to connote the radically inclusive, peaceful, loving, and just community to which we aspire and that we believe is within reach.
  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO): In our system of governance the CEO will be known as the “President”.
  • Board Chair or Moderator: (Section 3) As a result of a 2007 amendment to the UUA Bylaws and consistent with the Board’s decision to move to Policy Governance, the Moderator is also called “Chief Governance Officer (CGO)”.