Regents Hear Faculty Senate Update


Outgoing Faculty Senate Chair Dr. David Powell provided the Regents May 10 with an overview of the work of the 53rd Faculty Senate, while incoming Faculty Senate Chair Dr. Nicolas Wilkins discussed plans for the 54th Senate beginning in fall 2019.

Faculty Senate bills on the College Dean Search Committee Procedures and Academic Advising Policy and Procedures were approved and signed by the President last year. An Emeritus bill for Dr. David Naugler also was approved by the Board of Regents in May 2018, Powell said.

Fourteen remaining bills were assigned to committees during this academic year. Twelve have been revised, debated and passed. They are:

  • 17-A-8 (renamed 19-A-XX) University Standing Committees Policy
  • 17-A-9 (renamed 19-A-XX) University Standing Committees Procedures
  • 17-A-12 Sabbatical Leave Policy
  • 17_A-13 Sabbatical Leave Procedures
  • 17-A-1 Academic Honesty Policy
  • 17-A-2 Academic Honesty Procedures
  • 18-A-6 Five-Year Academic Calendar (amended March 27, 2019) (*Information on the Academic Calendar will be communicated in a future Southeast Newswire.)
  • 16_A-11 Online Course and Content Policy
  • 16-A-12 Online Course and Content Procedures
  • 17-A-3 Principles of Collegiality
  • 17-A-10 Faculty Advisory Committee on Program Review Policy
  • 17-A-11 Faculty Advisory Committee on Program Review Procedures

The last two bills from the previous Senate session have received a first reading and are still under discussion, and they are expected to carry over to the 54th Senate, Powell said. They are:

  • 18-A-14 Student Evaluation Policy
  • 18-A-5 Student Evaluation Procedures

In addition, the following resolutions and bills have been approved this year:

  • Deletion of CH07 Section B University No Smoking Policy
  • Resolution Concerning Language in Criterion for Terminal Degree for Candidates for the Position of Provost
  • Resolution Reducing Sample Bias in SmartEvals Questionnaire via Consistent Student-Feedback Prompting

The Faculty Senate Executive Committee conducted a major informational series this year to identify core issues affecting faculty at Southeast and to foster communication with and between University organizational levels. A Faculty Poll was conducted in September 2018, he said, to gather input from Faculty Senators and a broad sampling of faculty across campus with a response rate of 35.1 percent of all full-time faculty. Results were compiled and published internally via Senate, and meetings with members of the administration and various committees were held. Key areas of concern were identified for follow-up.

Representatives of all levels of Southeast’s administrative leadership were invited to Senate meetings to present the unique challenges and opportunities they experience in their role related to shared governance, communication and morale. These representatives included Southeast President Carlos Vargas, Interim Provost Tamela Randolph, representatives from the Chairs Forum, representatives from Deans Council, and Dr. Debbie Below, vice president for enrollment management and student success.

Five task forces were then formed to gather information and make further recommendations for action on key areas of concern identified in the Faculty Poll. These areas included Winter Session, workload, recruitment and retention, shared governance and faculty morale. Recommendations have been made for three of these task forces to continue into the 54th Senate.

The 53rd Senate has been characterized by efforts to reinforce communication with both faculty and administration, Powell said, adding that much progress has been made. He also noted that a significant number of seasoned Senators have left the Senate in the past two years, and with them has gone a great deal of institutional memory and experience.

“It is my hope that we have concluded the year stronger and more secure in our mission in service to the University as advocates for the faculty we represent,” Powell said.

Keeping communication lines open between faculty and administration is a key goal of the 54th Senate, Wilkins said. In addition to the two bills that remain on the table for next academic year, the Faculty Senate also plans to work with the Executive Committee and chairs of subcommittees to create goals for continued communication, he said.