Candidate Statements

 

President

 

 

Candace Barrington, English 

 

An Associate Professor, I received my PhD from Duke in 1999 and began teaching at CCSU in 2001 after two years at SCSU. My fields of expertise include old- and late-medieval English literature, language, and law.

 

During two terms on the Faculty Senate, I’ve served on the Appointments and Personnel Committee, on the Election Committee, plus one year as Senate Vice-President.

 

I’m now running for Senate President because I believe such important issues as shared governance and academic freedom are not legal fictions but responsibilities that faculty must vigorously and proactively pursue. I also believe that shared governance benefits both CCSU faculty and administration:  energetic shared governance allows each to be its best.  To this end, I want to help the Senate continue developing a collegial relationship with the administration without surrendering its important responsibilities. 

 

Neil Glagovich, Chemistry

 

The events of the past year have shaken my confidence in the current faculty leadership. In an email message to the faculty list serve, I had called for new leadership. For that reason (and also because I feel that the election of Senate President shouldn’t be uncontested), I am throwing my hat into the ring.

I believe that the Faculty Senate should be more proactive and less reactive. This past semester, the question was raised “where do we go from here?”. Although I am not well-known on campus, I have strong feelings and opinions about the direction in which this University should be headed. As Senate President, I would pursue the following agenda items:

1)         Improving the strength of our academic offerings.

            The major concern of faculty should be the strength of our varied curricula. One way to assure that we are offering the best opportunities for our students’ future success is to seek accreditation for all of the programs offered at Central. Of the numerous programs offered on campus, only 14 are accredited by their respective accrediting agencies. I realize that not all disciplines have a national accrediting body. For these programs, we should bring in outside experts to help evaluate our offerings. I would actively work with the administration to support this effort. The faculty, however, must lead in improving our reputation as an academic institution.

2)         Improving relations with the administration.

            The relationship between the faculty and the administration has been severely strained this past academic year. Many faculty (rightly or wrongly) feel that President Miller is unavailable to them. I feel that the current faculty leadership lacks the political currency to improve this situation. As Faculty Senate President, I would invite President Miller to address the Senate on a monthly basis. These mini “state of the University” addresses would provide more access to the President and would afford more opportunity for faculty to participate in the governance of the University. I for one would appreciate knowing more about the President’s ongoing activities and thoughts with respect to moving this institution forward.

3)         Improving faculty involvement in University business.

            Many faculty are reluctant to serve on University committees. I understand this. People feel that many committees have no real power to effect change, or are of little consequence which is outweighed by the amount of work that membership entails. The Faculty Senate has been guilty of promoting these feelings by endlessly debating reports from Senate committees. I understand that debate is healthy, however, we do not show respect for the work of these committees when we try to modify these reports, on the fly, in Senate meetings. As Senate President, I would place rational time limits on debate. If it appears that no resolution will be forthcoming, I will entertain motions to send the report back to committee, with the understanding that senators taking issue must work with the committee to come up with language satisfactory to all interested. These committees would then report back at the next meeting where business can be conducted in a timelier manner.

4)         Furthering our understanding of the President’s new budget process.

            We need to explore the future ramifications of the President’s budget process. The creation of new positions using UA money and other funds must be closely monitored. Although, in the short term, this type of accounting is neutral in terms of cost, what happens in the long term? How much will this cost the University in terms of indirect costs? What mechanism is in place to assure that UA positions dissolved in one academic year won’t be reestablished in the future? We need more than institutional memory to act as checks and balances in this new system.

5)         Assuring that the current academic organization is adequately serving our mission.

            As Faculty President I would create a working group charged with assessing the current academic organization. Please do not confuse this with a call for reorganization; it might be that the current organization is just fine. However, we owe it to ourselves to make sure that there aren’t opportunities for improvements in synergy that are being missed.

6)         Assuring that faculty are leading the way with respect to assessment.

            Assessment is not going to go away. It is not unreasonable to imagine that future funding might well be tied to outcomes assessment. The faculty must play the lead role in academic assessment. As President, I would work closely with the Provost and the office of Institutional Research and Assessment to assure that faculty are involved in every aspect of assessment, and how assessment might affect curriculum.

7)         Streamlining faculty communication.

            I would work closely with the Information Technology Committee to remove the acadmenic list serve and replace it with a threaded discussion board. The discussion board would be hosted on the WebCentral website, accessible only to faculty. Too often, the faculty list serve produces unsolicited vitriol. A threaded discussion board would serve the same purpose as the list serve, however, the faculty would not be faced with a mailbox full of spam. Faculty would visit the discussion board to follow topics, and simple emails would be distributed to faculty when new threads are opened.

In closing, I promise to energetically represent the faculty in all respects. I believe in this institution, and I am willing to do what I can to usher in a new era of cooperation, understanding, and achievement.

 

Vice President

 

Guy Crundwell, Chemistry

 

To My Fellow Senators and Colleagues:

 

I am Professor Guy Crundwell. I currently serve as one of two Chairpersons Representative from Arts & Sciences and as one of three Senators on the Senate’s Committee on Committee. I am running for Vice-President of the Senate. In my nine years at CCSU, I have served on the Senate for seven. In the Senate, I have been an active member. I have chaired and served on the Committee on Committees and the Committee on Constitution and By-Laws. On Faculty Committees, I have chaired the UPBC and the Excellence in Teaching Award Committee and I have served on others. I am a currently Vice-President of CCSU-AAUP as well as a council representative for CCSU to CSU-AAUP (up for re-election). As a representative from the Union, this year I completed the first draft of a Faculty Handbook in over a decade- mainly because I believe in shared governance, faculty empowerment, and communication. If elected Vice-President of the Senate, I will retain my Union VP and Councilor role (if re-elected!). I believe the three offer no conflict of interest. I believe I can do these jobs well and in the best interests of faculty.

 

We are evaluated on how well we teach, how well we create new knowledge, how well we serve. We have gotten used to our workload demands even if we are not comfortable with them. As faculty, our workload is a daily uphill battle. We face a Sisyphean task of dealing with teaching, research, and service demands. We roll the boulder up the hill everyday and we are proud to go home, fully expectant that the boulder will be back on the ground tomorrow. After all, we all come in and push that boulder to make our students better… and to make CCSU better. A blessed faculty curse.

 

However, more and more so, there is additional, unplanned, unscripted pressure from inside and outside CCSU to get very specific things done- some things that are good for faculty, some that are good for students, and some that are good for the University. Many of these things require faculty leadership, faculty input, and/or faculty cooperation; and many of these things will be done without faculty input if we choose not to act or if we are left in the dark. Faculty have two options- to let specific things be addressed outside of oversight of the Senate or to address the issues that touch upon the roles of faculty inside the Senate. I am ardently in favor of the latter.

 

Elect me and you elect a firm believer in shared governance and a firm believer in process, equity, and fairness.

 

Shared Governance, to me, means that faculty through the Senate have two roles in certain actions at the University. We act in a decision-making capacity on curriculum issues and in an advisory capacity on planning, budget, and other issues. This has to be defended. This has to be championed by all faculty in the Senate. This has to be communicated. Shared governance means faculty have the right to choose who will represent them… not who will be appointed to represent them. Shared governance is not served by having issues and recommendations given to faculty… but by having faculty involved in discussion, planning, and implementation. The Senate must demand faculty be involved; yet faculty have to understand that to remain complacent means sacrificing not only their voice but their rights as well as the voices and rights of faculty to come. As Vice-President, I will actively work with all constituencies to address these issues without marginalizing faculty’s interest in the topics or the process. My emphasis on the second is important. To accomplish this we need to inspire faculty to serve- both full time and part time faculty; both instructional and administrative.

 

If the last few years have illustrated any overarching principle, it is the following. If faculty do not make suggestions on how to address the many problems related to our daily tasks; then one can bet their hat that someone else will. We need to articulate our shared governance responsibilities towards assessment and advising, we need to reaffirm our decision-making authority on what goes on in our classrooms and programs, we need to advise on issues we are meant to advise on even if we are not asked, and we need to declare our own priorities in the University’s strategic plan. These are actions which need to happen immediately. We need to be pro-active not reactive. We need to communicate, to build consensus, to propose solutions, and to act now.

 

Finally, faculty now have to be aware of their role in an even larger academic picture that outside of CCSU. I recognize that the University is essentially a state- and student-financed business with demands from those who run the system and State.  I believe that tasks often demanded of us and given to us to address state and system issues are often formulated around an incomplete perspective. Therefore, faculty, who as a group undeniably have more institutional memory than the people given the question, have to be involved from the get-go and supply the history and the alternate interpretations. Our primary mission cannot be repeated enough even to our many excellent champions (State Legislators, Chancellors, Presidents, Trustees, etc.) who act as our advocates. “To provide excellent, affordable, available higher education to Connecticut students. To promote Learning and Scholarship.” This is the cake. Unfortunately sometimes the icing- in all of its various flavors of the month- becomes the coveted object of greater planning scrutiny and budgetary focus. As state mandates increase and impact the Senate’s contractually recognized duties, the Senate will need to address these situations, act in a manner that preserves our proper role, and protects the best interest of students. We all need to lead now… not just elect a new set of leaders.

 

In conclusion, the bolder will only get bigger and the hill will get higher…. and that challenge inspires me to serve.

 

 

Secretary

Donna Sims, Finance/Law

Having served for the past two years as senator, I have tried to arrange my schedule to regularly attend meetings: if memory serves me accurately, I have only missed two meetings in two years. I have enjoyed the connection to the greater campus community that the Senate has provided to me and feel that this is an opportunity to give a needed service to the Senate in return.