Welcome to the 2012-2013 academic year. How many of you are first time senators? Welcome. For those of you that are returning, I welcome you back and look forward to working with you again this year. This year is going to be busy, with a lot of work that needs to be done. I don’t need to tell you that we are on a tight deadline to complete the Transfer Articulation Policy and to find ways to deal with the new legislation concerning remediation. We will have ongoing work with the new general education. At this point, the general education reform is on hold until we gather the reports from the various groups working on the TAP. My understanding is that a lot of work was done this summer and that we should soon be hearing reports and plans from these groups. My intention is to bring the General Education implementation committee and TAP committees together to ensure that our new general education meets our desires and needs, but at the same time, does not become complicated with the new competencies associated with the TAP. One of the major complaints about our current general education is that it is too encumbered and too complicated. We do not want to repeat the same mistake. That being said, we are going to need to work swiftly and efficiently to ensure that the new general education program is in place for 2014.
I am certain that there will be even more changes coming as we redefine our system of schools with the BOR and the community colleges. I am optimistic about our future and our ability to become the best at what we do. However, our success is dependent on shared governance. We have made great strides over the past couple of years, but we still have further to go, and I know we can do it. This past year we have seen firsthand how when we work together we can make a difference. I sense a willingness and desire of the BOR to work in collaboration with the universities. Thanks to our efforts we know have faculty and administrative faculty advisory committees, a place for our voice to be heard and to weigh in on the decisions being made. If we follow this path, together we can make it happen. We can create a top notch education for our students and a model education system. As we move forward I would like to share 3 points with you that describe how I think we can continue on this path.
1. We must remember our mission. We are here to educate and prepare our students for their future careers and lives. Our decisions, at their core, should always take into account, what is best for our students.
2. We must listen and respect each other. Each and every person on this campus plays a role in this mission to educate and prepare our students. Faculty need to listen to and respect the administration and management, and the administration and management need to listen to and respect the faculty (administrative and teaching). We must value the contributions and expertise that each of us brings to the table.
3. We need to work together, communicate openly and trust one another to create a unified university. If we can do this, we can function as a whole and be better positioned to respond to changes that come from the BOR. The past has already shown us that they work with tight deadlines.
As Senators you play an important role. You represent the voice of your constituents. I am asking all of you to help me get the word out when various issues arise and to have discussions within your departments on these issues. I am going to do my best to practice what I preach and get information to you and the appropriate committees as fast as humanly possible. With that being said, I would like to reiterate a statement that Candace made last year. It is the Senate leadership’s goal that you never feel like a rubber stamp. On the other hand, we hope you will respect enough the work of the committees not to micromanage the proposals and motions brought before you. For these reasons, it was the practice of the past leadership and will be for the current leadership to refer issues back to committee--and invite Senators with serious concerns about the resolution or proposal to work with the committees rather than spend undue energies working on the issue during Senate meetings.
Finally, I am here, at your service. Please feel free to contact me anytime. I want to hear your concerns, your opinions and your thoughts. Again welcome, I look forward to working with you all this year, and it is my hope that 2012-2013 is healthy, joyous and productive year for all you.
President of the Faculty Senate