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Dept. Biological Sciences
College of Sciences and Mathematics
I am honored to be nominated for the Chair-Elect position of the Auburn University Senate. I joined the University in 1992 and have been witness to very positive changes that have occurred at Auburn since those times. I realize that we have come so far due to the great effort of previous faculty Senators and high quality of shared governance established by Senate leadership, which led to significant improvements in faculty/administration communication over the intervening twenty-odd years. During this time, I have become keenly aware of the importance of collegial and objective interaction between the faculty and the University to achieve effective shared governance. I have learned of the critical nature of this effort via my service to the University at all levels. I feel that I am positioned to be a good representative of the faculty in this important work and intend to do what I can to help the Senate deal with new challenges.
If elected Chair of the University Senate, I pledge to provide rapid and effective communication of the Senate Leadership and Administrative actions. This is exceptionally important considering that the University is currently implementing new Strategic Priorities, which require clear identification and accurate reporting, and guidance from both the Administration and the University Senate. It is my goal to help faculty, students and administrators understand clearly, what is happening as the University transitions to this new functional model. I will achieve this through transparent, collegial and rapid communication. No doubt, there will be many issues that will arise during this transition. It is key that all parties are competently, fairly and appropriately informed; I hope to help provide an informed viewpoint in all of these areas. In all of my efforts, I will not only emphasize clear, collegial interactions. I will always seek to find the most efficient and streamlined methods for faculty and staff to interact and in general to do their daily work, thereby providing a better environment for all while aiding faculty achieve their teaching and research goals in the most efficient and cost-effective manner. In these ways, I hope to help keep Auburn moving effectively forward into the 21st Century.
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering
College of Engineering
I began my career at Auburn in the fall of 1985 and I fully understand the important role the University Senate plays in shared governance and shaping many key programs and policies.
To date I have served on many different committees including the Library, Steering, Faculty Grievance, Traffic Appeals, Admission Appeals, Traffic and Parking, several Ad Hoc, and the University Administrator Evaluation Committee. My most memorable committee experience by far happened when I was the Chair of the Administrator Evaluation Committee the first time. I will briefly try to describe what took place during that time in 2008-2010.
It was then many of us had serious questions about the past administration’s commitment to academic freedom and shared governance. We had all witnessed Post Tenure Review (PTR) get rammed down our throats despite overwhelming faculty opposition. Most of us were unsure if our new President Gogue and Provost Mazey would truly be committed to shared governance as many of us had heard. I was cautiously optimistic but not too optimistic.
My answer to this question became clear to me when President Gogue first helped the Administrator Evaluation Committee design a survey tool that could properly review administrators and yet let those doing so to remain anonymous. He made only suggestions and provided possible survey questions but left all final decisions to the committee! It was clear he wanted a simple to use and accurate instrument for measuring how the faculty viewed their supervisors, but he didn’t tell us how to do our job. Some of you recall the first generation of the survey with “survey monkey”! It had several “hick-ups” but got the job done. I was the chair of the Administrator Evaluation Committee at the time and I was also in charge of cataloging the results and presenting the data to the President in a report form.
The most important aspect of the survey was how we presented the performance information of each administrator in an easy to understand Pie Chart. These charts would easily identify the good from the poor administrators for whoever was reading the survey and make their job easier. Since we were only an advisory committee, several of us had concerns that nothing would change no matter what our report said and show a clear lack of shared governance. I even thought to myself “they don’t even have to read the report, how will I know they read and acted on it?” The reason I bring this up is that only I knew who scored poorly and I was wondering what might happen. I forwarded the report to Provost Mazey and President Gogue and the following year I was relieved to see that ALL the poorly performing administrators had been replaced the following year including several deans. Shared governance was back and I will do all I can to ensure it remains intact regardless what position I have at Auburn.
Right now, we are once again in the midst of selecting a new Auburn University President. If elected as Chair I will do all I can to ensure shared governance remains intact. If elected this would be my primary concern along with informing the faculty of any possible changes considered. This is a very serious time for us and we need to be well informed about the candidates and make certain whoever he/she is they know that we feel academic freedom and shared governance must continue.
Another major area of concern for many faculty members is the long-term effects of the new budget model on colleges and departments that experience significant changes in enrollment. An example of this is that student enrollment in Mechanical Engineering has grown tremendously while other schools and colleges have witnessed reductions in numbers. The obvious administrative response is likely to be the hiring of more qualified tenure track faculty if they believe the enrollment numbers will remain high in the future. The concern is that some departments and colleges experiencing enrollment reductions may fare very poorly in the new budget model and possibly even be closed when in 5 years they could be financial viable. The faculty in these departments need to be strongly represented and no quick fix put in place.
Lastly, I believe that the University Senate should continue to keep the faculty informed about everything the Senate and Administration are considering. I’ve even toyed with the idea of having an internet message board for the Steering Committee to post important information and opinions for comment. I do believe in Auburn and most importantly, I believe in the faculty of Auburn.
Arthur and Louise Oriel Professor
Department of Clinical Sciences
College of Veterinary Medicine
When I received the e-mail asking if I was willing to be nominated for secretary-elect of the University senate. Initially, I literally laughed out loud, assuming someone had sent me the inquiry by mistake. Yet, on reflection, the opportunity really intrigued and appealed to me and after careful consideration, I agreed to have my name placed in nomination.
As a faculty member in the College of Veterinary Medicine, I generally looked at “main campus” with the sense of someone gazing through a window at all the activities going on inside. Those activities seemed interesting but I didn’t feel like I belonged there. Eventually, I realized the key to accessing the other side of the window was through university committee service. It has been though this service that I’ve been able to interact with many other faculty members allowing me the chance to better appreciate the more traditional academic life of our university.
So, while I would gain from being allowed to serve in this position, my primary concern is; “what can I bring” to the position of Senate secretary-elect? In reflecting on this, I would offer the following:
- A commitment and willingness to devote the time and effort this position will require,
- A desire to honestly identify problems and search for solutions that produce a positive impact for the greatest number of affected individuals,
- A considered and reflective approach to controversial issues and subsequent decisions regarding those issues and a willingness to ”speak truth to power”, and,
- A somewhat non-traditional view of the academic community coming from a professional school with a different curricular and departmental structure.
I anticipate Auburn and the Auburn faculty will face with many challenges in the near future. Some of those include:
- The up-coming search to identify and hire a new university president and the subsequent potential for other key administrative positions to change,
- Growing student enrollment while faculty struggle to adapt to the demands teaching this new generation carries,
- We’ll have to weigh the value provided by a 4-year education to the costs (debt) incurred by our students to obtain that education. There may need to be a re-assessment of the role of a traditional, 4-year university program in our modern, on-the-go society and how we’ll adapt to those changes, and,
- There will be known and unknown challenges associated with the implementation of our new budgetary model and other, yet, unidentified issues.
It will be an interesting time for all of us. Strong, supportive leadership will be required to help us meet these challenges. I would like your consideration to be part of that leadership.
Department of Finance
Harbert College of Business
I began my career at Auburn in the fall of 1998. I have witnessed the evolution of a strong model of shared governance and am proud of the changes that have resulted from the collaboration of faculty, administration, SGA, and the AU Board of Trustees working together in the interest of furthering our great institution. As we search for a new President of Auburn University, I am particularly interested in seeing that the strides we have made in mutual respect and shared governance continue and thrive.
If elected, I welcome the opportunity to use the platform of Secretary to keep you informed and make sure your voice is heard through your Senate representatives. I would work to make sure the suggestions and concerns of Faculty were clearly communicated in a timely matter. I also realize that it is equally important to communicate issues from Administration to Faculty in a manner that improves transparency and provides an open platform for solutions.
I look forward to the opportunity to interact with our University leadership if I am elected. I believe that my service at the University level indicates my willingness and ability to represent faculty and work with in an environment of mutual respect. At the University level, I currently serve as the Faculty representative on the Board of Trustees Finance Committee, a voting faculty member on the Central Unit Allocation Committee, and as a member of the University Promotion and Tenure Committee. Previous service at the University level includes participation on the Huron Budget Steering Committee, Writing Initiative Task Force, International Skills Task Force, University Curriculum Committee, Senate Library Committee, and Professional Sports Counseling Panel.
I believe that my various roles of service at the University level have prepared me for a position of leadership in the University Senate. I would welcome the opportunity to serve on the Rules and Steering Committees and maintain the official copy of the Acts of the Senate. As a member of the Steering Committee, I would work to make sure all faculty committees are functioning properly and are representative of our faculty. I would also welcome the opportunity to work closely with committee chairs in fulfilling their objectives each year. In addition to overseeing the preparation of annual reports from those committees, I would make sure that the Senate was informed on any formal actions by the Rules Committee by preparing minutes for distribution.
Thank you also for your service as a member of the Auburn family. You have made this a great place to work for the 19 years I have been here. I would welcome the opportunity to work with you to make it even better. If elected, I look forward to working with your Senate leadership and Administration to further the mission of Auburn University and to address issues facing higher education today.
Last Updated:February 9, 2017