Statements from New University Senate Officers|
The following are written statements submitted by the new officers prior to their election.
Bruce Gladden, Alumni Professor
Department of Health and Human Performance
Candidate for Chair-Elect
"As I finish my 10th year at Auburn University, I continue to be amazed at Auburn's status as a quality educational institution. I am amazed because this high quality has been maintained in the face of lower per-student funding, lower faculty salaries and less support in general in comparison to many similar schools. Auburn's high educational ranking is a testament to the quality and dedication of the faculty, staff and administration, often in the face of inadequate support and inadequate positive feedback. In my view, the major obstacles that inhibit Auburn from reaching its potential are largely external to the university.
"Many of these obstacles derive from lack of leadership in state government in the past, insufficient appreciation of the value of education by the citizens of Alabama, inappropriate college and university funding based on politics in the state Legislature and a misguided Board of Trustees that fails to recognize Auburn's promise as a flagship university for the state of Alabama. Our Board has too often been ignorant of the proper functioning of a university, too concerned with micro-managing the university and too involved in using the Athletic Department as a play toy. Examples of these misdirected roles are abundant.
"What can the University Senate, specifically the Chair of the Senate, do about these external obstacles? Frankly, the answer is: probably very little. However, none of us should become complacent or apathetic. All of us must continue to do our jobs to the best of our ability on a day-to-day basis. Leaders in the University Senate must continue to work with the administration to send the message to the Board, to the Legislature and to the citizens of Alabama that Auburn is an outstanding university and that it is wise to invest in education in general and in higher education in particular. The Senate Leadership must stand firm for the primary role of the faculty in the academic policies of the university. We must speak out for the integrity of the educational process at Auburn, but at the same time we must choose our battles so that we are not perceived as a group of malcontents who can never be satisfied.
"Aside from the general issues addressed above, there are some specific issues that need to be addressed in the near future. We are set to begin a one-year trial of a faculty workload policy; we need to carefully evaluate this policy and decide a) whether we really need such a policy, and b) if so, exactly how it should operate. We need to ensure that academic standards are maintained in the face of continuing demands that AU and AUM be more closely coordinated. We need to continue to search for ways to improve the working environment of our non-tenure track employees. While we continue to maintain the quality of our undergraduate programs, we should also strive to improve our graduate programs, particularly by seeking waivers of tuition costs for most graduate students.
"We must continue to press for regular salary increases to bring AU salaries to at least the regional average. I am especially concerned about the low entry salaries that we have to offer incoming assistant professors. These low salaries are becoming more and more of a problem in recruiting excellent faculty members. We also shouldn't' forget the less obvious aspects of our financial remuneration such as health insurance and retirement options. Historically, a positive aspect of faculty salaries at Auburn has been the opportunity to earn approximately one-third of the annual nine-month salary through summer teaching. This advantage must not be lost in the transition from quarters to semesters. I don't think very many faculty would have supported the change to semesters if it meant a reduction in the opportunity for a 12-month salary. Perhaps Auburn should consider a policy that requires all students to attend at least one summer school session. This would help students to graduate on time in a four-year span and it would enhance the opportunity for summer pay for faculty.
"In conclusion, let me say that it is an honor to be nominated to run for Chair-Elect of the Senate. I'm not certain that I'm the most able person for the job. I can only say that if I am elected, I will do my best to fairly represent the interests of the Auburn faculty."
University Service: Member of AU faculty since 1989. HHP Department Senator for two terms, Steering Committee, Human Subjects Institutional Review Board (member and chair), Rules Committee, Graduate Student Affairs Committee (member and chair), Biomedical Research Support Grant Advisory Committee, Drug-Free Workplace Committee, Academic Standards Committee, Alumni Professor Selection Committee, Biogrants Committee, Radiological Safety Committee, numerous search committees and departmental committees.
Mary K. Boudreaux
Department of Pathobiology
Candidate for Secretary-Elect
"During my tenure as Senator, I have seen a change in the relationship between the upper administration and faculty senators. As Auburn University entered uncertain times brought on by budget shortages and a petulant Board of Trustees, the adversarial relationship between faculty and administration evolved into a working and respectful alliance. As a proponent of a "United We Stand" philosophy, I was heartened to see people working together. Although better circumstances would have been welcome, history shows that nations have made their best strides when individuals worked together to challenge an adversary. I personally would rather not have an adversarial relationship with any group, including the Board of Trustees.
"As an eternal optimist, I would like to see the alliance of faculty and administrators at Auburn University evolve into an alliance with the members of the Board of Trustees. This may not be possible with the present board members or with the present board appointment system, but if favorable changes do occur, our goal should be to seek a constructive relationship with this body. The Senate leaders have already made beginning steps toward at least a more understanding relationship by inviting board members and groups of faculty to periodic discussions over issues during lunch hours. This type of effort should be continued and others instituted. An alliance that includes the administration, faculty, and Board of Trustees would make Auburn University a powerful and respected constituent within the state of Alabama. It may even help prevent a repeat of embarrassing decisions that have recently placed Auburn University in less than a complimentary light. As Secretary-Elect I will become a member of the Executive Committee of the University Faculty and play a role in keeping accurate records of Senate meetings as well as representing the faculty on the Rules committee and the Steering committee. I am hopeful that by participating in these functions that I can facilitate the positive interactions that have been evolving between faculty and administration and perhaps even be a part of a change in our relationship with the Board of Trustees."
University Service: Member of AU faculty since 1986; Assistant Professor 1986-91; Associate Professor 1991-present; Health Services Committee 1992-95; Faculty Welfare Committee 1996-99; Faculty Workload Policy Committee (Chair) 1998-99; Pathobiology Senator 1998-2000. Selected committees within the College of Veterinary Medicine: Admissions and Standards (Chair) 1992-99; Graduate Advisory Committee 1992-present.
|Also see AU Senate|