Senate Officers Election 2019
Candidate Statements

For Chair-elect

Donald Mulvaney

Associate Professor
Department of Animal Sciences
College of Agriculture

Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing” is a quote of Teddy Roosevelt that captures my sentiments for service as Chair-elect. I am running to make a difference for fellow faculty and Auburn, definitely a job worth doing and working hard at it!

Experience informs me that service through faculty governance provides opportunities to make a meaningful difference as we observe, assess and learn from the broadened wisdom of the collective university community. The Senate is not designed to be a forum where faculty, administrators, students or other constituencies assemble to defend turf, but rather a place where all of us participate in mutual purpose and respect to strongly advise the university leadership of faculty views and their well-being.

I have had multiple years as Senator along with two terms of service on the Steering and Exec Committees observing the previous seven Chair-elects and Chairs, serving in the office of Secretary and Chair of the Senate Rules Committee, serving four years as Chair of the Teaching Effectiveness Committee and numerous ad hoc committees. These roles have availed opportunity to work with Senate leadership to gain insight into and appreciation for the essential importance of shared governance at Auburn toward achieving excellence in its diverse endeavors.

I believe the core values of Auburn are conveyed through our healthy and systematic form of shared governance which fosters collaboration, transparency and collegial interaction among faculty. It is critical for faculty from across our entire campus to be accurately informed and engaged in issues that affect their work and to view each other as part of a larger university community for which we have stewardship responsibilities and a strong representative voice. I will be a representative of that voice to preserve the history and integrity of the AU Senate.

Consistent with the challenges facing higher education as a whole, our campus has increasing complexity around the educational, research and outreach missions especially in the context of a new strategic plan that challenges AU to become a world-renowned institution excelling in education, research, and service. Our anticipated portfolio of work is huge. From intensified pressures for scholarship and related incentivization, compliance issue challenges, parking shortage issues, expansion of instructional capacity with the Academic Classroom and lab complex, strategic recruitment and retention of diverse faculty and students, campus quality of life, faculty welfare and vitality arenas identified in recent COACHE studies, elevating opportunities for enhanced faculty development, ensuring campus safety, to budgeting arenas, the process of shared university governance is forever important yet potentially more critical in the next couple years than ever before. Our strategic future depends on robust faculty input, active involvement in exploring and finding collaborative solutions to the challenges confronting the university and faculty.

As the Chair’s role is a serious responsibility, I promise to serve you, the faculty, to the best of my ability. It would be an honor and privilege to serve and work for you as your Chair-elect/Chair on the Senate team to make a difference through protection and enhancement of shared governance surrounding critical issues of the day. While several areas of work for the Senate Execs are already mentioned, in the role as Chair, I pledge to work toward: 1) elevating the view of Senate service held among administrators of our Senators and committee members; 2) creating improved pathways for faculty input on faculty needs and Senate matters; and 3) while protecting the interests of faculty, partner with the administration in efforts to elevate AU to its fullest potential. If elected, I promise to work diligently to execute the duties of Chair and foster communication, creativity and leadership in the role. I pledge to lead with objectivity, keep faculty informed, ensure your voices are heard and inspire faculty to become more involved through service in the Senate.


For Chair-elect

James E. Witte

Educational Foundations and Leadership Technology

I think most of us remember the "Dark Days" at Auburn when faculty and administration cooperation was at an all-time low. This was followed by a much needed period of calm reflection, and appreciation. Today we are on the verge of growth and change. The faculty and administration are positioned to define the operational meaning of "shared governance" in a manner which can influence those who follow us for years to come. My purpose in offering to serve as your Senate Chair, is to insure and promote, to the best of my ability, the rightful role and voice of the Auburn faculty in the preservation of that which is good and support those things which contribute to the betterment of Auburn in the coming years.



For Secretary-elect

Ken Macklin

Extension Specialist and Professor
Department of Poultry Science

I was sitting in my office looking at my upcoming schedule when a colleague asked if I would be interested in running for the position of Senate Secretary. After recovering from the initial shock my thoughts were sure, why not. The shock was due to me never really considering to run for the position and my follow up of why not is because well….why not. I have the experience not only the service I have given the University but also through my experience working with Extension. I believe this experience has equipped me with the skill set I will need to be a successful Senate Secretary.
I realize that this is an important position in keeping the faculty informed as to the goings on with the Senate. I also look forward to being engaged with the Senate Leadership and making the discussions and decisions made available to the faculty. This is just a small thing I can do for Auburn University; the employee’s that work here and the student in making Auburn all it can be!


For Secretary-elect

Gregory J. Schmidt

Librarian III
Auburn University Libraries

I am honored to be a candidate for the position of secretary-elect. An informed and active faculty is critical to the mission of Auburn University, and if elected I will devote my efforts to using the position of secretary to foster continued faculty engagement in shared governance. Having been a member of the Auburn faculty since 2008, and having begun my career at Auburn in 1992, I have seen examples of both function and dysfunction in university governance. We are currently in an era of relative harmony, and I am committed to continuing that trend. As the Rules Committee chair, the Senate Secretary has the opportunity to help form effective committees and assist in recommending changes that may “enable the Senate to better serve the university.” As a member Steering Committees, the Senate Secretary also assists in setting and communicating the broad senate agenda. These roles, combined with the primary responsibilities of keeping minutes, maintaining with the Provost the official archive of the Senate, and communicating regularly with the faculty, are demanding but essential.  

I feel that my role as a librarian may serve me well were I elected to the secretary position. My experience in Special Collections and Archives has helped me understand the enduring role of faculty in the life of the university. As a professional in the archives field, I also appreciate the importance of deliberate, precise, and transparent record keeping. Librarianship in an academic institution requires building connections across disciplines, collaborating with diverse faculty, and using scarce resources to the greatest benefit of the university mission. As a librarian, I have supported the breadth of teaching across the university. As an IGP grant reviewer, I have evaluated the novel research happening across the university. As second-term senator serving on the Rules Committee, I have seen the effort that faculty put into upholding their responsibilities in shared governance. I have also experienced frustrations with faculty disengagement and cynicism. If elected as secretary, I will do my best to strengthen communication and increase faculty participation in the life of the university. To this end, we must seek senators and committee volunteers who are committed to the responsibilities of their positions. The failure of the Senate to reach a quorum should be the rarest of occurrences. The secretary has the opportunity to not only communicate the agenda and minutes of the Senate but also communicate the importance of active participation in the body.

Thank you for reading through this statement. Auburn will certainly face unforeseen challenges and opportunities over the next few years, and a strong University Senate is key to moving our institution forward. I welcome the opportunity to take on the important responsibilities of Senate Secretary and to work for the academic welfare of the university. 


Last Updated:February 26, 2019

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