A New Editor for Faculty Herald
By David Waldstreicher
The Faculty Senate Steering Committee voted unanimously for Steven Newman (CLA), Associate Professor of English, to be the next editor of The Temple University Faculty Herald as of Jan. 1, 2013.
Steve has served his college and the university in a multitude of ways over the past eleven years. He has been a member of the Representative Faculty Senate and is currently on the Executive Committee of the Temple Association of University Professionals. He has served on the Library Committee and the University Commencement Speaker and Award Committee, the latter as chair from 2008-10. In CLA, he has been chair of the Committee on Instruction. In the English department, he’s been on the executive committee and director of undergraduate studies. He won the Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2008 and, in CLA, an ATTIC Distinguished Teaching Award in 2007.
Steve is a student of English and Scottish literature in the long eighteenth century, and the author of Ballad Collection, Lyric, and the Canon: The Call of the Popular from The Restoration to the New Criticism (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2007). He is now working on a book to be entitled Time for the Humanities: Competing Narratives of Value from the Scottish Enlightenment to the 21st Century Academy.
I asked Steve a series of questions late on the term that I thought would help introduce him to the faculty. His customarily thoughtful and expansive in his responses suggest how much we have to look forward to in the Herald.
DW: How do you see the role of the Faculty Herald?
SN: I see the Faculty Herald as a place where faculty across Temple can bring into public discussion issues crucial to the university and wider community we care about so deeply. It should be a medium through which faculty can learn from each other’s experiences and arguments, even if those lessons are troubling or unpleasant—-those are often the lessons most worth learning. I also hope it can be a place where we can hear from administrators, students, and other members of the Temple community so that we can learn how to work better together. But the Herald is primarily for the faculty in its glorious and sometimes fractious diversity. It is for the faculty because the faculty is the Herald’s primary audience, though by no means its only one. And it is for the faculty insofar as the Herald aims to identify, clarify, and further the faculty’s common interests. At a time when faculty governance is under pressure and has in many ways been undermined, the Herald must continue making a case for it to ourselves and the administration. It should make that case not just through polemic, though that’s necessary at times, but through demonstrations of what we know about the core values and best practices that should guide our university. It is often said but too infrequently put into practice that faculty, along with students, are the heart of the university; the Herald will continue to do its part to remind everyone why that’s true—-and thus why faculty need to be central to the decisions Temple makes and why Temple needs more transparency in how it makes those decisions.
DW: What attracted you to this position?
SN: I was drawn to the editorship because it’s a great way to give back to Temple—-I feel very fortunate to work here-—and especially to colleagues on the faculty who have taught me so much. With the help of the assistant editor and the editorial board, I hope that I can build on the excellent work done by my predecessors. I also have a more selfish reason for taking the job: Although the book I am currently working on begins in eighteenth-century Scotland and focuses on the humanities, the latter half is grounded in a series of case studies about the academy today and arguing persuasively for the value of the humanities requires knowing how to value rightly the sciences, social sciences, and the university in total. So I am eager to begin this work because I think that it will also help me in my own research.
DW What do you see as the key tasks ahead in the near future for the Faculty Senate and the faculty as a whole?
SN: Before I give my own list of key issues, I want to invite faculty to let me know which issues they think are most urgent and consequential. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. This is one way the Herald gets its best articles.
The Faculty Senate and the faculty as a whole are facing a range of issues, crises, and opportunities. Among the most important are what role faculty will play in deciding how Temple is to preserve its core mission in the face of what is almost certainly going to be decreasing funding from the state. We also need to think through the implications of the report issued in mid-November by Gov. Corbett’s Advisory Commission on Postsecondary Education (click here for a summary). Of course, it’s also important that Temple will soon be welcoming a new president and, before long, a new provost. These administrative changes offer us an opportunity to work together on implementing wisely the new fiscal model that President Theobald will be instituting. This will require frank but respectful discussions on how power and resources are allocated among faculty and administrators. For example, this new model raises the question of what role faculty should play in evaluating deans who will gain power in this decentralized system.
Another topic that will claim the attention of the Senate and The Herald is the administration’s recently unveiled attempt to move chairs out of the collective bargaining unit, which has serious implications for how our departments would function if their attempt is successful.
More broadly, there is the perennial matter of how to balance Temple’s aims to be a research university while also being a largely tuition-driven institution dedicated to teaching, especially teaching students from underrepresented backgrounds. Those missions need not conflict but they often do, and that conflict shapes discussions we need to keep having on issues such as the proper funding of our graduate students, especially those in disciplines that do not bring in large grants. We also must keep addressing the decades-old and worsening move toward decreasing the percentage of tenure-track faculty and increasing non tenure-track faculty who lack the protections and job security they deserve.
There are a host of other important issues the Senate and the Herald may tackle, among them: the setting of workloads; the allocation of merit to research, teaching, and service and to faculty on different tracks; the status of undergraduate teaching and curricula (the future of Gen Ed in particular); the need for diversity in our faculty, student body, and administration; and the protection of faculty (and students) from disruptive or threatening students. Running through all of these issues are, again, the twin needs for greater transparency and more faculty governance. •