From Jane Evans
Tyler School of Art
In preparation for the last Senate meeting I chaired, I looked back over my reports to the Senate for the year 2005–-2006. And what a different report I made to the Senate in May 2007! Look at what we accomplished, together, this past year:
Last year at that time, the Faculty Senate Steering Committee was polishing the four position papers we wrote to present to the new President before she arrived on campus. I was also able to discuss these papers with President Hart before she arrived, in order to alert her to issues she would face as soon as she came. President Hart read these papers carefully, and used them as a springboard for monthly discussions with faculty in her apartment last fall and spring. And she immediately convened a Taskgroup to reconsider the promotion and tenure guidelines, one of the problems that the positions papers asked her to consider. These guidelines were rewritten by a combined faculty and administration committee, setting the tone for cooperative ventures for the rest of the year; the best thing that I think came out of them was the call for Schools and Colleges to state their local standards for promotion and tenure, standards that the University Committee has been and will continue to rely upon when discussing tenure and promotion cases.
Also before President Hart arrived on campus, she agreed that a search for a Provost should commence. The Committee on Administrative and Trustee Appointments helped to form a Search Committee; we are just now seeing the results of their thorough and thoughtful search. We anticipate very good things to come from our new provost, Lisa Staiano-Coico, whom we warmly welcomed to the campus on July 1. The Faculty Senate Steering Committee met with Provost Staiano-Coico, and issued her a standing invitation to any Faculty Senate meeting she can make. We think you will find her smart, engaging, and a careful listener, as we have found her to be.
One of the first tasks President Hart had within the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees was the action taken on the Student and Faculty Academic Rights and Responsibilities. You may remember that the Faculty Senate had spoken out strongly on this issue the previous year, as we spoke to legislators from the House of Representatives here on this campus, had Larry Curry, ranking Democrat on the Committee on Higher Education in the House come speak to us (and the Faculty Senate Steering Committee), and petitioned the House committee and our own administration to devise a fair policy. I also know that Dean Bob Reinstein worked very hard on the policy that was passed in July 2006, and which resulted this past year in 5 complaints to the Provost, all of which were settled or dismissed.
Also over the summer of 2006, members of the FSSC joined with Terry Halbert and the GEEC in expressing interest in revising the General Education document that the trustees had recently passed. President Hart, Provost Englert, and Vice-Provost for Undergraduate Studies Jones all engaged with us in a lively debate over the course of implementing the General Education program. Part of that debate was the discussion we had concerning free electives, an issue that was settled by a statement from Englert. And, thanks to the leadership of President Hart, we were able to keep our enthusiastic and able Director of General Education, Terry Halbert (and she was able to keep her sanity), as we began to make some necessary changes to make General Education a truly excellent experience for our undergraduates. Please thank any member of GEEC, Terry Halbert, and any Area Coordinator before you leave for the summer for the time, thought, energy, and passion that they have put into this effort. They have done a remarkable job.
Once we moved into the fall, the Faculty Senate Steering Committee and Senate really got going: our International Committee sponsored a survey on international programs here at Temple and a Global Temple conference (where I was pleased to see a lot of student participation). The FSSC met with Provost Englert to discuss recent changes that had been made in the periodic program review process, in response to a document we had sent him the previous spring. We also helped form the Middle States Review committee. Our Handbook Committee began working energetically on rewriting the Emeritus policy, in conjunction with Englert, after the process had been stalled for nine months. Happily, those changes were accepted by the trustees this spring, and are now part of our Faculty Handbook. The FSSC petitioned the President to set aside money for course releases for future FSSC officers, and as we announced this spring, a certain amount of money will be set aside so that Schools and Colleges do not have to shoulder the entire burden of course releases for faculty President, VP and secretary.
By November, the FSSC introduced to the Senate a discussion on senate membership. The Handbook Committee had suggested four ways of thinking about senate membership, from inclusion of everyone to maintaining the status quo. The question was seriously debated in the Handbook Committee, which agonized over every phrase, and the FSSC, which suggested some fine-tuning before we presented the motion on the floor of the Senate. We decided to have several University Senate meetings in a row to discuss and amend the motion. Finally we were ready for a vote, which took place as an electronic ballot after the first of the year. The question was serious and complicated, and I admit to being a little surprised by the lack of discussion that occurred on the floor of the Senate or within the faculty listserv. In the interests of full disclosure, I will tell you that I had previously opened up the faculty listserv to ANY faculty member who wished to join, and the FSSC had been placing interested and qualified NTTs on certain Senate committees (I will here point out that our dedicated and enthusiastic Parliamentarian Scott Gratson is once such NTT, and is a wonderful example of the kind of service our fellow faculty are willing to give us). As you know, the motion did not reach the needed 2/3 “yes” vote to enact the change. What you may not know is that if I had a nickel for every person who told me “I didn’t vote because I thought it was a shoo-in,” I’d be a rich woman. What you also may not know is the level of disappointment this defeat raised in our NTT faculty members.
Also over the fall the FSSC and the Faculty Herald Board began to intensify its search for an editor for the Faculty Herald. You all heard from Lewis Gordon last spring, and I hope you have read carefully the online (and good looking!) Faculty Herald. We are all grateful to Lewis for bringing us into the 21st century in such style. The FSSC, upon the request of several faculty, formed the Community-Based Learning and Collaboration Committee; at the last meeting of the year, the University Senate voted to make this a standing Senate committee. We need a place where the faculty can meet, brainstorm, and be energized as they pursue their passion for community-based learning and service projects. We also have asked the newly formed Committee on the Status of Faculty of Color to begin meeting and defining issues that are particularly important to them. We brought several members of the Committee on the Status of Women to meet with the President, after hearing from them a need to raise issues of awareness about hiring, tenure, and promotion.
This past spring we have seen the results of many hours of labor with Provost Englert, as we met to revise the Office Hours, and Syllabus policies. I can also report to you that President Hart has approved our suggested changes in the Merit guidelines, and you should look for an announcement about this soon. Currently, the Handbook Committee is meeting weekly with Dick, Bonnie Brennen, Linda Mauro (replacing Concetta Stewart), and Susan Smith of legal counsel to revise the Tenure and Promotion sections of the Handbook in light of the new Presidential policy on those issues. We hope to present those changes to the Senate this fall. The FSSC also met with Ken Soprano, and we hope to be able to announce soon the formation of the Society for the Recognition of Excellence in the Arts and Humanities. Finally, we have been working with you to fill slots on committees: everything from Lectures and Forums to GEEC to the Presidential committee on Tuition. We continue to see this as a way to extend and deepen our conversation with the administration and we ask your support as we continue to need people to help us in this conversation.
Finally, and most importantly, the people I want to thank are you—all of you who have encouraged me with emails, calls, and voices of support throughout my terms as president. The greatest pleasure of this job—and the one I will miss the most—is the number of people I met. I have found out from you your passions, your dedication to our students, your research projects and your ways of making your teaching better. Together we have worked to bring this community of Temple together, and to make this university a great institution. My hope is that as we move forward together, that we will use this gift of faculty governance wisely, to advise and inform, to discuss and listen. We already know the many good things that Temple gives to the neighborhood, the city, the Delaware Valley, and even the world. Together with the staff, administration, trustees, Provost and President we can continue to enhance, expand, and extend our mission—providing access to a truly excellent education.
And so I have happily put down my gavel, to return to my excavation, and then my teaching and my leave. I am privileged to have been your president for 2 ½ years.