faculty senate

Western Michigan University Faculty Struggles for Shared Governance

i_228Western Michigan University Faculty Struggles for Shared Governance

 Unlike many colleges and universities, Western Michigan University Faculty are represented by a union. Currently they are negotiating a new contract. But it’s not just about wages and benefits. Much of the focus of the negotiations will be over the struggle between the competing models of corporate vs. traditional teaching.

James Pilant

Chief Negotiator Cynthia Klekar’s opening statement | WMU-AAUP Blog

The WMU-AAUP looks forward to principled and transparent contract negotiations. Our priority for these negotiations is to ratify a contract that revitalizes Western Michigan University’s core academic mission. WMU has earned a reputation for quality instruction based on learning, inquiry, and discovery. In order to maintain this reputation we must remain steadfast in realizing our ultimate purpose: to provide an educational experience that prioritizes student success, offers creative learning opportunities, and preserves the value of a Western Michigan University degree.

In recent years, we have lost sight of this ultimate purpose. The corporate model now dominates our short-term and long-term planning and has permeated our campus culture to the extent that an instructor’s “credit-hour production” is now the measure of professional competence. We must reverse this trend and return to the university model that values students, not for their tuition dollars or as credit hour producers, but as creative and independent thinkers, capable of discovery, innovation, empathy, and critical inquiry.

via Chief Negotiator Cynthia Klekar’s opening statement | WMU-AAUP Blog.

For more in-depth information, you can go here: http://wmuaaup.net/2013_advocate_fall.pdf


 From Around the Web.

From the web site, Chicago Reporter.


There are things in life you are probably a lot better off not seeing. Based on what I’ve read, sausage-making is high on that list. Based on what I observed Monday, faculty senate deliberations would be, too.

It was the last spring semester meeting of the Urbana-Champaign Campus Senate of the University of Illinois. Among the issues discussed was a resolution re-emphasizing the organization’s support of academic freedom, fair employment practices and the appropriate autonomy for departments in determining curriculum and hiring. The point of raising these issues was to address two matters of growing concern: job security among non-tenure-track faculty and the employment status of Research Scholar James Kilgore, who was informed on April 9 that his contract with the university would not be renewed.

While a resolution was adopted, little was resolved.

The critical details have been left to a special ad hoc committee announced by Illinois Chancellor Phyllis Wise. But faculty members are concerned about the committee’s membership, the scope of its assignment and the timetable.

Of course, the elephant in the room here is the Kilgore matter, which was not expressly discussed. Even allusions to his case were rejected as personnel matters. At this point, though, privacy is a moot consideration. Nothing could be more public, given the media coverage, including the Monday delivery to campus administration of a petition of support for Kilgore signed by 310 Illinois faculty members. (Several national Kilgore petitions at change.org have been signed by more than 2,000 persons.)

“It’s been all over the damned newspapers,” notes Cary Nelson, professor emeritus at Illinois and former three-term president of the American Association of University Professors. “They’re trying to create the senate as the only place on earth where you can’t mention his name. ” Kilgore’s name has been mentioned quite a bit recently — not just in newspapers and online, but in meetings on the power of academic units to decide how best to determine their research balance, offer curriculum and hire the people who will carry it all out. And his name has been mentioned in connection with the opportunities we want to provide to formerly incarcerated persons — opportunities that benefit entire communities, as well as the individuals themselves.


Faculty Senate with Real Power

!!@@#dddddd444hmlbr35Faculty Senate with Real Power

This is, of course, a specialized program demanding a high degree of expertise in a specific field. Nevertheless, this faculty senate has some teeth.

Very impressive.

James Pilant

Faculty Senate


An empowered community of scholars

As the governing body of the School of Nursing, the Faculty Senate serves as the formal instrument for the exercise of authority with respect to the educational, research, and practice affairs vested in the faculty by the Statutes of the Corporation.

The Faculty Senate sets policies for the selection of applicants and development and monitoring of admissions and progressions; setting regulations for instruction and requirements for degrees in course and faculty; setting of its own procedures for governance; and determining the composition of and qualifications for membership in the Faculty.

From Around the Web.

From the web site, Georgia Regents University, Nursing, Faculty Senate.


College of Nursing Faculty Senate

The purpose of the College of Nursing Faculty Senate is to facilitate involvement of members of the faculty and administration of the CON in: (1) communication and joint planning to achieve the goals of the CON at both Faculty Senate Meetings and through the existing committee structure, and (2) shared authority of decision-making and interdependent responsibility for the pursuit of excellence in the CON.

Functions of the CON Faculty Senate include:

  • decision-making and advisement in matters pertaining to faculty affairs.
  • decision-making related to the admissions, evaluation, promotion and graduation of students.
  • decision-making pertaining to the educational policies, programs, and curricula of the CON.
  • fostering an atmosphere conducive to the professional and personal development of faculty and students.
  • advising the administration on other matters pertinent to the CON.
  • developing and engaging in public service activities including but not limited to continuing education.

The voting members of the Faculty Senate include full-time and part-time
faculty greater than or equal to .5 FTE who hold academic
rank (instructor through professor).

A Women’s Leadership Program

!!@@#dddddd444plate16-thA Women’s Leadership Program.

This is an interesting idea. I have commented on the blog source for this and asked for the actual legislation so I can pass it on to other senates.

I want to start talking about ideas and possibilities. I am not interested in faculty conflict. I am interested in faculty as a full partner in college and university governance.

James Pilant


This week I pitched to the Faculty Senate the idea of the faculty and staff senates’ collaboratively housing a women’s leadership program. I made a case for creating a professional-development program that is truly self-development and which fosters not only cross-campus knowledge transfer, but also inter-divisional collaborations and resource sharing that can strengthen the entire institution. Equally importantly, the university has an opportunity to visibly demonstrate its support for women in leadership. Faculty questions were limited; it was a lot to take-in. Still, through individual discussions, I learned some primary concerns.

On the one hand, we as a university suffer from both insufficient funds for new professional staff and a worry about administrative bloat. On the other, the faculty have had to harbor more and more administrative responsibilities, part of a growing trend of reframing faculty as academic professionals with a growing number of non-teaching responsibilities. Within the context of the senates’ co-owning this program, at least some senators privately expressed concern about the latter.

That’s a legitimate problem. The program I’ve proposed is not a simple one. One faculty member and one staff member would serve as co-coordinators and co-facilitators. Based on my initial cross-campus interviews, we can roll out a series of workshops on requested topics — interviewing, negotiation, building a support structure … — while fostering a sense of both cohort and campus community, the latter via diverse campus contributors. Early in the semester, each participant would shadow another participant in a different university division and report back to the rest of the group, which would improve cross-institutional cultural understanding. After meeting for 3.5 hours every other week for five sessions, the cohort should have bonded enough to pursue as a team an intrinsically-motivated charge, such as investigating a personal frustration that negatively impacts student success and is a high priority for the institution to address. The charge would enable the cohort to develop teamwork skills, learn more about the university, cultivate an understanding of institutional priority, and possibly inspire champions for their cause. 

From Around the Web.

From the web site, Executive Education, Wharton, upenn.edu.


From glass ceilings and work-life balance to “leaning in” and office politics, the issues for women as executive leaders continue to stir conversation and controversy. While women are making it to the corner office, the event still generates headlines. As they ascend the corporate ladder and take on greater management responsibilities, some women may want to seize greater challenges, but do so with a full understanding of the dynamics involved.

The week-long Women’s Executive Leadership: Business Strategies for Success program is designed specifically for today’s female executives and those who aspire to leadership roles. It covers new ground as revealed by the latest Wharton faculty research in work motivation and engagement, career development, internal coaching, emotional intelligence, and women in leadership roles.

Two pillars of the program are clarity and confidence: giving participants the clarity to know one’s personal leadership style and career strengths, along with confidence in mastering the building blocks of business acumen.

First Post – Why

James Pilant

James Pilant

I have recently been elected as member of the faculty senate at the college where I teach. I decided to do research on what a faculty senate could do. There were hundreds perhaps thousands of faculty senate web pages but there was nothing, no blogs, that discussed these matters in general.

It seems to me that there should be a blog that talks about the common problems, the issues and the controversies that faculty governance is supposed to deal with.

This blog is designed to provide some news about what faculty senates are doing, both the wins and the losses. I also want to establish a place where model legislation can be posted for use by other faculty senates.

James Pilant

From Around the Web.

From the web site, Faculty Senate, Virginia Tech.


The purpose of the Faculty Senate is to create an effective faculty organization that can enter into partnership for shared responsibility and cooperative action between the faculty, administration, staff, and students in order to promote the general welfare of the university.