The Faculty Senate of South Carolina State University is committed to freedom through a democratic process of shared governance. Consensus is essential for South Carolina State University to remain a competent, progressive, and vital force toward the achievement of higher education in the lives of its students, faculty, administration, and alumni.
Friday, January 17, 2014
Faculty Leadership at SCSU
As you know, the
faculty senate spent much of last semester defending our tenure and promotion
process—a process which is at the heart of the faculty role in shared
governance. Eventually, the recommendations of the University Tenure and
Promotion committee were ratified by the Board of Trustees, and we started the
new year with President Elzey enacting the recommendations of the faculty
senate that the raises which normally accompany tenure and promotion be
instituted. Though this is a struggle many of us feel should never have
had to happen, it shows the value and need for us to come together as a faculty
engaging in the shared governance process.
Shared governance is
an essential part of the Academy; it demands that decisions be madeopenly and transparently, that all major
stakeholders (faculty, administration, students, alumni, staff) have a
meaningful say, and that faculty take the lead role in shaping programs and the
direction of the university.Faculty may
not control the purse strings, but we do control the intellectual capital of
the university. It is faculty who bring the ideas, who develop the research,
who disseminate the information, and who convey the passion for learning that
makes the modern university the engine for both preservation and change that it
has become. Faculty are the university leaders who make universities and their
leaders successful.Universities become
great because of the work faculty do.
South Carolina State
University is a university with a great mission and a great history.We bring economic and cultural opportunities
to underserved students, and we do this better than almost anyone else.However, no one familiar with our recent
history would say that the university is living up to this legacy in a full
bodied way.Now is the time then for the
faculty to define our mission for the future.
Those of us who have
been studying the proposed Faculty Handbook revisions are aware that the
University in general and Academic Affairs in specific have mission
statements.That is well and good, but
the faculty body should have our own Mission and Vision statements, to
articulate where we are, where we want to go, and how we will get there.In order to judge our own progress (or lack
thereof), we need to articulate a shared idea of what progress should look
Based on the
feedback from faculty and my own experiences as Faculty Senate President, there
are four concerns that I think we can widely agree on:
ñThe academic structure needs to be viable, to promote the
integrity and growth of our programs, and to respect the leadership role of the
ñThe Tenure and Promotion process is basic to faculty rights and
ñThe continued budget retrenchment has already undermined our programs;
Academic Affairs needs to be enriched, or we risk falling deeper into a vicious
ñThe Faculty has a mission which we take very seriously to develop
faculty and academic programs.
The faculty senate
is exploring the possibility of sponsoring a luncheon (tentatively set for Feb
11) to initiate a conversation on how the faculty can move forward.Among the questions we need to ask ourselves:
ñWhat are our core values around teaching, research, and tenure and
ñWhat are our pathways to productivity?
ñHow do we define our mission?How do we define our vision for achieving that mission?
Your senators and I will
keep you informed as the plans for this Faculty Leadership workshop develops.In the meantime, I want to urge everyone to
read through the Faculty Handbook online, submit your comments as soon as
possible, and if you have not done so already, please pay your faculty senate
dues ($20), our funding for projects like this, to your senator or to Dr.