A Message from Dr. Belinda S. Miles – Toward A More Productive Future – February 24, 2017
This week, our Faculty Senate passed a resolution for a “vote of no confidence” speaking in a loud voice on several aspects of our academic affairs unit. The action moved forward despite my direct appeal to the Senate to rescind the action for various reasons including:
- that the person targeted – the interim vice president of academic affairs – was not responsible for many of the items noted,
- a confirmation that the interim vice president is scheduled to vacate the role in May,
- an update that the search and screening process for a permanent vice president of academic affairs is on schedule, and
- that plans are already under way to engage alternate methods to resolve the issues raised as well as other improvements not included in the resolution.
For several months, the college has successfully managed numerous mission critical aspects of our work under the unforgiving pace of change and increasing accountability demands. Simultaneously, persistent calls by faculty leadership for better ways of communicating and exercising shared governance were met with myriad ways of connecting and seeking understanding. Ultimately, these responses have not yet fully addressed the desire by faculty for administration to use the formal channels of the Faculty Senate for input on key college decisions more effectively.
Details of the resolution and related commentary and a similar action by Staff Council suggest longstanding cultural and system-level concerns that surely merit our best and most concerted attention. For example, the real and current need to develop a broader and more comprehensive academic master plan and refine priority academic operations are two projects that provide an immediate opportunity to immerse ourselves collectively in meaningful work of mutual interest on behalf of our mission with potential to model the shared governance ideals to which we strive.
By pursuing this work together and integrating the multiplicity of perspectives that exists within our community of individual critical thinkers, we have the potential to shape an improved shared governance framework that ensures that we hear and include everyone’s authentic voice. If we misstep, let’s keep trying. We owe that to one another and to the students and community who ultimately benefit from our collective impact.
With so much more to accomplish, and the exponential strength of working together, it is my hope that we be united in a common vision for a more productive future based on just, fair, and mutually respectful purposes and practices.
Dr. Belinda S. Miles