The UNCG Faculty Senate will continue strengthening the university’s mission and the status of its faculty in 2016, according to Faculty Senate Chair Dr. Anne Wallace.
“The Faculty Senate’s primary responsibilities are promoting academic excellence, matters involving curriculum, teaching, classroom policies that affect student welfare and learning,” Wallace stated, “and insuring faculty welfare in areas ranging from credentialing and workload guidelines, to compensation and job security.”
Among the senate’s issues this year are reviewing the Academic Integrity Policy, addressing the compensation of non-tenure track faculty, and possibly enacting a new faculty office hours policy.
The senate will also seek out other matters that may need to be addressed, says Wallace.
“We’re also planning a series of conversations, beginning at our first meeting, in which we’ll take stock of Senate priorities and ways of doing business,” Wallace said. “These last few years have been years of large changes for our University, and it seems like a good time to ask ourselves if we are doing all we can to help govern UNCG.”
The UNC system has faced several challenges in 2016, including almost $1 billion in budget cuts and fallout from HB2.
In addition to NC-unique issues, the senate also faces higher education’s changing role in society, says Wallace.
“I think that many faculty feel that we are at, or past, some kind of turning point, in which how our work is valued has changed almost past recognition,” says Wallace. “This is not just a matter of salary, though it’s hard to ignore the fact that most faculty salaries, and this is true for staff too, have not increased by more than a few percentage points since 2008 and 2009. This year’s across-the-board 1.5 percent raise for all state employees will be the first increase for many of us in 8 years.”
“We are also struggling to understand the general devaluation, outside our university, of public higher education, and the increasing demands that we measure the value of teaching and scholarship in what seem to be mostly quantitative terms,” Wallace said. “So I feel a strong desire among faculty of all ranks and conditions to grapple with these sea-changes, both philosophically and practically. This is an area that the Senate must continue to address.”
Despite these challenges, Wallace says the senate will play an important role in determining the direction of the university.
“Another specific task we anticipate is being involved in the “strategic planning” which is ongoing at both the UNC system and the University level,” says Wallace, “is the long-range setting of goals and development of plans to reach those goals. While we will have little or no direct involvement at the system level, where the Chancellors are our campuses’ voices, we are eager to see how our University planning unfolds from here and to take part in it.”
The senate will also re-shuffle members due to the creation of the new College of Visual and Performing Arts, says Wallace.
“We’ll be re-counting the faculty in each of the electoral divisions, and then re-apportioning the Senate seats so that faculty across the University will be properly represented,” says Wallace.
The first fall Faculty Senate meeting will be held at 3 PM on Wednesday, August 31 in the Alumni House’s Virginia Dare Room, and will be open to the public.