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Senate communications

May 5, 2017

Report of the Secretary of the Faculty

Senate Executive Committee, May 8, 2017
Mike Townsend, Associate Professor, School of Law

First-Year as Secretary of the Faculty:

In addition to the usual secretarial activities, a number of things have been added this year. A Committee on Committees has been formed to help staff faculty councils, thus bringing to fruition planning done last year by Marcia and the Senate Office staff. A video component has been added to the Senate minutes, which brings us in line with the practice at other institutions. We are also compiling a list of Code sections that need some clarification.

The prospect of a new Provost raises some concerns because of the good relationship we have with Provost Baldasty. I have begun discussions with the Provost about clarifying some aspects of shared governance that I hope will lead to an understanding with some inertia as the changeover occurs. These aspects include the Code-interpretation powers of the SEC and Provost, the disciplinary authority of Deans, and the scope of the Secretary of the Faculty’s role in providing advice to members of the University community with respect to their rights and obligations under the Faculty Code. With respect to the latter, the Secretary and Senate Leadership are considering ways to provide faculty with independent legal advice.

This was my first year as Secretary of the Faculty, and it has been a challenging year with a steep learning curve. I would like to thank the staff of the Senate Office, members of the current and previous Senate leadership, members of the Provost’s and Ombud’s Offices, and especially past-Secretary of the Faculty, Marcia Killien, for their help and support.