Senate communications

February 28, 2018

Report of the Faculty Senate Chair

Thaïsa Way, Professor, College of Built Environments

Strengthening Shared Governance:  With the legislature in session, we are focused on near and long term objectives. Last weekend I attended the Town Hall for district 43 (the University’s district and my own) with Speaker Chopp, Representative Macri, and Senator Pedersen in support of funding the state need grant and fixing the fund split. This support was received well but we shall see what actually emerges. I was with JoAnn Taricani our legislative liaison in Olympia this week supporting the Faculty Regent Bill. The Faculty Senate has been working on this for years, we hope it passes this year. We need a faculty member on the Regents to share our perspective on the UW and public education and research. This position would complement and strengthen the voice of Faculty on the Board of Regents that is already represented by the Senate chair who attends and sits at the table for all BOR meetings.

Fiscal stability and faculty compensation:  The questions of compensation are front and center in our work both internally with our UW leadership and in the state legislative branches. Both the house and senate budgets making a few moves in the right direction. It has to do with the fund split and more generally about support for higher education in this state.  We do not get the level of support that is necessary to provide the breadth, excellence or access to which we aspire- or even that we offer today. We are facing serious budget challenges- whether it is faculty compensation, the support for faculty diversity and addressing the changes needed to improve our climate for all faculty, staff, and students. Our role as a public institution of higher education needs to be made clear and in a compelling manner because without public support, both funding and intellectual support, we can’t do what we are here to do. In the end, this is all about shared governance and the hard work of making sure we invest our funds to support our values.

Enrollment management and financial aid will be topics of discussion at our meeting- these two areas shape our teaching and our community. Where students choose to focus for their major is important and yet at the same time we can’t lose sight of our mission to offer a broad education, whether or not a particular area is trendy or hot this year or next.  So we need to balance where students are encouraged to focus by society, by families, and by our current k-12 system with how we encourage them to access and build a deep educational experience. Right now STEM is most popular and yet we know that philosophy and language capacity is critical to success in a complex and challenging global community. These areas of focus along with access, excellence, and all of our aspirations need to be brought to bear as we make decisions about freshman, transfer, and direct admissions, enrollment, and the level of financial support we can provide our students. These are hard decisions and ones that need our best thinking. Come prepared to listen and learn. There will be more discussions in the coming weeks and months. These issues shape our fiscal stability and our education mission.

Open Access has been discussed with the chairs of the FCFA, FCR, FCUL, ACIPPP, Library leadership, and Faculty Senate leadership. We are moving forward with a plan to maximize open access for the public to our scholarship while respecting faculty choice. We believe we have set standards for implementation that will respond to the concerns expressed by members of the Faculty Senate. We hope to bring a plan to faculty senate in the spring for how we see this rolling out- stay tuned.

We are working with the President and Title IX leadership to determine next best steps in assuring that all faculty are appropriately versed in the process of sexual and racial harassment concerns. This is critical to assure that our colleagues, each and every one of them feels and is safe at all times on our campus. If you have not yet, please watch the training videos available- https://compliance.uw.edu/title-ix-ada-and-safety-minors/title-ix/education-and-outreach.

Diversity and Equity: OMAD’s 50th anniversary is a remarkable anniversary to celebrate and we look forward to hearing from Rickey Hall at our meeting. While we continue to support the various efforts across campuses and units to build and steward a more inclusive community, we know we need to also put these values front and centered in our own work. This is reflected in the faculty councils on multicultural affairs and women in academia, and in our role as leaders and participants as you heard about at our last meeting. It is also front and center in our UW 2050 project grounded in our commitment to shared governance, academic freedom, and our role as a public university. And it is the reason we need, as a faculty, to see ourselves as a whole community- in good times and in rough times.

UW/Faculty 2050: We are collaborating with members of the BODC well as over 40 faculty across units and ranks (lecturers, research, WOT, assistant, associate, full…) to identify core values, current trends, and aspirational strategies. A draft of our work to date is attached. We will be reaching out more broadly to all faculty via focus groups and a survey is being shared this week- please take note and respond.

Lecturer career paths: We see legislation today that is just one result of the hard work of FCFA. Building on a shared commitment to supporting those whose commitment is to high quality teaching and pedagogy, the FCFA is hard at work. Additionally Provost Baldasty, Joe Janes, and I have convened a small task force to compile a handbook for lecturers and to consider best practices for improving the culture of respect for lecturers across campuses, schools, and colleges.