Thursday, March 31, 2011

Wanted: Faculty Representation on Search Committees

It seems the Administration was shocked, shocked, to learn that faculty perceived there were no searches being conducted for the Vice Presidents and Deans who have been quitting, fired or need to be hired on campus.

Yes, big surprise that faculty are demoralized and cynical about the university's "search processes"--we receive messages to welcome so and so as the new such and such, but never hear about who was on the committee that picked them, or what the process was that brought them here. Since there is no longer a student newspaper on campus (paper or online) to plant information for the university community (even though students still pay a fee for it), we can only rely on info to be disseminated like peasants listening to an ecclesiastical hieararchy talk down to us at their whim. Staid old Boston has nothing on CSU. I keep recalling the quote from my New England days: "So, this is Boston, home of the baked bean and the cod, where the Lowells speak only to the Cabots, and the Cabots speak only to God."

And who can blame people for not wanting to serve on a committee that has been organized for a while but only sends out a call for faculty or staff presence one week before it will meet? Or faculty who don't want to serve on committees where their presence is mere eyewash for the accreditors, but whose "input" although claimed to be valued, is disregarded if it doesn't match what or who the Administration already wants? Of course who can forget that great trumped up search called the University Presidential Search Committee of a few years ago? No one wants to serve on a committee where you think your voice may actually make a difference, spend a lot of time in meetings, write up reports that go nowhere, just so the Administration can say they "consulted" faculty.

All this said, there are some search committees out there this spring and the Senate has been asked to look for Faculty willing to serve. I have been stung by service on some committees here at CSU and I will no longer serve on committees that have no teeth, that just spin their wheels while the real decisions are made outside. I will no longer serve on a committee where I feel my voice is not heard and I will resign from any committee if I find that my presence is just perfunctory, just as the members of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee did during that farce of a presidential search two years ago. I recommend that faculty continue to participate in the search process that we have at CSU and to offer your time and service in this regard to the university, but to hold your ground as a member of a committee. I'm giving it a chance, like Charlie Brown hoping to kick that football, and joining one of these committees. Maybe this time Lucy won't pull it away.

Yan Searcy said it very eloquently in his email to all of us this week. It is the faculty who hold institutional memory and it is our responsibility to bring that continuity to the governance of the university.

From Yan:
CSU faculty, we are at a crucial point in the history of the institution. The people who may be hired may be responsible for development of CSU or its demise. The faculty voice and perspective need to be heard. Many decisions that are being made are being made by those who have little than two years of institutional memory. The people who may be hired will have less than this.
I ask you to re-read the request below.

From the Provost:
Lastly, please share the attachment with members of the Faculty Senate. This attachment contains the names of search committee members for Pharmacy and Business deans……… I will try my best to keep the Senate informed regarding searches. Also, please note the following searches that will take place soon (before July):

1. Dean of Library (Committee not formed yet)
2.. Dean of Business (Dr. Jefferson, Committee Chairperson)
3. Director for International Programs (Committee not formed yet)
4. Dean of Students ( Dr. Osika, Search Committee Chairperson)
5. Associate Vice President, Sponsored Programs (Committee not formed yet)
6. Dean, Continuing Education (Position not posted yet)

Faculty recommendations to serve on the above searches are much appreciated.

I certainly hope they will be.

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