Faculty senate surveys staff on campus issues

Faculty and staff on campus feel improvements need to be made to a survey issued to them this past spring.

The Committee on Academic Affairs (CAA) distributed an online survey to the faculty-employed at the University, which contained eight questions in a effort to get faculty and staff opinions about issues and concerns that have been expressed as priorities among the faculty.

Questions covered concerns about the academic work environment, the effectiveness or fairness of the campus administration and if the faculty feels the University is “going in the right direction,” according to the report issued by the CAA at the faculty senate meeting.

“The CAA resumed a practice that has not been done in the past couple of years,” Chair of CAA David Border said at yesterday’s faculty senate meeting. “This year we had a good response rate around 40 percent.”

The CAA reinstated the survey because, under the faculty senate charter, they are “responsible for the formation of a statement of the academic priorities and objectives of the University which shall then be used in the process of planning and building the budget for the academic area of the University for the subsequent year.”

Travel allowances, wages and research and teaching balances were the top concerns among faculty.

Some faculty, however, felt the questions needed to be changed to better address their opinions.

Chemistry professor Neocles Leontis felt the questions should be made more proactive and creative so the faculty could have more ways to respond to the questions.

Border agreed, “If the questions were constructed creatively it would evoke creative comments and discussions. It would be more proactive in coming up with solutions to problems.”

Border added improvements should be made to the surveys and he hoped those improvements could be implemented on the next survey scheduled to be issued this spring.

Other faculty senate members felt the survey brought up other concerns.

One of the questions on the survey brought up the issue of respect and many non-tenured track faculty felt “that tenure track faculty tended to regard instructors as ‘less than'” according to the report issued by the CAA.

Sue Carter Wood, an associate professor in the English department, felt this issue needed to be addressed because non-tenured faculty are under-represented in faculty senate.

“I was wondering what [the] senate might do to bring this up [number of non-tenured faculty senate members],” Wood said. “There is nobody representing this faculty. Faculty from all ranks – instructors and lecturers – should be able to be in faculty senate.”

Many other faculty members agreed with Wood’s comments and some agreed to write an amendment to allow non-tenured faculty into faculty senate.

Faculty senate meetings are held at 2:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month in the 140 McFall Center and are open to the public.