Chair’s Year-End Report
44th Senate - 2009-2010
To say that this year has been a busy one is perhaps an understatement. I want to thank all of you for the hard work you’ve done representing the faculty here at Southeast Missouri State. We’ve accomplished a great deal. We recommended a dozen retiring faculty members for emeritus status, surely a record number. We passed a Summer Compensation resolution, negotiating acceptable compensation for faculty members teaching in low-enrolled summer courses. We witnessed the fruition of the Student Evaluation of Instruction Bill, an initiative which began in fall of 2008. The bill was signed by President Dobbins and then Provost Stephens in December of 2009; it was endorsed by Provost Rosati upon his arrival in February of 2010 and after being temporarily tabled by the Board of Regents pending student consult in March, is hopefully scheduled to return to the Board table in May of 2010. A bill separating promotion and post-professorial merit monies from annual increases which was passed by the Senate in late April was returned to the Senate without approval on May 5. This bill, which would relieve faculty of the burden of funding their own promotion increases, would also eliminate the uncertainty of promotion funding during lean budget years when no salary increases are available. The Senate passed a new 5-year Calendar, which was approved by the Board in March. We also passed a revision to the Professional Development policy, which will accommodate variances in departmental funding practices. This bill awaits presidential and Board approval. We have also drafted changes to the Tenure and Promotion policy, to clarify membership requirements on tenure and promotion committees. We will vote on that bill today. We have drafted recommendations to the Faculty Handbook’s retrenchment and program review policies, meant as discussion points for the next Faculty Senate. Lastly, although our Resolution on Collegiality failed, we began important and timely discussions on shared governance, which included bringing Dr. David Robinson, Vice President of the Missouri Conference of the AAUP, to campus.
We still have much, much more to do. I began the year speaking of challenges that we at the University face in light of the budget situation. Those challenges continue and for that reason I challenge those senators who remain and those yet to come to fight the good fight for the faculty that more than ever need strong Senate representation. As Dr. Robinson reminded us, we not only have a right, but a responsibility to play a role in the governance process. We are facing ever more budget cuts which may well result in more lost programs and faculty positions. Please don’t acquiesce on important faculty issues, especially during these critical budget times. I conclude with the words of the poet Dylan Thomas, who says, “Rage, rage against the dying of the light. Do not go gentle into that good night.”