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Veteran Chair Explains Collegial Governance, Its Role on Campus and Current Challenges

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BY VALERIE ORLEANS
From Dateline (November 11, 2004)

Q: Do Academic Senates differ from campus to campus?
   
A:

The composition differs, as does the membership. In addition to faculty members, we have two students, an emeritus professor, the president and vice president of academic affairs. Other campuses may structure their senate differently. We elect the chair and appoint committee members.

   

   
Q: Is there a structure in terms of how the various colleges are represented?
   
A: We want to make sure that there is representation for each college, as well as administration and student services.
   

   
Q: What are the qualities that an Academic Senate should have to ensure that it is effective?
   
A: I think you need to focus on those issues that are within your sphere of influence. Sometimes senates will want to vote on issues that they can’t impact. To me – while the goal may be worthy – it’s not something that’s within our purview. We try to limit our focus to areas that are germane to instruction.
   

   
Q: Why do you keep serving as chair?
   
A: I ask myself that same question! Actually, in my years of teaching, I’ve grown up with the concept of academic governance. I truly believe in the importance of this senate to the overall well-being of Cal State Fullerton.
   

   
Q: Are there any accomplishments you are most proud of?
   
A:

I think it’s important to be a visible academic chair. I try to network and bring in others. I advocate for the senate and try to encourage others to become involved.

I also am proud of the number of faculty members who have stayed here for so many years. They have become the institutional memory for the campus. What I find very rewarding is the number of emeriti, as well as faculty members close to retirement, who still volunteer for this committee and others. To me, that represents a commitment to this campus and to students. That sort of loyalty and sense of purpose are what can set a campus apart.

   

 

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Q&A with Bedell

• Jack Bedell

• What is the role of the Academic Senate? Has it changed over the years?

• What are some of the major issues this year?

• Are there other issues that are causing concern?

• Seventy-nine policy statements are out for review?

Another issue is civility on campus.

• Do Academic Senates differ from campus to campus?

• Is there a structure in terms of how the various colleges are represented?

• What are the qualities that an Academic Senate should have to ensure that it is effective?

• Why do you keep serving as chair?

• Are there any accomplishments you are most proud of?

 

 

 

 

 
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