Speech Delivered by Academic Senate Chair Kevin Baaske at
Fall Faculty Day on September 17, 2007
On behalf of the Academic Senate I welcome you back to campus for what I am sure will be an excellent year. Let me also welcome our new faculty colleagues. Your credentials are impressive and we are excited for you to join us. I assure you that you are joining a wonderful faculty whose members make a difference every single day through award winning teaching, professional achievement and service to the campus and community. We look forward to working with you in the years to come. To be honest, I wish there were more of you, and it is important that all of us in this room work vigorously to turn the 44 new searches authorized for this academic year into 44 new faculty members whom we can welcome at next yearÂs fall faculty day.
The Academic Senate is one way that the faculty make a difference in the life of this university every single day. In the past year we worked with the Administration to help shape the CSUÂs strategic plan, called ÂAccess to Excellence.Â In addition to assisting in a campus conversation in this very room, the Executive Committee of the Senate wrote its own report on the systemÂs draft strategic plan and, after valuable conversation in the Senate, we sent our commentary to the statewide steering committee. We also recommended representatives of this faculty who joined our two statewide senators at an important statewide conference devoted exclusively to refining the systemÂs draft strategic plan. We are hopeful that there will be one more opportunity to consider the document before it is finalized.
The Executive Committee has also been involved in helping to draft a strategic plan for this institution. That has been an challenging task because there is so much that might be done if only we had the resources, but we are involved in that conversation and we will continue to do our best to represent the interests of the faculty, staff and students at CSULA.
The Senate also modified policies specifying acceptable levels of employment for adjunct instructors and making orientation mandatory for all freshmen and transfer students. It also revised the student opinion survey instrument and called for negotiations between faculty and their deans so that faculty receive appropriate recognition for the work they do directing theses and graduate projects.
Looking forward, let me note: it is good to have the labor unrest of last year behind us. No, let me rephrase that: it is great to have the labor unrest of the last year behind us and I look forward to working with the Administration to move us toward the goal of making this a better place for all of us to work, to teach, to learn, to dream.
We have many important issues before us. Let me highlight just a few:
1. It is my hope that this coming year we will have a new policy clarifying and protecting the constitutional right to freedom of expression on this campus.
2. We all need to participate in the preparation currently underway for WASC re-accreditation.
3. We will need to revise our department, college, and University RTP documents in light of the new contract and this will be an opportunity to make sure that the documents reflect what is best for this University for the years to come. It is also an opportunity to make sure that everyone fully understands what is necessary for tenure and promotion.
4. The Senate will be considering the wisdom of the CSU system instituting separate and higher fees for students pursing the MBAÂa proposal that may soon be before the Board of Trustees. And,
5. I believe we ought to move toward greater budgetary control at the department level so that the faculty can determine the best way to reallocate resources and reduce the onerous teaching load. If I successfully teach two classes with 50 students in each, instead of three classes with 30 students in each, it is a win-win, and yet, such common sense is not common. Of course, we must also meet FTES targets and that, unfortunately, is still a challenge that we all must work to address.
There is much that we can do; much that we must do.
I love this institution and I am optimistic about its future. With confidence and your assistance, I look forward to a great year.
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