Council aspirations aim to protect jobs, raise success rates

Victoria Pagan

The Faculty Council will focus on protecting the financial rights and earned benefits of faculty members from budget cuts and attacks on higher education during the upcoming year, said council chairman Alan Friedman.

Last week, Friedman distributed a letter to his colleagues listing the efforts the Faculty Council and its Executive Committee made last school year to protect faculty rights and highlighting the council’s plans for 2011-12.

The council will have its first meeting this Friday. He said they will be concerned with ensuring the campus receives high-quality representation and working to bring the campus back to what higher education is all about.

“We want to make [our campus] as effective and efficient and outstanding as it can be, and we are working with the administration to do that,” Friedman said. “A good part of it is cooperating with all sorts of projects within college and school committees and making them more effective and transparent.”

Friedman said the council currently has three major projects that focus on protecting the faculty members’ job security. He said the council is working to examine the Provost’s Course Transformation Program, which begins this semester and aims to increase success rates in large lower division classes.

“The program has to do with increasing productivity and efficiency through the use of technology,” Friedman said. “We plan to be supportive of the program to the extent that technology is used to enhance learning and not used as a substitute for a faculty member.”

Friedman said the council is also working on revisions to the post-tenure review process that were suggested by the Board of Regents.

“Campus tenured faculty members are not only reviewed annually for possible merit increases but are also reviewed more comprehensively every six years to ensure quality performance,” Friedman said. “People now want to make the process even more intrusive, while I believe there are already many safeguards to prevent incompetence.”

Council member and radio-television-film professor Janet Staiger is leading the third of the current council efforts. Staiger said the effort aims to revise the appeals process for cases when a faculty member or group of faculty members needs to be terminated because of financial problems or if the University decides to eliminate a program.

“Faculty can appeal on whether or not they were terminated unduly,” Staiger said. “It is also a safeguard and a way to clear the policy of what will happen if we ever have to terminate someone.”

Printed on Wednesday, August 24, 2011 as: Council aspirations aim to protect jobs, raise success rates.