A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico
Sept 20, 2007 Volume 38 / Number 1

 

Academic Senate Chair

Jump In for Your (Shared Governance) Health

As chair of the Academic Senate and one of your statewide senators, I want to welcome you to a new academic year and enlist your help in ensuring that our campus’s distinctive record of shared governance continues to enrich our lives on campus. Before you jump to the conclusion that I must be talking to someone else—NO, I am talking to you. Shared governance is a state mandate and a professional right that the academy has asserted for many years. Like all rights, it is only healthy and effective when it is exercised. Maybe you are one of our 47 new faculty, maybe one of more than 17,000 currently enrolled students, or one of our staff—and Academic Senate seems both a labyrinth and remote. If so, I have a challenge for you!

Where else can you influence policies that affect every individual on campus? Where else can you gain an overview of the “Chico Experience” as we craft shared understandings of how each segment of campus works to fulfill our Strategic Plan? Influence the Academic Senate of the CSU? Understand and appreciate the unfolding of our Master Plan? Gain understanding of the quality of education, residential life, and work environment that impacts each of us daily? And, how well do you understand sustainability and how it might become integrated into your curriculum, change your building’s footprint, or leave you hotter or colder as the energy initiatives take effect?

OK, so maybe you never wanted to be a “politician.” You still are invited to free coffee and cookies while you observe your colleagues debate and make policy. You can join committees around campus where your personal expertise and interests align with central concerns that eventually come back to the Academic Senate. I also challenge you to consider the life well led.

Two of our leaders in the Academic Senate were lost to untimely deaths in the last eight months. They left a tremendous legacy, and I knew and loved them both as mentors and fellow travelers. Their lives were greatly enhanced by the friends, colleagues, visions, and passion that they developed in shared governance. They took the road less traveled, and it made a tremendous difference. I invite you to walk with us on a journey of discovery and to make a difference. We welcome you to shared governance at CSU, Chico Thursdays at 2:30 pm in Kendall 207/209.

—Kathy Kaiser, chair, Academic Senate