INSIDE Chico State
0 January 25, 2001
Volume 31 Number 9
  A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico




Academic Senate


Calendar of Events






Senate: A Constant Voice for Academic Quality

Paul Persons, Academic Senate chair
Paul Persons, Academic Senate chair

(Photo by Barbara Alderson)

Finals and term papers graded, there was some time to watch the bird feeder between reviewing the latest court brief and preparing for the new Horizon Live course. I began to give the birds I did not recognize the name of a beloved administrator. The Great Blue McNall, the Tufted Graham, The Esteban, and for me -- Great Crested, Grey Spotted, or possibly just Haired Persons. Time to muse can be wonderful -- or scary?

The other day I almost fell off my chair when an administrator commented that the Academic Senate chair and members change from year to year and are somewhat transitory. I was shocked. I never thought of faculty as transitory. Faculty come to the university young and stay until they "FERP." Faculty comprise that stable consultative body (Academic Senate) that seeks to maintain academic freedom while preserving and enhancing academic quality. While a senate chair or an individual senator may change from one year to the next year (some faculty have served on the senate for over 20 years), the academic interests they represent are constant. How could we be referred to as transitory?

I seldom see faculty looking at the latest job advertisements or running off campus for job interviews. The faculty I know worry about being effective educators, about their courses, how many students they are going to have, the RTP process, their salary and benefits, and their home life. Very few are looking to leave Chico, and all appear concerned that faculty maintain the right to determine their academic program and how to best teach their courses.

Administrators, on the other hand, come and they go. Since coming to Chico State in 1969 as a student and later returning after law school in 1979 as a faculty member, I have seen five university presidents come and go (Hill, Oliver, Cazier, Fredenburg, and Wilson). The provosts/vice presidents also seem to come and go, looking for better opportunities, new challenges, higher salaries, or retirement. Some are missed; others, well, you hope they are happy.

With two deans retiring this year and one dean accepting a job with eFruit, three new deans positions are available: College of Business, College of Humanities and Fine Arts, and College of Natural Sciences. The selection of three new deans will be very important for each of the colleges involved and for the university.

With all of the faculty that retired or FERPed in record numbers last year (77) and the estimated 50 this year, it is critical that new faculty step forward and become involved with the Academic Senate and the many university committees that make possible joint decision making and consultation between administrators and faculty. Shared governance is dependent upon faculty participation. This month the deans will be requested to announce and hold elections for new senators by March 1. The nomination period for at-large senators begins on March 15 and closes on April 6. Elections are held during the week of April 16 - 20. Notices for volunteers for university committees will go out in April and May. Please contact the Senate Office (x6201) if you would like more information or would like to volunteer.

With the lights off and a power blackout imminent, my eyes wander back to the bird feeder. I think it's a red-shafted something.

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