Joint Faculty Council, anchored on its own bylaws, bridges and resolves motions of institutional significance through effective shared governance. JFC is governed and co-presided by the bilateral cooperation of the two respective executive councils of the Pace New York City and Westchester Campuses.
Dear Pace University Faculty Colleagues,
An institution of higher learning, especially the private non-denominational of our tier caliber, will remain sustainable if and when all its constituencies, especially its professors work harmoniously in unison and in tandem with one another. I am on the record as having figuratively envisaged the faculty as the university’s brain and the neurological system, students and their financial input and cognitive potentials as the heart and the circulatory system, and the administration ensuring flawless facilitations between the two former systems – thus maintaining optimal homeostasis! There is now inextricable expectation for the faculty’s substantive contributions, leadership and visibility in university wide governance, for tenure and promotion and especially for higher ranks for tangible merit recognitions.
Consistent with specific goals as set in our Strategic Agenda 2010-2015 (“Recruit, Develop, and Retain an outstanding and diverse faculty” is articulated as a top priority under GOAL I) and in recognition of the concerns as communicated by the Middle States’ Report, [faculty] governance and decentralization of authority and more autonomy to academic departments and curricular offerings have now been given top priorities. In addition, there is also recognition of the urgent need for the transparent flow of information, and accountability. We as a faculty body are determined to take on this challenge of ensuring full integration of empowered faculty’s substantive contributions, not only on an advisory basis, but also in leadership roles to ensure the academic integrity, credibility, financial solvency, and sustainability of our institution is indeed safeguarded. We are not asking for anything new that you have not heard from our colleagues or carried in the past. We simply reaffirm, steward and safeguard our institutional commitment to due process, fairness, equity and equality, transparency and easy flow of information, accountability, and exemplary teaching, research and service portfolios as pre-requisites for leadership roles at all levels.
We have identified our top priorities for the next couple of years:
With your input, we now have on-board an ad hoc information technology committee by Lixin Tao of Seidenberg. In close cooperation with our superb ITS division and the Faculty council leadership on the New York Campus, he will spearhead the expeditious design and launching of an intranet platform for e-governance. Every faculty council committee will have its own blog and forum. We could upload, save, archive and retrieve documents there, discuss and debate issues at leisure, provide feedback, make suggestions, and hammer out possible motions or actions to its final version before it appears before this council for speedy adoption. This should open up the time frame for getting to New Business on our agenda and discuss substantive issues here. Announcements and committee reports should therefore be uploaded onto this website ahead of a Faculty Council meeting. This will minimize and/or eliminate the amount of paper on tables as most are left behind.
In lieu of the fact that our administrators alternate between New York and Pleasantville due to JFC, we may suggest and explore that those meetings in which our administrators are not present or not invited here, be made open ONLY to faculty. Speaking of that, we will also closely monitor and report on the physical presence and daily participations by of our administrators and deans on both campuses.
And as to our various faculty council committees, I call for each committee to reinvigorate itself by considering the possibility of fluid engaged leadership (if necessary and warranted) and new active memberships that are representative of all schools. I also request each committee to consider the development of a vision and a master plan for the next five years (congruent with strategic agenda). Each committee should meet at least twice a semester and be prepared to submit a written/oral report to the council once a semester. We are generating the updated list of committee compositions, and so, I ask members in each committee to help revitalize its composition and ensure everyone is active and the leadership is upbeat, engaged and not eternally monarchical in approach. Upon receiving this updated committee list, I would like to personally pay a visit to every academic department and, or communicate with all faculty members to ensure we each serve on at least one university or council wide committee, and become more active on this forum if not its complementary alternate e-governance forum.
With changes in instructional online delivery and other emerging issues, there indeed is a need and merit for us through Curriculum and Faculty Affairs Committees in due time to look into our daily practices and processes for upholding a uniform standard for delivery, learning outcome, and mode of exams especially for online and deferred exams. Academic advisement should once again become the service component of faculty, and not 100% trusted with a staff office with rapid turnover. Grade appeals should also be standardized across the schools if not the university to avoid continued negotiations by certain students. Social decorum and Pace employees and student interactions must be observed. 360o assessment and transparency
We believe assessment, beginning with self-assessment, should remain 360o and transparent in terms of its outcome, impact and accountability. That said, and despite very short notice by the Office of Assessment for revising the HERI Survey in mid-January, we nonetheless took it upon ourselves, and with input from a number of faculty colleagues, submitted key questions to the Office of the Provost for serious consideration. Our counterparts on the New York Campus did the same. We have further stated that we hope to remain in a position to recommend full participation by the faculty so long as most of our suggestions are included and the outcome is transparently disseminated.
In closing, we most humbly urge you and our extended cadre of colleagues to join us actively through this forum and its various committees. Let us ensure the sustainability and integrity of our institution, as well as our professional growth and personal sustenance are duly safeguarded through shared governance and active participatory input by everyone and all of us as one unified voice.
Faculty Council (Westchester) and the JFC Co-Presider
David N. Rahni, Chair Marie Londrigan, 1st Vice Chair
Fran Falk-Ross , 2nd Vice Chair Padma Kadiyala, Secretary
Sandra Flank, 2nd Vice Chair (through summer 2011)
Gregory Julian, Parliamentarian
Lixin Tao, E-Governance IMO
Hillary Knepper, Communications and Constitutions