Yesterday was the first Faculty Senate meeting of the 2014-15 academic year. The Senate has an ambitious agenda this year that includes, but is not limited to: academic program prioritization (APP), post-tenure review (a.k.a faculty peer review), university strategic planning, academic quality, family friendly policies, the potential joint OHSU/PSU School of Public Health, and textbook affordability. This is on top of their normal business!
It is vital that the faculty play a front and center role on these important issues. The Faculty Senate is committed to a high level of engagement, but it will require involvement beyond the Senate. At the Senate meeting, Presiding Officer Bob Liebman mentioned a few committees and task forces (that by my simple count alone) will require the involvement of dozens of faculty members. It will be necessary for many of you to join your Senate colleagues in the important work that will take place this year.
Some of the issues before the Senate are new areas of exploration. Academic program prioritization (APP) is a good example. We have never engaged in such a process at PSU. I give great kudos to the Faculty Senate for their recognition that APP is, and must be, a faculty-driven process. It is our faculty that must decide our array of academic programs.
The Senate is also working on existing issues with a renewed sense of commitment. Post-tenure review is an example. PSU has had a post-tenure (peer) review process for a number of years, however, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), found in 2012 that “While the review of tenure-track faculty is conducted through a well-defined process, the review of faculty who have attained tenure is uneven. The evaluation committee recommends that policies and practices regarding post-tenure review be strengthened to make certain that all faculty are evaluated in a regular, systematic, substantive, and collegial manner at least once within every five-year period of service.” We have work to do here—and we need to get it done this year not only to be in compliance with NWCCU, but to ensure academic quality through fair, effective and formative evaluation for our tenured faculty members.
The great news is that we have a shared governance process that allows for thoughtful conversations and good decision making. I look forward to working with the Senate and all of you on these and other items. I value any input or comments you have on this shared work.