Message from the President of the Faculty Senate
The University of Texas at Tyler
On behalf of the Faculty Senate of The University of Texas at Tyler, welcome and best wishes for a new academic year. It is an honor and a privilege to serve as the Faculty Senate President and the faculty’s representative on matters of university-wide concern.
In this note, I provide a brief update Re: Changes to the Faculty Senate, share highlights of Faculty Senate aspirations for the next three years, and invite you to engage in Faculty Senate activities.
Faculty Senate Updates
- New and Outgoing Senators. We welcome three new members to the Senate’s Executive Committee, Dr. Wycliffe Njororai, President-Elect, College of Nursing and Health Sciences; Dr. Gus Gordon, Treasurer, College of Business; and Dr. Colin Snider, Secretary, College of Arts & Sciences. We also extend our special thanks and sincere appreciation to exiting members, Drs. Shelly Marmion, Michael Gangone, and Harmonie Hawley, for the extraordinary service they have contributed to the Senate and the university as a whole. Information on the Senate and its membership can be accessed at https://www.uttyler.edu/faculty-senate/
- Office of the Faculty Senate. The Faculty Senate shares office space and administrative support with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, located in the Cowan Center (FAC 2009). You can reach Senators via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at (903) 566-7296 if you have questions, concerns, or wish to learn more about or contribute to Senate activities.
- Faculty Senate Meetings. Faculty Senate meetings will take place at a more convenient time—every third Thursday of the month from 12:30 to 1:45—in a new place—the Alumni House dining room, and we plan to provide a light meal. Please come and encourage colleagues to join us as well.
Faculty Senate Aspirations
As the primary governance body representing faculty, the overall mission of the Faculty Senate of U.T. Tyler is to provide “a systematic means for effective participation of the faculty in the affairs of the university by developing channels of communication for the faculty to make recommendations to the President of the University and for the administration of U.T. Tyler to seek the judgment and counsel of the faculty about matters of mutual concern.” HOP 3.6.0
At this point in time in the history of UT Tyler, we are faced with unique challenges and opportunities. Our newly admitted students are increasingly diverse and some of them are unprepared to do rigorous college-level work. Our classrooms are designed for the 20th century education while information communication technologies continue to evolve at a very rapid pace. Our faculty are less engaged that they could be. The 2016 Gallup Employee Engagement Survey indicates that 66% of our faculty and staff reported being either ‘Not Engaged’ or ‘Actively Disengaged.” These are the challenges.
At the same time, we have new opportunities that were unimaginable in the recent past with respect to new insights of what works to effectively reach and teach a new generation of students. At the University of Texas at Tyler, we are witnessing new and exciting times with our new president and a forward-thinking strategic plan. Over the past year, we have witnessed a new level of transparency, inclusion, and commitment to shared governance on the part of the University administration and the University of Texas System. As a faculty Senate, we are committed to the University of Texas System’s call to all our universities to share governance, particularly with regard to strengthening education for all students.
In light of these challenges and opportunities, the Faculty Senate will focus on the following three core priorities during the next three years.
- Support the shared governance process by maximizing faculty engagement. To participate effectively in shared governance, the Senate and the faculty as a whole must be actively engaged, sufficiently informed, and deliberative in their actions. We are fortunate to have so many fine faculty members who are willing to devote their time and talents to participate in the governance of the University. There are many opportunities for faculty to become involved with Senate through Faculty and University-wide Committees and Task Forces.
- Work collaboratively with the President, Vice-Presidents, and other administrators on policy issues and related matters affecting the university. Faculty Senate has proposed that we adopt a shared university-wide goal focused on strengthening the quality of teaching and learning for all students. To accomplish this goal, the Senate recommends using a coordinated mix of activities, which will involve team-work and collaboration, institution-wide engagement, and shared responsibility for student success. This focus is consistent with the new university-wide vision of becoming the “primary educational and economic driver of East Texas.” Faculty Senate is eager and prepared to work with various stakeholders to help facilitate appropriate venues aimed at initiating discussions among faculty, staff, and students about strengthening teaching and learning for all students.
- Highlight faculty achievements in research, teaching, and service. We are fortunate to have so many fine faculty members who are doing excellent research, teaching, and service work. The work of these faculty members deserves recognition and reward.
Faculty Senate Invitation
Faculty Senate invites all faculty to become more actively engaged in contributing to the health and well-being of our university. An engaged university enriches the student experience and helps change the campus culture in positive ways. Please contact me or your respective senators to learn more about the work of the Senate or bring innovative ideas and/or matters of concern to our attention. Faculty Senate stands ready to give you a strong and effective voice in our processes of shared governance.
Looking forward to seeing many of you at our upcoming Faculty Senate meetings, which convene at 12:30 p.m. on the 3rd Thursday of every month, except for the months December and March.
Kouider Mokhtari, Anderson-Vukelja-Wright Endowed Chair
President, Faculty Senate