ERIC Number: EJ867305
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Reference Count: N/A
How to Make Faculty Senates More Effective
Sufka, Kenneth J.
Academe, v95 n6 p20-21 Nov-Dec 2009
The author's experience as the faculty senate chair at the University of Mississippi (UM) during a year of budget crises is likely typical of many other university senate leaders. He found that major challenges face senates trying to play a role in developing budget reduction recommendations. These include: (1) an absence of understanding on the part of faculty of the intricacies of university operating budgets; (2) unreasonably short response times mandated by state leaders for budget-reduction implementation; (3) the apathy of some faculty senators about the issue and their role in addressing it; and (4) an inability of the senate, because of its structure and processes, to respond quickly to urgent matters of this nature. Despite these obstacles, the author believes faculty senates can be an influential voice in administrative budget decisions. The faculty senate of the UM is the representative voice of nearly seven hundred faculty members and consists of fifty-four elected senators from forty-three departments housed across one college and seven schools, but it has historically played a limited role in major areas of university governance, including budgetary decisions. This past year, UM implemented two midyear budget cuts of 2 and 3 percent, respectively, to the state allocation for the 2008-2009 fiscal year. The challenges posed by these cuts were compounded when state universities were told to plan for an additional 5 percent legislative budget reduction for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. At no point did the administration consult with the faculty senate on these matters. Nevertheless, during this tumultuous period, the UM faculty senate worked to become active in the decision-making process for reducing the budget. In this article, the author describes lessons from his experience of the past year that could make the faculty senate more effective in the future.
Descriptors: State Universities, Governance, College Governing Councils, College Faculty, Budgeting, Budgets, Agency Role, Teacher Role, Psychological Patterns, Decision Making
American Association of University Professors. 1012 Fourteenth Street NW Suite 500, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 800-424-2973; Tel: 202-737-5900; Fax: 202-737-5526; e-mail: email@example.com; Web site: http://www.aaup.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Mississippi