Report of the University of Washington Faculty Senate Chair
This senate will undoubtedly deal with many legislative issues and concerns over the course of the year. However there are six areas identified as priorities to make substantial progress on. They are;
1. Development of an improved system governing faculty dispute resolution
A concerted effort to develop a value-based system for the faculty conduct and disciplinary process has been underway for a year. This effort, led by Drs. Zoe Barsness (2017-18 Faculty Senate past-chair) and Michael Townsend (secretary of the faculty), will continue throughout this academic year and it is anticipated that faculty code changes will be proposed to the Faculty Senate in 2019. More options for mediation and reconciliation will be made available in under the proposed new system. Consequently, a reduction in full adjudication panel proceedings are expected as an outcome.
2. Improved working conditions for lecturing faculty
Efforts to improve lecturer working conditions will continue. This enterprise has made successful changes to policy and the faculty code over the past few years but is not considered complete. The Faculty Council on Faculty Affairs (FCFA) will consider further changes addressing remaining issues that may include a title change, more timely promotion consideration, and greater employment security.
3. Affordable housing for new faculty
An increasing problem confronting new faculty and staff recruitment is the cost of accommodation and housing, especially in the Seattle region. This problem is well recognized by President Cauce and Provost Richards as a detriment to new faculty recruitment. Initial steps by our administration have been taken to investigate possible solutions to this increasingly serious problem. In addition a feasibility study led by three faculty (Drs. Gundula Proksch, Theo Myhre and Gowri Shankar) participating in a leadership excellence program (LEP3) project aims to develop financial and legal models, attractive architectural and landscape designs, identification of sites, and land acquisition options. This study will draw on the professional expertise of university senior staff and administrators. Senate leadership will be facilitating these interactions and supporting progress toward workable solutions.
4. Further clarifying and strengthening the role of Elected Faculty Councils (EFCs)
The role of school and college elected faculty councils is to provide advice to deans on matters of faculty promotion and tenure, academic policy, budgets and priorities for resource and salary allocation. Following the May 7th 2018 report to the SEC by the Chair of the Advisory Committee on Code and Regulations that summarized the EFC bylaw review report, the FCFA was charged with reviewing the report and making recommendations. It is anticipated that the changes to the faculty code to improve its clarity on EFC membership composition and member voting status will be recommended. In addition, faculty senate leadership will continue regular meetings with EFC chairs for the purpose of mutual education and cooperation to improve the quality of advice provided to their deans.
5. Improvement of UW faculty diversity profile
A survey for the Faculty 2050 initiative indicated faculty had strong concerns that efforts on faculty diversity have been slow to make meaningful change to the overall faculty diversity profile. Faculty senate leadership will continue to pursue engagement with senate faculty councils, school/college/campus EFCs and all levels of university governance to build upon and implement strategies to bring about more rapid change in the diversity profile of faculty. Ultimately recruitment of excellent faculty candidates who also improve faculty diversity is a responsibility of faculty themselves.
6. Faculty input and monitoring of the new financial software design and implementation
The Board of Regents has approved funding for a new financial software platform. The large cost associated with the purchase and workflow changes required to successfully implement this software platform is expected to impact the majority of faculty and staff at the university. Based on the recent implementation of the Workday software, pre- and post-implementation difficulties will be considerable. It is important that faculty leadership is proactive by being regularly apprised and consulted by IT leadership and IT operations on the design and plans for implementation of this software. A quarterly meeting between IT leadership and faculty senate leadership has been arranged. (The medical school EFCs will be encouraged to do similarly for the clinical transformation implementation of a new single electronic health record platform across the UW medical system).
Please contact me or any of your faculty senate leaders by email if you would like to provide input or additional suggestions on these priorities. Thank you for allowing me to serve you in the senate chair role. I thank you for the important service you are providing to the faculty senate and our university.
Faculty Senate Chair
George Sandison, Professor, School of Medicine