It can be difficult to fully understand the Pacific University governance system. The university Faculty Senate (FS) is just one single part of the entire machine that helps keep Pacific moving smoothly and uninterrupted.
“The Faculty Senate is in charge of academic matters,” Paige Baugher, FS Chair and associate professor of biology said. “We evaluate any kind of major academic issues in the university, like deciding whether to approve any new programs or majors and also handle major non-academic issues.”
Faculty members are voted onto the FS every year through an election process. Representation from all of the different colleges is kept proportional to the number of full-time faculty members. This year there were eight FS members from the College of Arts and Sciences, one FS member from the College of Business, two FS members from the College of Education, eight FS members from the College of Health Professions, one FS member from the Library and two FS members from the College of Optometry.
Baugher, who was thrust into the position of FS Chair without first serving as the Chair-Elect, said she was pleased with what the FS has been able to accomplish this year. One of the biggest achievements for the FS came after members voted to approve the program for the new Masters of Pharmaceutical Sciences.
Another achievement came after the FS acted to eliminate the mandatory all faculty conference, which was previously held once every year at Pacific. According to Baugher, the conference was a scheduling nightmare and there was no real need for the conference after the FS was created.
The FS also helped play a role in the hiring process of the new Executive Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDEDI). The FS worked to create literature that would better define and explain what is expected and needed from the new position.
“We wrote up some points that we wanted to see in the job description, endorsed them and then sent them to the president and university hiring committee,” Baugher said. “One of the points was that we felt the person should report to the president, that was a big one.”
However, time is becoming an issue for the FS. With the school year quickly coming to an end, FS work on the seven year accreditation report might be put off until next year.
“There are always accommodations and recommendations and on the list of recommendations, there are things we need to improve on,” Baugher said. “Unfortunately, our timeline is kind of short. It might be difficult to get much of that done this year, so it might have to be pushed to next year.”
Baugher also hopes to begin work on a Faulty Development Center next year.
“It would be a center where faculty can have opportunities to get more collegial faculty development,” Baugher said. “It would also involve faculty and staff that could plan programming that would develop intercollegiate collaborative opportunities.”
Current FS Chair-Elect Kathryn Bell, who will become the FS Chair for the 2017-2018 school year in August, said communication is her main priority.
“I think a good bit of my work will be in helping to maintain open communication between the faculty, administration and the various work groups who are addressing the budget challenges and accreditation reports,” Bell said. “I think if the different groups can communicate well, then we will be able to work hard on our goals and maintain a collegial and cooperative environment.”