Faculty Governance Update, August 2018

By John Niss, President, Collegewide Faculty Association

I am honored by the opportunity to serve as the president of the Valencia College Faculty Association for the 2018-2019 academic year. After an exciting year as vice president, I am in a great position to help continue the work started by my predecessors, particularly Al Groccia, professor, mathematics, and to start new work that will move the faculty and the College, as a whole, forward.

To that point, let me fill you in on some of the work of Faculty Association past, present and future. That sounds a bit Dickensian but hopefully it won’t be keeping us all up at night.

This past year was extremely productive for completing work that was either commissioned in previous years or came up in the course of the year. A few of the high points were:

  • A work team, which included Faculty Association representatives, completed an update of the Ethical Conduct and Performance policy. In the current climate, it seemed imperative for the College to lead in clearly specifying that relationships within the College with a power differential bring consent into question and are therefore unethical.
  • Please welcome Anna Saintil, professor, student life skills, as our first ombuds representative for faculty. She will act as a resource for faculty members to help them navigate the process of dispute resolution at the College.

Some major initiatives, begun under previous presidents, that will continue are:

  • The Data to Faculty work team will continue to implement the plan approved by Faculty Council last year to provide training and access for faculty to directly query student success data for both individual courses and success in subsequent courses.
  • The Academic Integrity work team will continue monitoring the best service for the College to use for plagiarism detection. In addition, as part of an ongoing redevelopment of the Student Code of Conduct, we will open a wider discussion of academic dishonesty issues.

And a few issues that will need to be addressed this year include:

  • Re-examining the course outline process to be sure it includes sufficient opportunities for faculty collaboration and comment before outlines go to vote.

I am looking forward to what I hope will be a hugely productive year for Valencia faculty. We are well positioned to make sure that our students’ experiences here at Valencia are world class.

One last thing and maybe the most important — please remember that your Faculty Association president is your guaranteed access to the governance process and the administration of the College. So often, problems that seem huge or insurmountable really just require the right person at the College to understand why something we are doing (or not doing) is in fact a problem.

I’ve spent a year as vice president really honing my understanding of how the College works and who the right people are that need to know when things are not going right. Please keep me in the loop and let me be the communication channel that can help you do your best for our students.

Contact me at jniss@valenciacollege.edu or 407-299-5000, extension 6858.

Now that Academic Assembly is over and we’ve established a theme for this year, remember that we will be focusing on The Six Ps.

“Go Six Ps! … uhm … Go Six P’s! … uhm … Blast. Go Place, Purpose, Pathway, Plan, Preparation and Personal Connection.” – John Niss

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