Faculty Governance Update — August 2021

Thursday, August 26, 2021

A Message from Michael Robbins, President, Collegewide Faculty Association

Hello Valencia Faculty!

Welcome back to classes, everyone! I love the first week of class; there’s optimism in the air. The faculty have ambitions, and the students are filled with hope. For those of you who didn’t get a chance to meet me at our Academic Assembly, I’m Michael Robbins. I’m a professor of English at the Poinciana Campus, and I’ll be serving as your Faculty Association president for the next year.

For those unfamiliar, Faculty Association serves as the voice of faculty. It is one of our best mechanisms for engaging with the College. We are a part of every conversation at the College, from policy decisions to new initiatives to helping guide faculty service. I truly value our Faculty Association. The contributions we make help shape our students’ experiences.

Faculty governance at Valencia can get confusing; it might be helpful to understand how the structure works. Our Faculty Association is comprised of all of our annually appointed, tenure-track and tenured faculty at the College. I serve as the president of the Faculty Association; Doreen Watson, professor, sociology, will be serving as vice president, and Patrick Bartee, professor, speech, is serving as the past president. At the campus level, you are represented by your Faculty Assembly; there are seven total (one for each campus). Each Faculty Assembly sends representatives to a Faculty Council, which discusses the overall concerns of the Faculty Association.

I’ll be honest: When I first started serving on Faculty Council in 2014, I hoped we’d get together to discuss how best to dispose of Isildur’s Bane. I was disappointed to discover that isn’t an issue facing the College.

As we enter into our new semester, I need your help: I need to know more about what concerns you have. Shaping the agenda for Faculty Association over the next year requires that you all reach out to me; the more engaged you all are, the more capable I am of addressing what’s on your mind. Silence allows animosity (and, to an extent, conspiracy) to fester and grow, and it’s only through the voicing of concerns and conversation that we’re able to start to improve our experiences. I can’t promise swift action — anyone who does lacks an understanding of large institutions. At Academic Assembly, I asked that we remember the value of patience and kindness. That patience and kindness needs to extend to our discussion as we work to understand the problems we’ll face over the next year.

But it’s not just problems we face; we have opportunities to grow. Feel free to share your ideas — what you think will help the College. I’m eager to discuss those ideas, and help them develop.

Before I close, I wanted to draw your attention to our Faculty Council representatives. These are volunteers who have asked to serve the College, and are your representatives at your Faculty Assemblies. Please reach out to any of your representatives, or to myself, to discuss what’s on your mind. My email is mrobbins9@valenciacollege.edu. Please reach out — I’m eager for the conversations.

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