A Message from Stanton Reed, President, Collegewide Faculty Association
For me personally, this experience has been a fantastic, positive experience. I’ve gotten to do so many things I haven’t done before, such as informing on policy and process, learning how to engage people and give them room to melt down (even though they don’t know they’re melting down), giving presentations to the District Board of Trustees and creating videos. I’ve engaged with empathy, encouraged self-care, fostered personal connection and provided opportunities for faculty to engage with one another on important topics.
And then, of course, there was the pandemic and racial tension, yet we still held on to our values of treating humans as humans, even though there are some things that still require us to be true and take the sunglasses off. Yet we’ve been willing to stay on that course with moral ethics and integrity.
Thank you to all faculty, deans, administration and staff for your support and for doing things that — before we got in the pandemic — almost seemed impossible. Experiencing the ups and downs with you has been a phenomenal experience.
Although this sounds like a farewell message, I have additional news. As you may be aware, our treasured colleague and Faculty Association President Elect Patrick Bartee is facing a health difficulty that will be deeply challenging to him for the next six months. Although his long-term prognosis is excellent, he will need to focus all his energy and concentration on healing. Valencia College has ensured that Patrick will be able to do this. We hope you will all keep Patrick in your thoughts and send healing energy his way.
This leaves the Faculty Association in the unusual position of having a president who, on a temporary basis, will retain his position but will not be available for leadership service during the fall term. It is important to note that in his efforts to lighten his service responsibilities during his time of convalescence, Patrick is not resigning his office, and the office of President of the Faculty Association therefore is not vacant. Patrick fully intends to resume his duties as soon as possible. In what has already been a chaotic year, this added wrinkle has led us to a thoughtful choice that is within the provisions of the Faculty Association’s Constitution.
Faculty leadership, with the support of senior leaders, have agreed with Patrick’s determination that it is in the best interest of our College community to delay the usual August transition of responsibilities. Because the position of president has not been vacated, a special election was not mandated or appropriate under our Constitution. A creative yet practical solution was called for.
Accordingly, Patrick has asked me to step in and fulfill his presidential duties through the fall term; Professor of Mathematics John Niss at the time of Patrick’s thoughts was to remain in service as acting past president, and Professor of English Michael Robbins will move into the vice president/president elect position as scheduled.
Recently, however, John Niss has accepted the role of new executive dean of the Winter Park Campus. After a discussion among College President Sandy Shugart, Interim East and Winter Park Campus President Wendy Givoglu, John Niss and Vice President of Organizational Development and Human Resources Amy Bosley, John decided that he should relinquish the past president role. So, for the better part of fall, I will be serving as past president, while also picking up Patrick’s duties as president, with Michael Robbins serving as vice president/president elect. When Patrick resumes active Faculty Association service, we will resume the normal rotation of the positions. The normal election cycle will be observed this spring, as always.
There are several compelling reasons supporting this decision. First, it is extremely important that faculty leaders have established working relationships with members of Senior Team, and moving Michael directly into the president position and electing a new vice president behind him would not allow him the relatively low-pressure year as vice president to get up to speed on governance processes and emerging College matters and to form the necessary bonds of trust.
Second, continuity in leadership is essential to good decision making. Using my experience to fill in for Patrick in carrying out the duties of president enhances the amount of context faculty leaders would be able to access and maximizes the effectiveness of the position during this temporary situation. Most importantly, Patrick has worked diligently to prepare for his role as Association president, and given that Patrick expressly has not vacated his leadership position, we believe it’s important to allow Patrick the opportunity to share his insight and energy — it just will be a little later than anticipated.
I hope we can rely on your support of Patrick and the Association as we work our way through yet another “novel” situation.
May we choose to be grateful and exercise empathy and grace to our neighbors. Have a safe, joyous, restful, and fun summer break.