Faculty Governance Update, June 2019

By John Niss, President, Collegewide Faculty Association

It’s hard to believe, but my time as Collegewide Faculty Association president is ending.

So, right off, I’d like to express my appreciation to Wendy Jo Moyer, manager, employee communications, Shelby England, coordinator, employee communications, and the rest of the Organizational Communication team. They’ve been a great resource all year to get these updates to you.

Along those lines, one of the biggest discoveries I’ve made this year is the group of people behind the scenes at the College that keep everything organized and moving. Lunch or snacks at that collegewide meeting? Among the many things she does so well, the lunch or snack may well have been ordered by Kari Makepeace, coordinator, academic planning and support. Your paycheck? Without Mary Beth Clifton, assistant vice president, talent acquisition and total rewards, and her team, we wouldn’t be able to depend on getting paid accurately and on time.

As faculty, I think we tend to focus on things that don’t work the way we would like. We don’t hear “the dog that didn’t bark.” So many functions go smoothly and unappreciated at the College; improving processes is important but so is thanking the people who get the work done day in and day out.

To all the staff that have made my work easier this year, thank you.

The second group that I would like to thank are our deans. They have the hardest job at the College. Period. Full stop.

If you have a dean you appreciate, I hope you will tell them. If you want to know the bottom line on working as a dean, talk to your newly emancipated colleagues Marlene Temes, professor, humanities, and Adrienne Mathews, interim dean, behavioral and social science. They have first-hand experience as interim deans and understand the enormous pulls between faculty needs, division needs and the strategic direction of the College; there’s a lot to balance, a lot of local knowledge required and a lot of difficult people to try to satisfy (not all of them students). It’s a hard job.

Thank you to all of our college deans.

Next, I would like to thank our administration and obliquely our governance structure for the authentic voice that faculty have in the guidance of our College. I was pleasantly surprised in this experience in faculty leadership by how important our input, when shared governance goes right, actually is. At senior team and campus presidents meetings, I was pleased to be accepted as an equal voice at the table, particularly when my expertise with curriculum or faculty matters was a topic. I’m not going to argue the details of the budget; that’s not my thing, but, when student learning is at the core, my guidance was accepted as canon. By contrast, I’ve been to two conferences this year and, after talking to faculty at other institutions in similar leadership positions, I’ve come to realize that this level of collaboration is not even vaguely usual.

I specifically want to call out Wendi Dew, assistant vice president, teaching and learning. If you haven’t figured this out as a faculty member, she’s got our back. Everything that happens in the areas of teaching and learning from faculty development to Destination to the Teaching/Learning Academy is in her area of expertise. We’ve met almost weekly this year and that needs to continue with future Faculty Association presidents. One work group we’ve developed is currently rebooting the Program Learning Outcome Assessment cycle in a way that we hope will truly empower faculty to enable amazing gains in student learning.


  • egaythwaite said:

    Thank you for your service, John.

    PMThu, 27 Jun 2019 17:04:00 +0000Thu, 27 Jun 2019 17:04:00 +0000pm19,5:04 pm

  • Wendy Jo Moyer said:

    And thank you for your very timely Governance Updates. It's been great working with you John.

    PMThu, 27 Jun 2019 18:01:42 +0000Thu, 27 Jun 2019 18:01:42 +0000pm19,6:01 pm

  • Anonymous said:

    Great work, John!

    PMThu, 27 Jun 2019 18:13:16 +0000Thu, 27 Jun 2019 18:13:16 +0000pm19,6:13 pm

  • Amy Bosley said:

    Thank you for serving, John. It’s been a pleasure to work with you this year.

    PMThu, 27 Jun 2019 21:04:57 +0000Thu, 27 Jun 2019 21:04:57 +0000pm19,9:04 pm

  • Nichole Segarra said:

    Such a beautiful article, John. You are phenomenal and appreciated!

    PMFri, 28 Jun 2019 14:23:22 +0000Fri, 28 Jun 2019 14:23:22 +0000pm19,2:23 pm

  • Brandon McKelvey said:

    Thank you John. You are a great leader, and I have appreciated your wisdom and insight.

    AMTue, 02 Jul 2019 08:25:55 +0000Tue, 02 Jul 2019 08:25:55 +0000am19,8:25 am

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