Volume 2006 No. 1

Spring, 2007

 

 

Spring 2007 Newsletter > Execitive Reports > President's Corner

President's Corner

John McLucas, Professor, Modern Languages
Towson AAUP President

Dear colleagues,

The glass is half empty:

While I continue to feel that our University has a comparatively healthy culture, I am struck by how often in the past year I have heard colleagues talk about low morale, confusion, and insecurity. Issues such as merit, promotion and tenure, teaching-load, faculty compensation, and retirement benefits – generally, issues of the allocation of resources – continue to frustrate and discourage the faculty, and have the potential to divide us as well.

There is also significant stress around the areas of shared governance and academic freedom: the right of faculty to determine major academic directions of the university and to teach and conduct research according to our own highest standards and professional judgment. There is some troubling evidence that Towson is having difficulty recruiting and retaining the best junior faculty (see editorial).

The glass is half full:

I am happy about the resiliency and good humor of our faculty under these trying circumstances. In the many contacts I have with colleagues across the campus, I am always impressed by their dedication and creativity.

Our chapter’s membership is rising – too slowly, but it IS rising! If you are already a member, please continue to spread the word among your colleagues. If you are not yet a member, please consider joining. Our voice is stronger as our numbers grow.

This program year began with a very successful meeting of the Maryland State Chapter of the AAUP, which we hosted on Towson’s campus in October. Representatives from the State and national AAUP were very impressed with our chapter’s vitality and organization, and were ecstatic with the turn-out.

Thanks in part to the strong voice of the faculty in the University Senate, it appears likely that measures to address “salary compression” (the fact that new hires may be paid the same as or more than colleagues with several years’ service), and the extension of health benefits to lecturers, will be part of next year’s budget.

My monthly meetings with President Caret and Provost Brennan are interesting, cordial, and honest. While we continue to speak frankly about areas of concern, I am happy to report that several issues which continue to be brought to my attention by colleagues are being addressed at the State level:

- discrepancies among retirement programs between the State system and TIAA-CREF;
- the cost of health care, including co-pays;
- the level of per-student funding to Towson.

Our committee structure is being revitalized. We currently have functioning committees in the following areas (the activities of some of these committees are described elsewhere in this newsletter):

- Junior faculty;
- Faculty grievance;
- Contingent faculty;
- Women in the academy (Committee W);
- Newsletter.

We are also looking for colleagues interested in taking leadership in forming committees in the following (please consider if you might be interested in serving in any of these areas):

- Diversity – how to increase and maintain it among faculty and administrators;
- Salary and equity;
- Academic freedom;
- Membership – how to increase the size, inclusiveness, and effectiveness of the chapter.

Thank you to every member of this faculty for your commitment, imagination, and high professionalism. United we stand!

Best,

John

 


© 2007 Towson University