Volume 2006 No. 3

Winter, 2006

 

 

Winter 2006 Newsletter > Execitive Reports > President's Corner

President's Corner

John McLucas, Professor, Modern Languages
Towson AAUP President

Dear colleagues,

I want to begin this column by expressing my thanks to our superb newsletter editor, Doug Herman (Geography & Environmental Planning), who is taking a leave of absence from the University. He will be passing the torch to Kimberly Katz (History) and Michael O’Pecko (Foreign Languages - German); thanks to them as well! Doug has done wonderful work in this and other areas. Best of luck, Doug, and keep in touch... you will be sorely missed, not only for your eccentric taste in socks, but also for your energy, insight, wit, and dedication.

I hope all of you have had a productive and rewarding fall semester. As usual, I am going to encourage (ask, beg, entreat... ) you to renew your Faculty Association/TU AAUP dues if you have not already done so. Our dues are paid at the beginning of each academic year. Please look at your check stubs since the beginning of this semester; if you have not sent a check for $15 to “TU AAUP,” c/o our Treasurer, Jennifer Ballengee (English), please do so. Jennifer will describe elsewhere in this newsletter how you may also pay your dues to the national AAUP to support its critically important work in defending academic freedom, shared governance, and faculty rights in general.

Here are a few events, achievements, and priorities I want to highlight:

We began the academic year with a very successful membership event, the first annual “Faculty and Friends Crab Feast/Bull Roast.” A great group of people turned out for the party. We didn’t talk shop, we did significant damage to some defenseless crabs and bulls, and we had a great time – a few valiant souls even danced to the tunes of our TU alumnus disk jockey. Please mark your calendars now for next year’s event: Friday, September 28, 2007, 6-11 pm, Auburn House Pavilion. Details to follow as the date approaches.

Our Junior Faculty Committee requested last year that a third-year review process be instituted for junior faculty as they advance towards tenure. The AAUP took this request to the University Senate, and the University Promotion & Tenure, Review and Merit Committee has produced a proposal that we believe will ensure consistency and coherence in the mentoring of junior faculty.

We were active supporters of the Senate’s decision last year to give partial health-benefits to contingent faculty. Much work remains to be done in this area, but we are proud of what has been accomplished so far. A future issue of this newsletter will focus on the concerns of contingent faculty.

We continue to be a powerful voice in the conversation about salary compression. This year’s budget addresses the issue for two populations particularly affected: faculty coming up for tenure, who have experienced some salary-freezes since they came to Towson University, and senior faculty, who have been through several cycles of salary-freezes during their long service to the University. Again, our work on this issue is far from finished.

We have been active participants in the development of policies on work-load, attempting to balance teaching load, service, and scholarship. It is important that these issues be dealt with through procedures which respect faculty, and that the policies that result be equitable, realistic, clearly communicated and implemented.

We asked the Senate to mandate the creation of an all-faculty email list, with access limited to the President, Provost, University Senate Chair, and Faculty Association President. This list will greatly facilitate communication on campus and enhance collegiality. Many thanks to the talented administrators who are making this happen.

For details on these and other chapter priorities, please read the articles in this newsletter. I want to thank all of the gifted and dedicated colleagues who have taken leadership roles in our various committees and activities. Our system of shared governance can seem cumbersome and time-consuming. However, our rights as faculty also entail responsibilities. Each of us must consider how we may serve to carry on Towson University’s historic commitment to shared governance. This principle must never be taken for granted: many prestigious research institutions, to whose status we might aspire in some ways, have very little active faculty involvement in academic decisions. We must work hard to remain faithful to our traditions in these areas.

A large, active and engaged membership is important for the effectiveness of our Faculty Association. My conversations with senior administrators carry more weight the larger the group for which I speak. It is important that all of us work in solidarity with one another. At TU AAUP, we work hard to ensure that faculty of different generations, status, ranks, and disciplines, respect and support each other’s work. I urge each of you to take an active part in this ongoing undertaking. If you are already a member, please remind your colleagues to join and to become active in the chapter. United we stand!

Best,

John

P.S. Pay your dues!

 


© 2006 Towson University