As part of the discussion relating to American University’s presidential search, the Faculty Senate approved a “Sense of the Senate” by a 19-4-1 vote, on traits the faculty seek in the University’s next president:
The Faculty Senate urges the presidential search committee to give consideration to finding a president who has experience as a tenured faculty member, a distinguished record of peer-reviewed scholarly work (as defined by the university’s Faculty Manual, which includes scholarly, creative, or professional activity), and strong experience in academic administration. The Faculty Senate recognizes the trends in higher education of hiring public intellectuals from the public sector and corporate and non-profit leaders. Some such experience may be beneficial, but the candidate first and foremost should have a long record of academic achievement and leadership. American University has achieved success by fundraising successfully, understanding its position among national and regional universities, and greatly improving its scholarly record while maintaining a strong tradition of teaching and service.
Additionally, the Senate unanimously (24-0-0) approved the following resolution seeking a faculty committee to interview presidential candidates, with an election of members to the committee to occur early in the fall:
The Faculty Senate resolves that the presidential search committee receive feedback on the finalists from a committee of faculty interviewers. This approach to the search is essential, given that faculty are among the most vital stakeholders in the performance of any president, that faculty are represented by only three members on the search committee, and that the precedents for presidential searches included faculty interviews. Indeed, in the normal course of candidate consideration, candidates for president are interviewed by constituencies beyond members of the committee and the Board of Trustees. The faculty interview committee will uphold the same standards of professionalism as members of the search committee, including confidentiality.
The faculty interview committee will comprise representatives elected from each unit, with one each from KSB, SIS, SOC, SPA, SPExS, the University Library, and WCL, and three from CAS, with an additional two members nominated by the Executive Committee and approved by the full Senate and the three members currently on the presidential search committee. The election will occur approximately 45 days before the final round of candidate interviews. The faculty interview committee will meet with all finalists.
The Senate also approved by a vote of 21-0-0 a “Sense of the Senate” approving the fall 2016 pilot of some elements of the new general-education program and recommending assessment of the pilot and its effects on other programs. The new AU Core curriculum as a whole is still subject to budget and other implementation considerations.
May 11, 2016 Meeting Summary
Updates were received from the Ad Hoc Committee on Term Faculty Language in the Faculty Manual.
Sherburne Laughlin reported that the committee was finalizing the proposed Manual revisions and would present them to the Faculty Senate next fall after seeking input from the campus community; she asked senators to urge their constituencies to read and comment on the revisions.
Stina Oakes and Christine Dulaney presented findings from the Grade Inflation Committee, stating that the problem was complex and would not have a simple, straightforward solution, and that the committee would issue a full report to the Faculty Senate early in the fall.
The committee charged with developing faculty-conduct guidelines, under the direction of Lydia Fettig, presented a draft of its guidelines document. The document is being finalized and will be presented in final form next fall.