The UPJ faculty president also reported on a structural overhaul of his campus’s Faculty Council (the campus’s equivalent of Senate Council) and Faculty Senate (similar to Faculty Assembly).
“When I was elected to my first term three years ago I found that there was a lack a participation,” Ulsh said. “It was difficult to find people to run for office; meetings were consistently below the stated requirements for a quorum. There was open discussion about whether we should even have a Faculty Senate, which was a sign that we had a morale problem.”
So Ulsh conducted a faculty survey from which a set of improvement guidelines was drawn, and then appointed an ad hoc committee to look at ways of implementing the guidelines.
The results included:
- Revamping the 35-year-old bylaws, which are expected to be on line by the end of January.
- Reducing the number of Faculty Council meetings from seven to three per academic year, while consolidating meeting agenda items.
- Launching a faculty discussion web site for exchanging ideas that might otherwise be covered in council meetings.
- Eliminating or combining some standing committees.
- Converting to a secure on-line voting format for council membership and officers, which has increased voting participation by more than 30 percent, Ulsh said. “There also is more interest in running for office. We used to have some uncontested elections,” he said.
- Re-organizing the council membership to make it more proportionally representative of the campus’s academic divisions.