Fixed-term faculty to be represented in Academic Senate
Approximately 384 Central Michigan University professors will soon be directly represented in the Academic Senate.
Academic Senate members approved a motion to amend the senate constitution to create seven additional fixed-term faculty seats. Seventy-nine percent of the senators voted in favor of the motion, which will go into effect in January, pending approval from President George Ross and the Board of Trustees at their December meeting.
The amendment was shepherded by Union of Teaching Faculty Treasurer Mark Shelton. The fixed-term faculty member in the Department of Philosophy and Religion said the process began in spring 2013, when he was asked to make a presentation to the senate about the importance of increased representation.
“The Academic Senate is not an exclusively curricular body,” Shelton said. “(The senate) can change things that have impact on fixed-term faculty and they couldn’t weigh in on it.”
There are 384 fixed-term faculty members and 669 regular faculty members tenured and tenure-track faculty at CMU, said Director of Faculty Employee Relations Scott Hoffman.
Amendments can only pass in the Academic Senate with a two-thirds majority vote in two consecutive votes. The amendment was rejected in 2013 after failing to be approved by a two-thirds majority in the second vote.
“What preceded from there is starting in fall 2014, I became fixed-term faculty representative on the shared governance committee,” Shelton said. “They were looking at this issue and came up with new proposal. This year the senate took the required consecutive votes on specific amendments and it survived both votes. The amendment had to be ratified by tenured faculty only and that vote has been successful.”
Ideally, one fixed-term faculty member from each academic college will fill each seat.
Because the amendment won’t go into effect until January, Shelton said fixed-term faculty will likely participate in the senate by fall 2016.
“I was feeling that there is strong support and everyone seems pleased that it has passed,” Shelton said. “There has been a lot of strong support throughout my efforts.”