Faculty members from six Arkansas universities gathered at Arkansas Tech University on Thursday, Feb. 13, for the spring luncheon of the Arkansas Faculty Senate Presidents organization.
Organized in 2018, the group consists of faculty senate leaders at four-year public universities in the state. Members include all current faculty senate leaders, those who served as leaders in the previous year and those who will serve as leaders in the upcoming year.
“I see two primary benefits of our organization," said Fred Worth, professor of mathematics at Henderson State University and a driving force behind creating the group. "First, it allows the people from different schools to compare notes. The schools are different so there will be no one size fits all way of doing things. But we can all learn about other ways of doing things or different kinds of programs or policies that could benefit our own campus. Secondly, if something should come up legislatively or some other way that is important for college faculty to address with a unified voice, we have a mechanism for doing that.”
The luncheon was sponsored by the ATU Office of Academic Affairs.
“This organization provides an opportunity for the senate presidents to discuss issues of importance to faculty,” said Dr. Barbara Johnson, ATU vice president for academic affairs.
Attendees at the luncheon included Dr. Jon Clements, Dr. David J. Eshelman and Dr. Jeremy Schwehm from Arkansas Tech University, Dr. Stephen Caldwell and Dr. Fran Hagstrom from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, Dr. Susan Simkowski and Dr. Shelli Henehan from the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, Dr. Rahul Mehta from the University of Central Arkansas, Dr. Tim Schroeder from Southern Arkansas University and HSU's Worth.
“Faculty members have a special relationship with their institutions,” said Eshelman, who is serving as ATU Faculty Senate president in 2019-20. “They are not merely employees. Through the practice of shared governance, faculty members have a decision-making voice in determining policies at their schools --- specifically policies related to academics.”
Learn more about the ATU Faculty Senate at www.atu.edu/facultysenate.