Saturday, May 23, 2015

I'm Baaaaaaack!!

Hey folks, my apologies for the radio silence for most of the spring semester.  I decided to keep a low profile after helping organize Fredonia's answer to National Adjunct Walk-Out Day for a variety of reasons:
  • I was teaching over 30 novels, graphic novels, short story collections, and other books this semester and meeting regularly with students on their writing and other projects, so keeping up that pace required me to sleep whenever I could (yep, I'm really in my mid-40s now!);
  • negotiations over the appointment, reappointment, and promotion of contingent faculty at Fredonia went into an even higher gear and I didn't want to come close to skirting our ground rules of keeping negotiations confidential while they were ongoing;
  • thanks to an extension, the first draft of a  group-authored article on university-level shared governance I was working on got submitted almost in time;
  • the election/appointment process for Chairperson of my department ground away this academic year and I chose to devote my time to meeting individually with all my colleagues after my department held an election and recommended me to the Dean to prepare for the transition and assemble my leadership team;
  • I got appointed to a Title IX and Sexual Violence Task Force and an Academic Affairs Review Committee, both of which were (and are) vitally important and added to my time commitment;
  • my younger daughter broke her forearm in two places on the same day my Nissan Versa's engine melted on the Thruway;
  • I tried keeping up with as many new graphic novels as I could (including Saga, The Unwritten, Black Science, Morning Glories...) along with classics I missed by Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis, and Kurt Busiek....
  • I tried keeping up some semblance of an exercise schedule and family life outside work....
No wonder I needed to sleep so much!  But it all came together.  My students kicked much butt this semester, particularly in my Major Writers course on Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman.  Negotiations concluded successfully and our new Handbook on Appointment, Reappointment, and Promotion goes into effect 8/1/15 (on which much more later).  The President appointed me Chairperson and the department approved new minors and restructuring of the major.  Imoto's cast came off and she's working hard to get full range of motion back in the joints of her left arm.  I might even find out soon if Nissan USA will replace an engine that didn't even make it to 50,000 miles in just over 6 years, despite consistent and quality service from my Nissan dealer in WNY.  Plus, I won an election to become the new University Faculty Senator for Fredonia, representing the campus on the SUNY University Faculty Senate and returning to the Fredonia University Senate's Executive Committee.

I'll close this post with my election statement:

I ask for your vote in this election for University Faculty Senator. I welcome the opportunity to represent Fredonia in Albany as a voting member of the SUNY University Faculty Senate. I am prepared to shoulder the official and unofficial responsibilities that accompany such a privilege. The former are defined in Fredonia’s and the UFS’s Bylaws. The latter can be learned only by experience.

As a former Chairperson of Fredonia’s University Senate, I have attended multiple UFS plenaries and UFS-sponsored conferences in the last seven years. I know many Campus Governance Leaders, Senators, and current and former members of the Governance Committee--and the UFS Executive Committee. And they know me.

They know that I can be counted on to do my homework, to pull my weight, to step up to the plate, to listen to and engage my colleagues with respect and care, to remain calm and constructive in the midst of chaos and controversy, to develop reasoned positions on complex issues, to generate innovative solutions to pressing problems, to use persuasion, diplomacy, and charm to move the body and its leaders to speak and act on behalf of SUNY’s mission and faculty, and, above all, to do what it takes to make shared governance and public universities work--better and better.

They know that I wouldn’t become Fredonia’s UFS representative only to stay on the sidelines. They would expect more from someone...
  • ...who challenged a newly-appointed Chancellor to consider incorporating into her campaign for the power of SUNY Christopher Newfield’s case in Unmaking the Public University (2011) that robust state investments in public higher education were crucial to America’s post-WWII prosperity and expanding middle class.
  • ...who pushed a then-President of United University Professions to risk opening a window of opportunity for strategic partnerships with new SUNY leadership.
  • ...who encouraged UFS leaders to stake out common-ground positions that could bring all the organizations representing SUNY together to change Albany politics.
  • ...who helped upgrade Fredonia’s Bylaws and helped Fredonia win SUNY’s first-ever Shared Governance Award.
If you don’t know me, I invite you to examine my c.v., web page, academic blog, and twitterfeed. If you don’t know what to expect from me, I invite you to find out from the Fredonia University Senate Executive Committee (on which I served from 2008-2010 and 2011-2014), the Executive Board of the Fredonia Chapter of UUP (1999-2006, 2009-up), and the English department (1998-up; Chairperson as of this fall).

If you know me, I hope you share my confidence that my decades of experience in department-level and university-level shared governance, as well as chapter- and state-level union service, will serve you well in--and keep you well-informed about--system-wide shared governance. I hope you trust me to bring your views and voices not only to the UFS but also to the Chancellor and Chairman of the SUNY Board of Trustees. I hope you’ll make me your advocate for affordable quality public higher education in Albany.