A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

Academic Senate Focuses on the Future

October 20, 2014

The academic year is off to a roaring start. In the past few weeks, Academic Senate committees have set goals and opined on local and systemwide issues.

The Strategic Academic Focusing (SAF) initiative is taking center stage as the campus begins the final process of reviewing submitted proposals and setting a plan for its academic future. 

Members of the SAF Working Group met with the Senate Committee on Academic Planning and Resource Allocation (CAPRA), which has academic year goals that include the attempt to combine the traditional FTE-allocation request process with SAF, space prioritization and planning.

SAF Working Group members relayed to CAPRA that proposals are currently in the second round of review, that data was collected from various university resources to help frame proposal evaluations, that proposals will be submitted to external reviewers per previous communications with the faculty and that the goal is to conduct multi-year planning rather than year-to-year requests.

Working group members and Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Tom Peterson will continue seeking input from faculty members during this process.

In addition to SAF discussions, several standing Senate committees plan to address space issues as part of their academic year goals. While the campus welcomed the addition of the Science and Engineering 2 Building, the additional building does not resolve campus space demands.

Senate leadership recognizes the importance of managing research and office space to meet the needs of faculty members, graduate students and post-doctoral scholars. The Division Council discussed space concerns at its inaugural meeting and plans to work collectively with senate committees to provide the campus’s administration with general principles and specific recommendations.

As we move forward addressing concerns and setting plans, it is imperative that we remember the importance of shared governance.

The Academic Senate is empowered by the Board of Regents to “guide and execute its academic mission” while providing consultation to the administrations charge of “ensuring the material conditions for the success of the university.” To function properly, the campus requires a proactive senate that is responsive to the needs of its members and the administration’s requests for consultation. 

We have come together for the common goal of building a world-class UC campus at Merced. We shall reach our goal when we all work hard, respect our differences and support each other.