By Melissa Prentice
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Both faculty chairman candidates agree that the Faculty Senate has been going in the right direction, but they disagree on where to go next, and how quickly.
"I agree that (the Senate) is way beyond where it was five years ago; I agree we have made forward progress, but not nearly enough," said John Schwarz, a political science professor and one candidate for chairman of the faculty. "We are in crisis at this university."
J.D. Garcia, a physics professor and current chair of the faculty, is running for re-election against Schwarz. Each term lasts two years.
If elected, Schwarz said he would form a "true partnership" between the administration and the faculty government.
"No decision of concern to the faculty will go forward without faculty approval," he said. The current faculty-administration relationship allows one partner, the administration, to be dominant and the faculty to serve only an "advisory role," he said.
Schwarz said he would start with four specific areas of focus Ä the core curriculum, review of faculty after tenure, merit-based pay and budget prioritizing decisions. But by the end of his term, he would try to implement devices necessitating faculty approval into all campus decisions that affect them.
"I have talked to faculty and to administrators and they like this idea," Schwarz said. "The administrators have made statements that they want a partnership, it is time to test if these desires are real on both sides. I think we can carry it out, we must carry it out."
But Garcia said trying to implement drastic changes so quickly would be "disruptive."
"I agree with the goal, but the question is how to achieve it," he said. "Major transitioning like this cannot occur instantaneously at a large university like this."
The Faculty Senate has had "numerous discussions" about how to increase faculty input, but the efforts were slowed or stopped by what he said is more opposition than Schwarz imagines among the administration, Garcia said. He criticized Schwarz for not having "specific plans" about how to achieve his goals.
"I have to question if all administrators think this is a good idea," he said. "Many I have talked to mid
have the idea that the regents, which have all the power, delegated that power to the president and administrators, but not the faculty."
Garcia said during his three-and-a-half year tenure as chair of the faculty, he has shown that he has already made drastic improvements in the role of the faculty at the university and said he plans to continue making improvements if re-elected.
During his term, the Faculty Senate successfully lobbied the State Legislature to pass a "shared governance law," which he said is the "first step to achieving our share of governance on campus."
Others steps he has taken include designing and encouraging every college dean to commit to a system of elected faculty councils in each college. He also helped establish a "closer connection between senators and faculty members."
A total of 44 faculty members are competing for the other 32 Faculty Senate positions. Faculty members will receive ballots this week and need to return them by Friday, March 24.
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