Deborah Pence (at OSU since 1998), Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, School of Mechanical, Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering, College of Engineering
FACULTY SENATE SERVICE: Student Evaluation of Teaching (SET) Task Force, 2009-present (Chair); Faculty Senate Executive Committee, 2008-present; Baccalaureate Core Curriculum Committee, 2007 (ad hoc member); Arts and Science Review Committee, 2007 (Executive Committee Liaison); Faculty Grievance Committee, 2006-present (Chair, 2007-present); and Senator, 2005-present.
UNIVERSITY SERVICE: Athletic Advisory Committee, 2008-present.
SEARCH COMMITTEES: Faculty Athletic Representative Search Committee, Fall 2009
Candidate Statement: It is my goal, as president of the Faculty Senate, to ensure that all faculty members have a healthy, productive and supportive place in which to provide a quality educational experience for our students and to participate in research and extension activities. This is best achieved through shared governance, which requires an open, honest, and sometimes uncomfortable dialog among the faculty, staff, students and administration. As president of the Faculty Senate I will strive to ensure that all faculty members are provided adequate time and ample opportunity to provide their input and/or devise creative solutions to the issues at hand.
What will be the critical issues for faculty and how can you help move those issues forward? How has your experience prepared you for this position?
During the past two years there have been major changes instituted at OSU. For example, a partnership with the private entity INTO was established as a means to increase the number of international students, business centers were implemented, divisional structures were created to support the strategic plan, and an extra layer of executive deans was created. Coupled with the recent budget crisis and the short timeline allocated for making a number of important decisions, many faculty members have expressed concern that OSU faculty are losing hold of shared governance while others have questioned the effectiveness of the Faculty Senate. Based on these perspectives, I believe it is imperative to focus our attention on strengthening the Faculty Senate by reinvigorating faculty participation and by being open with, and receptive to input from, the faculty at large in regards to goals, planned actions and current status.
The budget issues will continue through next year and into the term of the senate president-elect of 2009. As faculty, we must be more proactive in initiating discussions focused on the creation of novel solutions to the budget crisis. In dealing with such crises, it is imperative that the Faculty Senate keeps the primary missions of this university, undergraduate and graduate education, research, and extension, as the focal point of these discussions.
Since my arrival at OSU, I have been a strong advocate for the faculty role in shared governance. To have a healthy and effective university requires a commitment from the faculty. If there is an appearance that decisions are made primarily by the administration, it becomes too easy for faculty to become disenfranchised and begin to work for the betterment of himself or herself, rather than for the university as a collective. Such actions lead to a weakened university in which faculty members either do not, or feel that they cannot, openly share their opinions and ideas. This leads to less-informed decisions than would exist if faculty contributions were included in the deliberations. Based on my commitment to shared governance, I volunteered for the Faculty Senate and have agreed to serve on committees in which I felt that my representation of the faculty could be both positive and significant. I believe these experiences have prepared me well for the position of president of the Faculty Senate.
I have had numerous opportunities to work effectively with a wide variety of members of the campus community. I have served, as a member as well as chair, on the Faculty Grievance Committee. I was the only non-Science, non-Liberal Arts faculty member to serve on the Arts and Science Review Committee. In both of these roles, the committee members effectively managed to create an atmosphere of collegiality and civil discourse, even amidst high levels of frustration within and between the involved parties. As a neutral, yet passionate member of both committees, I made sure to ask a wide array of relevant questions to get all the information needed to make a well-informed and rational decision. As demonstrated in my role as Faculty Senator, I am able to make difficult inquiries in public forums in which others are sometimes intimidated to participate.
This December I am completing my role on the Executive Committee (EC) of the Faculty Senate. During my time on the EC, I have learned the inner workings of the Faculty Senate. As president-elect, I would serve an additional year as a member on this committee prior to assuming the role of president. On behalf of the faculty, with ideas generated from the faculty and for the faculty, I am committed to work with the administration to develop a strategy to spend educational and general funds in ways that best promote our university’s missions of education, research and extension.