Academic Senate Newsletter AY16-17 #10 (for May 9, 2017)

Agenda Overview

We have a full agenda! Senate Exec wants to provide every opportunity for full debate on the Continuing Business items, particularly the proposals to revise General Education. Please prepare thoroughly — read, talk to knowledgeable people, review the minutes, etc., and come prepared to collectively and collegially determine best next steps. Agenda and materials via this link.

Extra “Context” Blog

As promised, I wrote a separate blog containing the graphs and some discussion regarding distribution of visible service load and predicted faculty structure.

Celebration Season

Investiture. The Nursing Pinning Ceremony. Sí, se pudo. Black Student Stoling Ceremony. Investiture. Sage. Honors Convocation. Commencement (twice!). End of Year Celebrations for EOP, SSS, LSAMP, and myriad others. Final BBQs and picnics. Time to celebrate our reason for university existence!

PROMESAS End of Year Celebration; honoring our graduates

Senate Chair Beverage/ Office Hour

Tuesday, May 16, 2:30 – 3:30 pm, SUB patio. This will be my last official Senate chair office/ coffee hour. Something on your mind? Need a grading break? All faculty welcome!

Newsletter #10: last word

“It is reason, and not passion, which must guide our deliberations, guide our debate, and guide our decision.”

Barbara Jordan

Visible Service Roles for and by Faculty, AY16-17

Tenure-Track Faculty Structure and Service Roles, Part 1

Convocation, Aug. 25, 2016: I shared a visual that I find helpful in explaining the junior-senior structure of our tenure-track faculty and enumerated the service opportunities for faculty. Then I blogged on these topics and provided evidence for updated counts of 391 service roles for senior tenure-track faculty and 709 for all tenure-track faculty.



At CI we are fortunate to have many dedicated and talented lecturers, including many who take on and perform admirably in service roles. I am grateful and will always recognize their contributions. I focus on the tenure-track faculty when discussing service roles as service is both an obligation of and expectation for probationary and tenured faculty.

“Visible” Service Roles are those that are visible university-wide. This discussion accounts for program service only as chairs, directors, or coordinators — while acknowledging that a lot of good service work occurs in programs. It does not account for service to one’s communities or professional associations. And perhaps most critically, it does not account for the time spent mentoring students beyond classes and office hours. Demands for this time are inordinately high, on average, for faculty of color at predominantly white institutions — the term “invisible burden” is often used in scholarly literature to investigate and articulate this phenomena. Visible service roles also do not account for informal faculty-faculty mentoring. And of course, roles do not all require the same skills, time, or energy.

Some AY16-17 Developments

Early on, Senate Exec agreed to try a new method for matching faculty volunteers to service on university committees. (We use this term to indicate all committees that are not Senate committees.) Senate Officers went through all the university committees and tentatively assigned high, medium, and low priority to the requests for faculty, so we could fill the higher priority requests first. We asked people to indicate committees on which they’d be willing to serve along with their desired service “load” for this component. While the matching process was still arduous and imperfect, we were able to avoid some of the iteration of earlier years. Meanwhile, CI continued to add service roles: for example, the Graduation Initiative 2025 Task Force, a number of ad hoc search committees, etc. I continued to be impressed by faculty’s willingness to serve in various capacities, as time and again people stepped up and took on additional service in response to calls for faculty self-nominations. By the end of the year, however, the well was just about dry. Some calls for nominations or volunteers came up empty.

Tenure-Track Faculty Structure and Service Roles, Part 2

Confession: I’m a data geek. That’s what led to examining our tenure-track faculty structure critically, and to “counting” visible service roles. It’s hard to make headway on a problem — or even be sure there is a problem, let alone convince others! — without some analysis. And yet when I shared the structure graphs and counts of service roles, I was sometimes asked whether the real issue wasn’t that some faculty were doing a lot of service, while others weren’t very engaged at all. So… more data. Below are the graphs I shared in Senate on April 18, 2017. The legend is critical to provide a sense of the types of visible service roles engaged in by individuals. Each colored bar represents one person.



Here we see from the light blue bars along the bottom that 26 of the 47 full professors not FERPing or on leave are chairs of programs, directors of centers, institutes, or programs, and coordinators of programs. Three professors are doing no visible service; three took on nine service roles each this year. There’s a lot of orange — you’d expect faculty to want to be on faculty search committees to have a voice in determining their new colleagues. Professors elected to Senate committees all took on at least three visible service roles. The average (mean) number of visible service roles for professors is 3.5.




Every associate professor took on at least one visible service role. The mean is 3.4; the distribution here appears more uniform than for professors: everyone is doing something and the high numbers are 6 and 7. I believe that we should be developing leadership from among the associate professors. What does this graph indicate about how we’re doing in that respect?


Here we see quite a bit of activity on faculty search committees, and Senate and university committees. The mean number of committees per assistant professor is 2.6. Overall, this looks healthy to me, especially if I assume that the faculty represented by the bars in the left third are those who are first or second year faculty.

We’re hiring: won’t that help?

Sadly, no. Here’s the structure with which we started the year:


After accounting for known FERPs and attrition, here’s what I predict for faculty structure for next year… assuming all 8 of the faculty hired in AY11-12 and AY12-13 are or become senior faculty.


Wow. One more senior faculty than previously, and 19 brand-new junior faculty to acculturate, mentor, etc.

So, now what?

I’ll share these graphs and discussion with Cabinet on May 15. Senate Exec has provided some comments and suggestions for consideration. What’s your take?

Academic Senate Newsletter AY16-17 #9 (for April 18, 2017)

Blog Overview

It’s the sprint to the finish: two more Senate meetings, and the expected flush of business! In this blog:

  • Opportunities to provide feedback to inform campus reports requested by the Chancellor’s Office
  • A plug for Community Time
  • Notes about Revising Bylaws and our Rules (and Spirit) of Debate (Toulmin!)
  • A note about our situation vis-à-vis not receiving Senate Chair nominees by the bylaws-mandated deadline
  • Senate Chair Coffee Hour announcement
  • The Last Word: three related quotes from a science fiction writer (and professor of biochemistry), an astrophysicist, and a poet

Agenda Overview

In addition to the usual reports, expect a report on tenure-track faculty density and demographics. There are two policies up for votes, six more items in first reading, and more. Agenda and materials via this link.

Feedback on Issues

The CSU Chancellor’s Office (CO) has requested campus feedback on multiple system-wide policy proposals and task force reports this year. Each item below has been circulating amongst groups thought most relevant by Senate Exec and our admin. If you haven’t yet seen any of the items below and wish to weigh in, please do. Please note that response dates are determined by CO deadlines.

  • Intellectual Property Policy proposal (memo, draft); feedback by May 5 via email to me (Cindy Wyels)
  • General Education Policy (memo, policy, feedback form); feedback by end of finals week via email to Dan Wakelee
  • Ethnic Studies Task Force Report (memo and report); feedback by end of finals week via email to Scott Frisch

Senate Exec will be reviewing drafts of campus reports on these issues at our last meeting the week after finals.

How about that Community Time?

Come early for Community Time this meeting and next: we’re unlikely to finish early this time! (Pictures from undeclared community time following a recent efficient Senate meeting)

Julia and Mary chat; LaSonya in background
Antonio and Elizabeth chat
Antonio and Elizabeth chat while Dave finishes the first draft of meeting minutes
Impromptu Art/ Performing Arts meeting!

Revising Senate Bylaws

One of the items up for a first reading is a proposed revision of the Senate Bylaws. Allow me to highlight some areas of our bylaws that will (or may be) relevant during our meeting:

  • Amendments to the Bylaws require a two-thirds majority vote of the Senate (9.1).
  • As we move into the last two meetings of the Academic Year, it becomes more likely that a motion to move an item from a first-reading item to a second-reading item will be made. In Section (4.8a) “… In exceptional circumstances, a first reading item can be moved to a second reading item by the following procedure: a motion must be moved and seconded. This motion is debatable, not amendable and cannot be reconsidered. The motion requires a two-thirds majority to pass. If passed, the first reading item becomes a second reading item.” Implication? Items could be voted on the first time they’re on the agenda, without the usual three weeks for senators to inform themselves more fully and have questions or concerns addressed. Of course, such a motion allows for a vote on a matter deemed urgent by the Senate.
  • There are rules of debate (4.11) — see the next section.
  • The Senate Chair is explicitly instructed to remain impartial to the debate (4.11g), unless he/she relinquishes the chair. Implication? If you want my views on anything, ask out of Senate! Do expect me to share multiple perspectives on issues to the best of my ability, however.

Rules – and Spirit – of Debate

There are some technical rules laid out in our bylaws (4.11): Senators must be recognized before beginning to speak; senators may speak only twice to the same motion on the same day, and may speak no more than five minutes; debate of a motion must be relevant to the motion; ad hominen statements are forbidden, etc. At least equally important is the spirit of debate. Faculty argue, criticize, and question: it’s what we do! And it’s a valuable exercise — when our argumentation follows good practice of providing evidence for claims, and making explicit the reasoning from the evidence to the claim.

Sierpinski traingle
The Sierpinski triangle – analysis of which led to a rich mathematical discussion — the topic of the seminar

This week in our math grad seminar mathematics educator Naneh Apkarian touched on Toulmin’s Theory of Argumentation. I thought “Yay, interdisciplinarity! Here’s the language for what I’ve been trying to articulate all year.” For strong collective decision making, we need the claim, the grounds/ data/ evidence, the warrant (the bridge between the first two), and the intellectual fortitude to entertain the limitations of the grounds and the warrant as well as to entertain rebuttals.

No nominees for Senate Chair?

That’s right: none by the first deadline, none by the latest possible (mandated by Senate Bylaws) deadline… Hence the proposed revision of the bylaws on the agenda for this meeting: to create a process to address this eventuality, the need for which was not anticipated by the original co-authors nor co-revisers of the bylaws. More importantly: CI faculty say we value shared governance. And we are certainly short-handed at the tenured faculty level. And yet…

Senate Chair Beverage/ Office Hour

Tuesday, April 25, 2:30 – 3:30 pm, SUB patio. Every third Tuesday I spend at least an hour available for conversation about anything on your minds. Times and locations shift in an attempt to accommodate different schedules. All faculty welcome!

Newsletter #9: last word

Three quotes this time! From a science fiction writer (and professor of biochemistry), an astrophysicist, and a poet

“I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.”
Isaac Asimov, from The Roving Mind

“The less evidence we have for what we believe is certain, the more violently we defend beliefs against those who don’t agree.”
Neil deGrasse Tyson

“I like the scientific spirit — the holding off, the being sure but not too sure, the willingess to surrender ideas when the evidence is against them: this is ultimately fine — it always keeps the way beyond open — always gives life, thought, affection, the whole man, a chance to try over again after a mistake — after a wrong guess.”
― Walt Whitman


Academic Senate Newsletter AY16-17 #8 (for Mar. 28, 2017)

Agenda Overview

Update from a variety of folks; one policy up for a vote; two more policies in first reading; information about efforts to meet students’ basic needs…  Agenda and materials via this link.

What’s up? Engagement matters!

You’ll be seeing calls for faculty volunteers for search committees and calls for nominations for Senate positions and committees. Your input and feedback are needed to develop our next few Strategic Initiatives, and to pull off the first initiative (Graduation Initiative 2025) in the best way possible. Committees are wrapping up their work and considering how best to pass on valuable information and lessons learned. (Deadlines for getting things to Senate) And more — there’s a lot going on!

The search for a provost, and what happens next

As I share my impressions regarding the provost search, I’m reminded that change is in general difficult, and our campus is going through a lot of change in a few years’ time. The best provost can’t lead on his or her own. Rather, the provost is one of several campus leaders who need to work together, and to work with faculty, to achieve our aspirations for this university and its students. While choosing a provost is a critical decision, successful outcomes in the years to come will be only partly attributable to the decision. They’ll depend much more on how we all pitch in to work with that person. (Thanks to Dennis Downey for help articulating this thought.)

Why Senate Materials are kinda late this time

Spring Break! Your Senate Chair spent the week on a boat in the Au-Au Channel with whale researcher extraordinaire Dr. Rachel Cartwright and a team of 10 CI students, plus a graduate research assistant who has found her path in life thanks to student research at CI. I’d love to hear your stories — and show you whale videos on my phone! Maybe during Community Time Tuesday?

CI whale research students 2017

Senate Chair Beverage/ Office Hour

Tuesday, April 11, 2 – 3 pm, SUB patio. Every third Tuesday I spend at least an hour available for conversation about anything on your minds. Times and locations shift in an attempt to accommodate different schedules. All faculty welcome!

Newsletter #8: last word

“I do my best work if I think about what it is I have to offer.”

Barbara Kingsolver

Retrospective: The Search for a Provost

“Choosing a provost will be the most important decision we make this year.”

I agree. And from those who engaged in the search in one way or another, I infer this agreement is widespread. With gratitude to all who participated, and in an effort to “pull back the veil,” I offer this retrospective as we await a final decision. You’ll find three sections below:

  1. Perspectives on informing and reacting to decisions
  2. The search process, including actions following the campus visits
  3. In appreciation

Perspectives on informing and reacting to decisions

In one telling of the “Blind Men and the Elephant” parable, the seer who resolves the dispute says “All of you are right. The reason each of you is telling it differently is because each of you touched a different part of the elephant…”

My touch on this elephant is from the perspective of the faculty member elected by senators to represent them this year and, as a result, asked by the president to chair this search committee. In both roles, I greatly appreciate what academics do. We assess, analyze, investigate, criticize, raise concerns, and argue. We seek evidence to inform our thinking; we recognize when our perspectives are limited; we listen and seek additional evidence and perspectives. It has been gratifying to see all this from my faculty colleagues – indeed, from the entire university community – throughout this year and this search.

CSU Channel Islands is an institution to which individuals are deeply committed. We care about the future of the institution and its ability to serve students: accordingly, we are anxious about the choice of our next provost. Yet we know how our university community best arrives at important decisions, and how we react. We assume best intentions from those engaged in decision making, delegate when appropriate, engage and provide feedback, and finally, accept decisions. We acknowledge that no choice of provost will please everyone. We recognize when we are touching only a piece of the elephant. Finally, we act in good faith. We support whomever is chosen, as we know the success of our next provost will play a large role in the success of Academic Affairs and of CI in continuing to make this institution one that truly serves its students, its future students, and the region.

The process

The search committee was formed in August and September, 2016, in accord with Senate Policy SP14-12. The committee comprised a student (Marlene Pelayo, Student Government Vice-President), staff (Alison Potter), a non-Academic Affairs administrator (Carrick DeHart), three faculty who self-nominated and were selected by Senate Exec and the president (Geoff Buhl, Dennis Downey, and Marie Francois), an administrator in Academic Affairs (Beth Hartung, Asst. Provost), the Chief of Staff (Genevieve Evans Taylor), and the Academic Senate Chair as chair of the search committee (Cindy Wyels). The search consultant firm, Academic Search, Inc., was chosen through a process of competitive bids from firms and interviews with those who’d worked with them: we specifically appreciated the work of senior consultant Ann Hasselmo, a former president and provost with a track record of developing academic leadership potential and cultivating diverse applicant pools.

Every person on the search committee reviewed well over one hundred cover letters and CVs – letters ranging in length from three densely packed pages to over twenty pages and CVs containing up to thirty pages of detailed accomplishments — as well as letters of nomination and recommendation. Over 50 candidates received at least one “let’s consider” vote during the paper stages of the process. Extensive in-person discussions resulted in a list of semi-finalists, all of whom participated in a thorough airport interview by the full committee, a separate video conference with President Beck, and a video conference with Cabinet. The five candidates who were selected for campus visits were chosen from the large and impressive field of applicants based on track records of accomplishments across their careers – particularly in relevant administrative roles. They were also selected on the basis of fit, and the synergy they might have with our campus and institutional culture. Prior to the visits each finalist underwent a deep background and reference check, the latter consisting of 8 – 10 interviews. The campus visits were 14-hour days that included small group meetings with the Cabinet, the Provost’s Council, the search committee, Student Government leaders, Senate Exec, the Provost’s Office staff, and Foundation Board members. Candidates made presentations in an all-faculty setting and a campus and community open forum, and took questions. They also met one-on-one with members of Cabinet and with President Beck.

Following the campus visits, the search committee, search consultants, and President Beck reviewed the campus feedback thoroughly and consulted with many who interacted with candidates during the visits. This step led to extensive follow-up: additional phone interviews with references, more conversations with candidates, etc. Questions raised from campus feedback were investigated as thoroughly as possible. When feedback indicated that staff were concerned about particular candidates’ modus operandi, we explored relationships with staff at their current and past institutions. When faculty-faculty networks left negative impressions, we further investigated candidates’ reputations at their institutions – and the reasons behind them. We dug deeper into changes in positions. Essentially, we took our collective unknowns and concerns and sought to resolve what we could. The result? Multiple outstanding candidates, each with a proven track record of moving his/ her piece of one or more institutions forward.

The next provost has a daunting task before him/ her. We knew that when we crafted the campus profile early in Fall ’16. (See p. 10 – 12 for a summation of what we sought in a provost.) We’ll soon learn who will be our next provost; I’m confident we’re ready to support that individual in the work of continuing to build our university.

In appreciation

I would be remiss if I didn’t thank the entire search committee for their commitment and hundreds of hours of work each on this search. Their dedication, their preparation and critical discussion were simply amazing. Our search consultants, Ann Hasselmo and Andrea Cowsert, were a huge help in every way, from logistics and extensive reference reports to providing guidance as we sorted through our thoughts. President Beck consulted extensively, seeking and incorporating the views of the search committee at every step of the process. A large proportion of the campus community stepped up to inform the profile and shape the search, then to engage with the final five candidates and provide feedback. And while many people, some unknown to me, supported this search from behind the scenes, Mary McDonnell is due special thanks for outstanding support, always done graciously and with a smile, even in times of stress.

Spring ’17 Senate Deadlines

Faculty and others working hard on policy proposals, resolutions, and other Senate business… Please keep in mind the deadlines necessary for Senate to consider your items in an informed and deliberative process!

Remaining Senate meetings: March 28; April 18; May 9.

Preceding Senate Exec meetings: March 14, April 11, May 2.

Deadlines for proposals to be considered by Senate Exec prior to the subsequent Senate meeting (all by noon):

  • March 9 (for 3rd-to-last Senate meeting)
  • April 6 (for 2nd-to-last Senate meeting)
  • April 27 (for last Senate meeting)

Please keep in mind that items requiring a vote of Senate go through two readings (barring extraordinary measures), and that not all items are passed through by Senate Exec on their first perusal.


Academic Senate Newsletter AY16-17 #7 (for Feb. 28, 2017)

Agenda Overview

Low preparation commitment needed for this meeting! We’ll take up a proposed revision of SP14-12, Policy on Assigned Time for Exceptional Service to Students, with the goal of better aligning our policy and outcomes with the CBA. We’re still anticipating the end-of-year flood of policy proposals currently in committees. Expect lots of news and updates in the reports. As you consider which committees you may want to serve on in the future, informing yourself as to the nature of the work can be valuable. (Reminder: skim the minutes from the last meeting to stay up-to-date.) And please consider taking full advantage of the opportunities to engage with candidates for Provost, faculty (past), School of Ed Dean (future): the conversations and the outcomes of hiring both reflect and shape our institutional culture and values. Link to the materials

Faculty Engagement with Provost Candidates

You received meeting requests for five All Faculty Meeting​s, each from 11 am – noon, during the next two weeks. A second option each day is the Campus and Community Open Forum, 4 – 5 pm. The CV links for each candidate will be “live” 48 hours before his/her visit through 24 hours after; the feedback links are available through 5 pm on March 8. Please provide feedback, even if you’re only able to peruse the CV for any particular candidate! The more engagement, and the more nuanced feedback provided, the better.

If our Feb. 28 Senate Meeting requires the full two hours (2:30 – 4:30), it will overlap with the 4 p.m. Campus and Community Open Forum that day. Faculty unable to attend the earlier All Faculty Meeting – and those who wish to attend multiple sessions – may have to choose between the last part of Senate and the first part of the open session. Those who attended the All Faculty Meeting can safely skip the first 15 minutes of the Campus and Community Open Forum, unless they expect the candidate will change his/ her presentation.​

Lecturer Representatives to Senate for AY17-18

Many thanks to all the Lecturers who volunteered to serve our university through service as Lecturer Representatives to Senate​. Welcome back to the five AY17-18 Senators elected by their peers: John Yudelson, Brittnee Veldman, Kim Vose, Christina Salazar, and James Martinez.

Election Timeline

The election of Lecturer Representatives to Senate was the first step in a multi-month process of identifying the membership and officers of the Senate as well as membership of Senate and Advisory committees. The timeline is below: the Committee on Committees will be managing the various pieces of the process.

  1. Week of Feb 7: call for lecturer nominations
  2. Lecturer elections to Academic Senate Tues Feb 14-21 (reminder out on Monday, feb 13th)
  3. Call out for Senate Officer positions March 6th
  4. Nominee Platform Statements for senate Officer positions due Week of March 27—public forum that week ( after spring break)
  5. Senate Officer elections Week of April 3
  6. Call for nominations for Senate/Advisory committees April 10-21
  7. Elections held Tuesday April 25- Tuesday May 2

Clarification: President’s Award for Innovations in Teaching and Learning

As stated in the email you received Feb. 13, all faculty are eligible to apply for the 2017 President’s Award for Innovations in Teaching and Learning. A second email will come out early next week with revisions to the memo broadening aspects pertaining to teaching of undergraduate students to teaching of [all] students.

Senate Chair Beverage/ Office Hour

No formal office hour on March 7: I’ll be happy to talk to you in the margins of our provost candidate visit! And I’m always available for mutually convenient appointments.

Newsletter #7: last word

“I don’t think anybody anywhere can talk about the future of their people or of an organization without talking about education. Whoever controls the education of our children controls our future.”

Wilma Mankiller

Mankiller image
Wilma Mankiller, who was chief of the Cherokee from 1985 to 1995, put much of her focus on education, health and housing. Credit J. Pat Carter

Academic Senate Newsletter AY16-17 #6 (for Feb. 7, 2017)

Agenda Overview

This may be the best of all possible agendas: low on preparation needed; high potential for an interesting and informative meeting! Lots of reports to catch us up on developments since we last met and preview efforts underway now and going forward. Only one item up for a vote: the internship policy. Agenda and materials via this link.

Themes for S’17

A brief review of some things on my mind that I shared during our S’17 All Faculty Meeting on January 19:

Themes for S’17

CI is now and will always be in the midst of change, both internally and in the regional, national, and international contexts. How well we predict, plan for, and adapt to change depends at least partly on how well we carry out the other four themes. We’ve gone from an institution so small that, in some sense, everyone did everything, to a size in which this simply isn’t possible. And arguably we haven’t yet developed the structures and practices that allow us to distribute the “everything” well among the “everyone,” while still facilitating informed representation and communication. I’m awed that faculty — both tenure-track and lecturer — continue to step up to serve; I also recognize the pitfalls in not carefully analyzing and re-thinking what we’re doing. Meanwhile, I encourage all to recognize their roles as representatives when engaging in committee, task force, advisory board, etc. roles.

take in world; engage; share
The ideal model: represent by taking in everything, engaging, sharing out everything… iterate.

Some News

New(ish) Resources Supporting our Students

Information and Resources for DACA & Undocumented Students: Martha Zavala Perez has taken the Multicultural Dream Center hand-off from Sergio Juarez (both faculty colleagues) and is running hard. Contact Martha to receive a biweekly email with updates, planned events, and resources to share with students. Sample DREAMer Update #1 here.

The CI Food Pantry is now open in Ojai 1978, 10 am – 4 pm, Mon., Tues., Thurs., and Fri. Donations welcome: drop off non-perishable items and small unopened toiletries during open hours. Kudos to all involved in getting this going!

food pantry picture
Alexis Marquez, Community Engagement Ambassador/ Food Pantry Coordinator and Tiffany Martinez, Community Ambassador, check out the food pantry supplies
Staff Council Award

Did you know that CI has a Staff Council, as of this academic year? And they’ve already done the groundwork to establish an award to recognize exemplary work by a CI staff member. One faculty member is needed to help review nominations — this short-term, light-load service opportunity is likely to be of the “feel good” type. If interested, please contact Staff Council President Rosario Cuevas directly.

Senate Chair Beverage/ Office Hour

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 1:30 – 2:30 pm, SUB, outdoors if weather good; inside if not! Every third Tuesday I’ll spend at least an hour available for conversation about anything on your minds. Times and locations shift in an attempt to accommodate different schedules. All faculty welcome!

Academic Senate Newsletter AY16-17 #5 (for Dec. 6, 2016)

Along with the usual Agenda Overview, a Senate Chair Coffee/ Office Hour announcement and the Last Word, this newsletter contains sections titled Freedom of Speech and Civil Discourse and Exercising Our Rights.

Agenda Overview

Four things to preview prior to our meeting (find all here):

  1. Our Academic Master Plan: no changes since this was approved by Senate last year. A robust semester of careful consideration and planning is planned for S’17! (Yes, we’re planning to plan.)
  2. A proposed Policy on Course Numbering — short and sweet! — up for second reading this time
  3. A proposed Tenure Density Resolution — it asks that at least half of any 2025 Graduation Initiative funds coming to campus be used to hire tenure-track faculty. — up for second reading this time
  4. A proposed Internship Policy: Old-timers will remember an earlier iteration: this one aligns responsibilities appropriately (in the view of SAPP and Senate Exec).

We’ll also hear an extended announcement on several topics from RTP practices to SRTs and beyond from the Faculty Affairs Committee. And the always popular reports! All faculty are encourage to browse the minutes to keep up-to-date on what’s being reported in Senate.

Community Time at 2 pm — we know you have lots to talk about! Take a break with your colleagues.

Freedom of Speech and Civil Discourse

Senate overwhelmingly passed a resolution titled “Commitment to Equity, Inclusion, and Civil Discourse within our Diverse Campus Community” at our last meeting. CI faculty clearly endorse the philosophy that “learning is best facilitated through the creating of an environment in which faculty, students, and guests engage in informed discourse and express a diversity of opinions freely and in a civil manner while respecting all individuals, particularly their sense of safety…”

In this vein, I note one local and one national item:

Local: Chris Fowler, CSU Legal Counsel, will offer an informative, interactive presentation on Free Speech & Expression on Campus, Wednesday, December 7, 2016 from 1:00-3:00pm in Broome Library 2325.  No RSVP is necessary. All faculty are highly encouraged to attend. A repeat workshop will be offered in the spring for those unable to attend this coming Wednesday.

National: The newly created Professor Watchlist seeks “to expose and document college professors who discriminate against conservative students and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.” (Professor Watchlist, About Us) No question: our campus values explicitly reject discrimination against students, indeed, against anyone. Yet establishment of websites encouraging people to anonymously make allegations that may be unfounded directly counters our stated values of civil and informed discourse respecting the rights and safety of all. (paraphrase of Senate resolution) Of course, attempts to curtail particular kinds of speech have a long history in the U.S. A 1985 AAUP statement against such activity is still pertinent: “External monitoring of in-class statements not only presents the prospect that the words uttered will be distorted or taken out of context; it is also likely to have a chilling effect and result in self-censorship. … The monitoring of classrooms for an outside organization which arrogates to itself the prerogative of determining accuracy from what is reported to it … can only inhibit the process through which higher learning occurs and knowledge is advanced.” (Quote taken from an Inside Higher Ed article that also summarizes some contested information found on the list.)

Exercising our Rights

Academic Senate put out a call for faculty volunteers for several roles, including four tenured faculty to serve on the Administrator Review Committee. The next day I was at a meeting of the CSU Senate Chairs: one discussion topic was processes for faculty to influence administrative practices short of the “nuclear option” recently deployed on one campus: a divisive, behind-the-scenes vote of ‘no confidence’ in a dean that several characterized as “bullying” and that led to a resignation as well as concerns that replacement would be challenging given the back story. As a few other chairs spoke about their campus processes and whether faculty input was meaningful in these processes, I reflected on CI’s history of positive admin-faculty collaboration. WASC noted this and encouraged us to work towards making future collaboration less dependent on personal philosophy and more on official campus policy. We’ve made progress: we’ve enshrined faculty participation on administrator search committees (SP14-15) and in administrator reviews (SP11-04).

I’ve blogged previously about the overabundance of service roles, particularly for tenured faculty. Yet I also believe that our faculty still have a strong desire for a significant role in shared governance, for being in the room when weighty decisions are considered, and for providing input and perspectives at all levels and across divisions (proposed senate values). How about it, tenured colleagues? Can we fulfill this particular role, and in so doing maintain our right to do so? Non-tenured colleagues, can you offer support to your tenured colleagues and encourage some to volunteer?

Next Senate Chair Coffee/ Office Hour

Fifth iteration: Tuesday, Dec. 13, 1 – 2 pm, Library coffee shop. Outdoors if weather good; inside if not! Join me for coffee (or EABs) every third Tuesday as your time permits. Shifting times and locations are posted in each newsletter. Ideally: you talk and I listen.

Newsletter #5: last word

“Free expression is the base of human rights, the root of human nature and the mother of truth. To kill free speech is to insult human rights, to stifle human nature and to suppress truth.”

Liu Xiaobo

SR 16-02: Commitment to Equity, Inclusion, and Civil Discourse within our Diverse Campus Community

CSU Channel Islands

Academic Senate Resolution

Commitment to Equity, Inclusion, and Civil Discourse within our Diverse Campus Community

Resolution #: SR 16-02

 Approval Date: November 15, 2016


A resolution on faculty commitment to equity, inclusion, and civil discourse within our diverse campus community.


Whereas, the results of the 2016 national elections have left many with strong emotions, and

Whereas, reports of incivility and aggression have been reported nationally, regionally, and on the CSU Channel Islands campus, and

Whereas, CSU Channel Islands is committed to the values of social justice and equity, and

Whereas, in the words of President Beck to the campus community on November 9, 2016, “At CI, we embrace the fundamental values of equity and inclusion and commit to diversity as a source of renewal, vitality and strength. Our work is critical to the future of our country as we continue to serve a diverse, multicultural student body.” And

Whereas, in the words of Chancellor White and CSSA President Lopez on November 9, 2016, “The California State University embraces its diversity and the way in which our students, faculty and staff achieve excellence through inclusion. We are unequivocally committed to supporting all members of our community.” And

Whereas, the mission of CSU Channel Islands holds multiculturalism and internationalism as two of its four mission pillars, and

Whereas, a fundamental role of the faculty is to facilitate learning, and

Whereas, learning is best facilitated through the creating of an environment in which faculty, students, and guests engage in informed discourse and express a diversity of opinions freely and in a civil manner while respecting all individuals, particularly their sense of safety; therefore, be it

Resolved, that the faculty of CSU Channel Islands reaffirm their embrace of equity and inclusion; their commitment to diversity as a source of renewal, vitality, strength, and enhanced collective intellectual capacity; their commitment to facilitating learning in the classroom, on campus, and in the community; and their roles in securing a safe learning environment for all our students.