Speech Delivered by Academic Senate Chair Kevin Baaske at
Fall Faculty Day on September 18, 2006
I canÂt begin to tell you how excited I am about this year and
how honored I am to be here this morning as the elected chair of
the Academic Senate.
I realize that since many of you are not members of the Senate,
you didnÂt actually vote for me. But I promise you, serving
without actually being elected by a true majority is about the
only thing that I have in common with George Bush.
I first want to welcome our new faculty and new deans. This is
a great institution with a strong faculty and marvelous, though
often challenging, students.
We have just heard President Rosser and Provost Lujan tell us
that the Compact between the Governor and the Chancellor, flawed
though it may be, offers us a rather unique opportunity to look
down the road, to plan ahead. I want to discuss that opportunity
with you, but before I do, I want to be clear about one thing: I
have been a member of the CFA, our faculty union, since my first
year at Cal State L.A. I think all of the faculty should be members,
too. During these difficult times I believe it would send a strong
message if we significantly increased the already high membership
on this campus. Lil, are we at about 65% membership now? [reply
from audience: Â70%!Â] Excellent. But we should be at 100%. We
need a contract. Join the union.
We must also remember that the staff at this institution are
also without a contract. When we or our students experience
something less than the quality of service we desire, let us
remember that they have received nothing but a small cost-of-living raise for several years. They, too, need a contract.
But despite these labor difficulties and despite the challenge
of increasing FTES so that we can avoid further reduction in
resources, we do have an opportunity to make a difference.
The President has stated that he wants to work together to
collectively determine our future. I know that some of you are
cynical, but I see no risk in taking him up on this offer and
potentially great benefit. Whether we like it or not, whether we
participate or not, decisions will be made; this campus will move
ahead. IÂm an optimist and I would much rather we work with the
President and share the governance of this institution.
Let me quickly mention a few issues before us this year:
1. We have already established a desired campus-wide ratio of
temporary faculty one the one hand, and tenured/tenure-track
faculty on the other. Should we establish a desired ratio of
assistant, associate, and full professors on the program level?
Should we establish a desired ratio of faculty to students in the
major? Did you know that there is a major on this campus with
nearly 1100 students and only 6 faculty? Did I get that right
Marlene? [From audience: ÂYes.Â] If we had the kinds of ratios I
mentioned, perhaps it would help programs argue for more
2. As resources become available, and they will, where should
they be directed? What are our academic priorities? For example,
if we pursue the Ed.D. it will raise issues of workload for those
teaching in doctorate programs. Should we have a separate
ÂgraduateÂ faculty? We should discuss this. And we will soon have
a new one-of-a-kind, Forensics Science building on campus. Should
we develop a forensics science program to take full advantage of
this state-of-the-art facility? These are shared governance
3. If a program can achieve its FTES targets within its
historical allocation, shouldnÂt it be allowed to reassign faculty
to advisement or research? We discussed a couple of models for
reducing faculty workload at the retreat last fall, we need to
move ahead with implementing some faculty control over the
resources a program generates.
4. What will it mean as we become a truly learning-centered
institution? That may be a goal we commit to for WASC. For
example, if we believe that our students do not write as well as
they should, wouldnÂt a truly learning-centered institution strive
to improve their writing? How can we do this? What changes should
I as an instructor make in order to improve the writing of my
I know that faculty morale is low, but these are important
issues and there are many, many more. There will be town hall
meetings, college-based meetings and meetings of the standing
committees of the Academic Senate that consider these matters. Now
is NOT the time for cynicism or pessimism.
If the President had not sought our input, we should have
demanded to be a part of the conversation anyway. Fortunately, he
has made clear that he wants to work with us. So letÂs take
advantage of this unique opportunity to participate in planning
where this wonderful institution should be five years from now.
Thank you for letting me serve you as chair of the Senate and
thank you for listening.
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