Faculty spent the last couple of weeks electing members to the Faculty Senate for next year. As a result, 11 new Senate members have been elected.
Dr. Neal Coates, chair of the Department of Political Science, served as the Senate’s chair this past year.
“We had our regular senate election about a week ago, and as a result of that, there were some dominoes that then fell over,” he said. “So we had a second election, a special election, to fill four additional seats.”
Phil Vardiman, associate professor of management, will serve as the chair-elect next year.
Twenty-two positions exist on the Senate, meaning that half of the Senate will have rotated out come next year.
Coates said the Faculty Senate routinely covers certain things in its meetings, but new topics of discussion arose this past year.
Apart from the normal involvement with the Board of Trustees, committee work on campus and retaining faculty interests in administration decisions, Coates said the issue of religious identity among faculty members was talked about.
“We had a series of panels, we had some open faculty meetings, we had three speakers on campus this past fall and we had a very good discussion about the importance of Christian faculty and how that also weeds its way into our curriculum,” he said.
Coates said the issue is a continuation of thought that will continue its development in the future.
“ACU will never cease being a Christian institution and the faculty are at the heart of that,” he said. “The faculty is relying on scripture and listening to God to lead us and direct our students in the different disciplines. It’s very much who we are.”
The next unusual topic surfaced in the spring semester””the Vision in Action Campaign. Coates said the Faculty Senate was involved in communicating the needs of faculty and students, especially those in engineering and the sciences.
“The Vision in Action Campaign is an exciting thing for the campus, especially for the sciences,” he said. “The faculty are enthusiastic about the fundraising campaign and making those things a reality for our students.”
He said administration involved the Senate in everything from sharing blueprints of the buildings to getting input on its thoughts.
As for next year, Coates said the senate will discuss tuition benefits for all ACU employees, not just faculty, how faculty can help facilitate the Vision in Action Campaign and how to use technology on campus to give students the best educational opportunity.
“It’s been an unusual, but also a good year for the faculty,” he said.
The new Faculty Senate members are:
Greg Powell, Professor
Qiang Xu, Assistant Professor
Joe Cope, Associate Professor
Laura Carroll, Associate Professor
Cheryl Bacon, Journalism and Mass Communication Department Chair and Professor
Mike Wiggins, Art & Design Department Chair and Professor
David Kniep, Instructor
Orneita Burton, Associate Professor
Scott Stovall, Associate Professor
Denise Barnett, Assistant Professor
Paul Roggendorf, Associate Professor