Board of Trustees Remarks
Mark Taggart, Chair of the Faculty
November 30, 2007
Thank you, Chairman Greczyn. Good morning!
Today I would like to report to you on a couple of matters. Let me begin with providing you an update on the work that our Faculty Welfare Committee has been doing regarding faculty application verification guidelines.
The Faculty Welfare Committee agreed that: 1) faculty should not be exempt from background checks; 2) a screening process should be established that would trigger an in-depth criminal background check when warranted; and 3) very careful and clear wording on screening questions is required.
The Committee also recommended that ECU create a faculty applicant verification system that is similar to that of UNC-Chapel Hill. The background information is to be shared with the appropriate dean. If it is determined that there is a concern warranting non-employment, the dean will review the information with the Provost and Chair of the Faculty (or designee) to determine the appropriate action.
The second matter concerns the work done by our Leadership Development Task Force. I am pleased by how faculty and administrators have come together to examine policies designed to enhance the quality of leadership at ECU. The Task Force met, considered the current policy of the review of administrative officers, and also examined the revisions proposed by the Faculty Governance Committee. In addition, the faculty sought feedback from the university community at three open forums on September 18, 20 and 21. We compared our proposed changes with best practices from UNC-Chapel Hill, NC State, the University of Maryland and other institutions. I think that everyone involved in the process would agree that the proposed policy is an improvement over our current practices. I was also pleased by the addition of plans for leadership succession, where it is stated: “every administrator should be developing the leaders within his or her division, unit or office to ensure that the organization is ready for the inevitable transition in leadership.” In reflection of this, I would like to offer the following suggestion.
I believe that, in many cases, our most effective and successful leaders have come from within our university community. I would like to encourage the university to look to our faculty who have demonstrated leadership capabilities in their units, schools or colleges to as possible department chairs or deans. Many of our faculty regard Greenville and ECU as our home, and as a place to raise our families. We have developed our programs and curriculum, and we are committed to the success of the students who are enrolled in our programs. We are more familiar with the policies and procedures in our Faculty Manual, and we are committed to seeing our university continue to grow and thrive. Perhaps we could even explore the possibility of rotating department chairs in the near future.
As Chair of the Faculty, I regularly seek guidance from our faculty leaders, including the former Chairs of the Faculty. I was fortunate to have had a forum of former Chairs on October 31, where I heard advice concerning admission standards, readmission, university reorganization, the results of the UNC Tomorrow Forum, and the state of shared governance at ECU. My colleagues also told me that we, the faculty, need to be as clear as we possibly can when we describe the process of education, and how vital it is develop our students in a manner in which they will have the ability to live up to their highest potential, to continue our research and creative activities in our fields of specialty, and to give back to our community that has given us the opportunity to pursue our careers and raise our families.