Board of Trustees Remarks

Mark Taggart, Chair of the Faculty

October 6, 2006




Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 


First of all, I would like to thank all of you for approving   revisions to Appendices C and D to the Faculty Manual.  Though we are still awaiting final approval of Appendix D from GA, the  revised Appendix C has offered clarity in outlining the personnel policies, procedures, and responsibilities for  tenure-track and fixed term faculty.  I am also pleased to inform you that the Task Force on Fixed-Term Appointments has completed its final report, which is now being reviewed by  the Faculty Governance Committee, in accordance with the Faculty Senate’s Resolution on Fixed-Term Faculty.


Secondly, I would like to comment on our Strategic Framework.  When I read our mission statement, with our commitment to serve through education, research and creative activity, and through leadership and partnership, I am honored to be a part of this process.  I consider these aspects of our mission as a part of the soul of our university, and as we continue to grow and become more complex, I am confident that we will continue to hold these values and commitments to our mission closely.  As we continue the planning process, and as you look over the five areas of commitment to our framework:  21st Century Education, A Region’s Health, Arts in Lives, Prosperity in Eastern North Carolina, and The Leadership University, think not only of these aspects as separate entities, but also how they work together and compliment each other.  At this time in history, I am grateful to be a part of this process and look forward to providing faculty leadership as we move forward..


This is the time of year when faculty,  going up for tenure and/or promotion,  turn in their Personnel Action Dossiers (or PADs).  Because we are “between” current and revised Appendix D, there were  concerns over what format faculty were to follow this year.  I am making every attempt to inform faculty on personnel committees to focus on the contents of these documents, which reviews the candidate’s work and not the format that the faculty member has followed when they make their recommendations..  It is my hope that, by this time next year, we are no longer between current and revised portions of the  Facultyanual, and that all concerns over document formats have been eliminated.


I would now like to call attention to the accomplishments of two of our faculty in the Harriott College of Arts and Sciences.  Jody Baumgartner and Jonathan Morris are faculty members from the Political Science Department who are building impressive scholarly records.  Their collaboration on an article for the American Politics Research Journal entitled “The Daily Show Effect” is groundbreaking, and has generated significant media attention.  In their article, they have explored the effects of satire featured in the The Daily Show with Jon Stewart have had an effect on the political attitudes and opinions of its viewers.  While the participants who are exposed to jokes about political leaders may rate them more negatively, Professors Morris and Baumgartner have found that viewers of The Daily Show have reported increased confidence in their ability to understand the complicated world of politics, even though it may contribute to their cynicism and skepticism of political institutions and political leaders.  Whereas entertainment that passes through as news (called “soft news”) may contribute to democratic citizenship by reaching out to an inattentive public, messages that are delivered in little packages wrapped in humor and satire can be both persuasive and memorable. Their article investigating the satire on political attitudes is only the beginning, as I believe that they are furthering their research in this field.   Perhaps their research may be able to detail how “The Daily Show Effect” may effect the 2008 presidential election.


Professors Baumgartner’s and Morris’ work is another example of the high quality of research that is occurring here at ECU.  I wish both of these faculty members well in their continued research, and look forward to reading more about their groundbreaking work on “The Daily Show Effect”.


As the Chair of the Faculty, I am constantly aware of  faculty members’ ongoing  contribution to the University’s  commitment to serve through education, research and creative activity, and leadership and partnership. Together, with the University community, there are no bounds to what we can achieve.


Thank you.