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Pieces of Eight

Taggart Urges Faculty to Assume 'Spirit of Volunteerism'

In his role as chair of the faculty, Mark Taggart (Music) shares his perspective on volunteerism, faculty governance.

By Mark Taggart

As you know, the motto of East Carolina University is “to serve.” Please think of this as we approach that time of the year when the Committee on Committees solicits faculty volunteers to serve on one or more of the 21 standing academic and five appellate committees.

Shared governance is most effective if it is regularly infused with the spirit of volunteerism.

Our committees regularly report their progress to faculty during the monthly Faculty Senate meetings. For example, our Dec. 5 meeting featured reports from the Academic Standards, Agenda, Educational Policies and Planning, Faculty Information Technology Review, and University Curriculum Committees. I was delighted by the robust quality of discussion that followed these reports, because faculty senators are aware that recommendations from the standing academic committees are far-reaching and affect not only academic programs and classrooms, but how important issues are addressed throughout the university community.

Though the Faculty Governance Committee did not report on Dec. 5th, I’d like to brief you on what will soon be coming from them. They have just completed another review of Part XII of the ECU Faculty Manual (Personnel Action Dossier), and it is my hope that they will also report to you on two more elements of shared faculty governance during Spring 2007: recommendations made by the Fixed Term Task Force, and revisions to the review of administrative officers. Ongoing activities of the Faculty Governance Committee can be monitored via their website at

As it is currently written in Appendix L of the ECU Faculty Manual, the review of administrative officers shall occur during March of the fourth year of the administrator’s service and during March of every fourth year thereafter. In the case of unit code administrators, the unit faculty’s vote on the effectiveness of the administrator shall occur during the same semester. The Faculty Governance Committee believes that the faculty of a college should also have a vote on the effectiveness of their dean as part of the review as well. Some colleges haven’t been in existence long enough for the review process to take place. Some deans may have never had an “accountability moment” with their faculty. Reviews of administrative officers are an important part of shared governance, as they encourage all to strike a balance between interaction with unit administrators and faculty.

It is my hope that the Faculty Governance Committee will have a report to the Faculty Senate soon on these important issues. The Faculty Governance Committee is but one of many standing academic committees that needs faculty volunteers for the upcoming academic year.

So think of the University’s motto when asked to volunteer to serve on a committee. We need you to be involved as the University continues to achieve the many goals set forth in the coming months and years.

This page originally appeared in the Jan. 26, 2006 issue of Pieces of Eight. Complete issue is archived at