ECU Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance Rick Niswander, left, accepts an award from Faculty Chair Andrew Morehead during a chancellor's reception honoring 50 years of faculty governance. (Photos by Jay Clark)

Event marks 50 years of Faculty Senate at ECU

March 31, 2015

By Kelly Setzer
ECU News Services

While the world looks quite different than it did in March 1965 during their first official meeting, East Carolina University’s Faculty Senate still convenes to guide university policy exactly as it did back then.

ECU faculty and administrators recently celebrated 50 years of the Faculty Senate and a shared governance structure during a reception hosted by the chancellor.

“We’re doing great work towards the success of our students across every college,” Chancellor Steve Ballard told attendees at the event. “I just really appreciate your devotion to why we’re here and what we mean to the state. It really makes a difference.”
ECU Honors College Dean Marianna Walker comes forward to receive an award during the reception.

The Faculty Senate is the legislative, advisory and primary governance body for faculty representation at the university. They have continued to meet at least nine times a year since that first assembly in 1965.

A shared governance model means that the elected group counsels the chancellor “regarding matters of tenure and promotion, curriculum, degree requirements, instruction standards, and grading,” according to Faculty Senate Resolution #12-67.

ECU Faculty Chair Andrew Morehead said the governance model is based on the explicit recognition that an academic institution is unlike any other.

“Its bedrock is the knowledge that faculty expertise is essential to the creation of the curriculum and the evaluation of research and creative activity, while the administration provides the critical structures necessary for ensuring the success of the faculty in educating our students and producing our scholarship and works of art,” Morehead said.

Honoring 74 past and current faculty members who have contributed to the success of the organization – some retired or deceased – was the goal of the chancellor’s reception. Approximately 45 of the honorees were in attendance as well as other faculty and administrators.

Among those recognized was John Tucker, professor of history and university historian, who reflected on the importance of the group.

“Our concerns surpass our areas of academic expertise and inevitably address practical matters related to our campus, its organization and administration,” Tucker said. “As the channel through which we work with university administrators in governing the campus, the Faculty Senate stands as one of the most important organizations on campus and certainly the single-most important one for faculty considered as a whole.”

Also in attendance was John Stiller, professor of biology and three-time faculty senator. He has also served on numerous faculty committees and task forces since joining ECU in 2001.

“The reception is certainly a wonderful reminder of the hard work and exceptional commitment of so many outstanding faculty over the years,” Stiller said. “The traditions highlighted this evening have made ECU a model for shared governance in the UNC system, and it was an honor to be part of the celebration.”

To learn more about ECU’s Faculty Senate, visit

Pictured below, ECU Chancellor Steve Ballard speaks at the reception honoring faculty.