This is my last report as president of FAUW. Tomorrow, Bryan Tolson will return from his sabbatical and assume his rightful position in my stead. Bryan is an associate professor in Civil and Environmental Engineering. He has represented FAUW in many roles, and for the past two years has been its vice president. The membership made a fine selection. Bryan cares deeply for FAUW and its members, and I have no doubt he will bring a whole new level of positive energy to this position.
How do I feel at this stage? Of course there is inevitably a real sense of relief. This is, to all intents and purposes, a full-time job that brings with it a tremendous sense of responsibility to make decisions, offer opinions, and take initiatives that are in the best interests of the membership. Fortunately, the FAUW board of directors comprises a strong set of people with a vast array of experience, and we have many people on campus whose past experience with FAUW can be very useful. Issues are seldom new, even if they are new to me. Thoughtful people have always been there to offer advice and support and I thank them.
Further, FAUW has recently built up a team of permanent staff members who are highly skilled, tactful and always generous with their time. Volunteers will come and go with FAUW but our staff provide our memory and our continuity. We are most fortunate that all three of our staff are not only excellent at what they do, but are genuinely decent and caring people. Those of you who come by our offices in MC will know the value of the warmth and friendliness with which we are always greeted.
My goal coming into this position was to ensure that I left it with a strong organizational structure, sound staffing, a talented successor, and a strong board and, while any achievements are hardly my doing alone, I can say that as a group we have met all these expectations. FAUW is in very good hands. Here are some further observations, particularly relating to the months since I last reported.
Summer is one of the really enjoyable times of year when we greet new faculty members. I gather we have approximately 40 new members of our academic community. In July and August, we held informal get-togethers for those who had just joined the University and these were fun. The newcomers are filled with enthusiasm and the pleasure they take in joining this university is infectious. We look forward to many more gatherings like this as the new academic year begins.
The past months have once again seen major changes at the senior administrative levels of the University. Provost Ian Orchard’s retirement was not the best news, but, fortunately, George Dixon is well known to us all, and of course he knows the university through and through. It is good to have a University Secretary once more, especially as Karen Jack already has a sound understanding of the operations of the university. We also welcome Cathy Newell Kelly in her new role as Registrar and Beth Sandore Namachchivaya as University Librarian. But we remain engaged in hiring for top level administrators and there will be the obvious next transitions and adjustments.
There are many issues FAUW will continue to work on over the next year. For now, I will let you know of the new events we have planned:
Workshop for mid-career faculty – September 29
This is for all of you who have become a continuing lecturer or acquired tenure in the recent past. You are officially “mid-career.” The workshop is offered in recognition of the relatively poor job we do of introducing faculty to the full range of options available in an academic career (as all universities do). We are often asked how people become administrators, journal editors, policy advisors, etc. Often it is a matter of being in the right place at the right time, which is obviously not good enough. Acquiring career security marks a significant transition in your life as an academic and this half-day workshop will introduce you to many of the options now open to you. Shannon Dea will lead the event and has brought in others with really solid experience at this university and others in a range of capacities. Please register in advance.
Celebrating our birthday – October 26
Yes FAUW too is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. We understand we are competing with many special events, but we believe ours will be the best. Please mark your calendar for October 26th, when we will have an afternoon panel session followed by a reception. We will be providing more information soon.
FAUW service awards – October 26
At our 60th anniversary event, FAUW will present its inaugural service awards. These will be given on an annual basis to members of the university community who genuinely have made significant and lasting contributions to the well-being of FAUW members.
Mental health workshop
We are currently exploring an event that would help faculty better understand mental health concerns in academe to complement other, more student-focused initiatives on campus. Stay tuned for more information.
Thanks all of you for the support over the last two years. FAUW belongs to its members. It is an inclusive and transparent organization. We welcome all of you who wish to work with us on any of the important issues that arise in our academic community.