Comprised of 53 senators , the senate makes recommendations regarding issues that impact faculty on topics ranging from academic programs and curriculum to the use of intellectual resources. Overseeing all the Faculty Senate activities is the speaker. For the past three years, Simon Lewis, professor of English, has served as the speaker of the Faculty Senate, representing the faculty to the College administration, forming ad hoc committees, advising senior leadership on faculty concerns and carrying a myriad of other responsibilities.
During Lewis’ tenure, College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu joined the College, and a new 10-year strategic plan was put in motion. In President Hsu’s first year, a new provost and CFO were hired, presenting an opportunity to foster new relationships.
“Building relationships became difficult when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020 and sent us all scurrying to our respective safe spaces,” says Lewis. “Constant communication via email became essential since we were not regularly running into each other on campus.”
Despite COVID’s challenges, some significant results came out of the ad hoc committees:
- The Race, Equity and Inclusion (REI) requirement is in process, with Lewis assuming the role of director on July 1, 2022.
- Based on research of other institutions, suggested points for consideration were made to support a revised intellectual property policy.
- Solid research and programming on curbing gun violence.
The Faculty Senate also established strong liaisons between faculty and the administration via the Faculty Advisory Committee to the President, of whom six of the 12 members are chairs of other key faculty standing committees. In addition, as speaker, Lewis had monthly meetings with Provost Suzanne Austin and with the president of the CofC American Association of University Professors (AAUP) chapter; and John Loonan, CFO at the College of Charleston, regularly attended the Faculty Senate Budget Committee meetings.
Now Lewis is passing the baton to Veal.
“I really hope we can return to more normal arrangements and that William Veal will be able to do more to cement whatever relationships I may have helped to build since August 2019,” says Lewis.
For his part, Veal is eager to step in and make a difference at the College.
”As the elected speaker of the faculty, I want to get involved with the administrative, budgetary and decision-making aspects of the College,” says Veal. “I plan to represent the faculty to the administration and advocate for my colleagues. I look forward to working with the various senate committees and the Board of Trustees to advance diverse initiatives.”
With Veal’s enthusiasm, the Faculty Senate will continue to be an essential platform for CofC faculty.