In an email dated April 7th, the Academic Senate Executive Committee (ASEC) distributed to the entire campus the Governance Review Task Force’s (GRTF) draft revision of Articles I-III of the Academic Senate Bylaws. If you have not read this document, which is on the agenda for discussion and a vote at the Senate’s next meeting on April 18th, we encourage you to do so. The changes it embodies, assuming the Senate votes to accept them, will alter significantly the way shared governance is practiced at Nassau Community College.
As the ASEC indicated in its email, the GRTF—which included President Keen, members of his cabinet, and the elected faculty leadership—met for weeks before finalizing these proposed revisions. These meetings, which often involved frank and difficult discussions, focused on how to harmonize what the ASEC rightly called “the [decades-old] culture of shared governance that has facilitated the academic excellence” of our institution with both New York State Education Law and the concerns raised by Middle States when they put us on probation. Indeed, we have been assured by the administration that the changes this document embodies are a necessary step in the removal of our probationary status, an assurance we look forward to seeing borne out in the fall, when Middle States visits our campus once again.
Especially since our collective bargaining agreement expires on August 31st of this year, the NCCFT Executive Committee has been paying very careful attention to how this new administration has been managing the Middle States crisis. In this light, our role on the GRTF has been to make sure not only that the changes the administration told us were necessary did not infringe upon Section 20 of our contract, but also that they continued to authorize the Senate as the “forum for the consideration of academic matters of interest to the College community.” We believe the proposed revisions to the Senate Bylaws fulfill both those criteria and that they therefore deserve your support.
We look forward to the discussion in the Senate on April 18th.