Date: December 3, 1999
To: All USA Faculty

From: Elise Labbé
Chair of Faculty Senate

      I hope you have checked out the Senate Web page.  It's up to date, thanks to Sally Murray.  Its been a month since my last update and here are some important updates:

      Carr and Associates will be here the week of Monday December 6th to begin the feasibility study for football.  Please look out for events in which you might be able to make comments.  Richmond Brown and I will be attending a meeting that morning and we will make sure they get a copy of our report.

      The search procedures for president & long range university planning committees of the Board of Trustees have meet and are beginning to make progress.  The search procedure for the president is in the process of reviewing books and other sources of information that we can summarize and then make a recommendation to the Board of Trustees.

      The search for A&S Dean is going well and the committee is beginning to get down to a short list.  The committee hopes to have that list ready by the second week of January.

             The search committee for VP for Academic Affairs is currently reviewing 58 applications.  There has been many concerns expressed to me by the faculty regarding the impact of Dr. Covey's application for the position. (See my memo to the committee at the end of this e-mail)  I have brought these concerns to the committee and the committee has forwarded these concerns to Mr. Moulton.  I believe that it is important to raise the concerns of the faculty so that we can approach the search in a positive manner.  In doing so, the faculty can feel confident in supporting whoever is appointed to the VP position.  The committee discussed these concerns at length and feels that the committee can do a fair search.  The search committee has established areas of importance for members to use in rating the candidates.  The areas are rated on a scale from 3 to 1 with 3 being the highest rating.  The areas to be rated are Teaching Experience, Scholarship, Other Academic Credentials (Post-doctoral study, Fellowships, Academic Honors); Academic Administrative experience (5 yrs. at progressive levels, including the dean or comparable position at institution of comparable complexity), and Philosophy of Education.  The candidate is expected to have earned a Ph.D. or comparable degree.  I would appreciate feedback from the faculty as to the importance they would place on these areas.  Also, it is crucial that faculty attend the presentation and interviews when these candidates come to campus.  Your evaluations of the candidate are very important.!!

     I attended the Board of Trustees' December meeting and am pleased to report back that a lot of really, good things are taking place.  As you have heard a new scholarship plan has been approved and a new access road to Women's and Children's Hospital is being planned.  Dr. Covey is to be complemented on proposing the scholarship plan!

     The Faculty Senate Executive Committee has found that President Moulton has been very receptive to increasing communication within the University and is open to suggestions to improve all aspects of campus.  So...if you have questions or concerns let us know so that we can bring them up at our meetings with Mr. Moulton.  Dr. Covey has encouraged the Deans to increase communication within their respective college.  The A&S faculty were pleased with Dr. Miller's Fall meeting and hope to see more of these events in the future.

    Our last Senate meeting is Scheduled for December 15th at 3pm.  So contact your senators and give them your feedback and suggestions.  Happy Holidays!

Here is a copy of the memo I gave to the search Committee:

November 30, 1999

To: Search Committee for the Vice-president of Academic Affairs

From: Elise Labbé, Ph.D.
Faculty Senate Chair

I sit on this committee as a representative of the faculty senate and there are some concerns that I feel I must bring forward.  There are some issues I would like to raise before we begin reviewing candidates.  These issues summarize the phone calls, e-mail and personal contacts of senators and faculty members regarding the status of the search since November 15,

1."How can we have a truly objective and open search for VPAA with Dr. Covey as a candidate?" This is the question faculty members have asked me over and over in the past two weeks. President Moulton promised a national search on several occasions, but, after Dr. Covey originally indicated she would not apply, she reversed course and applied near the end of the application period. Thus we have a search that has drawn a strong, national pool of applicants, but now may seem skewed toward the incumbent. When on-campus visits occur, any good external candidate would ask to meet with Dr. Covey in her role as the current acting VP.  They will certainly discover that she is competing against them, and they may doubt their chances of competing fairly. Thus they may not pursue the application process as vigorously as they might have otherwise.

2. The second issue that has been raised is that some members of the search committee for VP may have nominated Dr. Covey.  This is a particular concern since Dr. Covey is the direct supervisor of some search committee members. While no one's integrity and good faith are being questioned, there will always be the appearance that the search committee's recommendations may have been influenced in a manner favorable to Dr. Covey merely by the continued presence of these members on the committee.

3. Even if Dr. Covey truly is the best candidate, many individuals in the University would not accept this for fear that her nomination and possible award of the VP position is "fixed", to put it simply.  This may lead to a difficult situation for all involved.  I believe that many faculty would feel this is another failed search; and that USA is not able to attract well qualified leaders in higher education.  Given these circumstances, reorganizing the search committee to address the concerns raised in paragraph 2 will insure that the person eventually named as permanent VPAA will be perceived as having been selected through a process that was open, objective and fair.

      I encourage faculty to e-mail their senators, Executive Committee members and myself.

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