The USA Faculty Senate will reach a much-anticipated milestone during the 2008-09 academic year with construction of the USA University Club.
The 5,000-square-foot building will be constructed near The Grove, the privately owned apartment-style housing located on the west side of the University’s main campus. The University Club is the result of efforts by the Faculty Senate, working with the University’s administration, to develop a privately-funded facility similar to faculty buildings at other universities. That led to an agreement with Campus Crest, the developer and builder of The Grove, which will fund and build the University Club. Construction is scheduled to begin in the near future with completion expected by May 2009.
“The University Club will provide a venue for faculty and departments to have activities at a place where the atmosphere will be conducive for a variety of faculty needs, including educational, recruitment and social meetings,” said Dr. John Sachs, associate professor of leadership and teacher education in the College of Education and the current Faculty Senate chair.
Architectural plans for the University Club show it will be a single-story building with porches on three sides. Two double-door entries on opposite sides of the building lead to a central hallway. On one side, a large multi-purpose meeting room with vaulted ceilings will be filled with natural light from a wall of windows. The meeting areas are flanked by a kitchen on one side and restrooms on the other.
Across the central hallway, two clubrooms, each with a fireplace, and vaulted ceilings flank a central coffee lounge and bar. Ample placement of windows will fill all these spaces with natural light.
“A lot of universities have facilities like the University Club, and some of those have a great heritage attached to them,” said Sachs. He said the Faculty Senate and the USA administration are working on specifics of how the new building will be used.
“Several years ago, the annual Faculty Senate survey supported the idea of a facility like this that would support many of our needs,” said Sachs. “The decision to move ahead with the building now demonstrates the camaraderie shared by the faculty and the administration.”
Once completed, the University Club will become the home for Faculty Senate meetings. Currently, the Faculty Senate meets at a variety of venues on the USA campus.
Sachs, who has served as Faculty Senate chair since May, hopes this academic year will be a milestone in the group’s history. He wants to raise the group’s visibility across all USA campuses with increased faculty participation and the continuation of a good working relationship with University administration.
During the coming year, the Faculty Senate hopes to build on its successful initiation last year of town hall meetings. Additionally, a new ad campaign in Midweek and changes on the University’s Web site are intended to give faculty members better notification of meetings and educate them about the group’s goals.
“We had three or four town hall meetings last year, and we found them to be useful, so we are planning ahead for more of those this year,” said Sachs. “We are hoping better notification of meetings will translate into more participation because ultimately faculty member involvement is the basis for the Faculty Senate’s success.”
The Faculty Senate serves as a forum for discussion of issues vital to the academic mission of the University and provides a direct link between the faculty and the administration.
Faculty members interested in the Faculty Senate should contact Sachs at (251) 380-2765, e-mail him at email@example.com, or visit the Faculty Senate Web site at www.southalabama.edu/fsenate.