The Stamford Faculty Council (SFC), a New Governance Body for All Teaching Faculty
The faculty at the Stamford campus are holding an election to create a Faculty Governance Body, named the Stamford Faculty Council. The SFC would function to represent the interests and concerns of faculty before decisions are made and implemented. Interim Provost John Elliott recommended that the Stamford faculty organize its own governing body in meetings this past summer as one avenue for productive faculty involvement in campus governance.
The Stamford campus is facing severe challenges due to rapidfire expansion. Majors and programs are being added, and enrollment has skyrocketed, rising from 1200 in 2000 to almost double this year (2200 in 2019-20). Official projections have the campus doubling again in size within five years. Until recently the campus had no dorms; now it has three, and plans to add more. The number of faculty has nearly doubled, and the administrative staff has increased proportionately, with dozens of hires and departures. Yet there is no infrastructure for active faculty governance, so the Stamford faculty as a whole has no independent voice or seat at the table, either at Stamford or Storrs, in planning the future of the campus, even in many matters with direct impact on teaching, learning, and advising.
Keeping this pressing need in mind, the charge of the Stamford Faculty Council will be to promote faculty governance in key areas, including Academics, Faculty Working Conditions, Campus Space Planning, and Student/Faculty Matters, including Advising.
In the area of Academics, the committee will work on planning concerns such as the target portfolio of majors to be offered, the staffing composition of full-time and adjunct faculty to service the majors, the target student/faculty ratio, and class size.
The area of Faculty Working Conditions concerns include technical and secretarial support, allotment of office space, visibility on the website, and access to campus committees and participation in planning affecting work life, such as parking, food services, and the gym.
In the area of Campus Space Planning, concerns will include space needs for curricular and academic activities (library, offices), and co-curricular and extracurricular activities shared by students and faculty (e.g. art gallery and gym).
In the area of Student/Faculty Matters, the group will serve as a liaison between faculty and administration when students encounter issues or barriers with getting support, for example in a family crisis or because of sudden financial need, which harm student learning and success. The needs of faculty, especially adjuncts, for advising and teaching support form another area of concern.
The SFC will determine its own schedule, rules, and structure in its first phase after members are elected. Its primary goal will be to form an independent voice for faculty at the Stamford campus geared specifically to its unique identity and needs.