The updated Harding University faculty constitution was approved by faculty members in September, and the faculty leadership council was created in October. The faculty leadership council is a new faculty-led organization with the goal of continuing communication between the administration and faculty.
The council was prompted by the faculty constitution update to ensure every faculty member’s voice is heard. The council meets once a month, or however often it feels necessary.
“To me, the most important thing is that I think it will give faculty more of a voice,” associate professor of Bible Allen Diles said. Diles is a member of the new council.
The faculty constitution and bylaws council began in 2016 and worked for three years updating the faculty constitution that was last modified in 1992. Its goal was to find a way for the faculty to have shared governance between them and the University, while recognizing the authority of the board of trustees, president, provost and academic deans.
The faculty constitution and bylaws committee include one faculty representative from each college. Amy Cox, assistant professor of art and former representative for the College of Arts and Humanities, touched on the importance of this process.
“The process was really important, and it was also important that we get it right because it does have a direct effect on the future,” Cox said. “We looked at every change we made from every angle and thought through what would be the potential positive in this, and what could be the potential harm in this.”
Dr. Jenene Alexander, the inaugural president of the faculty leadership council and director of professional counseling for Harding, said she is thrilled to be part of this council and expressed, through a letter, her gratitude to have been elected into this position by the faculty, along with their goals.
“Our goal is to meet with you, to listen, to serve, to advocate, to have shared collaboration with our administration as we communicate faculty needs and perspectives,” Alexander wrote. “We as a committee recognize the trust and honor you’ve given us to serve as your representatives, advocates and liaisons to our University administration, and we thank you and commit to you.”
The faculty leadership council consists of seven members. Alexander; associate professor of Bible Scott Adair; associate professor and chair of communication Laurie Diles; associate professor of business Glen Metheny; professor and department chair of computer science Tim Baird; Allen Diles; and professor of mathematics and assistant dean of preprofessional programs Deborah Duke.
Provost Marty Spears, chief academic officer, said he is proud to see the faculty come together and be a part of the process of moving the constitution forward and putting it into action.
“In creating this document, we want to continue to have a good relationship,” Spears said. “One of the primary focuses on the new constitution was to create better communication.”