Moving Forward Together: Leadership Spotlight
Mixon Ware, Associate Professor of Child and Family Studies and Chair of the Faculty Senate
Dr. Mixon Ware, associate professor of child and family studies and chair of the Faculty Senate, is featured in this ongoing series designed to allow EKU leaders and others in prominent positions to discuss their roles as well as campus issues. Ware, who joined the EKU staff in 2002, earned a bachelor's degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, master's degrees from SMU and Florida International University in Miami, and a doctorate from the University of Tennessee.
Why is a strong and active Faculty Senate important to a university community?
In recent years, much has been written about the corporatization of higher education. Noting the move toward a "business-model," University of Arizona President Peter Likins said, "It is indicative of the fact that America in 2005 is more market driven in every manifestation than it was 30 or 40 years ago (Hersch & Merrow, 2005). Sociologist Stanley Aronowitz (2000) refers to "knowledge factories," where the focus has shifted to vocational training and learning is no longer the focus of the higher education system. In contrast, Eastern Kentucky University's mission "seeks to provide intellectual and cultural opportunities that will develop habits of scholarship and intellectual curiosity, provide a deep understanding of American democracy and the citizen's role in maintaining its strength and vitality, impart an understanding of humans and their aspirations, enable effective and efficient communication, and prepare productive and responsible citizens." If we are to accomplish our mission in the midst of the challenges facing higher education today, faculty must play an active role in determining not only our direction, but how we will get there.
Historically, faculty have shaped the intellectual direction of the academy. As the representative body of the faculty, the Faculty Senate serves as the voice of the faculty in policies on academic matters. Through a process of shared governance, the Senate works collaboratively with the administration on matters of academic concern. A strong and active Faculty Senate is critical to that process.
What qualities make for a successful and vital faculty Senate?
For the Senate to be vital and successful, all faculty must be involved. To be effective, each representative Senator needs to hear the opinions, ideas, concerns, and visions of their constituents.
What is its impact on the educational experience of our students?
By working together to empower EKU's mission, we continue to impact the educational experience of our students through the "Essential Eastern" values President Whitlock describes a university where we work together to build better lives, a place that cares and a school of opportunity where we can make a difference.
What are some of the more significant issues the Faculty Senate will tackle this academic year?
Decisions and policies on matters of academic concern are always our most significant issues. Shared governance and transparent communications are vital as we strive to bring the many constituencies together not only on our campus, but also in working with Kentucky's Council on Postsecondary Education, our accrediting bodies, and our legislature. In today's economy, the budget issues that are sure to arise will be a challenge. But we are up to it and we will all work together to meet the challenges.
As chair of the Senate, what do you hope the body accomplishes this year?
It is my hope that the Faculty Senate will continue to provide a channel of communication between the Faculty Senate and the administration while serving as an advocate for the faculty. Toward that end, we are asking faculty to consider what "shared governance" means, and to become engaged in a discussion about what is important to all of us during this time of change both in the university and in higher education as a whole.
On a personal and professional level, what benefits do you derive from your service with the Senate?
On a personal level, the opportunity to work with individuals from all areas of our university has been an incredible experience. We have so many outstanding people here at EKU students, staff, faculty and administration. It is a privilege to work with such a fine group. On a professional level, the benefit I hope to derive from my service with the Senate is to empower my colleagues as we work together to maintain the best that is Eastern.