Preparing for a Busy Spring 2017 Semester

Welcome back to the University of Montana.

It has been an eventful fall and winter and we at the University Faculty Association have been busy working with the new interim president and continuing our efforts with interim Provost Beverly Edmond and wanted to bring you all up to speed on a few of the things we have going on. We want to welcome President Sheila Stearns and are encouraged by her stated desire for dialogue and shared governance as well as her stated skepticism at “quick fixes” to the challenges we face.

To that end, we are starting the semester with a series of changes to help faculty participate fully in those conversations and that governance.

First off, we felt it was critical to overhaul the way we communicate with you. So, we have launched a new website (http://montanafaculty.org) and are becoming more active on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/montanafaculty/) to make sure you have access to documents and information we receive about program prioritization, budget issues and other material from the university.

But more than simply communicating with you, we feel it will be imperative in the coming months to reinvigorate our representative council. Each unit and department on campus should have a representative to the UFA and those reps are going to be increasingly active in coming months as the union works with the Faculty Senate and other groups to represent the faculty during important negotiations and work. We have put out a call to department chairs to confirm your department’s rep so please make sure to select someone so we can get that group up and running. If you are interested in serving or helping, also please reach out to the UFA board or email.

We at the UFA feel it is incredibly important that faculty speak up in their units and publicly to make sure the university, the public and decision-makers understand where our diverse faculty stand at this time. To this end, we strongly encourage faculty members to speak with journalists when they reach out. If you are uncomfortable with being interviewed, please reach out to the chair of our communications committee, Lee Banville (lee.banville@umontana.edu or 406.243.2577). He can find other members to speak with the press but it is imperative we keep talking about our perspective on these issues. To be clear, we don’t want to silence or marginalize any voices of the faculty, nor control those voices. We just want to make sure that the public hears from us.

Speaking of hearing from us, this semester the UFA will also begin renegotiating the CBA. Please reach out to the UFA at ufa@umontana.edu with any questions about these negotiations or if you have specific parts of the CBA you wish to have our team focus on in their negotiations, please contact us.

Look for more from us in the coming weeks as we gear up a series of critical initiatives.

Paul Haber

PS: I also want to take a moment to make note of a change on the board. Dave Shively has resigned from the board as he assumes the chair of his department and we appreciate his years of hard work on behalf of all faculty. His spot has been filled by Journalism’s Lee Banville and we also thank him for his willingness to serve.

 

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