Meet Jonathan Sturm, Faculty Senate president
What are the major challenges and issues Faculty Senate will face this year?
Faculty morale remains a challenge across the university. ISU is a great place to work, and yet we exist currently in an environment of increasing workloads with additional training and learning curves for new technologies. Decreasing state support has held salaries down when compared to our peers. The senate also needs to keep a close watch on how the new Workday and improved service delivery systems affect the work lives of the university community. Often at this early time in the academic year, other specific challenges have yet to arise. My experience has been that they nearly always do, and they can define a presidency from that moment on.
What are the priorities for your presidency?
I hope this year the senate considers and moves forward on a number of important topics. I hope to implement the first phase of recommendations from last year’s task force on the evaluation of teaching. I intend to work with the vice president for research [Sarah Nusser] to increase the presence and stability of the Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities. I will always keep a welcoming and inclusive campus as a priority, and I hope to emphasize ways to forward the senate committee on equity, diversity and inclusion’s suggestion to develop and sustain a civil and equitable departmental and institutional climate.
Open access for research and publication, open data and open educational resources will remain a priority for me. I intend to open more discussion about faculty workload, particularly teaching and service loads. I think reconsidering and raising the value and role of peer review assignments in the promotion and advancement process is ready for discussion. Finally, I intend to keep salaries as a top emphasis with the Board of Regents and our senior leadership.
What should your constituents know about Faculty Senate?
The senate is the universitywide governance body for faculty. It creates and edits the Faculty Handbook, which houses the policies by which the faculty operate. The senate also is one of the principal avenues for shared governance across the university through consistent contact with administration and staff. We meet monthly, and any faculty member with an interest in university governance is encouraged to consider running for a seat on the senate. Each department has a representative, and each college has several at-large representatives.
What would a successful presidency entail?
I hope that by May there are noticeable changes at ISU concerning the evaluation of teaching. I hope any current concerns with Workday and improved service delivery have successful resolutions, and the university feels it has weathered the problems and been successfully onboarded with these two systems. Perhaps most of all, I hope that I can perform even one act that assures all our faculty that ISU is becoming even more of an inclusive and supportive university for all to work and learn.
Tell us something about yourself that may surprise your colleagues.
When I am not teaching, working or performing as a violinist or violist, I enjoy hiking, scuba diving and golf.