President Miles Exercises Shared Governance at Senate Meeting

President Belinda Miles Addresses the Faculty Senate (Photo: Dana Hirsch)

by Dana Hirsch


The faculty senate held their biweekly meeting last Wednesday, at which Dr. Belinda Miles asked to speak to the senate for the second time with the intention of executing shared governance.  

According to Miles, improving shared government procedures is a continuous work in progress, a process to which she is very committed.

“I’m here as part of that process,” Miles said, addressing the faculty senate. “Thank you for your willingness to have ongoing and open dialogue with me.”

After being asked by one of the present senators about a rumor, Heather Ostman, President of the Faculty Senate, confirmed the request of cease and desist, which was sent to her in the form of a letter from previous Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Dr. Peggy Bradford’s lawyer about defamation by Ostman and the senate.

“Ed Tatton, [president of the staff senate,] has received one as well,” Ostman said. “and so the county is representing us.

According to Ostman, she will meet with a county representative to talk about how to respond to the letter.

As for the question about who is being sued, since the letter was addressed to Ostman and the faculty senate, Ostman said that she “can’t speak to a lawsuit [and that the letter was] addressed to [her] personally, claiming defamation by [her] and the senate against Dr. Bradford.”

When reached for comment due to Danielle DiGrazia, Dr. Bradford’s Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs being out of the office until Tuesday, April 7, the office of College Community Relations was contacted but was unable to respond on short notice.

At the meeting, Ostman updated the senate about the Grade Appeal Policy proceedings.

“Last year the senate approved a revised Grade Appeal Policy, but this policy is not in effect [and] the college has its same policy,” Ostman said. “In 2016, the policy the senate sent up to the President’s Office was given to Academic Affairs to review; it was then revised further by Academic Affairs and sent back to the senate’s Student Personnel Policies committee, which rejected the changes.”

According to Ostman, the senate acknowledges that the back and forth was unusual, but that they tried to accommodate the return of the policy with changes. She stressed that the policy that is in the current Student Handbook is being adhered to for the moment.

“On Monday, April 3, the Senate executive committee met with the BOT Governance committee; additional members of the Board, as well as Dr. Miles and Dr. Brown, also attended,” Ostman said on the topic of the Board of Trustees. “The Governance committee asked the senate executive committee to explain how the senate came to pass a ‘No Confidence’ vote.”

According to Ostman, the executive committee tried to remain faithful to its understanding of the senate’s general concerns.

“Because the senate does not generally field complaints, a list of concerns about operations within Academic Affairs was generated during the February 8 meeting, in addition to a list of concerns/questions raised by a couple of participants in the Middle States Monitoring Report,” Ostman said. “Since these were items that were not explicitly addressed by the senate and none of us on the executive committee could directly speak to them, we raised them as questions that needed clarity.”

Dr. Miles dedicated most of her speech to inform the senate about positive feedback from the Middle States organization with regards to the monitoring report that was submitted.

According to Dr. Miles, a follow-up report is expected to be submitted by fall 2018.

“Specific detail was provided as to what their expectations are as we move forward,” Miles said. “The Middle States committee asked us to focus on four areas: assessing the effectiveness of enrollment management activities, implementing program reviews and a timely manner, demonstrating that planning processes incorporate assessment results, and periodically assessing the effectiveness of administrative structures.”

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