Why You Should Serve

by John M. Quigley, Chair

Shouldn't you have a say in the administration of this campus? For example, in deciding the requirements for self-supporting part-time degree programs, or developing the new admissions policies? Serving as an elected member of the Divisional Council gives you direct influence (and also the opportunity of getting to know fascinating colleagues with expertise in fields far removed from your own). If you have never served on a senate committee, you may not realize the breadth of activities, influence and accomplishments of the Academic Senate.

Each year faculty members from disparate schools and departments convene in Stephens Hall to debate dozens of diverse issues that affect faculty and academic life at Berkeley. Many of these issues are ultimately brought to the Divisional Council where options for action are considered. Finally, advice is forwarded to decision-makers on this campus and at the systemwide level. This advice is surprisingly effective in that it is always considered and very often taken.

On occasion, Senate viewpoints are also relayed to legislators in Sacramento (e.g., affirmative action policy), members of the U.S. Congress (e.g., new federal research funding policies) or to other universities (e.g., the recent threat to tenure at the University of Minnesota).

This year the Divisional Council has analyzed and developed policies regarding faculty welfare (e.g., the policy about leave for parental responsibilities for child care), non-monetary faculty compensation, graduate student mentorship, and instructional technology support -- all issues which have a great impact on teaching, research and the quality of life for faculty, students and staff.

Berkeley's tradition of faculty governance depends on the willingness of faculty to serve on the committees of the Academic Senate. To keep this tradition strong, the Committee on Committees works aggressively to develop balanced groups, equipped with the experience, expertise and initiative to make wise and effective policy on this campus.

To match volunteers with various committee posts, the Committee on Committees sends out an annual call for volunteers, together with a brief guide to the standing and special committees of the Senate. Take the time to consider volunteering to serve next academic year.

At the end of January, the senate will also be mailing election materials to our membership. You will be urged to vote for the 1997-98 elected members of the Divisional Council and Committee on Committees. We are now seeking nominations for service.

If you are interested in being nominated to serve on the Divisional Council or the Committee on Committees, contact the Senate office, 642-4226 or acad_sen@uclink4.berkeley.edu. You would be surprised to discover how truly rewarding Senate service can be.


Copyright 1998, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
Comments? E-mail berkeleyan@pa.urel.berkeley.edu.