Decanal...(3 of 8)

James N. Porter (
Sun, 11 Jan 1998 17:19:10 -0500 (EST)

as promised - James

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 11 Jan 1998 14:32:32 -0500
From: Phillip Silver <psilver@YORKU.CA>
Reply-To: York University Faculty Association List <YUFA-L@YORKU.CA>
Subject: Re: Please tell me...


The question of where the dean sits between administration and faculty was
discussed in our various meetings and is one of importance. One of the
questions raised in our discussions was, if I can paraphrase, "is the dean
the representative of the faculty to the administration or the other way
round?" That is a situation that I'm sure applies to all faculties. I
suspect that many individuals who serve/are serving as deans find
themselves also wondering about it at various points in their terms.
Situations like strikes, under our current system of deans being admins,
certainly draws attention to such lines in the sand.

Phillip Silver
Department of Theatre
York University
Phone: (416) 736-2100, ext. 44019
Home Phone: (519) 273-3760 Fax: (519) 273-4651

On Sun, 11 Jan 1998, nuri t jazairi wrote:

> Phillip - many, many thanks for this very thoughtful contribution to an
> important topic. Another reform I believe would have enormous implications
> is that the dean should not be part of the "administration". He or she
> will be responsible for negotiating the Faculty budget but s/he will spend
> her time on the academic concerns of her Faculty and not on the committees
> and politics of "restructuring" and fund-raising.
> Nuri Jazairi
> On Sun, 11 Jan 1998, Phillip Silver wrote:
> >
> > Paul,
> >
> > Today is a hectic tidy-things-up day preparatory to heading to Winnipeg,
> > but I think your very direct question to me on Jan 8 deserves as mush of
> > an answer as I can give now, with perhaps some elaboration at a future
> > time.
> >
> > You asked if I was REALLY satisfied with the current process for the
> > decanal search. The answer is both "yes" and "no".
> >
> > YES given the point of departure, the info we had when we started, the
> > support faculty members have given to the process and the result, which is
> > a committee that both in numbers and distribution is far more
> > representative than previous committees have been. My personal judgment
> > is that it will be a balanced committee with strong
> > representation from various points of view. James Tenney's e-mail gives
> > some indication of faculty council's support for the process. And I guess
> > that, to some extent, my satisfaction with the process is secondary to
> > theirs. As I pointed out in my first YUFA-L, I was not and still am not
> > aware of FFA council (YUFA) members who were unhappy with the way we
> > proceeded.
> >
> > NO because, as we proceeded, we did discover things that were not as we
> > came to think they should be, or were the subject of alternate
> > interpretations. It seems to me that the composition of any search
> > committee should be unassailable so that their eventual
> > recommendation(s) will also be seen as unassailable (or at very
> > least, valid as an expression of the will of a majority of faculty).
> >
> > There have already been some informal discussions as to the changes we
> > might make for the next time. I hope that before this term is over our
> > Council Executive will be able to draft motions for debate in Council on
> > these items. To give some idea of what some of us now feel should be
> > in place:
> >
> > - The current York decanal reappointment process seems to start at the
> > President's level, with the Pres asking a Dean if s/he wishes to continue
> > into a second full or partial term. If the answer is "Yes", the Pres
> > then asks Council for its support/non-support, with whatever votes,
> > letters, forums, etc. council establishes to ascertain that support. Our
> > Council has shown interest in procedures that essentially are an
> > assumption of a FIXED five year term for a Dean, with the COUNCIL
> > initiating the request to the President for an extension or renewal. This
> > obviously has to happen at a predetermined time in the Deans' term, so
> > that the timeline for the possible search is sufficient.
> >
> > - There was very little in our Faculty records that clearly stated the
> > search committee routine, and as we have already discussed, the contract
> > and "search procedures" documents leave too much potential for
> > interpretation. I hope that Council wil be able to draft procedures that
> > clearly outline the actual numbers, the distribution of reps and the
> > methods for election among faculty, staff, grads and undergrads, as well
> > as how we should put forward our recommendations to the President for
> > her/his appointees. There are obviously several parties to all this and we
> > will work with them to assure that their independence is protected and
> > their input is assured. All of this would have to be clearly within the
> > letter and spirit of 12.28.
> >
> > So to sum up, from where we started to where we are, I do think the
> > process has created a committee that will serve the faculty and the
> > Faculty well. I don't think the proposed improved procedures would
> > have found a better group of individuals, but it would have made
> > their election a cleaner process.
> >
> >
> > Phillip Silver
> > Department of Theatre
> > York University
> > Phone: (416) 736-2100, ext. 44019
> > e-mail:
> > Home Phone: (519) 273-3760 Fax: (519) 273-4651
> >