Madewell offers objectives, insights as Senate reconvenes

In September Bruce Madewell became chair of the Davis Division of the Academic Senate, replacing Jeff Gibeling, who stepped down to serve as dean of graduate studies. A professor in the Department of Veterinary Surgical and Radiological Sciences, in the School of Veterinary Medicine, Madewell served as vice chair of the Davis Division during the academic year 2001-'02. His current appointment will continue through August of next year.

The Academic Senate Representative Assembly will hold its first regular meeting of 2002-'03 at 3 p.m. Monday in MU II of the Memorial Union. Madewell recently offered to Dateline his perspectives and goals as the Senate prepares for another academic year of meetings and as his new term begins.

What are your main objectives as you begin your role as chair of the Academic Senate?

  • have several primary objectives. The first is to improve the efficiency of Senate operation by timely response to issues. The senate is notorious for slow deliberations, and that slow pace has often resulted in quick administrative oversight of emergent problems that are clearly within the purview of the Senate.
  • hope to maintain active dialogue with the administration with regard to our respective and collaborative responsibilities. In that regard, I will try to continue the method used by former chair Jeff Gibeling to encourage the administration to appoint joint committees to work on issues of common interest. I will try to keep the faculty engaged in the operation of the Senate, and I will strive to fairly represent the Davis Division in the issues confronting the systemwide Academic Senate.

One important immediate objective for the Senate is to solidify the processes of personnel review that were embodied in the reports from the Special Committee on the Academic Personnel Process (SCAPP) and Special Com-mittee on Personnel Process Reform (SCPPR) generated during Jeff Gibeling's tenure. Those Senate committees underscored problems within the academic personnel review process, and proposed remedies for their solution.

The challenge before the Senate is to enact the recommendations of SCPPR for fair and equitable review of Senate faculty, and to reach an amicable agreement with the administration on the process for appeal of negative recommendations from the Committee on Academic Person-nel for salary merit advances and promotions.

The Senate has also challenged faculty to identify criteria for evaluating excellence in scholarship within its departments and units.

UC has a long and unique history of shared governance. Traditional Senate responsibilities are supervision of courses and curriculum, admissions and graduation requirements and standards. The Senate is empowered to share responsibilities with administration regarding personnel decisions relating to the faculty. The Senate also offers advice to the administration on the budget and other administrative matters relating to the mission of the university in instruction, research and public service.

  • look forward to facilitating working interactions between the administration and Senate within the frameworks of our respective responsibilities. In that spirit, I was pleased to hear in an administrative address at the Chancellor's Fall Conference in September that the role of administration is to "serve the academic institutions."

What are the key issues you see facing the Academic Senate this year?

The newly-formed Undergraduate Council should enhance the operation of the Academic Senate. The Undergraduate Council, created under Jeff Gibeling's direction, will assist the faculties of the schools and colleges on issues relating to undergraduate education. Its organizational committees include the Committee on General Education, Committee on Preparatory Education, Committee on Special Academic Programs and the Committee on Undergraduate Instruction. All committees of the Undergraduate Council will report their activities through this council.

An important issue facing the Senate will be examination of the faculty teaching load. As a result of findings by the California State auditor in its 2002 report titled "University of California: Its partnership could be improved by increased accountability for state funding," President Atkinson will be requesting more rigorous scrutiny of, and policies for, monitoring faculty instructional activities. This may require that more undergraduate courses by taught by regular-rank faculty, and increased commitment to engage undergraduate students with enthusiasm and opportunities for instruction in research.

The Senate must play active and key roles in these discussions relating to expectations of faculty in instruction in the setting of a research university and at a time of increasing UC student enrollment and expanded year-round instruction.

Another clear challenge to the faculty will be its commitment to public service and outreach. This theme resounded at the Chancellor's Fall Conference on the theme of "staying connected and generating support."

There will be high expectations for faculty to engage in activities that showcase the university's accomplishments in teaching, basic research and technology for the campus comprehensive fund-raising campaign. Strong commitments to continuing education in local and international communities will be used to demonstrate the university's connections with the public. These additional expectations on faculty time will require adjustments in the evaluation of faculty responsibility to public service, and allow commensurate reward in the personnel review processes for meritorious service.

In addition, the faculty will be asked to examine the methodology and outcomes of the processes of comprehensive review and standardized testing in the admissions process, as articulated in the Board of Admissions and Relations to Schools recommendations for standards of admissions enacted last year within the UC system.

Another new piece of the admissions standards that will require Senate opinion is the expectation for comprehensive review of graduate and professional school admissions. In particular, division and systemwide Senate task forces will be appointed for review of the processes and standards for graduate student and professional student admissions that transcend standardized test scores.

The Western Association of Schools and Colleges has scheduled its accreditation site visit for Dec. 4-6 to review the Capacity Standards at UC Davis. A second site visit is set for March, focusing on educational effectiveness. The Senate will play an important role in these visits. For more information, see the WASC portfolio at

Faculty welfare issues are also of concern. It appears that there will be no cost-of-living adjustments for faculty in the 2002-'03 budget, but there will be increased costs for health insurance as we once again enter a period of health care inflation. University faculty salaries have again fallen below that of the comparison eight institutions by nearly 8 percent, and prospects for recovery in 2003-'04 appear slim.

The Senate faculty will be challenged to maintain high morale in this changing work-environment. Of paramount concern is maintaining an environment conducive to scholarly inquiry and creative activities. Compensatory resources will be required so that the competing demands do not erode the time available to conduct their state-mandated requirement - research.

What do you think can be done to encourage greater participation in Senate meetings?

Jeff Gibeling set a process in place to encourage faculty participation in the senate. If we hope to share governance with administration, then we, collectively, must accept that responsibility to react in timely fashion to issues confronting the university. The Senate office is hindered by resource limitation, particularly workloads of the staff, but there are clearly opportunities to further engage the faculty in Senate matters through its Web site and electronic communication.

How do you think your background perhaps gives you a different perspective than previous Senate chairs?

As a clinical veterinarian, I am trained to confront problems first with a thorough history and (physical) examination. (Laboratory) tests are then done to obtain objective data. Results are compiled and analyzed and conclusions made. As a result of those findings, treatment or preventive strategies are devised and implemented. I will see if this clinical approach is appropriate for problems confronting the Senate.

My background in veterinary medicine is presumed to have been an advantage when I was being considered for selection as chair. The veterinary faculty is often perceived as provincial because of its isolation on the campus fringe and little responsibility for undergraduate instruction. Perhaps as a result of that apparent isolation, I was perceived as less influenced by the body politic of campus and likely to make my own decisions.

  • believe there have been three previous faculty members from professional schools who have served as UC Davis Senate chairs. Edward Barrett, of the Law School faculty, served 1978-'80; Robert Cello, a veterinary medicine ophthalmologist, served 1980-'82; and Daniel Simmons, 1991-'93, also hailed from the Law School.

Although I am disadvantaged regarding Sen-ate issues facing undergraduate programs of instruction on campus, I hope to be able to offer informed opinions on issues confronting professional schools and graduate programs at UC Davis.

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Amy Agronis, Dateline, (530) 752-1932,

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