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Faculty seek representative to serve on UW Board of Regents

The following is from SEIU 925:

UW-corporate-logoOLYMPIA (Jan. 19, 2016) — State Rep. Gerry Pollet (D-Seattle) introduced a bill last week that would bring balance to the University of Washington Board of Regents by creating a faculty position.

Currently the majority of regents on the Board are leaders of finance and industry. Creating a faculty regent would give front-line educators and researchers a voice at the highest levels of UW decision-making. While students have a voting representative on the Board, faculty do not.

“A faculty voice on the Board will help ensure that student instruction and academic research remain central to the mission of the UW,” said Libi Sundermann, a UW Tacoma instructor. “This is especially important in the face of collapsing state support, growing corporate influence and the rise of part-time and contingent faculty appointments.”

pollet-gerryUW Faculty Forward, the faculty union campaign, worked with Pollet to introduce HB 2546 . Pollet is Vice Chair of the House Higher Education Committee and a clinical instructor at the UW School of Public Health. The bill is scheduled for public hearing in that committee Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.

In a September 2015 survey with more than 600 UW faculty respondents, 86% said they believed faculty should have a voting position on the Board.

By including a faculty regent position, UW would join other universities that have already taken that step. An article in the journal AAUP Academe reports that voting faculty members serve as regents or trustees at 13% of public institutions and 15% of private institutions. Sixty percent of those faculty regents were elected by fellow faculty. Another 14% of the private institutions and 10% of the public institutions had nonvoting faculty members on their Boards.

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