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Faculty Senate appeals to Witt

Alyssa Locklar

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On Tuesday, the faculty, staff and administration had their spring meeting where Clark Midkiff, the president of the Faculty Senate, requested that UA President Robert Witt take more consideration of the faculty and their expertise when making future decisions regarding big issues on the University of Alabama campus.

“Well, I am here representing the faculty, so my request simply is to ask the administration to make a better effort to involve faculty in the planning process as to address these many problems that we face for the future,” Midkiff said. “We have a great faculty, and it has much expertise relevant to the challenges and decisions that UA faces.

“In my college, engineering, in the department of civil construction and environmental engineering, we have expertise construction planning and management transportation and traffic design and environmental management.”

Midkiff went on to describe several issues around campus that his specific college could provide insight on such as various areas of construction and even potential environmental upgrades.

“Our faculty in other colleges, including Commerce and Business Administration, Arts and Sciences, Communications and several others, have faculty who are experts in confronting the kinds of challenges the University faces,” Midkiff said. “To its credit, the University has consulted faculty on recent issues. An excellent example of this is the renovation of Foster Auditorium.”

Before he was through, Midkiff reiterated the importance of his request and the benefits that would come with it.

“So in conclusion, I am simply asking that the faculty of our University be included in planning for the many changes that are to come in the future,” Midkiff said. “Yes, there are those among us who will not participate because they don’t see the rewards, and yes, us faculty will not respond as quickly as a higher consultant but please keep us in mind. We collectively have great expertise, a love of and dedication to the University, and we are much more knowledgeable of our circumstances than an external consultant.”

Witt answered Midkiff at the meeting.

“On behalf of Provost Bonner, we will take advantage of your very generous offer,” Witt said. “I will ask Judy at the next meeting of the executive committee of the faculty senate to figure out how best to move forward on involving the faculty on all of the areas you suggested.”

Witt went on to accept free consulting from the faculty in comparison to the high-priced outside consultants.

Although Midkiff made such a direct request of the administration, he also had many positive remarks in his report that applauded Witt and his work to not only expand the University, but also to better the UA community as a whole.

“We are in the process of finishing a $70 million engineering building, preparing to break ground on another $70 million engineering building,” Midkiff said. “We are building a new, nearly thousand-person dorm near Rose Towers. We are building four new sorority houses; we are adding several new fraternity houses. The whole point is that even though these are bad economic times, we are sailing purposefully into the winds.”

Midkiff compared the University’s success to the unfortunate construction halt that has been issued at the University of Kentucky where all internally funded construction has come to a standstill.

“The president has improved our finances to a point where we have endured many millions of [dollars in] state funding cuts, we have been prorated recently once again, yet never the less, we are hiring faculty and we are moving ahead,” Midkiff said. “All of the pain that has been suffered, has been suffered in his office and not out in the colleges, and we are grateful for that.”

 

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Faculty Senate appeals to Witt