Due to a multitude of reasons before and during the past few academic years, faculty members have articulated multiple concerns they have regarding the institution. Joe Wegwert, vice president of the executive committee, expressed this first during the committee’s April 8 meeting.
According to Wegwert, the university sent out various email surveys to faculty this past semester, asking about their confidence in the educational administration in which they work.
The messages, many of which were sent to personal emails by request, expressed “considerable agreement that issues exist within the administration,” as stated by Wegwert.
One committee member then mentioned the obvious absence of NAU President Rita Cheng at the meeting, a topic of discussion at previous faculty senate meetings. Multiple members proposed that her nonattendance to most meetings, all of which she is promptly invited, could be an indirect factor of faculty morale.
“We are laying everything at her door. It all boils down to communication between administration and faculty,” An anonymous committee member said.
“It is such a win for everyone when she is here,” Another anonymous committee member said.
Though morale at the meeting itself was at a low point, a few members voiced their positive communicative experiences with Cheng.
Anne Scott, chair of the executive committee R&R council, spoke of a time when she and the president were able to discuss successes at a previous faculty senate meeting. Another member was at that meeting and agreed that her attendance was extremely beneficial to everyone involved.
Wegwert made one last comment about faculty morale and the separate natures of most faculty to either agree or disagree with administrative action.
“I am concerned about the bifurcation of the university and what faculty have voiced about it. We do have real problems that we must address as faculty and an administration as a whole,” Wegwert said.
The meeting shuffled attention to Emily Allen, sophomore assistant vice president of community relations at NAU.
Allen expressed her enthusiasm regarding the university’s “marriage” with the City of Flagstaff and vice versa.
When the assistant vice president opened up the floor to any comments the committee might have, a few members asked Allen what her predominant concerns are regarding the university’s inability to house 44% of its student population.
Allen stated that the university’s role in housing its students given the size of the campus is actually impressive, considering the size of Flagstaff and the size of NAU campus.
“The university grows with Flagstaff. It stays within an appropriate percentage of the city’s total population, which is pretty impressive,” Allen said.
Allen lastly commented on the morale of NAU’s internal community and what faculty express outwardly when not directly working with the university.
“What’s hurting us is what people say on the outside about the inside. We cannot expect positive change if no one acts positively,” Allen said.