APSCUF President Dr. Kenneth M. Mash’s comments as prepared:
Chairwoman Shapira, Chancellor Whitney, governors, and presidents,
On behalf of my faculty colleagues in APSCUF, the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties, I want to thank you for engaging in a smooth process that resulted in the one-year contract.
We appreciate the leadership of the chancellor and the board in this regard, and we are glad that our faculty members can, for at least one more year, concentrate without a major distraction their attention on the students and on making our universities the best institutions they can be.
We are also glad that we can focus our organizational efforts on support for our institutions.
Our students are far better off when we cooperate than when we are in battle. We further appreciate what Chancellor Whitney has been saying on our campuses about working together and seriously listening to concerns.
We hope that this is the dawn of a new day where the Office of the Chancellor models behavior that is expected on all of our campuses.
We do have campuses that are led by presidents who truly listen, who demonstrate in word and deed their respect for their faculty colleagues and all of those who work at their universities.
Our hope is that within the System that they are held up as examples of how academic institutions ought to be led.
Not that there is never disagreement, not that there are not hard choices to be made with which we will strongly disagree, but that decisions are duly informed and can be rationally explained to campus constituencies.
Bosses that solely rely on the power of their office rarely find success in any enterprise; with academic leadership, it is a recipe for disaster.
For our System to thrive, we need to stop some of the pettiness that occurs on our campuses. The campus climate ought to be an important factor in weighing the job performance of the campus leadership, and there need to be outlets within the System that faculty, coaches, students, and all employees can turn to and know that their campus concerns are taken seriously.
We would hope that when a campus leader is consistently acrid in word and deed with respect to those who are responsible for carrying out the very mission of the State System that this would be a serious matter of concern for the leadership of the System.
We need to find a better equilibrium, particularly in the world of academic affairs, but also in the world of budgeting and administration. We believe that the State System ought to model that behavior, and that it should be insisted upon for our campuses. The sense we get is that the System is moving in that direction, and we would like you to know that we appreciate it.
There is a far greater role for true input into the operations of our System, and I look forward to having the opportunity to articulate our perspectives in direct conversation with the System’s leadership.
We are fully aware of the challenges that face the System, and we look forward to confronting those challenges together in the most constructive ways possible.
Thank you very much for your attention.