To launch a new tradition to the start of the academic year that calls together the entire University of Cincinnati Faculty in a functional theme-driven assembly that will drive faculty institutional interactions for the year and reinforce an identity as an active university faculty.
The Faculty Assembly is not a business meeting. It is a gathering of the intellectual expertise of the university in pursuit of institutional excellence.
All great universities create strong identity around their faculty. The Faculty Assembly provides the opportunity to deepen the identity of the ‘University Faculty’ at UC working across unit, college, and administrative levels to shape the future of our institution. Beyond substantive content focus, the Assembly will develop engaging “traditions” within the event to build community.
Each year, the Assembly will begin the academic year with a focus on an institutional theme of importance that will infuse interactions throughout the year.
Currently at UC, we have both a well-developed bargaining arm (AAUP) and a shared governance arm (Senate and All-University Committees) that provide process and structures through which to interact with the administrative part of the institution. However, we lack sustained identity as a university faculty (which includes all faculty serving in administrative roles), in part, because we do not have the opportunities to function intellectually as a university faculty. So aside from bargaining and governing, we need to add the opportunity to engage each other in what faculty do best – think through complex ideas and be open to the unexpected that vigorous discussion and interaction can highlight. The Faculty Assembly will be an important element in strengthening the identity of the university faculty, which in turn should strengthen all elements of the institution.
The default critique that faculty are unlikely to gather in this fashion is exactly why such an annual assembly of the faculty must be pursued. We need to pursue opportunities to shift cultural expectations so that engaged interaction as a university faculty becomes a norm that will enhance not only the institution, but our individual professional and personal lives as dedicated scholars and teachers.