Faculty Senate News

Faculty Senate Meetings in 22-23 are Face-to-Face

August 22, 2022  / Anna Carlin 

The COVID-19 pandemic showed us that we could do things differently. From March 2020- February 2022, FGCU’s Faculty Senate met exclusively online via Zoom. From February-April 2022 we held hybrid meetings where each senator had a choice about whether to attend in person or virtually on Zoom. These virtual and hybrid meetings proved to be more effective than we could have imagined pre-pandemic. While we have discovered that virtual meetings gave us great flexibility, high attendance rates and convenience don’t necessarily equate to better engagement or efficacy.  

Faculty Senate is where the university community looks for the collective opinion of the FGCU faculty. The mission, vision, and guiding principles of the FGCU Faculty Senate can be found in our Faculty Governance Document, and I encourage you to look through those first two pages of text. The mission of the FGCU Faculty Senate is important and critical in a time when higher education in Florida finds itself under close scrutiny by our governing board and legislators. 

We, the officers of the FGCU Faculty Senate, believe that we can best fulfill the mission, vision, and guiding principles of the Faculty Senate by reconvening the Faculty Senate in a primarily face-to-face meeting format.

We believe that having the majority of Faculty Senators in the room together allows for the best dialogue and connection between colleagues.

We believe that even though it is possible to operate in a purely virtual meeting format, it may not be the optimal format for bringing the best levels of attention and engagement out of Senators. We believe that as classes have now resumed in nearly the same delivery formats as pre-COVID times, Faculty Senate will also return to its traditional format.  

In the spring of 2022, the membership of the Faculty Senate agreed to change the language in our by-laws to allow a virtual attendance at a Faculty Senate meeting to not count as an absence. What we didn’t do at that time is set expectations for when virtual attendance is appropriate. We would like to establish some guidelines now, without putting undue hardship on our members with detailed restrictions.  

Being chosen to represent your college, school, or unit in the Faculty Senate should be an honor to the individual, because of the great responsibility placed upon the Faculty Senate in the system of the university’s collegial governance system.  Passive attendance at Faculty Senate is of limited usefulness if we are to be truly attendant to the mission of this body. Providing a virtual meeting option now is intended as solution for those who wish to be engaged as a Senator but find occasional barriers to being on campus during the meeting. The intent of offering virtual meeting options is not to allow people to be able to do other things during the meeting.  

We hope that these attendance guidelines will be met in the spirit they were offered in; a desire to do our best for the university and the students we serve. We welcome your input. 


Guidelines for Faculty Senate Meeting Attendance  

Barring unforeseen circumstances, Faculty Senate meetings in the 2022-2023 school year will be primarily in-person meetings and not hybrid. A Zoom virtual meeting will be available for those Senators who request and are given access to attend virtually in advance of the meeting. This is intended to allow for some limited number of virtual attendances per senator per semester. The reasons for these virtual attendances should be things like work-related travel or illness/family illness. Senators on long term leaves (sabbatical, PD leave, family or medical leave) of a semester or more should seek replacement during leave rather than virtual participation. Senators who have been given fully remote job assignments should contact the Senate Executive Team for advice on how to proceed.  

  • Zoom meeting links will not be published on the website or distributed to all senators. Zoom meeting links will be sent only to those that request approval for virtual attendance at least 18 hours prior to the meeting. 
  • Requests for approval of virtual attendance should be sent via email to the all Faculty Senate Officers (5 individuals) and administrative support for Faculty Senate, Kristin Toth. A message with the date you would like to attend virtually and a reason will suffice.
  • Though not prohibited, requests for virtual attendance more than 2 times a semester will prompt a conversation with the Faculty Senate Executive Team.