April 2012 Faculty Senate: Welcome and Updates

By Dr. Kenneth Bolin, Speaker

Hello! My name is Kenneth Bolin, and I serve as speaker of the Texas A&M Health Science Center (TAMHSC) Faculty Senate.

Dr. Kenneth Bolin

I am an associate professor at the TAMHSC-Baylor College of Dentistry and director of the Graduate Program in Dental Public Health. I’ve been with the TAMHSC for just over 10 years and before that was involved in the private practice of dentistry and as director of a federally qualified health center dental clinic. I tell you all that so as you read my updates on the Faculty Senate you can understand my perspective and outlook on health care issues.

I assumed the role of speaker from Jim Burdine at the close of our January 2012 meeting, held in the new Health Professions Education Building on the Bryan Campus. I recognize that I have some high expectations after following speakers Dr. Burdine and before him Dr. Lynne Opperman from the Baylor College of Dentistry.

Under their prior leadership, our relationship with the TAMHSC leadership has been improved in the quest for shared governance within the institution. That relationship has opened the door for the Faculty Senate to be meaningfully involved in the review of TAMHSC policies that can fundamentally influence the roles and expectations of faculty.

For example, as part of that review process, in 2010 a new TAMHSC-level Grievance Committee was formed that will enable faculty grievances to be addressed at the institution level when efforts at the component level do not succeed. Other policies we will be reviewing this spring include the Behavioral Intervention Team Policy; a continuing review of OIT issues identified in the Gartner Report and customer satisfaction survey in late 2011; and The Texas A&M University System policy on conflicts of interest, dual office holding and political activities. I’d like to thank the senators and faculty members who provided reviews and comments.

In addition to monthly conference calls with the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and bimonthly senate meetings, we also meet twice a year for an all-day, face-to-face meeting to allow time to address topics in greater detail. The January meeting mentioned previously was one of those face-to-face events.

Part of that agenda was a briefing from Jenny Jones, vice president for governmental affairs. Jones provided us with an up-to-the-minute report of activities of the Texas Legislature in the offseason and gave us firsthand news on issues that are in the formative stages.

My intent is to provide brief updates of the Faculty Senate’s significant activities. Either directly or through your component’s faculty senators, I would like to express my willingness to talk with any faculty member within the TAMHSC about challenges, issues, opportunities and needs they feel the Faculty Senate may be able to address.

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