Friday was a good day, dominated by two “big” events – a half-day morning meeting with my Dean’s Council, and an extended observation of the Faculty Senate in the afternoon, highlighed by new-president Rodney Bennett’s first address to senators.
Dean’s Council – a group of engaged and influential supporters and contributors to the college – meets but twice per year, so its every gathering is inherently special. Many thanks to Tommy Thorton and Hattiesburg Clinic for hosting this round, when a more-or-less last-minute change of venue was required.
As for the Senate – It was heartening to hear a good-news tone (however tentative and restrained) to the president’s remarks. On the money side – broad faculty/staff raises in the mix, a possible improvement in the IHL funding formula situation (no decision yet, questions raised and under review), larger faculty promotion increments. More generally – a commitment to evidence-based decision-making, thorough transparency (warm remarks for Ed Kemp of the Hattiesburg American, no less!), and shared governance beaucoup.
What’s not to like? It’s the “honeymoon” phase, to be sure, but a good start for the new top administrator nonetheless.