Faculty senate sends VPAA/Dean job assessment to administration, plans Dec. 15 meeting with president, abbot, board of trustees chair

Scott Murphy, News Editor

Following a November 25th meeting between the Faculty Senate, Brother Isaac Murphy, O.S.B. and Dean Mark Cronin regarding their respective job performances as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Academic Dean of the College, a December 15th meeting was scheduled between President Steven DiSalvo, Abbot Mark Cooper, O.S.B., Professor Phil Pajakowski (President of the Faculty Senate) and Board of Trustees Chair Joanne Pietrini-Smith in order to discuss the Faculty Senate’s assessment of the two men’s work and the Faculty Senate’s role in the shared governance of the College.

Professor Pajakowski revealed that the Faculty Senate sent an official assessment to the College’s administration after the conclusion of the November 25th meeting.

Professor Matthew Masur (Secretary of the Faculty Senate) informed The Crier that no further information from the meeting could be shared.

“After meeting with Dean Cronin and Brother Isaac we entered closed session for further deliberations/discussion. Those discussions are not intended for public dissemination,” he elaborated.

When asked about his thoughts on the meeting, Dean Cronin described the conversation as productive and is looking forward to working with the Faculty Senate in the future.

“I appreciated the opportunity to meet with the faculty senate to review my experience and qualifications and to share my perspective on the role of the Dean’s office,” Dean Cronin explained. “It was a pleasure for me to talk about my work with students and faculty, because it’s work that I enjoy very much.”

Brother Isaac echoed Dean Cronin’s sentiments, sharing that he and Dean Cronin have “Excellent relations” with the faculty and adding that “We have a hardworking faculty that is dedicated to ensuring the good of the College and its future.”

TheDec.15 meeting will be the first time that the aforementioned individuals have spoken simultaneously about the Faculty Senate’s belief that their official consultation was not sought within the appointment process.

This is something that is established in the Faculty Handbook and under AAUP (American Association of University Professors) guidelines, borth of which have been recognized by the College’s administration in the past.

Professor Nicole Leapley, a Faculty Senator and President of the Saint Anselm College Chapter of the AAUP, added that official AAUP wording on the matter is even more explicit about faculty involvement in these types of appointments.

“Education in general serves a public good, and we as professors have been entrusted with that responsibility,” Professor Leapley began. “As this is an area of expertise and interest of ours, faculty members should be involved in the shared governance of the College, particularly in this case when the decision directly affects our work as educators.”

President DiSalvo has stated his belief that he sufficiently consulted the Faculty Senate regarding his appointment of Dean Cronin.

Regarding Abbot Mark’s appointment of Brother Isaac, President DiSalvo cited the reserved powers that are granted to Abbot Mark by the by-laws of the College, which state that as the College’s Chancellor, he has the ability to appoint a qualified member of the monastic community to any position in the College.

Before both of these appointments became permanent, they required the approval of the Board of Trustees, which was provided by a unanimous vote.

Strictly regarding this departure from monastic centered College leadership, Abbot Mark shared that it is very important to have Benedictine involvement at Saint Anselm.

“This (Benedictine involvement) provides the monastery with some engagement,” Abbot Mark explained. “Having a monastery that is excited and energized in its apostolate helps to create a healthy community. Obviously, each monk needs to be qualified for his position.”

Professor Leapley hopes that the Dec. 15 meeting will strengthen communication within the College’s shared governance.

“There has been a breach of trust that we want to heal,” Professor Leapley shared. “We want to assure that the faculty is valued and that our voice matters.”

Several other past and present members of the Faculty Senate, as well as non-Senator faculty, declined to comment.

President DiSalvo also expressed a desire to address and repair communications and to ensure that the Faculty Senate has a voice.

“This meeting is all about moving forward,” President DiSalvo explained. “Substantive shared governance means engaging faculty in many different ways, such as on board committees. We want to fully articulate the roles and responsibilities within our shared government so that there is clarity for all parties involved.”