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Chaparral 2016-2017: 25.5 Speaking of the Senate

25.5 Speaking of the Senate


Speaking of the Senate: Parting is Such a Sweet Sorrow

by Andrew Young
Academic Senate President

My term as Academic Senate President is drawing to a close.  The position has been interesting, challenging and often even fun, but I have missed being in the classroom full-time.  As important as meetings and solving problems and contributing to the setting of academic policy for the college may be, that is not why I went into teaching.  Now that my time as president is coming to a close, I am looking forward to getting back to spending my days doing what I love most, teaching Math.

The biggest source of joy in being a community college professor is the daily interactions with the students, and I have not really had that while I have been president.  I have only been able to teach one five-unit class per semester during the last three years.  I teach two nights a week, for two and a half hours a night.  Of course, for me that is two and a half hours of Calculus, my favorite subject, and any day that ends with two and a half hours of Calculus is a good day.

Unfortunately, the rest of the week I have had little interaction with students.  Sure I get a few that come to my office hours, or send me emails.  Sometimes I just run into students (figuratively) on campus and get to chatting.  But that is not the same as getting up in front of a room full (or at least mostly full) of students, explaining some powerful tool that Mathematics provides us, showing the class not just how to use it, but why it works, and trying to give them a sense of where it can take us next.

There is little that makes me as happy as sharing my love for Math with my students.  Sure, not many, or even any, of them will ever love the subject as much as I do.  That is not the point.  To me, Math is fun, and now I get to go back to having fun many more hours each day.

Even better, I get to do this and still be on Senate Exec as Past President for another year.  I get to continue to experience a lot of the fun parts of being involved in Senate leadership, with dramatically less responsibility.  In this way, it is a lot like being a grandparent (which I also am, five times over).

While I will be ramping down my involvement with Senate leadership, I will still be involved in a few select governance committees.  But now I will have the benefit of getting to pick where I want to spend my energies.  (As Senate president, there are a lot of committees you are automatically on, whether you would have wanted to be or not.)

I am still a strong proponent of getting involved with governance.  If you are actively involved in one or more governance committees, thanks for helping to share the workload.  If you are not, you should look for a committee on which you could serve, and let Frankie Strong in the Governance Office know that you would be interested in joining.  If a seat becomes available, you will then be considered as a candidate for possible appointment.

Also, keep in mind that our governance committee meetings are open meetings.  If you think you might be interested in what a specific committee does, go to a meeting and see what’s going on.  You might find it interesting and decide that you would like to get more involved.  Information on the governance committees is available in the Blue List.

Before I sign off, I would like to thank my Senate Executive committee, Cindy Pollack, Roger Dickes, Nancy Getty, former Senate President Michael Scott, and your incoming Senate President Piper Rooney, as well as previous Senate Exec members I have worked with, including Cameron Hastings, Daphne Dionisio, and Paul Mayer.  I also need to thank the people who stepped up to lead our Senate committees, including Sarah McLemore, Fabiola Torres, Yvette Ybarra, Beth Kronbeck, Yvette Hassakoursian.  They are all wonderful people who have been exceptionally supportive and generous with their time and energy.  Without them, this job would have been a lot harder, if not impossible.

I can’t forget to thank our Governance Officer, Frankie Strong, who has been a great colleague and friend to me, helping to keep me on track and organized.  Without her I could not have done this job.

And finally, thank you to all of you for letting me serve as your Senate President for the last three years.  It has been a humbling and gratifying experience which I will not soon forget. There are surely many others in the faculty, administration and staff who deserve to be thanked individually, but I can hear the band starting to play the “wrap it up” music, so I will just end with a big, blanket thank you to all.

Parting is such sweet sorrow.

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