Do You Know Who Will Take Your Place

Executive Director

Over the past years, more and more faculty senate presidents have complained about the scarcity of faculty willing to take over the leadership role on their campuses. Many of these complaints have been that the workload is unmanageable, the conflict is unbearable, or there is no reassigned time to attract new faculty to participate in the local senate. So faculty often ask, "If no one is willing to assume the role, how do I find my replacement? How do we grow our own?" This article will consider a few ideas on how to develop those around you to take over when you no longer serve in the position.

IDENTIFY: Those who are willing to serve will often seek you out to volunteer for tasks; they are the few and the willing AND we appreciate their contributions. However, you also need to identify other faculty who would bring to your senate a variety of experiences-researchers, writers, talkers, fighters, and even silent observers. As you do your work around the campus in a number of venues, as you speak with other faculty about their personal and professional interests, or even as you are eating lunch in the cafeteria, always be on the lookout for those who would bring to your senate an added benefit. You will be amazed at the resources right at your fingertips when your eyes are wide open. In addition, enlist your fellow senators to assist in expanding the pool of faculty able to serve your local senate. But remember that you don't need to find someone willing to spend hours on senate work. Some faculty are willing to work on short-term projects, others on specific committees, and some are willing to serve in any capacity. You need them all.

MENTOR: Now that you have found faculty willing to serve, it is important to mentor these potential new leaders, particularly since you don't want to scare them off. But if you are a busy local senate president with no reassigned time and still teaching a full load (yes, there are still many faculty leaders that do), how do you mentor? Well, it can be as simple as you would like or as extensive as you have time for and you don't even have to be the mentor. For example, you can assign other senators to mentor faculty in a particular area (e.g., curriculum or other committee work). The faculty member could "shadow" a mentor for several meetings to gain experience and to understand the players. Another form of mentorship is to ask the new faculty volunteer to research a specific topic that would be used in the work of the senate. And yet another example would be to let the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges train them-ask your volunteer to serve on a state-level committee. We have seasoned Executive Committee members able to teach faculty the important issues on both the local and state levels and to model leadership in a variety of forums. There are many creative ways to mentor faculty. I suggest that you begin with very small tasks that build to a greater understanding of the work of the senate. Before you know it you will have many who are willing and excited to take on more responsibility.

DELEGATE: Some of you might be saying that you have been following these tips all along and it is still very difficult to find faculty to volunteer for the many campus responsibilities; and when you do finally "catch" someone to volunteer, they are always the same people. Another method you can use is to delegate small tasks. This is the tough one because it is very difficult to let go. At times, it is much more efficient and effective to complete senate work yourself than delegate the task to others. However, when you are completing a task that others could do, you are denying others the chance to grow. Leadership cannot be developed without delegating responsibility; sometimes the best training is on the job. So start small with tasks that require little independent responsibility such as asking a faculty member to attend a meeting to take notes, to research a topic, to serve on a discipline committee, etc. Whatever the task, remember that it is one that you don't need to do, which frees you to do other important tasks. In addition, the faculty member can learn by doing. As you delegate more and more responsibility, you will find that you have a whole cadre of faculty who can serve dependably in a number of capacities and more importantly you have more time to dedicate to the leadership of the senate and to your family and friends.

This brief article provided some simple methods to identify and mentor new leaders, but its real purpose is to get you as the local senate leader to begin to think about recruiting and mentoring someone to take your place. In my opinion, the foundation of the senate relies on the development of those who will carry on the important work of the senate. If you need assistance in training others, we encourage you to send faculty to the Academic Senate's Plenary Session (April 7 - 9, 2005, at the SFO Westin in San Francisco), Leadership Institute (June 23 - 25, 2005, at the Hayes Mansion in San Jose), Curriculum Institute (July 14 - 16, 2005, at the Hyatt Islandia in San Diego), and next year's Vocational Leadership Institute (Spring 2006). If you don't have funds to send people, we offer many scholarships to each event, and the Vocational Education Institute covers travel and registration costs. Please be assured that we are always looking out for your interests and encouraging your faculty to participate at the local and state levels. Remember: there is strength in numbers and we have over 57,000 faculty in our ranks!