The Forum for the 2nd VP of the Faculty Senate will be held at:
The ESU Emporia Union
Room: ESU Memorial Union, PKP Room, #048
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 pm
Date: Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Dr. Sonja Ezell
Associate Professor, Elementary Education, Early Childhood, and Special Education
As an opportunity to assist others and an expression of the deep regard I hold toward service, I seek the position of Second Vice President of the Faculty Senate. My primary goal is to seek common ground that recognizes the diverse perspectives and experiences of students, staff, and faculty at Emporia State University. As President of the Faculty, I will articulate consensus statements and capture concerns voiced by the many and the few. My background experiences during the past seven years at ESU demonstrate my ability to facilitate open and interactive dialogue to ensure transparency and robust resolutions. I seek input from all stakeholders and promote equitable policies on issues such as sustainability, academic freedom, and open expression. I am committed to convene and converse while listening to promote shared governance and a safe environment. As we pivot toward our institutional mission, we need input from a myriad of voices. With astute leadership from the ranks of the Faculty Senate and stakeholders of the university, we continue the long-lasting legacy of Emporia State University where “the common good” is a shared experience. I believe my term of service in Faculty Senate, leadership on university-wide committees, and community-based outreach reflect my commitment to equity and shared governance at Emporia State University.
Associate Professor of Management, School of Business
Many, many years ago, I was an MBA student here at ESU (and yes, I graduated). I had just been discharged from the United States Navy (honorably) and was lucky enough to be awarded a graduate assistantship position within the School of Business. I worked hard and several professors saw something in me that I did not and suggested that I pursue a doctorate. I applied to three doctoral programs and was accepted at two, Mississippi State University and the University of North Texas. I chose Mississippi State University (much to Dr. Rich’s chagrin). Fast forward through more than a few years and I arrived at ESU again. In my brief time as a faculty at ESU (five years and counting – time flies when you are having fun), I have come to understand and appreciate what ESU is and does.
I have always believed the tenets of hard work, cooperation with others, and leading by example are keys to a successful career and I have attempted to reflect those tenets in my efforts at ESU. In the interest of full disclosure, I did not consider running for the 2nd Vice President of the Faculty Senate until several colleagues suggested it. I must admit to being surprised, slightly flattered, and deeply moved that my colleagues believe I am capable of fulfilling such a role.
I am positive that every candidate will share their commitment and dedication toward shared governance, transparency, diversity, equality, and the foundation for achieving all of these things, open communication. I am no exception. I believe all of these things are necessary for the continued success of our university and should be cultivated, encouraged, and supported. As noted, I believe communication, communication at a personal level, is key.
When I first became a department chair, I found that getting out of my office and visiting people not affiliated with the School of Business in their office rather than calling or emailing them resulted in better communication and results. Almost to a person, each of the individuals I visited were surprised (maybe even shocked) when my shadow darkened their door. However, in every case, each of them welcomed me in and we had the kinds of conversations that build trust and community. I believe that a personal connection between people makes all the difference when discussing any topic. So, as many people on this campus can attest, if you send me an email that might require a lengthy answer, the odds are very good that your phone will ring and I will check to see if you plan to be in your office in five minutes (which is about the time it takes for me to walk anywhere on campus).
Final note: Thank you for taking the time to read this and thoughtfully consider all of the applicants for 2nd Vice President for the Faculty Senate. Please encourage your colleagues to do the same. I don’t care who you vote for (ok, I care a little), but please exercise your right to vote when the time comes.
Associate Professor, Biological Sciences
In my time as a student and an academic, I have become progressively more open-minded and pragmatic in finding solutions to problems, and my research in applied ecology has helped hone these skills. During my 13 years at ESU, these skills have been beneficial when serving my students, my department, and the university. Although all of my service activities have prepared me to serve as President of the Faculty, two in particular stand out. I have been a voting member of the Graduate Council for 7 years, and I have been elected twice as chair of the Council. I am also serving a second term as a Faculty Senator, during which I was selected twice to chair the Academic Affairs Committee (AAC). As AAC chair, I have been integral in the creation of Faculty Senate bills regarding academic dishonesty; academic appeals; program discontinuance; curriculum review; and diversity, equity and inclusion. In addition, as AAC chair, I have been a member of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee which has afforded me experience in representing my committee’s position to other faculty members and administrators. These service activities have prepared me to run productive meetings and find compromise between opposing viewpoints. My past leadership experiences prepare me as President of the Faculty to promote ESU’s four core values of excellence, respect, responsibility and service. In this position, my primary duty will be to ensure transparency in shared governance by facilitating discussion amongst faculty and inviting other stakeholders to contribute their expertise to that discussion. Emporia State University’s Strategic Plan describes ESU as an adaptive university where leadership requires broad involvement from faculty, students, and staff in response to an ever-changing environment. Goal 4 of the Strategic Plan is to “create a culture of adaptive change as the foundation for innovation and growth.” As 2nd Vice President of the Faculty and then President of the Faculty, I will facilitate communication between university stakeholders to move ESU closer to fulfilling its Strategic Plan. The Faculty Senate has a crucial role in helping ESU attain this goal through the creation of academic policies that allow faculty the freedom to innovate while simultaneously preserving academic rigor. The role of President of the Faculty is to guide these efforts for the greater good of the university. I am committed to helping ESU fulfill its mission through transparent shared governance, and my previous leadership and service experiences have provided the background to be successful in this endeavor.