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May 11, 2006

ULM Faculty Senate survey results released

A recently completed survey of ULM faculty indicates that a majority of the faculty approve of the university’s direction. When asked if the university is moving in a positive direction, 132 faculty strongly agreed or agreed and only 62 disagreed or strongly disagreed, a 2 to 1 favorable response.

In the survey, distributed by the Faculty Senate, the faculty also overwhelmingly either strongly agreed or agreed that both the physical and the academic environments are improving.

Faculty also indicated that the academic environment at ULM is conducive to learning. President James E. Cofer, Sr. commented, “One of the most important elements of the survey is that faculty members broadly agree that the academic environment of ULM is conducive to teaching and learning. And that’s what we strive to do.”

In the survey, the faculty identified a number of areas that need to be addressed by the Faculty Senate and the university administration.

Areas most important to the faculty were communication between administration and faculty, resources for faculty to perform their jobs and recognizing and rewarding existing faculty. The faculty survey also identified shared governance as an area to address.

Of the survey, Faculty Senate Chair John Rettenmayer said, “I think the faculty survey succeeded in highlighting a number of areas in which ULM is in good shape and making good progress.  Not surprisingly, it also revealed some areas which need attention. The Faculty Senate looks forward to working collaboratively with President Cofer and his administration in a spirit of collegiality for the advancement of the entire university community.”

About the university’s accomplishments and future direction, Dr. Cofer said, “When I arrived at ULM four years ago, there were a myriad of issues that faced the university. I was very specifically instructed to get the budget balanced and under control and increase student enrollment. We made substantial progress on these specific issues and many of the other problems as evidenced by the improvements in ULM’s financial situation, physical appearance, annual giving, alumni participation, and the quantity and more importantly the quality of our students. Clearly there are issues we did not address and I may not have picked up some important signals from the faculty and I take full responsibility for that. It is evident that all of the problems facing the university are not solved and we still have work to do. The faculty senate survey highlights some issues that we, faculty and administration together, must address over the next four years.”

In March of this year, Dr. Cofer established a shared governance committee to develop a governance philosophy, structure, and set of policies to guide ULM into the future. Dr. Lisa Colvin and Dr. Rettenmayer will serve as co-chairs of that committee.

In response to the faculty survey, Dr. Cofer will request that the Faculty Senate appoint a committee to work with the university relations department staff to develop a university communications plan.

Dr. Cofer welcomes a strong Faculty Senate and increased faculty engagement as an integral facet of the institution’s future.

In a meeting on May 10, the Faculty Senate voted unanimously to adopt the following statement: “That we, as the duly elected representatives of the faculty, sincerely desire to continue to work harmoniously and collaboratively with the current administration in a spirit of collegiality for the advancement of the entire university community.”

For complete survey results, please visit:

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