Multiple Brandeis faculty members suggested caution at Professor Thomas Pochapsky’s (CHEM) announcement that the Faculty Senate will investigate complaints brought to the university by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), a union representing an increasing number of adjunct and contingent Brandeis professors. According to Pochapsky, the Faculty Senate is working with SEIU in order to understand the origin of adjunct and contingent faculty complaints. Department heads at this Thursday’s faculty meeting expressed some displeasure at the announcement, worrying that the Faculty Senate did not trust Brandeis’ academic departments to address complaints themselves. Pochapsky asserted that the issue was “probably not that big of a deal” and encouraged faculty to come forward with their concerns.
Provost Lisa Lynch used the meeting to announce that for Brandeis’ 2016 Financial Year proposal, the university will be focusing on higher operating funds, better compensation and discussing the sustainability of the university’s tenure process. “We’re at a better place than we were five, even three years ago,” Lynch said. $200,000 has also been set aside for teaching innovation grants for faculty, for which there have been 45 proposals, according to Lynch. The next faculty meeting will feature the second annual presentation on compensation and salaries from a member of the Board of Trustees.
The meeting also featured two tributes to recently-deceased faculty members: Professor Barbara Levy (COMP) and Professor Emeritus Andrew Szent-Gyorgyi (BIO). The two were memorialized in moving presentations by fellow faculty members, who spoke on Levy’s skill and love of teaching writing, and Szent-Gyorgyi’s essential role in establishing the physiology discipline at Brandeis.