Senator Spotlight April 2021
This Month's Senator Spotlight is on Hala King
What unit do you represent?
Mathematics and Natural Sciences at ASU West.
How many years have you served in the Senate?
This is my third year.
How many years have you been employed at ASU?
4 ½ years.
What other institutions have you taught at before coming to ASU?
American University of Beirut, UC Santa Cruz, Pepperdine University, California Lutheran University
What is your research and/or creative activities focus?
Prior to joining ASU, my focus was on mentoring underrepresented groups and first-generation college students and directing a program to prepare Math majors to become successful teachers. I also co-founded a Math Teachers’ Circle to engage Middle School and High School teachers in creative math activities they could take back to their classrooms, to help their students think critically about math, and overcome their preconception of math as merely rote application of formulas. The accomplishment I am most proud of in my life though is a personal one, helping raise two sons who are conscientious human beings, who think globally and advocate for important causes such as anti-racism, social and environmental justice, equality, diversity, human rights, voting rights, gender rights, and the power of fact-based science.
Why did you decide to get involved with the Senate?
While my senate adventure started with our MNS director seeking faculty in our unit to serve in the senate and encouraging me to do so, I soon realized how privileged I was to be a senator. Here I can voice my opinions about issues I believe in strongly, participate in respectful and meaningful conversations, learn the dynamics of a big institution like ASU through the way its senate operates, especially in the midst of a global pandemic, and where I can advocate for issues I care deeply about including voting rights, food insecurity, diversity, environmental justice, and human rights. As my term nears its end, I am saddened that I cannot serve for a longer period but am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve.
Describe what you have learned (or hope to learn) during your time in the Senate?
It is easy for us to get isolated on our small, quaint campus atASU West, so it was a good experience for me to see faculty in the senate from other campuses and hear their concerns and views on important issues. During a global pandemic, it was comforting to hear updates from President Crow on the senate floor, and his reassurance that ASU did indeed have a plan in these unprecedented times. I appreciated, in particular, his unwavering support for international students with his administration allowing these students to stay in the dorms when other universities, shortly after the start of the pandemic, informed their students abruptly to “go back home”, a phrase that immigrants like me hear with all the negative connotations behind it. Helping secure vaccines for the ASU faculty and staff, as soon as vaccines were available, was an impressive and vital accomplishment. As a senator, I learned not only about the complexities of decision making, but also the importance of character in leadership.
What committees have you participated in, or would like to participate in and what were you able to (or hope to) accomplish?
I have been privileged to work closely with some awesome colleagues in the Student-Faculty Policy Committee on several important issues. We were successful in securing a Voting Day Resolution and are currently working hard to get support for food insecurity initiatives on all ASU campuses. I also serve on the New College Student Affairs Committee.
What would you say to your peers who might be considering accepting a nomination or nominating himself or herself for a position in the University Senate?
I would strongly encourage them to do it.