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Senator Spotlight February 2021


This Month's Senator Spotlight is on Jesse Chanley

What unit do you represent?  ASU Poly Social Sciences

How many years have you served in the Senate?  2 ½ years

How many years have you been employed at ASU?  Six years (two as FA, four as lecturer)

What other institutions have you taught at before coming to ASU? Mesa Community College, South University, Strayer University, Ashford University, and Upper Iowa University City College of San Francisco

What is your research and/or creative activities focus?  I research political ideology, governance, democratic theory, and democratic practice.

Why did you decide to get involved with the Senate? I wanted to learn more about governance at ASU and contribute to making ASU a better institution.

Describe what you have learned (or hope to learn/takeaway) during your time in the Senate?

I have learned that:

  • governance at ASU is extremely complex and not very transparent
  • many people fear being engaged in governance, at all levels, because it could offend someone with hiring and “firing” (non-contract renewal) power, and cost someone their job.  This seems to be especially true for contract faculty.
  • employees (both faculty and staff) need more time and information to be effective university citizens, to be as excellent in each of our jobs as we would like to be, and as we say we are.

What committees have you participated in, or would like to participate in and what were you able to (or hope to) accomplish?  I participated in the Committee on Committees.  I would like to participate in policymaking committees, but it is a challenge to find the time needed to be effective.

I found that, with the number of courses and students I have each session, it is hard to also commit time to Senate business.  It is a difficulty balance to manage, and I don’t think I did it very well.  I am just reaching the point where I am more satisfied with my classes.  I would like to focus more attention on university governance.  We are very hierarchical, which undermines our ability to be candid about potentially controversial positions.  There isn’t time to do an excellent job on anything – teaching, service, or research.  That is de-motivating.  I am starting 2021 with a more positive attitude about my service to the Senate, but it will still be a challenge to balance that with my commitment to giving my students the individual attention they need.

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 say, “Do it!”  But, I would add:  Make sure your classes are where you want them to be, so you aren’t having to balance course development with your time commitment to the Senate.