In Depth

PA Faculty Members Say Administration Makes Decisions Using Faculty Opinion

Because PA has such a large number of faculty, involving every member in the decision-making process is difficult. However, faculty members believe that the administration listens to their voices. Before the recent faculty vote on athletic requirements, Instructor in Physicas Catherine Odden said, “Yes, the faculty will vote on a few proposals. I think the results of these votes will be supported by the administration.” On Athletic and Academic requirements, Instructor in Biology Catherine Roden said, “I feel the administration gives each faculty member ample chance for their voice to be heard regarding major decisions. We have really good discussions at faculty voting meetings.” She added, “With such a large faculty and so many opinions, it is very difficult to agree upon a [unanimous] decision. It is difficult to please everyone.” Director of the Institute for the Recruitment of Teachers Chara Reid had a similar statement. “There are lots of people from different departments gathering dissimilar perspectives. It takes long to make one decision.” Instructor in French Natalie Schorr said, “Even if the outcome of a vote doesn’t at first seem to reflect your voice, you have still participated in the process. I absolutely believe that voting can make a difference and that voting means you have a voice.” “What I can say [about] the faculty voting process is that I think it’s well thought out, yet flexible. We have rules and guidelines on who is allowed to vote for what position, and yet we have the ability to tailor the format of a vote to fit the issue,” said Instructor in Math Jacques Hugon. Reid also said, “It takes a long time to make one decision, but it is because it is important to incorporate opportunities for everyone to be successful.” According to Instructor in English Elwin Sykes, Andover’s method of including faculty in decision-making differs from non-prep schools where he has worked during leaves from PA. Sykes said, “That faculty opinions are respected here distinguishes this school.” Sykes first started working at Andover in 1973, but has been away for various periods of time. “I came here the first year of coeducation. Participation by a broad range of faculty increased over the years I have been affiliated with the school. A broader range of voices is heard now,” continued Sykes. On her personal participation, Schorr said, “In the long run, a surprising number of things I’ve advocated have become an evolving reality, so I have seen that I can be part of a larger process.” “From time to time Mrs. Chase’s door is wide open for all to drop in and talk to her. The same is true for other administrators. We field emails from each other on a daily and sometimes hourly basis, and we listen and hear from each other. A faculty member can put through a call to talk to any administrator about any issue, and such an issue will be heard, if not aired with all the faculty,” continued Mr. Maqubela. He also said, “There are other avenues such as informal gatherings or even formal ones such as evaluations when the channels of communication are open.” Mr. Hugon agreed, “The faculty has a great say on all the issues that pertain to the educational, residential or athletic programs at the school. In a way, the faculty is responsible for the ‘content’ of the school year, and has great latitude and power in shaping the daily life of the academy.”