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May 14, 2009

Pinsky asks faculty reps to hold town hall meetings

The new president of the University Senate wants Faculty Assembly members to hold town meetings with their constituents.

“One of the biggest challenges we have now and it will be even greater is to maintain a community voice in our common governance with the University administration,” President-elect Michael R. Pinsky told the May 5 Faculty Assembly.

“What I am proposing, and what I will create an ad hoc committee to [oversee], is to have a community outreach to our faculty. All the Faculty Assembly members will be tasked with having town hall meetings with your own constituency at some time during the first month of the fall term.”

At these meetings, Assembly members both should share information on issues that Senate Council and Faculty Assembly are discussing and, more importantly, should solicit their colleagues’ concerns, said Pinsky, who begins his one-year term as president July 1.

“If we are to represent the faculty, then we must know what the faculty’s concerns are. My hope is that, if we establish this properly and get the communication, then we will get more people to vote, more people to get involved in Assembly and we’ll have a greater voice,” he said.

“Remember, the most important aspect of the University of Pittsburgh is its faculty. Period. That’s an absolute truth. It’s the faculty that make a university great.”

Pinsky maintained that the senior administration supports a strong role for faculty in Pitt’s shared governance process.

“We have specific issues of tenure, salary and due process, which is non-existent in the School of Medicine, and also the concept of getting the faculty to vote. One of the things we’ll do over the summer is work directly with the School of Medicine to figure out how to get the issues that are unique to them at least out on the table,” said Pinsky, who is a professor in the medical school.

“What I hope is that, when we talk with the chancellor and the rest of the administration, if we do have to make tough decisions — financial, et cetera — that they be made conjointly, and that we be at the table and that they will not be made by fiat.”

Pinsky invited members of the University community with issues or concerns to contact him at

—Peter Hart

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