Senate Council honors past president and outgoing vice president

Chancellor Gallagher, Michael Spring and Chris Bonneau


The Senate Council concluded the school term with a short meeting on May 15, but managed to pack in quite a bit, including honoring a past Senate president with its Award for Service in the University Senate, voting on a bylaw change and wishing well for its outgoing vice president.

Chancellor Patrick Gallagher, just back from a Pitt-related trip to India, reported on several committees that have been formed during this year. He said the Extreme Weather Policy committee and the Socially Responsible Investing committee have completed their reports, which he and others are reviewing now.

The new Public Safety Council and the ad hoc committee examining Pitt’s smoke and tobacco policy will begin meeting the summer, Gallagher said. And public meetings and town halls will take place soon concerning the search for a new senior vice chancellor for Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine. The search committee has 30 people, Gallagher said, because “the need to balance was important.”

The chancellor also highlighted a recent report from the National Council for Home Safety and Security that listed the Pittsburgh campus among the 100 safest college campuses in the country. Pitt was the only ACC school listed and was one of only two (along with the University of Michigan) among AAU school main campuses.

Senate President Chris Bonneau recounted some of the year’s accomplishments before singling out former Senate President Michael Spring for the service award. Spring, a retired professor of information science, served as president for two years and immediate past president for three, until Bonneau was elected last year. He’s been on several committees and currently chairs the Computing and Information Technology committee.

Bonneau credited Spring for creating the Senate’s Research committee and the ad hoc committee on non-tenure-stream faculty, which evolved into the Faculty Affairs committee.

“More than forty-five years at Pitt have provided an opportunity to work with many outstanding individuals including some great administrative colleagues including Patty Beeson, Mark Nordenberg, Patrick Gallagher, David DeJong, Laurie Kirsch, Renny Clark and Lori Molinaro,” Spring said.

He said he is most proud of helping establish the NTS faculty ad hoc committee, but said, “In 2019, we as an institution are not yet done with our work. While we have made significant progress, we still have work to do if we are to set a model for other institutions related to colleagues outside the tenure stream.”

He and others also argued in 2014 for a differentiation in salary increases for lower paid staff and faculty, which was used later that year by Chancellor Mark Nordenberg and on various occasions since then by Chancellor Gallagher. “It is my fervent hope that we as an institution will remain committed to insuring that all Pitt employees are treated in such a way that they are given every chance to earn a respectable wage for the contributions they make to the University,” Spring said.

The only piece of business at the meeting was the approval of a motion from the Bylaws and Procedures committee to recognize the University of Pittsburgh Postdoctoral Association with a seat at Senate Council. The measure, which passed Faculty Assembly last week, was approved unanimously.

It was the last meeting for: outgoing Senate Vice President Robin Kear, who has completed the maximum three years in that position; outgoing Staff Council Vice President Alex Toner, who chose not to seek another term; and Pitt–Greensburg President Sharon Smith, who is retiring at the end of June.

Both Bonneau and Frank Wilson, the Senate’s immediate past president, praised Kear for her years of work in the Senate.

“Robin was vice president when I was president,” Wilson said, “and she had my back when I really needed someone to have my back.”

There will be no Faculty Assembly or Senate Council meetings in June, July or August.

Susan Jones is editor of the University Times. Reach her at or 412-648-4294.