The CSU Faculty Leadership group has existed since Fall 2010, when past CSU-AAUP President Vijay Nair first convened this group. Vijay had long considered convening such a group, and did so, when he became President in 2010.
At the time, no one had any idea what was to come. There was no CSCU, no BOR, and no Faculty Advisory Committee to the BOR (FAC). Thus, the CSU Faculty Leadership Group preceded all those entities.
Then, in 2011, Gov. Malloy introduced his bill (HB 1011) to create CSCU and the BOR and do away with the BOT. When that happened, Vijay recalls, “We were ready for the fight.”
According to Vijay, “The group spent many hours writing legislation and, even though we lost the big fight (to not consolidate), there were many small victories. The legislation would have been a lot worse if we had not mobilized as we did.”
I, myself, served on that committee as did faculty representatives from all four campuses. Its original purpose was to facilitate communication between the AAUP and University Governance at the system level. It was the four Senate Presidents, the four AAUP Chapter Presidents, and the four CSU-AAUP Officers — a total of 12. The Curriculum Committee Chairs and the Graduate Council Chairs were invited to join the group depending on what was on the agenda. They were never official members. After the legislation to create the Faculty Advisory Committee to the BOR, CSU FAC members became part of the group, making it a total of 16.
As we went through a painful series of bungling CSCU Presidents, the Leadership Group wrote statements such as “The Role of the Connecticut State Universities in Public Higher Education,” (2012) also called “Who We Are,” that defined our challenges, our goals, our priorities, and our individual missions, which we fought diligently (and successfully) to preserve. The group also wrote “The Academic Imperative” when, to everyone’s horror, Gray’s “Transform” plan had omitted academics altogether! In 2014, the Leadership Group battled the Boston Consulting Group in various ways, when its $1,973,328 million-dollar price tag and lack of any experience with higher education were discovered. On the heels of that, came much discussion and collaboration to bring votes of no confidence against Pres. Gray and the “Transform” travesty.
The leaders are elected by the faculty. They represent deliberative bodies of the faculty such as the Senates, the FAC, and the AAUP chapters and CSU-AAUP Council. It is among those bodies that information is presented and discussion takes place. The CSU Faculty Leadership Group provides a context for elected faculty leaders from the four campuses to communicate and collaborate in ways that did not exist before.