Universitas, all of us.  A good notion.  One that has not been unshakeable.  To the contrary, all of us are aware of, if we have not been witness to, much of the change or shift going on around us and the many tremors that result as our traditions are challenged by forces without and within the university community.  We are concerned that our academic freedoms are under assault, that many of the very factors which drew us and shaped us in our academic careers are being undermined by forces that don’t understand us and care little about the principles that form the foundations of our lives.  Or do they?

 

We live in the present and work toward the future, but the university has come out of the past.  It has continued to shift, evolve and respond to the challenges handed it from every direction.  It has survived regents, administrative and fiscal woes, and assaults from every direction over its long history.  It has done so because of the community of people that make up its body – us.   It will continue to do so, but we must face the issues. What will we do about us and our university?  “Mankind is waiting and longing for those who can accomplish the task of untying what is knotted and bringing the underground waters to the surface.”- Albert Schweitzer.  This quote stands at the top of the University of Iowa Faculty & Staff web page and seems to challenge us as we look to our future.

 

I bring to the task of untying these knots a long and varied experience in this and other academic environments.  Involvement in early AIDS trials at the NIH gave me experience in investigative work at a national level and led to a career in academic medicine.  Later study in business administration provided insight into a new realm and most importantly, perspective.  This new perspective has compelled me to seek many new opportunities in departmental, college, and university administration.  The position of vice-president of our faculty senate at this critical juncture is a challenge and an opportunity which I am eager to embrace.   An opportunity to bring these underground waters to the surface.

 

Where will we take our university?  What problems are foremost in our minds? How will we prioritize, analyze, and solve them in a way that will offer the greatest good, maintain those traditions that are of value and discard those that are not, and provide the opportunity to maintain and protect those academic freedoms that are so vital to us?  At this juncture I see as the greatest challenge that of a growing sense of disenfranchisement among the faculty.  This sense wears many faces.  It is the face of faculty retention and recruitment, dissatisfaction over salaries, time to teach and do research, promotion policies that fail to value the diversity that we so claim to value, lack of recognition of effort and service to the university without which it cannot exist, all the while working to the benefit of the few at the expense of the many, us, all of us.   I would like us, the Faculty Senate, to focus on self-renewal, recommitment to our core values, and the empowerment of the faculty.  With this as a foundation we can effectively address the above challenges and regain the franchise that is ours.  Universitas.  Let us work together to untie these knots and experience the vitality of these underground waters for the good of our university.

 

Biosketch:

I have spent the last 24 years in an academic environment, completing three higher educational degrees; BS in Nursing, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA (1983), Doctorate in Medicine, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (1993), and Master’s in Business Administration, Tippie School of Management, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA (2003). My current academic position is as an Associate Professor(Clinical) in the Department of Urology with an Adjunct Faculty position in the Department of Family Medicine in the Carver College of Medicine (CCOM).  I am involved in a Medical Urology clinical practice at the UIHC and the VAMC, seeing patients and teaching Medical Students, Urology and Family Medicine Residents, Physician Assistant Students, Geriatric Fellows and Peer physicians in didactic, small group and clinic settings.  I organize a recurring regional CME conference for primary care providers and have recently been involved in teaching Japanese physicians about Graduate Medical education at Iowa.  My (NIH and Iowa Dept of Public Health funded) research interests are currently focused on comparing Standard to Alternative medications for benign prostatic hyperplasia and developing Consensus Guidelines for elderly men in Iowa for Prostate Cancer screening. A brief description of  my current service participation includes; Faculty Senate;  Faculty Policies and Compensation Committee; Provost’s Gender Equity Task Force; Advisor, Student Health Advisory Charter Committee (Outstanding Student Organization 2006); Secretary, Carver College of Medicine (CCOM) Executive Committee; CCOM Continuing Medical Education Committee; Chair, UIHC-Health Information Management (HIM) Subcommittee; Chair, HIM Physician Section, UIHC-Clinical Information System Selection Committee, Tippie School of Management Advisory Committee; Co-President, Longfellow Elementary School PTA