By Leonard E. Colvin
New Journal and Guide
Now that fall 2015 classes have convened at NSU, History Professor Dr. Cassandra Newby-Alexander has returned to her busy schedule as educator, historian, author, mentor, and board member with a host of community organizations, including WHRO, the Norfolk Sister Cities Association, and the 2019 Steering Committee.
She also is the Director of the Joseph Jenkins Roberts Center for the Study of the African Diaspora. Her phone numbers are at the top of the speed dial list of fellow academics and media types seeking her expertise on African-American history and culture.
Along with those chores, she has organized highly respected academic forums, such as the 1619 Making of America conference series, the 150th anniversary of the beginning and culmination of the U.S. Civil War, and others.
Recently Newby-Alexander added the leadership of the NSU Faculty Senate to her already busy “to do” list, where she will be allowed to use her leadership and resources in an even more critical role.
Along with being one of the most visible academics at NSU, she has also been a critic of the current and past administrations of the Commonwealth’s largest Historically Black University.
Two years ago, the media shed light on university issues related to fiscal, personnel and academic affairs that contributed to the school’s being placed on probation in 2014 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). The agency will review its ruling before the end of 2015 and assess the changes university officials have undertaken to move forward.
As the president of the Faculty Senate, Dr. Newby-Alexander says she wants to lend her commitment, leadership, and expertise to help the university navigate out of the troubled waters that have tarnished the school’s image and eroded public confidence.
During her inaugural week as the leader of the Faculty Senate, she unveiled eight goals that she wants to accomplish during her one-year tenure:
They are to publicize the duties and responsibilities of the Faculty Senate; advocate that all issues, which placed NSU on SACSCOC probation, be addressed with resolutions; establish the faculty’s role in the new vision for
NSU; establish good channels of communication between faculty and the Faculty Senate and the Faculty Senate and the administration; ensure basic standards of performance are reviewed and approved by Compliance
Committees; reform the Post-Tenure Review process; advocate for the need to address salary as an ongoing priority; and advocate for a 360° adherence to all university policies and handbooks
During her presentation, Newby-Alexander made clear what the role of the NSU Faculty Senate is, and is not.
“The Senate does not exist to support the administration and the Board of Visitors (BOV), but to make policy recommendations to promote standards for faculty welfare in tenure, promotions, and fringe benefits; development of programs of research, experimentation, and instruction.”
Further, she said, the Faculty Senate is the representative unit of the university faculty and the school’s educational mission, and is part of the ‘shared governance’ of the school with the administration.
“I would like to see a 360 degree effort in adhering to all of the school’s policies, not just for faculty,” said Newby-Alexander. “The Faculty Senate hopes to craft a vision for the future that everyone will support to help move the school forward. We should all be at the table.”
As Faculty Senate President, she is one of the five elected officials of the Senate. There are 10 standing committees, including those dealing with faculty grievances, research, curriculum, Teaching
Faculty Handbook revision, and executive.
“As faculty, we need to stop saying what needs to be done and help make it happen,” she said. “Time has come to stop making background noise or arm chair quarterbacking.”
Newby-Alexander was born in Great Lakes, Illinois. She attended Norfolk’s Maury High School, and she graduated with a B.A. degree in American Government and African-American Studies from the University of Virginia.
To read the entire story, pick up at a New Journal and Guide at our various locations or call us at 757-543-6531 and subscribe to The Guide.