Two faculty members nominated for Board of Regents position

Joe Lord

The search for a new voice for Western’s faculty has been narrowed to two nominees who will seek a three-year term as faculty regent Oct. 11.

University Senate president Robert Dietle and psychology professor Betsy Shoenfelt have been nominated to fill the seat left empty by Mary Ellen Miller, who has decided not to seek another term on the Board of Regents.

Dietle was nominated for the position Thursday by history professor Charles Bussey. Shoenfelt nominated herself Friday via e-mail to Dietle.

Shoenfelt said she was originally going to wait three more years to seek the next term for faculty regent, but decided to run this year because she wanted to give faculty an alternative when they vote later this month.

“I just think it’s important that people have a choice for such an important position to the university,” she said.

Dietle said he accepted Bussey’s nomination because of the position’s significance to the Hill.

“It would be a challenge I’d be willing to take up at this time,” he said.

Both said they’d like the Board of Regents to focus more on academics.

“I’m very concerned about the budget priorities of the university,” Dietle said. “I feel we need to remind ourselves that our main mission is academics.”

Shoenfelt agreed.

“Students really come to Western for the education, so I think it’s really important that we maintain the quality of educational programs,” she said.

Shoenfelt said while she supports construction and landscaping projects, the university needs to shine a spotlight on its academic side.

She’d also like to see increases in faculty pay and benefits.

Dietle said if he wins the bid for faculty regent, he will resign his position as leader of the senate.

“Whoever is chair of the senate needs to focus on that,” he said. “I don’t see how you would have time to do both.”

If Dietle wins, he said senate vice-chairman Doug Smith could succeed him as president, or a fellow senate member could also be chosen by the body to fill the term.

Smith said he would probably accept the position if Dietle were elected faculty regent.

Dietle said the senate’s executive committee, of which he is a member, will conduct the regent election. He said he will not take part in the process.

All faculty members who are assistant professors or above are eligible to vote later this month. Voters can obtain a ballot by presenting their faculty identification cards to their dean’s office on Oct. 11. Voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. that day.

Miller said the election will give faculty the opportunity to elect someone that will serve as the voice for faculty concerns.

“I really want faculty to turn out and vote,” she said.

At the conclusion of the election, the votes will be counted by the senate’s executive committee and the result presented to President Gary Ransdell, Dietle said.

He said Ransdell will be responsible for announcing the election winner, who will take office at the regents’ meeting in November.

Reach Joseph Lord at [email protected]