Dickinson elected chair of Baylor’s newly established Faculty Senate

Baylor College of Medicine has established a Faculty Senate with elected representatives across all schools, departments, centers and affiliated hospital sites. The members have elected Dr. Mary Dickinson as chair.

“This representative body is the perfect answer to making sure all faculty members have a clear way to provide input,” said Dr. Paul E. Klotman, president, CEO and executive dean of Baylor. “We surveyed the faculty and the result is this new Faculty Senate, which I believe will be very effective in encouraging more discussion from our clinicians, scientists and educators.”

The Faculty Senate completed the election of officers on Oct. 21, with Dickinson named as chair. Dickinson, professor of molecular physiology and biophysics, is a developmental biologist. Other officers are chair-elect, Dr. Oluyinka Olutoye, pediatric surgery; secretary, Dr. James Bray, family and community medicine; clinical sciences representative, Dr. Jeffrey Starke, pediatric infectious diseases; and basic sciences representative, Dr. Hugo Bellen, molecular and human genetics.

The five officers will serve as ex-officio members of Baylor’s Academic Council, which includes department chairs, center directors and deans. Officers were nominated by Senate members or self-nominated for the leadership positions.

“We are a health sciences university, with over 3,000 basic science and clinical faculty spread across 25 departments, seven hospital sites, including the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio, eight research centers and four schools. This diversity of experience is invaluable and the insights from a diverse faculty representation is a strength,” said Dickinson.

Robert Corrigan, Baylor’s general counsel, will serve as an advisor to the Senate. He described the makeup of the group as 100 voting members (the chair will have voting rights in the event of a tie) and six ex-officio members.

The voting members include 42 representatives of the College’s departments (at least one for each department with larger departments having proportionally more positions) and eight research/clinical centers; a faculty member from each of the four schools – School of Medicine, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, School of Allied Health Sciences and National School of Tropical Medicine; a faculty member from each of the seven hospital affiliate sites – Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center, Texas Children’s Hospital, DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Ben Taub Hospital, The Menninger Clinic, The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research and the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio; and 40 at-large faculty members.

See the list of members here.

The non-voting members are Klotman; Dr. Alicia Monroe, provost and senior vice president of academic and faculty affairs; and the deans of the four schools – Dr. Jennifer Christner, dean of the School of Medicine; Dr. Adam Kuspa, dean of the Graduate School; Dr. Robert McLaughlin, dean of the School of Allied Health Sciences; and Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine.

The Senate will make recommendations on issues important to the faculty, and will consider petitions, recommendations or resolutions from the faculty or others concerning faculty issues and will appoint members to the College’s Institutional Policy Committee. The Senate also will nominate faculty to serve on faculty committees.

We envision that the Senate will serve three important roles. First, it will provide bidirectional communication between the faculty and the administration concerning new or amended policies, strategic planning, milestones and achievements. Second, the Senate will serve to provide the faculty’s perspective on initiatives by the administration that may impact faculty. Finally, the Senate members, drawing from their own insights and those of their constituents, will have a forum to advance and discuss new ideas that can better the College’s institutional environment and competitiveness. We have a brilliant and energetic faculty, and I am very excited to facilitate those voices being heard.” – Dr. Mary Dickinson

As chair, Dickinson said the priority is to support faculty, trainees and students.

“We certainly want the Senate to become a trusted partner with the faculty as a whole, the administration and our Board of Trustees to strengthen our great institution,” she said. “The faculty and trainees are our greatest assets and there are many exceptional people contributing their time and energy to make our Senate a strong and productive branch of our institution. In the coming days, the Senate leadership will be working on processes for engaging our faculty and will be setting the agenda for our first meeting with the elected leadership. It is an exciting time, and I urge all of the faculty to get to know their senators and communicate their ideas.”