DUNMORE, Pa. – Penn State Scranton Associate Professor of Biology Renée E. Bishop-Pierce has made valuable contributions to the University Faculty Senate during the past few years.
Now, she’s taking on a new role that will give her prime access to University President Eric Barron.
Bishop-Pierce was recently elected to the Senate’s Faculty Advisory Committee to the president. Her term will continue through the spring semester of 2022.
“During uncertain times, we have to think creatively. What may seem an insurmountable challenge may be an opportunity for change."
-- Renée E. Bishop-Pierce, associate professor of biology and new member of the Senate's Faculty Advisory Committee at Penn State
Representing the Senate and the faculty at large, the Faculty Advisory Committee provides advice to Barron on a number of key issues pertaining to the welfare and effectiveness of the University.
Typically, the University College campuses are guaranteed one elected representative on the committee, but now there will be two, Bishop-Pierce said.
“I am expected to take issues that arise at the campuses directly to President Barron,” she said. “This will be a great opportunity to be the voice for the University College faculty. The University is facing some interesting times, but we need to think of these times as opportunities to enact change. The University administration is looking for solutions to changing situations and people will be more open to creative solutions in the upcoming semesters than ever before.”
Bishop-Pierce first joined the Faculty Senate in January 2017, serving as an alternate for a retiring faculty member. From there, she served as chair of the Faculty Rights and Privacy Issues subcommittee in 2017-18, and as vice chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee in 2018-19.
This past academic year, she served as chair of Faculty Affairs, the largest of the Faculty Senate’s standing committees. She’ll continue to serve in that role during 2020-21 while carrying out her duties on the Faculty Advisory Committee to the President.
Bishop-Pierce’s responsibilities on the Faculty Advisory Committee will include attending at least six committee meetings a year via Zoom, and likely an additional six in person. In addition, special meetings can be called by the chair of the University Senate.
Meanwhile, members of the committee also serve on University Senate Council, which meets in person at least six times a year.
“On our list of charges this year will be developing new ways in which faculty teaching is evaluated,” Bishop-Pierce said. “This semester, SRTE results will be viewed only by faculty members and not a part of faculty teaching assessment. This is an opportunity for the Senate to develop creative ways administrators can assess quality teaching in addition to the two numbers currently taken from the SRTEs.”
Given the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on University life, Bishop-Pierce believes now is a particularly meaningful time to serve on the committee.
“During uncertain times, we have to think creatively,” she said. “What may seem an insurmountable challenge may be an opportunity for change. This is also a time to champion those faculty who are most vulnerable and ensure everyone is given opportunities to be successful.”