“It’s about faculty having a voice at the system and across the system.”
That’s how Beth Crawford describes the value of the University Faculty Council, for which she becomes the leading voice in July. That’s when Crawford, a UC Foundation associate professor in the School of Professional Studies at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, begins a one-year term as chair of the council.
The Faculty Council is a small but system-wide representative body for faculty of all University of Tennessee campuses. Each campus—in Chattanooga, Knoxville, Martin and Memphis—is represented each year by its current Faculty Senate president and by a Faculty Senate member elected by campus colleagues to a three-year term on the Council.
The Council also includes any faculty representatives to the UT Board of Trustees. The UT System president and the vice president for academic affairs and student success are ex officio Council members.
Crawford took a seat on the Faculty Council in 2018 to fill the unexpired term of the late Gavin Townsend, who died in June of that year. At the end of that term, Crawford was elected by UTC faculty colleagues to a three-year term that runs through 2022. At the group’s most recent monthly meeting in April, Council members elected Crawford as chair.
“I’m excited and I’m flattered,” Crawford said. “The Faculty Council gives an opportunity to share concerns or solutions with peers from other campuses—for example, responding to the pandemic was the focus of our last two meetings.
“It also enables you to build productive, collegial relationships. There is great value in that, as there is in giving faculty a voice at the UT System level, where they have no faculty, and in the ability you might not otherwise have to talk with faculty at campuses all across the system.”
The Council was established by UT System Administration in 2007 as a means for faculty to advise, confer and communicate with UT System Administration and the UT President on systemwide matters of faculty interest.
Council members serve on UT System strategic planning task forces and are advocates for greater transparency in budgetary concerns, promotion and merit raises and equitable library access for all campuses.
Crawford came to UTC as an undergraduate and, except for a year in the private sector after earning a bachelor’s degree in communications, has been at the university ever since. She has a master’s degree in industrial/organizational psychology from UTC and a doctorate in leadership/teaching and learning from UT Knoxville.