May 27, 2011
By Kris Foster
University Council announced Jay Kalra as its new chair at its May meeting, and the professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine is looking forward to continued involvement in U of S governance.
“I found it an excellent experience to see how Council works,” said Kalra of his previous experience as chair of the College of Medicine’s faculty council and head of the Planning and Priorities Committee of Council. “I enjoyed the opportunity to play a role in governance at the college and university levels.”
Though still early in his tenure as chair of Council, Kalra has already set out some general goals for the year ahead.
“First, I think we need to build student involvement in council, both from the USSU and the GSA. There should be more student involvement on Council so that all student positions are filled,” he said. “Related to this, we need more faculty involved as well in collegial self-governance. There is a myth that you must be a member to attend Council but it is open to anyone. You may not have a vote, but you can certainly have a say and participate in the discussions.”
A big part in getting more members of the campus community—whether faculty or students—involved will be increasing communication bet-ween Council and these groups. “Communicating more frequently to the General Academic Assembly, which includes all faculty members, will go a long way to meeting this goal.”
Another priority moving into the 2011-12 academic year, said Kalra, will be the third integrated plan, which will require Council’s endorsement as well as its review of each college and unit plan by the Planning and Priorities Committee. “Tied to this priority is advancing consideration of internationalization and pre-eminence in research, artistic and scholarly work on campus. We must do everything within our mandate to advance this.”
Kalra is looking forward to the challenges this new role presents and believes others would enjoy the opportunities Council holds if they were aware of them.
“Council, and the various committees associated with it, presents great opportunities for members of the university community to be involved in governance, and experience firsthand the responsibility of overseeing and directing the academic affairs of the U of S,” he said. “Council is inclusive. You just have to get involved.”