Professor Louisa Mackenzie elected as Faculty Senate Vice-Chair for 2023-2024

Submitted by Michael Rich on
Associate Professor Louisa Mackenzie

We are pleased to announce that Associate Professor Louisa Mackenzie has been elected to serve as the Faculty Senate Vice-Chair for 2023-2024! The position will be the start of a three-year Senate leadership trajectory. Professor Mackenzie will serve as Vice Chair for 2023-24, Chair in 2024-25, and Chair of the Senate Committee on Planning and Budgeting in 2025-26. Please see Professor Mackenzie's comments below on the Faculty Senate and her new position.

"The Faculty Senate is essentially a political body; elected senators from across the tri-campus system review, amend, and vote on legislative proposals that for the most part come out of Faculty Councils. This process is called "shared governance", and it means that the President and Provost share many of the responsibilities of governing university operations with faculty. Issues we consider range from promotion and appointments, scholastic policy and degrees, budgetary priorities, equity and justice on campus, teaching and learning, and more.

The Vice Chair is expected to attend and participate in weekly meetings with senate and central leadership, contribute to systems-level strategic planning, help the Chair run Senate and Executive Committee meetings, stay up to date with legislation in the pipeline in our Faculty Councils, and more. Senate leaders represent the faculty at large more than we represent our own agendas, and are expected to make the Senate an inclusive space where all voices can be heard in debate.

I have served 4 years as a Senator representing 4 language departments, 2 years representing the College of Arts and Sciences in the Senate Executive Committee, and currently serve on the Faculty Council for Teaching and Learning, as well as its accessibility subcommittee, the Committee for General Education, and have been a special advisor to the Faculty Council for Gender, Equity, and Justice. Except for the few senate leaders, all those involved in shared governance take on the work as an overload to their schedule, purely because they want to serve. It's not an easy space, but it is crucial "engine-room" kind of work, and I am inspired by how many colleagues take it on, including a lot of Teaching Faculty.

This collective spirit of service and collegiality has been the motivating factor for me to keep working in shared governance, where I have been encouraged and mentored by current leadership, and I hope to pay it forward by encouraging more faculty to participate and make their voices heard. It's politics, so things are sometimes contentious and progress can be slow, but it's very rewarding to come together in a spirit of service and help move the needle forward. Ultimately, we share the goal of wanting the whole UW community to thrive and do our best work, so I hope to keep that big picture in mind as I start what will be a very busy three years!"