September 29, 2021
Q&A with Stephen Beaudoin, University Senate chair
Stephen Beaudoin, professor of chemical engineering, is serving as the 2021-22 chair of the University Senate. Here, Beaudoin answers questions from Purdue Today about his service in the Senate and goals for the year.
Why did you decide to become involved in University Senate?
Like most senators, I served initially because my colleagues elected me, without any real sense of the responsibility of the position. I quickly learned that when the Senate works well it provides valuable service to the University community, and this added value made me want to continue to serve.
What did you learn as vice chair or as a committee member that will assist you as chair this year?
Over my years on the Senate, I have learned that it is critically important to the health of the University that the Senate partner effectively with the administration. When we step up to the table and engage the administration in good faith, we can be very successful at making Purdue a better place. I have also learned that being an effective partner takes effort. If we want to have impact, we have to be reliable partners both when we agree and when we disagree.
What will the Senate be working on during the upcoming academic year?
My priorities include driving down instances of sexual violence on campus and providing better support for survivors, improving access to and effectiveness of mental health services, improving the climate for diverse populations on campus, and being better partners with the administration. The administration has asked us to provide input on several matters, as well. These include suggesting ways to inspire the community to be more proactive when it comes to its health care, providing tools for measuring gains in student critical thinking, helping to develop ways to identify and promote teaching excellence, and providing insight into the causes and implications of grade inflation.
What are your own goals as the chair of the Senate? What do you hope to have contributed as chair to the Senate and to the University once your term ends?
My goal is for the Senate to be an effective partner with both the campus community and the administration, so that both groups seek the input and support of the Senate when important decisions are needed.
What would you like faculty and staff to know about the Senate?
The Senate can be a valuable ally to the campus community. It can convey concerns to the administration effectively and can partner with the administration to turn these concerns into action that improves the experiences of all Boilermakers.
How can faculty get involved?
There are many ways for faculty to get involved with the Senate. First, they can stand for election to the Senate. It is surprising how many Senate seats are filled by candidates who run unopposed. Next, they can send their concerns to their senators or to a standing or faculty committee. They can also volunteer to serve on any number of faculty committees, even if they are not senators.