Universities and colleges have a renewed respect for building community and a sense of belonging on campus. It’s that perspective that Dr. Tami Draves, professor of music education, will keep at the forefront during her term as UNCG’s Faculty Senate Chair.
Draves served as interim director of the School of Music from 2021-2022. She was also chair of the Senate’s academic policies and regulations committee (ARPC) from 2019-2021. She succeeds outgoing chair Dr. Sarah Daynes, professor and director of graduate studies of sociology.
Draves will draw from those previous leadership roles and from the mentorship by Daynes. “Sarah has been key in bringing me on this last year and making sure I know what I need to know,” she says. “I can’t imagine there’s any way for me to be more prepared.”
When asked about the advice she shared while Draves was chair-elect, Daynes says, “It’s not advice because she already embodies it: being calm and collected, able to act but being careful about how to react. She’s very prepared for this position.”
Among the issues this year are the academic portfolio review and the data organization effort with consultant firm rpk Group.
“Part of the reason I enjoy working with the Senate,” says Draves, “is to have that broader view of what’s best for everyone, all the faculty across our campus, and by extension our staff and students.”
The Faculty Senate will be intentional about fostering a sense of belonging for UNCG faculty members. Draves says, “We’re emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic; we’re facing challenges as a campus, and we need to deliberately reconnect as a community.”
Daynes says, “It was a very important task to have, and I think it’s going to be even more important for Tami. I hope we can do this with a sense of togetherness and solidarity.”
They plan to resume in-person Senate meetings this year. Draves hopes all faculty will engage with their representatives in the Senate and their departmental units’ committees, to express concerns, give feedback, and share ideas.
“It’s a key way to have your voice heard. Even if you’re not a senator, please attend the meetings. Be involved and stay aware of what’s happening,” she says.
Draves also sees how the challenges ahead can be the spark for positive change. “I hope that we come together as a community, to handle the challenges that we’re facing, to support one another across campus as we make the changes that have to be made. To see those as opportunities that bring us to a stronger, closer community.”
The meeting locations will be announced by August 1. Information, agendas, and updates about the Faculty Senate can be found here.
Story by Janet Imrick, University Communications
Photography by Sean Norona, University Communications