For the first time ever in the history of the university’s Steering Committee, members elected two students to lead the group.
Prior to this, at least one of the officer positions was always held by a non-student member of the faculty senate.
President of the Graduate Student Association, Roy Prouty, who is currently studying computer science, will now be serving as the chair and Gerardo Herrera-Cortés, speaker of the senate for the UMBC Student Government Association, will be the vice chair.
Roy Prouty and Gerardo Herrera-Cortés were two of the three candidates the members had to choose from in this election. They were elected to officer positions by their fellow members of the committee. Prouty downplayed the significance of two students chairing the committee and instead stressed the responsibilities before them.
According to the plan of organization for the senates of UMBC, “The Steering Committee will represent the interests of the five senates to the UMBC Administration, the University System of Maryland Administration and the Board of Regents.” This includes serving as the liaison for the Chancellor, Board of Regents and actions from the Senate.
In addition to this, they handle various aspects of connecting the five senates with each other and fostering collaboration. Along with representing students’ concerns at meetings, this cooperation was a point of focus for Prouty.
“I hope to also incite more collaboration between the senates than I’ve seen in my few years at UMBC. This will hopefully make everyone on campus more aware of what UMBC truly has to offer.”
As stated in the plan of organization, one of their responsibilities is “to periodically review and make proposals to the five Senates to improve the functioning of the Plan of Organization or on other matters as required.” Rounding out the responsibilities of the Steering Committee is the ability to create ad hoc committees in exceptional cases that involve multiple senates. Those ad hoc committees then report directly back to the Steering Committee.
Heading into the second month of their one-year term, Roy Prouty and Gerardo Herrera-Cortés will be working with the presidents and vice presidents of all five senates on their committee to bring about improvements by emphasizing cooperation — something Roy Prouty encourages all of UMBC to take part in.
“The shared governance system relies on the five senates working together to enact change. And this relies on the proper function of the senates,” Prouty said.
“So make sure you are involved with your senate and pass information or concerns up the chain to the Steering Committee.”