Why they serve: Introducing the new Faculty and Staff Senate presidents
Perhaps because of their years of service as faculty and staff senators, Danny Weathers and Janeen Putman, the newly elected presidents of the Faculty Senate and Staff Senate, provide the best examples of Gandhi’s view that the “best to way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
An associate professor of marketing with almost a decade at Clemson, Danny Weathers served for four years as the Faculty Senate representative for the College of Business, chairing the policy committee for almost half that time. “I wanted to know more about how the University operated and see if I could have some amount of influence on that.” And influence he did, playing an invaluable team leadership role in last year’s formation of a third lecturer rank and amending Clemson’s constitution to benefit all current and future faculty members.
“Once I got the experience as the chair of the Policy Committee, I felt like I had a good understanding of how the senate operates and what the needs were,” said Weathers. “Honestly, I just like to serve. Growing up, I was taught to serve others, and I see this as more of a service position than anything else.”
The Faculty Senate, composed of senators from each college and each faculty rank, acts as a liaison between all faculty members and the University’s administration. The characteristics of shared governance and the president’s role as liaison to the administration suits Weathers who has built a reputation as a fastidious, goal-centered collaborator. “I’m thorough when it comes to trying to comprehend issues and listen to others’ opinions. I try to find data that either supports or doesn’t support any decisions before any actions are taken.”
Weathers’ goals are to improve communication between the Faculty Senate and the faculty it serves and to increase the efficiency of faculty governance, including the parameters associated with committee service. Another goal is to increase the number of faculty who use the Clemson Experimental Forest as an educational resource and to do “all we can do as faculty to protect this great resource.”
Similar to Weathers, Janeen Putman, a student services manager in bioengineering with 18 years of Clemson experience, brings significant senate experience to her role as president of the Staff Senate. Due in part to Putman’s significant contributions as a member of the activities committee that spearheaded major military appreciation events and a recognition luncheon for employees who had earned higher degrees, a peer advocate encouraged Putman to run for the position of vice president/president-elect.
For those who know Putman, her assuming this leadership role at the University comes as no surprise. Far before her professional career at the University, she was a Clemson undergraduate student taking on prominent leadership roles such as serving as the Clemson chapter president of the American Society of Civil Engineers. “I’ve really enjoyed being able to give back to the University. I felt like if service was something that I was encouraging students to do, then I should do it myself. I’m really proud of the things that we’ve accomplished in the Staff Senate.” Putman would encourage other staff members to consider serving on the Staff Senate. In her view, the senate provides “an opportunity to be leaders and to be heard.” Putman aims to use her year in the president’s seat to encourage service of all facets, especially the service of staff members toward each other. As an important step, Putman will continue to encourage others to use the array of available staff awards to promote peer recognition and increased engagement. “We’re all in this together. If you think that someone is doing a good job, you should recognize that person for it.”