Faculty appoint Evans as chairwoman

Robin Huiras

Faculty members at the University have a new spokeswoman. The University Faculty Consultative Committee appointed history professor Sara Evans chairwoman for the 1998-99 school year.
The 15 University faculty members who make up the FCC serve as a steering committee for the University Faculty Senate. They consult with the faculty and administration. Evans will act as the liaison between the two groups, said Victor Bloomfield, current chairman of the committee.
“Sara brings not only great experience to the committee, but also excellent interpersonal skill that will help bring out the best in the other members of FCC,” said Carole Bland, professor of family medicine in the Medical School and committee member.
A nomination committee chooses a new chairperson annually. Nomination committee members are not eligible to become chair. The position takes effect July 1, Bloomfield said.
Evans, who is currently on sabbatical, said she was surprised by the nomination because she hasn’t been at the University since last year.
Evans’ responsibilities will include running meetings, coordinating committees in faculty governance, working with leaders of other University committees and meeting with University President Mark Yudof and the Board of Regents on a regular basis.
“Sara has impressed us over the years as a thoughtful and articulate person,” Bloomfield said. “She’s a good representative of the faculty.”
A tenured professor in the history department, Evans’ focus is on the history of American women, specifically feminist issues.
In addition, Evans is an adjunct faculty member in the American and women’s studies departments and at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs. She serves as a member of the American Association of University Professors and sings with the University Gospel Choir.
“I like the multiplicity,” Evans said. “Each thing I’ve done at the University has been a different type of challenge.”
After receiving a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Evans came to the University in 1976 as an assistant professor in history.
Through the years she’s taken on various administrative roles at the University in addition to her appointment as FCC chairwoman.
In the early 1990s, she was chairwoman of the Department of History and last year she served as vice president of the American Association of University Professors.
“I did see my role as chair of the history department as trying to build consensus and create processes in which we could all think together. This experience is crucial for my role in FCC, but it is an extremely different type of work,” Evans said.
The University is rapidly changing in how higher education is financed, she said. Faculty and central administration need to begin recognizing that in 10 years higher education will look different, and they should begin asking questions to deal with these changes.
“Questions like, how do we sustain traditions of academic freedom and how do we look at our own strengths and build upon them,” Evans said.
The University operates through processes of shared governance. Every group plays a vital role, and the University wouldn’t be a university if the faculty weren’t part of the process, Evans said.