SUNY Oswego history faculty member Gwen Kay, director of the college's Honors Program the past four years, recently was sworn in as president of the SUNY University Faculty Senate and, in that role, as a member of the SUNY Board of Trustees.

Kay is the first woman to serve as president of the University Faculty Senate since Karen Markoe of SUNY Maritime in 1987-91, and the first president from SUNY Oswego. She will serve a two-year term, with an option to run for a second term.

Formerly vice president and secretary of the organization for three years, Kay now will serve as the top SUNY-wide representative for some 30,000 faculty members across more than 30 four-year SUNY campuses.

University Faculty Senate deals with many issues affecting broad swaths of the SUNY professoriate, from overseeing applied learning such as internships and co-ops to general education requirements, and from diversifying the faculty to evaluating curriculum and resources to facilitate cross-SUNY transfers.

"I represent all faculty, so I want to, within System Administration, be the voice for faculty," Kay said.

Kay said she already has had a one-on-one meeting with H. Carl McCall, president of SUNY's governing body, the Board of Trustees, and plans to meet with SUNY's new chancellor, Kristina M. Johnson, in August.

Though she is a non-voting trustee to that board, Kay will participate in policy discussions, speak to faculty issues and concerns, and participate in searches for positions such as a new provost for SUNY. She also chose membership on four Board of Trustees committees that have a strong impact on faculty SUNY-wide: Finance and Administration, Academic Affairs, Academic Medical Centers/Hospitals, and Research and Economic Development.

Faculty role

Emphasizing communication between her administration and faculty senators, as well as between senators and their campuses, Kay said she would remind people across SUNY of the important role of faculty in governance of the State University system.

As part of her agenda, Kay plans to visit all of the campuses of SUNY-operated four-year schools, including the four university centers, two medical universities, three doctorate-granting colleges, 13 university (comprehensive) colleges, five statutory colleges, and seven technology colleges. There is a separate governance group for faculty of SUNY's 30 community colleges, the Faculty Council of Community Colleges.

"I will miss many things not being on Oswego's campus, but I'll absolutely miss not having contact with honors students," Kay said.

SUNY Oswego named chemistry faculty member Casey Raymond the acting director of the Honors program and Chris Lalonde of English and creative writing as the acting associate director.

Kay formerly served as SUNY Oswego's University Faculty Senate representative. The college now has two: sociology faculty member Evelyn Benavides Clark and history chair Frank Byrne.

Specializing in the history of medicine and science, Progressive Era America and women's history, Kay has a doctorate in the history of medicine and science from Yale University and a bachelor's degree in biology and history from Bowdoin College. Her current research project is on gender and science in higher education in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.