Poll: majority of University of Louisville Faculty Senate suppor - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Poll: majority of University of Louisville Faculty Senate support President James Ramsey

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University of Louisville President James Ramsey University of Louisville President James Ramsey

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) --  Just over half of the members of the University of Louisville’s Faculty Senate are confident in President James Ramsey’s ability to continue leading U of L, according to the results of a poll.

By a 55 percent to 40 percent margin, the faculty members answered “yes” to the question, “Do you have confidence in President Ramsey’s ability to be an effective leader of the University?”

Sixty of the 66 Faculty Senate members participated in the anonymous survey, with 33 supporting Ramsey, 24 not supporting and three abstaining, according to results released Wednesday at the senate’s monthly meeting.

The faculty group has no direct say on Ramsey’s job status, but the poll was taken to inform the vote of Pamela Feldhoff, a biology professor who holds the faculty seat on the U of L Board of Trustees.

Ramsey’s support on the university’s governing board has waned over the last two years, and in March, about half of the trustees said they would vote “no confidence” in his leadership. Such a vote was proposed at the board’s last meeting March 1 but not taken because of procedural issues.

None of the trustees have gone so far as to propose terminating Ramsey, who was hired in 2002 and is under contract through 2020.

The faculty poll gives Ramsey a boost as the board awaits Gov. Matt Bevin’s appointments to fill two vacancies before it can meet again.

“I think Dr. Ramsey would be happy with the results,” university spokesman John Karman said after the meeting Wednesday. “He has been an advocate for the faculty and worked to make the university a better place to work.”

During Wednesday’s meeting, a few faculty members who oppose Ramsey questioned the methodology of the poll after other surveys within academic departments showed less support for him.

Philosophy department chairman David Owen said the results were “a little bit surprising.”

“I just don’t have confidence in this,” said accounting professor Ben Foster.

But mathematics professor Beth Bradley said the anonymous methodology of the poll was agreed to by the full senate.

“Now, to call into question why we should have (the poll) anonymous, is, to me, back-peddling because we don’t like the results,” she said.

One of the faculty members who voted in favor of Ramsey was electrical engineering professor Kevin Walsh.

Walsh, a 37-year U of L veteran, said in an interview  that his vote  reflected the majority view in the Speed School of Engineering. He said Ramsey deserves credit for leading the university through a dozen state budget cuts since 2008 without laying off faculty members.

“I think that people that are in favor of Dr. Ramsey kind of take a look at the overall improvement that the university has undergone during his tenure here,” Walsh said. “When he came in here in 2003, we were pretty much a Jefferson County commuter college…He made a concerted effort to get the graduation rates up. He had to make this a residential campus…I think a lot of us look at the big picture of what he has been able to achieve. And to kick him out right here, while he is towards the end of his career anyway…I still think he can make some more improvements.”

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