By Jackie Todd, University Relations
Themes of communication, relationships and advocacy were heard as new leaders took the helms of the Faculty and Staff Senates yesterday in separate ceremonies.
Three years ago, Dan Hofmann was fighting for his life. Clemson’s director of parking and transportation services, Hofmann was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He credits his wife, Ann, his staff and his extended Clemson family for their support as he fought for his health – and, thankfully, he won the battle.
“The love, commitment and support that I received from my staff is something I never thought I would experience,” he recalled. “There truly is a Clemson Family.”
Now Hofmann wants to give back. And his opportunity to do that began yesterday as he accepted the presidential gavel from outgoing Staff Senate President Leigh Dodson in a ceremony that included his family, members of his staff, senators, President Jim Clements and members of Clemson’s executive leadership team.
In his first speech as Staff Senate president, Hofmann said that he wants to be a “difference maker” for Clemson’s staff, including those in satellite locations.
“I want to help ensure that the university continues to make strategic investments in our staff in the form of compensation and benefits plans, staff and supervisory training and effective communications,” he said.
Hofmann also said that he wants to “re-energize” and “re-focus” Staff senators and their committees to help them better serve their constituents.
A primary goal, according to the new Staff Senate president, is to continue the dialogue that the Senate has created with the Office of Human Resources to clarify policy and welfare issues and to effectively communicate about those issues to staff.
“Our staff are one of the most important pillars of our great institution,” said Hofmann. “I want to help make sure that there is a continued commitment by this university to expand staff programs and resources and that Clemson continues to invest in our most valuable human resources so that they continue to perform at the highest levels to ensure the ongoing success and high achievements for our great university.”
Like Hofmann, Jan Holmevik wants to be a “difference maker” for his constituents. As Holmevik, an associate professor in the English department, accepted the presidential gavel from outgoing Faculty Senate President Amy Lawton-Rauh in front of a packed senate chamber, he pledged to strongly safeguard academic integrity and freedom.
Holmevik said that as faculty educate students – the “stewards of tomorrow” – they should continue to foster an environment of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and inclusiveness.
He also said that faculty should be empowered to defend the integrity and values that are the foundation of their profession.
“As your president, I pledge to work tirelessly to help ensure that you can continue to pursue these foundational academic values in your work,” he said.
Other important priorities of the new Faculty Senate president include a focus on the work climate for female faculty members as well as salary, tenure and promotion concerns.
Finally, Holmevik stressed the importance of shared governance and faculty participation in setting high standards for the direction and continued success of Clemson University. And he had some advice for new senators who will be serving in their positions for the next three years.
“Since 1956, shared governance has played a critical part in making sure faculty interests have been heard and included when decisions were made,” he said. “Going forward, it is now your voice, as a representative for the faculty of your college, that will be heard in this important role. I hope you will use it often and profoundly.”