A Faculty Advocate In dara, FA Vice President
We asked our 2022-2024 term incoming FA Executive Board members some questions so that the full-time faculty could get to know them better. Read more below to see how dara has served and will continue to serve the full-time faculty as your FA Vice President.
What attributes, strengths or experiences do you bring to FA Council (FAC)? Within which department, committees, clubs have you served?
I have been the Faculty Assembly Vice President for four years, and previously, I was on FA Council. For FA subcommittees, I have worked with Bylaws and Constitution revision, Fringe Benefits, and the Elections subcommittee. I have served on several contract negotiation teams and on the grievance policy negotiations team. Before becoming involved with FA, I served on and chaired PG&E (now TREC); I was an EEO representative and have been on many hiring and TRC committees (often outside my department); I was a Lodestar for several new hires; I served as an Academic Senate representative; co-created and co-facilitated our previous iteration of LGBTQIA+ SAFE SPACE training; served as faculty co-advisor for the GSA; and was the faculty advisor for the very short-lived Animal Rights Club. As for departmental work, I have been a department chair and have contributed to many endeavors in Letters, Pre-Transfer and Letters, Transfer.
Over the years that I have served on FA Council and FA Executive Board, I think I have built/re-built relationships with full time faculty colleagues, associate faculty colleagues, administrators, classified coworkers, and board members. Colleagues count on me for direct answers to questions, and they know if I say I will do something, I will follow through with commitments. If I don’t know the answer to a question, I will find the correct answer and not pass along bad information. I bring a sense of humor to my efforts while knowing this is very serious work. Administrators realized, very quickly, I will not "go along to get along," so they know I will bring them a perspective that's collegial and respectful, challenging them yet not being hostile. I take good notes, pay attention to what people say, and have no difficulty pointing out discrepancies or hypocrisy when I find them. I don’t participate in negotiations out of self-interest as evidenced by my work on the Fringe Benefits Subcommittee: negotiating for better mental health services for Kaiser members though I am covered by PPO; there are many instances where my voice has been used to benefit the many instead of my own concerns. I believe in the power of the collective, and I work to that end.
What do you feel is most important to convey to new faculty about the role of FAC?
Actually, I think all faculty need a bit of a refresher about what FAC is, what we do, and when we should be contacted. If a full-time faculty member even suspects that an issue they encounter has to do with working conditions, they should first contact an FA Exec member, or at the very least an FAC member, so no direct dealing or unfair practices are done by accident.
A little bit more about me…
I'm not a bitmoji gal, so when asked to create a bitmoji of myself, my first idea of a black square didn't go over well. Instead, I thought I would share what my Santa tattoo says about me. My earliest memory of Santa is being extremely frightened by a department store Santa, running away, getting lost, and getting into trouble for it. Remarkably, I overcame that light trauma, and as I moved toward secular thinking, I found I really connected with the idea of Santa. After doing a bunch of research, over many years, I learned the idea’s origins go much farther back than many people realize: all the way back to Norse gods and goddesses, and I learned that one origin story places him as a shaman/healer! What I really connect with is not the idea that Santa sees all, but the idea we should all be good merely for goodness’ sake: not due to promises of reward or threats of damnation. When I decided to get my tattoo, I also wanted it to be a family tattoo, so I asked my partner and my daughter what they would like to be represented as, as toys in Santa's bag. The Kermit doll represents me; the Homer Simpson doll represents my partner, Kraig; and the squeaky shark toy represents my daughter, Raven, and a hilarious road trip during which she would show a rubber squeaky shark to passersby.