Faculty Senate President Bill Recktenwald finished his last meeting as president amid applause from his peers as they congratulated newly elected president Meera Komarraju Tuesday.
Other newly elected members were Terry Clark, professor of marketing, as vice president and Kimberly Asner-Self, former head of committee on committees and associate professor of educational and psychology special education, as secretary.
Recktenwald, a senior lecturer in journalism, served as the first president of the Faculty Senate not on the tenure-track.
He said he was surprised he was elected but never worried about his duties as president.
“Many of you recall that I did not seek the position of senate president, but I agreed to serve fairly and to the best of my abilities,” he said in his statement.
In his last statement as president, Recktenwald went over his work from the past year.
Recktenwald said his goal was not just to attend meetings but also become an active participant in them. He said he believes the senate made significant progress in terms of shared governance.
The No. 1 thing that should always matter to members of the senate is the students, he said.
Recktenwald said before his time in the senate, there was a lot of tension. He said he helped pull the group together to work with each other, as well as with Chancellor Rita Cheng and Provost John Nicklow.
Recktenwald said he was able to work with Cheng and Nicklow to accomplish the goals of senate and upper echelon faculty.
He said he used humor and kept meetings at a reasonable length to make the senate more productive.
He said he gained leadership experience from his time as deputy bureau chief at the Chicago Tribune.
Recktenwald said he thinks Komarraju will serve as an excellent replacement because she is a renowned teacher and has experience bringing groups together.
Komarraju, director of SIU’s undergraduate psychology program and associate professor of applied psychology, was not present at the meeting, and was unavailable for comment.
Asner-Self said it was an honor to work under Recktenwald in his time as president. She said he was a great leader who was calm, open-minded and able to make tough decisions.
She also said she is confident in Komarraju and looks forward to serving under her as secretary.
James Wall, member of the Faculty Senate’s budget committee and senior lecturer in the department of radio-television, said the senate replaces at least one third of its members annually to keep fresh voices.
Wall said Recktenwald has been a wonderful voice for the faculty and championed a number of causes. He said having a non-tenure teacher in charge of the senate showed confidence from the faculty.