President Anthony Tricoli To Receive National Award from the American Association of University Professors

05/13/2011
Contact: Beth Jensen
Phone: 678.891.2348
Fax: 678-891-2966
Author: Beth Jensen

Dr. Anthony Tricoli is the first two-year college president in the nation to receive The American Association of University Professors Ralph S. Brown Award for Shared Governance http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/about/awards/brown.htm. The award is created in memory of Ralph S. Brown, a Yale law professor and former AAUP president and general counsel. 

The national AAUP presents the award only when an individual’s accomplishments in the area of shared governance are identified as “outstanding.” The successful candidate must demonstrate a strong commitment to shared governance and an ability to work with multiple constituencies to implement effective change.

The AAUP has honored only five college presidents with the award since its inception in 1998. Dr. Tricoli will be the sixth recipient in the award’s twelve-year history. The award was last presented in 2007.

The AAUP expressed its appreciation to Dr. Tricoli for his “accomplishments in making governance at George Perimeter College a collegial and collaborative endeavor.”  The selection committee was impressed both by “the substance and the spirit of the governance system in place at the college” as confirmed by those who nominated the president.

Margee Bright Ragland, Faculty Senate Chair at GPC and associate professor of art, wrote, “Dr. Tricoli has united our once divided multi-campus college into one college, reinvigorating our sense of community and mission. With the president’s emphasis on “One College,” we work more and more as a cohesive, unified whole.”

President Tricoli communicates that “trust is the essential foundation upon which a collaborative model is built.” He also focuses on inclusivity as an integral component. Rather than having numerous permanent standing committees, Tricoli creates temporary, targeted, transparent, and timely Think Tanks and Task Teams to address short-term  issues and to allow more individuals to participate in GPC’s governance.  He also holds Open Forums at each campus on topics such as governance, diversity, trust, and strategic planning.  Accordingly, as Professor Bright Ragland notes, at GPC “those who will be impacted by a decision participate in making the decision.”

Dr. Julia Rux, professor of psychology and president of the GPC chapter of the Georgia Association of Educators, also emphasizes the president’s desire to include all constituencies: “Within weeks of arriving, Dr. Tricoli began convening open forums on each campus on a series of critical topics:  from values, to future goals, to shared governance, to faculty evaluation systems.”  Rux is pleased that “under Dr. Tricoli’s administration, our requests for transparency and representation have been met after years of faculty and students being left behind.”

Faculty are also pleased with the president’s accessibility. Assistant professor of biology Dr. Jonathan Lochamy notes that one reason GPC’s shared governance model is a success is the availability of the president: “He doesn’t isolate himself in an office or surround himself with upper level administration. To say he is “accessible” is an understatement.” Lochamy e-mailed the president with a  concern and, within ten minutes, received a response:  “ In my e-mail, I explained that a faculty decision had been lost in an administrative committee.  He immediately contacted all parties involved to authorize the faculty’s decision. The next day, he called me to confirm that the situation had been resolved. Why is this important?  Because we have a president who cares about the faculty voice.  And it doesn’t matter if the faculty is tenured, non-tenured, full-time, or part-time.”

Dede Weber, the Staff Chair of the newly formed Staff Senate, quickly asserts that it is not just the faculty who capture the president’s attention.

Weber was thrilled when the president requested the formation of a Staff Senate to participate in the college’s governance model. She notes that Dr. Tricoli’s commitment to inclusivity reflects his enthusiasm for Shared Governance: “Without his leadership style, how else would a non-exempt, Clerk IV, support staff member be formally representing GPC staff concerns at the Executive Team level?” Weber and Faculty Senate Chair Margee Bright Ragland serve with the college’s five vice presidents and president as voting members on both the President's Cabinet and the President’s Policy Advisory Board.

Students also have a voice at GPC. Jonathan Lochamy recalls the initial response from faculty when the president began to advocate student participation in the governing process: “Many faculty were dismayed and protested that student representatives often didn’t attend or didn’t actively participate in meetings.  President Tricoli agreed that this was a problem. Instead of removing students, however, he asked us to double the number of students on committees and policy councils to increase student involvement.” Each of GPC’s five policy councils now includes at least two student representatives.

Tricoli was “honored and humbled by the award.” He stated,  however, that “although I am being acknowledged by the AAUP, I believe that all of our faculty, staff, administrators, and students should be recognized for their willingness to participate in a genuine shared governance model.”

Thanks to Dr. Tricoli, Georgia Perimeter College now has a governance model that involves more faculty and staff than ever before in its almost fifty-year history. 

Dr. Tricoli will receive the Ralph S. Brown Award for Shared Governance and speak at the AAUP Banquet on June 11, 2011, in Washington, D.C.