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Your faculty and staff news since 1965
September 20, 2004
Volume 40, Number 2

Presidents share goals for faculty, staff organizations

De Santis: Senate is faculty agent

Ed De Santis teaches in Honors.

Ed De Santis, faculty in University Honors, is the new Faculty Senate president. Bringing more than 30 years of UNM experience and energy to the position, De Santis is aware of the changes and challenges that lie ahead.

“Through it all, we cannot forget who and what we are. I hope to leave a unified and stronger senate to my successor,” he said.
“The university is its people,” De Santis said, “While the university as such is not a democracy, it is built on a democratic ethos which safeguards the rights of its members and values their contributions.”

The UNM Staff Council meets Tuesday, Sept. 21 from 1-3 p.m., Hokona Hall Theatre, 277-1532.

UNM Faculty Senate meets Tuesday, Sept. 28 at 3 p.m., Scholes Hall, Roberts Room, 277-4664.

Speaking of the centrality of the faculty, he said, “It is the leadership and authority of the faculty as a whole that distinguish a public university from any other kind of institution,” he said. He added that the senate is “the agent of the university faculty” and has its authority from the faculty as a whole. “This is a constitutional principle of the university’s governance,” he said.

At a recent senate retreat many senators expressed concern about low faculty morale. Some thought they weren’t being heard, he said. “The senate seeks to broaden the conversation about every important issue throughout campus.”

Senators have a “strategic role” in initiating debate within their own departments and colleges, he said. Through standing committees and the Operations Committee, the senate has numerous opportunities to bring together professors from main, north and branch campuses into a university-wide dialog on revitalizing the infrastructure of the university, he said.
“It is not only in the classroom and laboratory that professors have influence. Everything that happens within and to the university should catch the attention of the faculty,” he said.
De Santis lauded the efforts of UNM administration to reach out to faculty. He added that the budget summit was not only a success, but “a high point of President Caldera’s first year in office.”

De Santis noted UNM’s growth potential. “It will grow and reflect a certain entrepreneurial tilt. But our primary responsibility is still education in its fullest sense.”

One of De Santis’ personal goals is to enrich the experience of the faculty. “I want to see friendship and solidarity develop through common cause. I want the faculty experiences to be humanly and professionally rewarding, and even joyous,” he said. “Who knows? It could transform the campus.”

Borbas brings worldview to council

Steve Borbas, Facility Planning, is a known artist and teaches at UNM in architecture and planning.

The artist signature Steve Borbas uses for his watercolor vignettes reveals much about his roots and the way he leads his life.

On the colorful piece outside his office, the Hungarian phrase “New Kaland” – translated “New Adventure” – precedes his surname.

And this pretty much describes Borbas, who at the drop of a hat will seize and wear it – whether that means turns as 2004-05 Staff Council president, world traveler, single dad, community volunteer or tango dancer.

Taking risks and formulating ideas started early on for the UNM facility planner.

At age 11, he and his family escaped communist Hungary – fleeing to Pittsburgh and ultimately making a home in upstate New York. “It was just the right age to be thrown into the English language and a new culture. I was on the fast track to becoming an American,” said Borbas, also an adjunct associate professor of architecture and planning.

Childhood images of his homeland paved the way for an inventive career.

“My grandfather came to live with us for a year when I was nine. He was artistic, observant, sort of a renaissance man. Every day after school he would ask me ‘What did you see today?’” Borbas recalled. “At first I described the obvious – cars, buildings and trees – but after a week or so I needed to change my story and I started to actually look. I examined doorways and windows, the shadows cast by buildings. Now I teach drawing and design – it’s an interesting evolution how things happen to you.”

After graduating from Pratt Institute with a bachelor’s in architecture and master’s in city and regional planning in the early 1970s, he landed a position with a London firm working in the Middle East.

“I was literally laying out new towns by the odometer of my car. The earth movers were lined up behind me making the roads, but we got things done,” he said.

Borbas is good at making inroads. At UNM since 1991, he worked on the university’s master plan, the evolution of the Taos branch and campus design projects.

Facility Planning Director Roger Lujan is supportive of his council presidency, which can require early evening or weekend make-up time.

Borbas’ two children are now attending college in Florida, but he stays busy with new adventures, including chairing the Albuquerque Arts Board and New Mexico Veteran’s Memorial Design Committee and serving on the Albuquerque Goals Commission. He also tests Hungarian-speaking students out of UNM’s second language requirement, accompanies student groups to Europe, participates in planning and art competitions – and lest we forget – takes tango lessons.

He will not dance around the issues in coming months, however. Borbas plans to unite staff, encourage more white papers such as those emerging from the work-life and career development committees, and help plan a second staff appreciation week.

His gift of gab earned him the president-elect nomination in 2002.

“You can sit there and listen or you can sit there and participate. I’m a participator. Of course, then you get asked or told to do this and that,” he said, adding, “The council is prepared, but not pedantic about the way we run the meetings. I’m working with a great collection of participants who really care about the University.”