Alexander Luzula | Assistant News Director
The Faculty Senate has voted in Professor Noël C. Barengo as its new chair during the most recent meeting on Sept. 12.
In a vote of 54-4, Barengo was confirmed as senate chair, with opponent Nathan Dodge encouraging the senate to vote for Barengo as well.
Barengo’s appointment comes after serving as interim chair following former senate chair Deanne Butchey’s resignation in April 2023 following a vote of no confidence.
After a vote of 30-28, the senate passed a motion of no confidence in Butchey, citing perceived failure to represent the senate’s interests to the Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors, as well as mishandling senate meetings and procedures.
Barengo also previously served as vice chair of the senate during Butchey’s time as chair, as well as senate secretary.
A professor at the Department of Health Policy and Management at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Barengo has been teaching at FIU since 2016, instructing courses on epidemiology, research methods, and evidence-based medicine as an associate professor.
Barengo also teaches at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine.
Barengo received his medical degree in 1999, as well as a doctorate in public health in 2001, both from the University of Eastern Finland.
“As chair of the Faculty Senate… I represent the faculty senate at different committees, like the Board of Trustees in front of administration, but also statewide.”
Barengo’s focus as chair will be representing the concerns of the faculty in regards to issues such as post-tenure review and curriculum review, both of which were passed by Gov. DeSantis earlier this year, as well as reshaping the senate’s internal assignments to keep committees running smoothly.
“The main concern is it restricts academic freedom and it endangers the whole tenure structure, and there’s some faculty concern that it can be a reason for getting fired, like losing your job if you express opinions that are not as well-liked,” said Barengo.
On the administrative side, Barengo is also working with university administration and the United Faculty of Florida-FIU on revising the current tenure guidelines and requirements.
“This is something that, in collaboration with the union, we are developing currently in working groups, and I think some of the conversations really go well, and I’m pretty convinced we’ll find a good agreement between all the parties.”
With Barengo’s ascension to chair, the position of vice chair has currently been left vacant. The Steering Committee will be reviewing candidates before presenting them to the full senate at their next meeting on Sept. 26.
“There’s a lot of challenges ahead, but I’m very positive. We have a really good steering committee, we have a great Senate. Together, we’ll have a positive influence in defending the faculty’s interests and having constructive solutions for whatever will need to be solved,” said Barengo.
Correction: A previous version stated Professor Barengo worked for the Stempel College. This has since been corrected.