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Faculty Senate update

News on academic policy, calls for volunteers and floor discussions on workload are covered in Oct. 17 meeting.

By Cory Phare

October 22, 2018

Faculty senate meetingFaculty Senate President Matt Makley (history) kicked off the Oct. 17 meeting with a note of gratitude.

“We’re right in the thick of it,” he said. “I know it’s a busy, stressful time of the semester with midterms and projects, so thank you all for your time and the work you do every day.”

Jessica Weiss (art history) told the group that work with the University Policy Committee was presented to the President’s Cabinet; this included policies on academic-policy enactment, defining and establishing the Faculty Senate as the primary review body for them; the faculty employment handbook committee; and freedom of expression.

Weiss then provided a first reading of the revised language on prior-learning assessment for military-veteran students; the Senate also voted to approve updated APC bylaws, adding three new nonvoting members.

Zsuzsa Balogh (civil engineering technology) provided Curriculum Committee updates on the discussion around senior-experience designation, as many don’t align with wording from the curriculum manual on undergraduate studies, as several allow junior-standing students to participate. Balogh will email senators; those with feedback from their respective departments are also encouraged to email her directly.

Makley encouraged interested parties to email him to get involved with several committees looking for volunteers:

  • Strategic Enrollment Management is looking for Senate representation on each of its steering, recruitment and retention committees. “There’s good evidence that faculty members are some of the most important factors in retention,” Makley said. “A lot of this wouldn’t require heavy lifting – things like general advice and connection to resources have a lasting impact on our students’ ability to stay and graduate.”
  • The Online Education and Shared Oversight Committee is tied to the University’s online program development, driven by the student-approved fee to generate more resources. Information will be resent to faculty members as well. “Committees are emerging from top to bottom in this area; we want to have Faculty Senate involved at every step possible – this is big,” Makley said.
  • Vice President Jo Bailey (social work) put out a call for two to four more volunteers to look at processes and structures related to graduate-program policies; faculty members do not need to teach graduate-level work to participate. Those interested should email her or Makley.

Other items of business included:

  • After floor discussion, the Senate voted on a motion to propose to the president and provost exploration of reducing the required teaching expectations from 4/4 to 4/3 for Category One faculty members and from 5/5 to 5/4 for Category Two, with an option to overload for more compensation. It was posited that this reduction would allow more availability for teaching and success/retention efforts.
  • There was also a related floor discussion around the proposed University realignment; the Welfare Committee is crafting and will distribute a brief survey for the Faculty Senate to weigh in.
  • The 2018 Equity Survey, administered by the Diversity Committee, has been distributed and closes Oct. 24; all faculty members are encouraged to participate. Additionally, a three-credit release has been approved to assist with analysis support for a full-time faculty member with experience in qualitative and quantitative research. Please contact the committee and/or Makley if interested in participating.
  • Makley thanked Kami Phillips (from Faculty Affairs) and Ann Sanders (from Academic and Student Affairs) for their support and posting of meeting minutes to the Faculty Senate webpage.
  • The General Studies Renovation Forum has met once with two more meetings scheduled, Oct. 22 from 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. and Oct. 23 from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.; both meetings will take place in Central Classroom 103.
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