Faculty Senate celebrates 50 years of service
The Faculty Senate met for its monthly meeting on Oct. 7, recognizing 50 years of faculty governance on campus. The anniversary coincided with the fall semester’s general faculty meeting, during which the university president delivers remarks to faculty, occurring immediately before the Faculty Senate meeting.
The meeting began with University President Dennis Assanis addressing the Faculty Senate on the subject of the university’s growth.
According to Assanis, the enrollment of in-state full time students at the Newark Campus has grown from 5,336 in 2010 to 6,148 in 2019. The enrollment of full time students from both in-state and out-of-state labeled as “underrepresented minorities” has also increased significantly from 1,890 in 2010 to 3,096 in 2019. However, out-of-state enrollment coming from key feeder states has been on the decline. These states were listed as New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, California and Pennsylvania. Assanis presented this with some degree of concern, as the university receives more tuition money from out-of-state students.
The university also wants to expand its student outreach internationally by increasing the acceptance of undergrads by 1,000. The university has international admissions teams visiting “key markets” in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, and “niche markets” in Africa.
Assanis also dedicated special attention to class of 2023. The class is made up of 4,146 students residing in the Newark Campus. They have an average SAT score of 1275 and an average high school GPA of 3.8. Assanis marked them as the most diverse class, noting that 723 students in the class are listed as “underrepresented minority students”.
A slide was dedicated to the current status of on campus construction projects. The demolition on the second and third floors of Worrilow Hall have been completed, while the first- and fourth-floor demolition projects will be completed by late October. McKinly Hall’s new addition to Life Sciences Research Facility is 40 percent complete and on schedule for total completion by June 2020. The furniture removal in the Christiana Towers begins this month.
The university has also begun to relocate the cell and WVUD transmission towers, previously located on top of the East Tower. A specific end date for the demolition was not specified, as the overall demolition of the Christiana Towers depends on relocation timing. The South Green infrastructure is marked as 60 percent completed, although there is not currently any official timeline for completion.
Assanis said that these projects as well as others are “capital heavy”.
“We have to spend money,” Assanis said. “We are spending money we have never spent in our history. Those who have the guts to do this will reap the benefits in the next 25 years. We are investing in our future.”
After the presentation, the Faculty Senate debated renaming the “Department of Music” to the “School of Music.” For those arguing in favor, the name change was just nomenclature. They claimed that it allows for the university to be put on the same category as the University of Illinois and University of Michigan, which have distinguished music profiles. Those arguing for the change also claimed that the name change would allow the department to hire a director for the School of Music. The Senate overwhelmingly approved of the resolution.
Voting procedures concluded with keynote speaker Barbara Settles, who was one of the first members of the Faculty Senate. She talked about her time in the Faculty Senate during the late ‘60s and the ‘70s. During these decades, the Faculty Senate was working to add new programs and fields of studies. Some of these include women’s studies, African American studies, Latin American studies and various international programs.
Settles gave her opinion on students graduating within four years. During Assanis’ presentation, he said that 73 percent of the university students earn their bachelor’s within the four years of college. He expressed how great an achievement this is since it ranks the university as the fourth highest rated nationwide among primarily residential public universities. Settles discussed the human component to this.
“Numbers seem like they are accurate because they are not words and we have to be careful of that,” she said.
Settles said that some students need more time to graduate due to strenuous individual circumstances.
“We do want to have everyone graduate in four years because that is prestigious and important and a good use of money and so forth,” Settles said. “I teach a good number of students who are here because they have been accommodated. We do things to help them with whatever their particular difficulties are. They may need a little more time with their upper division courses and that carrying a full load may not necessarily be the best thing.”