Faculty Senate delays graduate college vote
The Faculty Senate gathered for its final general meeting of the fall semester on Monday, Dec. 3.
The meeting began with a few remarks from Faculty Senate President Chris Williams concerning business from the November meeting.
Provost Robin Morgan then spoke on behalf of Vice President of Student Life, José Luis-Riera, regarding student mental health. In the wake of the death of student on Nov. 21, Morgan reminded those in attendance of the university’s resources for student safety, including the Center for Counseling & Student Development, the 24/7 Crisis Line, Sexual Offense Support (S.O.S.) and the Student Behavioral Consultation Team.
The Student Government Association brought forth their “Student Death Notification & Assistance Act” in response to the death. It was introduced as new business and is expected to be voted on during the next Faculty Senate general meeting in February.
The proposition included that the entire student body would be notified by the president’s office within one week of any student’s passing in the future (dependent on familial wishes), and that professors who the student had would be mandated to have counseling professionals present the class period immediately following the announcement.
This discussion on mental health prompted a question from Chanele Moore, the Senator for the Associate in Arts Program (AAP), who expressed concern over a perceived lack of mental health support for AAP students. Students enrolled in the AAP program do not pay the student health fee, which covers services via the counseling center. Luis-Riera clarified that this was an issue currently being worked on with the faculty director and assistant dean of the AAP.
The Faculty Senate requested to extend the deadline for establishing the graduate college, as the draft version of the bylaws was meant to be voted on this meeting to ensure the college’s establishment on or before Jan. 1, 2019, as originally promised. The reasoning behind this delay was that “the organizational structure and bylaws are still being reviewed by the Faculty Senate Committee structure and January 1, 2019 will not be possible to assure a comprehensive document.”
The new date for voting on the graduate college’s establishment was met with concern from some senate members, who wanted to extend the deadline to the March Faculty Senate general meeting so as to ensure the drafted bylaws were completely finished.
“If we had to vote [on the graduate college] today, the senate would vote it down. I don’t see how we can have another open hearing and have it done by the February hearing,” Deni Galileo, a senate member representing biological sciences, said in support of a March deadline in lieu of the February one. “The choices would be to extend it again and if it hasn’t gone through the process, the senators will just vote it down.”
Regardless of expressed concerns, the new deadline remains for Feb. 11, 2019.
These announcements were followed by a series of votes on university policy, including the deactivation of the honors psychology bachelor’s in science (a formality due to the regular bachelor’s in science degree having been deactivated last year), and approvals of edits to sections in the faculty handbook.
The Faculty Senate voted for a revision to transfer credit policy, which would allow departments to grant credit for the College-Level Examination Program (CLEP), a program that allows its participants to demonstrate mastery of college-level material for college credit, regardless of where the material was learned. Taking into account the amount of student veterans enrolled, there was an effort made by the Faculty Senate to make the CLEP policy more lenient. This leniency will now extend to courses taken during students’ time serving in the military that may not have been approved by an accreditation board and CLEP itself, which is frequently used by veterans as well.
Three votes were taken on issues concerning policies of promotion and tenure, including discussion of workload and departmental standards policies, deleting and adding a section regarding mentoring and the external review process in promotional dossiers.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly attributed a contribution to the December Faculty Senate meeting, mentioned in the sixth paragraph. The contribution was made by Chanele Moore, Senator for the Associate in Arts Program (AAP).