Faculty Senate votes on proposed graduate college, non-discrimination policy
Managing News Editor
In what appeared to be a bizarre roleplay exercise, faculty members sat in Gore Hall’s swivel chairs, laptops open and iClickers in hand, as they chatted and ate the handfuls of candy and miniature bags of Goldfish that were provided.
On Monday, the Faculty Senate gathered for their last scheduled meeting of the semester, where they voted on positions for next year and presented awards to faculty members, among other agenda items.
Matthew Robinson was elected president in an uncontested bid. Lynnette Overby was elected vice president over one opponent, and both Dannagal Young and Jacqueline L. Fajardo were elected as members at large.
Awards were given to faculty members for Excellence in Teaching, Excellence in Advising and Excellence in Scholarship Mid-Career. In addition to this, the Jon Olson Faculty Senate Exemplary Service Award was presented to Donald C. Lehman.
“This is the most meaningful award that the senate gives out,” current Faculty Senate President Martha Buell said in reference to the Jon Olson award.
After elections and awards, the Senate voted on 28 resolutions. These resolutions ranged from the establishment of new degree programs, such as a Bachelor of Materials Science and Engineering, changing the names of existing programs — Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in athletic training will now be a BS degree in sports health.
In addition, the Senate disestablished certain degree programs, including the BS degree in psychology, BS degree in landscape horticulture and design and the Master of Science (MS) neonatal nurse practitioner program, which has only graduated one student in five years.
They voted to create an Ombudsperson position, who, according to Buell, will act as a “broker,” and help staff, faculty and other members of the university community experiencing problems in the workplace find the correct resources to address their problems.
The Senate also voted on the proposed non-discrimination policy revision and proposed graduate college, respectively. Despite the fact that there was vocal opposition in the town halls held for for both, the two propositions were each approved with 93 percent of the votes in favor, with only one vote against and three abstentions for each.
President-elect Chris Williams, who will serve as Faculty Senate president, effective July 1, thinks that there was little discussion at the vote due to these town halls.
“I think that goes to the point that we were able to hold open hearings and get as many people to attend those as possible to discuss their concerns, and we were able to address those,” he said.