Faculty Senate votes to pass draft bylaws of the graduate college

Feb 11 faculty senate
Mitchell Patterson /THE REVIEW
The vote to pass the draft of the graduate college bylaws passed 37 to 16.

BY Associate News Editor

For those who are enamored by the machinations of the Faculty Senate, last night was the Super Bowl.

Following months of anticipation, endless debates over minutiae and a myriad of revisions in committees, the Faculty Senate voted on Monday to ratify a draft of the bylaws which would govern the new graduate college. This vote effectively acted as the Faculty Senate’s approval of the graduate college’s establishment.

The Faculty Senate is a legislative body composed of professors which, in cooperation with the university administration, governs university affairs. The meeting room in Gore Hall was packed; reflecting the unusual significance of the senate’s decision on the bylaws draft. Many members of the body could not find a seat and stood near the back of the room.

In addition to the decision regarding the graduate college, which consumed the majority of the meeting time, the Faculty Senate also voted unanimously to create a new interdisciplinary-collegiate honors program. This new program is meant to act as an alternative honors track for interdisciplinary students.

The Faculty Senate voted unanimously to express their intention to officially name the university’s School of Public Policy and Administration after former Vice President Joe Biden. Before the renaming can be enacted, the university administration must approve it sometime this semester.

Also, the Faculty Senate voted to disestablish the history/foreign language major because its enrollment had dropped to an all-time low of zero students. The Senate argued that the major, and all of its attendant concentrations, no longer play any function at the university.

Provost Robin Morgan addressed critics of the graduate college bylaws draft by reminding them that it is not in its final form, and may be amended by the new graduate college council with a simple majority.

Opposition to the passage of the bylaws draft came mainly from the university’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), a national organization representing college and university faculty members.

The resolution to approve the draft of the bylaws passed 37 to 16, although its passage was preceded by nearly two hours of vigorous debate over voting apportionment in the new graduate college council, checks and balances, the powers of the graduate college dean and the process for amending the bylaws in the future.

The size of the new graduate college council and the apportionment of votes on the council had been highly contentious topics. On Monday, the ad-hoc committee of Faculty Senators charged with drafting the bylaws presented a new compromise to resolve those points.

The proportion of representatives on the Council, which will govern the Graduate College, will be based on a model weighted so that 50 percent of the delegates are apportioned based on the number of faculty in each graduate department, and the other 50 percent will be apportioned based on each graduate department’s enrollment.

In total, there will be 35 elected faculty members to the council, seven graduate students (three of whom will have voting rights) and possibly a provost-appointed faculty member.

“Clearly, graduate education at UD can be better in terms of the ease by which we establish new interdisciplinary programs, manage graduate student services, conduct grad program assessments and you name it,” Mark Rieger, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, said. “Currently, we, the faculty, have little to no say in determining many aspects of graduate education at the administrative level. The implementation of these bylaws is an opportunity to share in the drafting of our destiny.”

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