The Faculty Senate reconvened Monday for a rip-roaring, roller-coaster-ride of a meeting.
The first half of the mid-afternoon meeting was spent on University President Dennis Assanis’s welcoming remarks to the returning Faculty Senators, incoming members and new university officials. The latter half was given to Faculty Senate President Matthew Robinson and Parliamentarian John Jebb to explain what the body is and what it does.
Assanis opened with a brief apology to the Senators regarding the ongoing construction around Memorial Hall to install new water pipes. He explained that the construction would continue well into the Fall, and that more projects would be underway during the semester. The new train station on the Science, Technology & Advanced Research (STAR) Campus will be complete before the semester ends, according to Assanis.
The president also praised the incoming freshman Class of 2023 for its high levels of honors students, in-state students, international students and students of underrepresented minority groups.
“At last, we’re seeing the fruits of our labors from diversifying our campus,” Assanis said. “But be careful what we wish for. The more in-state students we take in, maybe the fewer out-of-state students we can take in. We lose some revenue from tuition, but I think that’s only a small percentage of our budget.”
Assanis noted that he hopes to increase the undergraduate class population by 1,000 students within the next five years. He also announced, in cooperation with university Provost Robin Morgan, that he is at work on a policy which would make the university tuition-free to students from families making less than $60,000 annually at some time in the future.
Multiple new university administrators were officially introduced during the meeting. First among them was Rodney Morrison, who was introduced as the new vice president for enrollment management at the university. Morrison, formerly the associate provost for enrollment and retention management at Stony Brook University, was named to this position last month.
“When I was in high school in Philly, I applied to the University of Delaware, was accepted here, probably should’ve came here,” Morrison said. “But I was a first generation kid, didn’t know any better. So now I’m making up for that mistake now, and I’m happy to work with you all.”
Gary Henry, an education policy scholar and former Vanderbilt official, was named the next dean of the College of Education and Human Development on May 6. and will begin work this semester.
“It’s a pleasure to be here,” Henry said. “My wife and I are near the corner of Cleveland and North College. We are enjoying how wonderful the student body is and how much more we enjoy them at two in the afternoon than two in the morning.”
Additionally, it was announced that the first dean of the new Graduate College will be announced in the coming weeks and that a search-committee has been formed to hire the next vice provost of diversity.
Faculty Senate President Matthew Robinson announced that steps are being taken to possibly change the date of the graduation ceremony to the third week of May. This came in response to a battery of student and family complaints last semester regarding the difficulties they had parking at, being seating at and fitting into their schedule the graduation ceremony due to construction and other factors.
Robinson suggested that the Winter Semester may be shortened in order to move the graduation date back, but he also pointed out that many other options were being explored.