Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
May 24, 1996

Faculty Senate: Shared governance tops new president's agenda

by Linda Charles
Shared governance and faculty morale top the issues list of the new Faculty Senate president. Bill Woodman, professor of sociology, took office immediately following his election at the May 7 senate meeting.

In his campaign speech, Woodman pointed out some recent "very excellent" examples of shared governance not working. Among examples he cited were officials' failure to consult with Engineering faculty before dissolving the Engineering Fundamentals and Multidisciplinary Design program. Faculty also weren't consulted on the parking issue, he said. A parking report released this spring suggested moving more faculty and staff parking to the Iowa State Center.

Other areas where shared governance is not working are less obvious, Woodman noted.

"One thing that is happening almost without us noticing is the growth of the P&S sector in the university," he said. P&S staff are "being used for a lot of things, some of which involve teaching." Through shared governance, faculty traditionally choose their colleagues, but that is not the case when P&S staff are hired, he said.

Woodman said the parking issue highlighted a problem with faculty morale. He said he heard "a lot of disturbing comments" during discussion of the parking report, many from senior faculty who felt they had little impact on university events.

Woodman suggested establishing more venues for faculty to interact with each other. He also cited the need for an attractive retirement package and perhaps a wellness program. He noted that "right now, we have to virtually pay for anything we use at the university (such as the Lied Recreation Athletic Center) as if we were in fact outsiders, as if we contribute nothing."

Woodman also suggested electing the senate president in January or electing a president-elect to take office the following year, so he or she would have time to prepare for the job.

Other new officers are Denise Vrchota, adjunct assistant professor of journalism and mass communication, as vice president; and Barbara Mack, associate professor of journalism and mass communication, as secretary.

Council chairs elected included: Tom Loynachan, professor of agronomy, Academic Affairs; Suzanne Hendrich, associate professor of food science and human nutrition, Faculty Development and Administrative Relations; Dean Ulrichson, professor of chemical engineering, Governance; and Jack Girton, associate professor of zoology and genetics, Judiciary and Appeals.

The senate also approved several items that will be included in the 1997-99 catalog, if approved by the State Board of Regents. The senate agreed to:

  • Discontinue the curriculum in teaching prekindergarten- kindergarten children. In the past several years, school districts have started to require teacher licensure in early childhood education rather than prekindergarten-kindergarten for teachers at the prekindergarten/early primary level.

  • Discontinue the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in nuclear engineering. The under-graduate degree was discontinued a few years ago. These majors were dis-continued due to low interest among students.

  • Discontinue the Master of Engineering in electrical engineering and computer engineering. This non-thesis degree will be replaced by a master of science degree with a non- thesis option.

  • Create a new B.S. major in the performing arts in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The undergraduate major will provide a cross-disciplinary experience combining music, theater and dance.

  • Create a new B.S. major in environmental science in the colleges of Liberal Arts and Sciences and Agriculture. The under-graduate major will provide an inter-disciplinary program in environmental science, the first at a regents' university.

    The senate also remembered in memorial resolutions Emerson W. Bird, chemistry; Jordan L. Larson Jr., mechanical engineering; Merlene E. Nelson, home economics education (now family and consumer education and studies); and Dale E. Boyd, journalism and mass communication.

    The full senate isadjourned for the summer.

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