April 8, 2010

Senators hold off on policy decision

by Erin Rosacker

A much-anticipated vote on proposed changes to policies dealing with the elimination of faculty and academic programs, will have to wait until the Faculty Senate's next meeting. The group plowed through four of nine proposed amendments at its April 6 meeting before tabling the discussion.

Election results

Athletics council representative: Frank Montabon, supply chain and information systems

Faculty development and administrative relations council chair: Ann Smiley-Oyen, kinesiology

Academic affairs council chair: Suzanne Hendrich, food science and human nutrition

Governance council chair: Ken Stalder, animal science

Judiciary and appeals council chair: Dean Anderson, kinesiology

During her remarks preceding senate business, executive vice president and provost Elizabeth Hoffman told senators that she did not see any evidence that this financial cycle would be so dire to "invoke" section 3.4 of the Faculty Handbook.

"We have plenty of time to get it right, to get to the point where Faculty Senate and the administration can agree on the final version," she said. "Don't feel it's necessary to rush it through. I think we've had a very, very good process getting to this point."

Prior to Tuesday's meeting, the senate's executive board made nonsubstantive changes to the proposed revisions. The suggestions, submitted by the ISU chapter of the American Association of University Professors, were considered friendly amendments and were added to the current proposal.

The proposed revisions (PDF) to section 3.4 are available online.

The amendments

Three of the four proposed amendments passed, including language that:

  • Gives faculty on term appointments the ability to appeal a position elimination
  • Clarifies that faculty are the primary decision-makers when program eliminations are being considered
  • Protects the rank and tenure status of a displaced faculty member and requires the university's "good-faith" effort to look for a suitable position within his/her home department (with the same salary) before looking to other departments (with commensurate salary)

More handbook changes

Proposed revisions to section 10.8 of the handbook were introduced, clarifying the voting requirements for approving and discontinuing academic programs. The revisions are eligible for a vote April 20.

The procedures for approving new programs would require the departments or interdepartmental programs to vote on a proposal before sending the request up the chain. Departments or interdepartmental programs are given advisory input (not voting rights) in the process of discontinuing an academic program.

"The rug is not going to be pulled out from under you without lots of notice and your involvement in making that decision," said Suzanne Hendrich, chair of the academic affairs council.

Other business

Senators approved an engineering sales minor and will vote next month on three additional degrees, including:

  • A master's of science in architecture
  • A master's of science in landscape architecture (a new name for the current MLA academic degree)
  • A master of landscape architecture (a new accredited professional degree)