I. Minutes of previous meeting
It was noted that temporary committee vacancies are sometimes created by faculty absences due to class conflicts or official leaves. Senator Mowrey requested that committee chairs address these as relevant to their committee and inform Dr. Börger-Greco by January 12 if there is a need to elect any replacements.
Student Senate President Farrelly noted that allocation requests are due January 22, 2009.
IV. Report of the Graduate Student Association
Graduate Student Association Representative Randolph highlighted traveling socials, plans for graduate T-shirts, and a finals party. She also noted that graduate students participated in interviews of candidates for the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies.
V. Report of the Administrative Officers
Provost Prabhu encouraged faculty to participate in the December 14 commencement to celebrate our graduating students. He commented on the worsening economic situation, reserves being held from budgets, and expectations for more cuts in coming years. Dr. Prabhu reminded faculty of the deadline for grading, noting that it allows time for processing and appeals for students in academic trouble. Dr. Börger-Greco expressed concern about academic schedules without adequate time for students or faculty to perform at their best.
VI. Reports of the Faculty Senate Standing Committees
VII. Reports of the Faculty Senate Special Committees
VIII. Proposed Courses and Programs
Discussion was held regarding whether or not student members of the Academic Standards Committee should participate in academic hearings for their peers. Chemistry suggested that students submitting appeals be asked to give consent to having peers on their panel. Computer Science expressed interest in additional training to prepare student members of ASC, noting that nominees are presented to Student Senate before election to the committee. A question was raised about the difficulty in logistics noted by Senator Sikora related to suggested alternatives. Dr. Lynn Marquez, speaking for ASC on Dr. Sikora’s behalf, commented that the motion on the table is related to the role of students on ASC and that other compromises would be addressed by ASC as needed based on the results of the Senate vote.
Dr. Prabhu stated that the Administration strongly supports student participation on campus committees. He noted that ideally each of the ASC subcommittees that conduct hearings should have a student representative. He expressed concern that changing the composition of ASC might have repercussions on other committees. It was noted that students provide an important perspective but do not have representation that would sway the outcome of academic decisions.
Several representatives from Student Senate, including a current member on ASC, commented that students have an important role as well as the ability to serve on this committee. They indicated a willingness to sign a confidentiality statement and participate in training relevant to service on ASC. They also noted that there has been no sense that students are in favor of barring peers from these hearings. Ms. Farrelly stated that she considered carefully concerns expressed by faculty about students who might have uncomfortable issues to share at academic hearings. However, she noted that discussing these with faculty members on the subcommittees might be just as distressing. She also pointed out that students do have the option to appeal in writing. It was noted that written appeals are also reviewed by the subcommittees.
Dr. Joel Piperberg commented that responsibilities at a national level entrusted to these students supports the argument that students are capable of serving fully on ASC. Senator Edeh Herr commended the students for their willingness to be trained for service on ASC. Dr. Marquez reminded Senate that the proposal relates to the role of student members on ASC rather than their overall representation. Dr. Piperberg stated that the academic hearings constitute the bulk of the work of ASC. Senator Sciarretta expressed support of having a student on each subcommittee.
A question was raised about how members of ASC in general are prepared to carry out their function. Dr. Marquez responded that the committee meets as a whole before breaking into subcommittees but most members learn about the function and importance of ASC from other people. Dr. Prabhu emphasized this as a reminder that all campus committees need a clear charge of their work and responsibilities. Dr. Börger-Greco noted ASC roles are laid out in the governance document. Dr. Marquez commented that ASC has made efforts to set well-defined guidelines relating to its roles. Ms. Farrelly indicated that Student Senate sends out committee information prior to election of their representatives. She observed that student members of ASC did not participate in the decision to propose the change being considered.
It was highlighted that there has been strong faculty support for maintaining the current role of student members on ASC. It was also stressed that there is no reason to expect that a change in the role of student members on ASC would lessen their roles on other committees across campus. It was noted that the search committee for the new Associate Dean of Graduate Studies does not have a graduate student member.
Dr. Eric Blazer commented that some hearings with students present have not gone well and suggested that perhaps students could participate in letter appeals. Dr. Börger-Greco commented that students under appeal need to be aware of the composition of their hearing subcommittee. Dr. Prabhu commented that allowing students to dictate who hears their cases represents a slippery slope.
It was clarified that a vote of “yea” would indicate ASC student members should serve only an advisory role while a “nay” would indicate ASC student members should continue their current role, including participation in academic hearings. The vote was called to count with 14 yeas, 15 nays and no abstentions. The motion regarding the proposed changes to the Academic Standards Committee governance document was not approved. A motion to add the word “undergraduate” to the Academic Standards Committee governance document was approved without dissent.
The proposal regarding the method of evaluating academic performance of student athletes for eligibility was considered. In response to a question, it was noted that coaches appeal on a student’s behalf. A motion to change the policy on Athletic Eligibility and Eligibility Appeals to base eligibility on cumulative GPA rather than semester GPA was approved without dissent.
XI. Other/New Business
Aimee L. Miller
Secretary of the Senate