Senate looks at changes to academic programs, handbook policies

Members of the Faculty Senate closed out the fall semester by unanimously approving a pair of new programs and shuttering another. An additional program discontinuation and a slew of policy revisions await senate decisions in 2014.

The four curricular items approved at the Dec. 10 meeting include:

  • A name change for the public service and administration in agriculture degree program, to agriculture and society (sociology department and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences)
  • A new minor in food and society (food science and human nutrition department)
  • The discontinuation of the master of agriculture degree program (agricultural education and studies department)
  • A new master of engineering in energy systems engineering, offered online and on campus (College of Engineering)

Five docket items were introduced for senate consideration and will be voted on in January, including:

  • A request to discontinue the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences' master of public administration degree program. A minimum three-year phase out of the program is recommended, in order to accomodate students admitted to the program. Students also may switch to a new political science master of arts degree without any loss of credits.
  • Revisions to Faculty Handbook section 9.3.3, which outlines the appointment of an ad hoc investigative committee (AHIC) for faculty grievance cases. The change adds language to ensure "consideration to the diversity of the AHIC."
  • Revisions to Faculty Handbook chapter seven, which contains the faculty conduct policy. Dale Chimenti, member of the judiciary and appeals council, said the changes clarify and streamline procedures for faculty misconduct proceedings. Details also were added to the section (, providing guidelines to handle abandonment of position.
  • Revisions to Faculty Handbook section 5.4.1, which outlines eligibility criteria for the evaluation of non-tenure eligible (NTE) positions. The language clarifies that both full- and part-time NTE faculty can be considered for advancement after a minimum of six years or 12 semesters (or its equivalent) of employment.
  • Revisions to Faculty Handbook chapters seven (faculty conduct policy) and eight (university community policies), primarily the conflict of interest portion of the policies. John Cunnally, chair of the governance council, said the changes eliminate contradictions and ambiguity, and "conform with the language and intent" of information in the university's policy library.

Other business

  • Senate president Veronica Dark said the senate is working with the Government of the Student Body to create an online module. The resource, which she said should be in place next fall, would answer student questions about the university, such as an explanation of tenure, what faculty work on outside the classroom or how student evaluations are utilized.
  • Senior vice president Warren Madden recapped the events surrounding the Nov. 4 police chase that ended with shots fired on central campus. He said a review of the procedures and processes is ongoing, but "in general, things worked as well as they could and should."
  • Senate president-elect Kevin Schalinske said the spring faculty conference, "Online Education," is planned for April 22 in the Memorial Union Great Hall. The program will run from 8 a.m. to noon, followed by lunch.
  • Senators unanimously approved the fall graduation list, which included 1,499 undergraduates and 334 masters and doctoral students.