Faculty Senate to vote on task force’s executive control at next meeting

Tessa Worley | @TessaWorley2, Contributing Writer

Currently, changes made to the proposed model would need to be approved by the entire senate. If the General Education Taskforce is granted executive control, it will not require Faculty Senate approval.

At the Faculty Senate’s September meeting, the General Education Taskforce delivered a presentation on two proposed general education models, which will also be voted on at the next meeting.

The senate will also vote on expedited implementation, which would give the task force and a soon-to-be-hired transition team the ability to change details of the plan without approval from the Faculty Senate. 

“We are asking for expedited implementation because we think it would be highly inefficient for us to have to come back to the Faculty Senate everytime we need to make any changes to the implementation plan that we’ve laid out,” said André Denham, a member of the task force.  

The task force’s “goal is to create a process and a team that can move quickly and still have the oversight to help prevent mistakes,” according to Denham. 

Senator Alexandre Tokovinine said he was not pleased with the idea at last month’s meeting. 

“I originally hail from Russia, and Russia as a country has operated in the expedited mode, and that’s one of the reasons why I’m in the States and not in Russia,” Tokovinine said. “Because I like voting. Voting is great. It’s a senate, it’s democratic representatives, and voting is what makes this country such a great place to be. I’m not a huge fan of expedited government.” 

Another senator, Edith Szanto, worries that smaller departments like hers could be impacted in a negative way if the transition committee has the power to bypass the Faculty Senate. Szanto said the Department of Religious Studies depends on students fulfilling general education requirements.  

“Currently, we don’t have students otherwise,” Szanto said. “We’re generally a service department, and not having any more say in this seems like we’re simply signing our death certificate. And so, for that reason, I’m not quite sure this is the ideal way forward for small departments such as mine.” 

Chapman Greer, a member of the task force, said they are proposing a transition team to move forward with the general education model selected by the Faculty Senate. They plan to hire the executive director and assessment coordinator at the same time to prioritize assessment and data collection. 

“Assessment is often considered as an afterthought, and it needs to be part of the process from the beginning so we can collect data from the beginning and course correct as we need to,” Greer said.

Denham said it is likely that small changes will need to be made to the current implementation plan. 

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