Elections bring new beginning

By Amanda Murphy

At the last College Council meeting of the academic year, attendees covered a variety of topics about its future and upcoming Manifest festivities. After talks of the forum disbanding, it was concluded that it will take longer than expected.

The main topic at the May 6 meeting at the 1104 Center, 1104 S. Wabash Ave., was

the election of the five collegewide representatives for the Provost Advisory Council, which will cover administrative issues. The group also discussed the future of the council, which will only meet in the fall 2011 semester and eventually dissolve.

John Green, chair of College Council and the Theater Department, said the meeting is the last for the council in its current form.

“There will still be work for the College Council to do, important work that ensures there is a clear transition,” he said.

Once the council dissolves, two new forums will serve Columbia’s faculty, staff and students. The Faculty Senate, which Green said will have its first meeting on May 18, focuses on academic issues. The Provost Advisory Council is meant to approach the non-academic, administrative side of the college.

The results of the Provost Advisory Council election were not released during the meeting. However, nominations for the position in each of the academic areas—full-time faculty, part-time faculty, department chair, staff and an administrator—were voted on. The full-time faculty member will be chosen from the following: Peg Murphy, professor of marketing communications; Rose Economou, associate professor of journalism; Sebastian Huydt, assistant professor of music; Tao Huang, professor of art and design; and Tom Nawrocki, associate professor of English.

The nominated part-time faculty member is Diana Vallera, adjunct faculty in the Photography Department. The two department nominees are Green and Bruce Sheridan, chair of the Film and Video Department. Pegeen Quinn, director of Academic Initiatives, is nominated to represent the Columbia staff. The two administrators nominated for the position are Mark Kelly, vice president of Student Affairs, and Louise Love, vice president of Academic Affairs.

The council held another election for the Executive Committee of the College Council, which will conclude after the fall 2011 semester. The three members elected are Green, remaining in his title as chair, Huang will be the new vice chair and Huydt will be secretary of the council. The discussion shifted to problems with the Faculty Annual Activity Reports, a system in which full-time faculty members upload their year summary of scholarly activities.

Nawrocki said he received numerous emails from faculty who have not been able to access the site and fill out the necessary information.

Every year, faculty is required to enter information into FAAR regarding grants, teaching and achievements into a Columbia system. Nawrocki, who is a member of the Columbia College Faculty Organization, said he sent an email to Love, making her aware of the issues surrounding the process.

“Thank you for taking on the issue with FAAR because I think this doesn’t just disappear,” said Annette Barbier, chair of the Interactive Arts and Media Department, to Nawrocki.

Kari Sommers, assistant dean of Student Life, spoke about highlights of the upcoming Manifest Festival on May 13. The event will contain a variety of different activities, such as “Alice in Wonderland”-themed miniature golf, a “wall of sound” on Wabash Avenue and a bubble ceremony.

“I’m not going to talk a lot about it, but I will say it includes a Music Department opera singer with a 16-foot wingspan,” Sommers said of Manifest’s Great Convergence, an event to celebrate Columbia’s creative spirit. “It’s going to be very interesting and beautiful.”

Columbia’s Student Government Association President John Trierweiler announced a variety of new developments for the group, including its Manifest plans.

Trierweiler introduced the SGA president-elect for the next academic year, sophomore journalism major Cassandra Norris. He also announced a recent plan to add a student sustainability fee to

Columbia’s tuition. The fee, which is in the beginning stages, would cost $8 each semester and would go toward making Columbia a more eco-friendly campus.

“It would allow a separate budget for Campus Environment to create and harbor students’ sustainability efforts on campus,” Trierweiler said. “It would help expand the green roofs, LEED certified floors and buildings and continue our sustainability efforts at the college, which are important.”