Faculty Senate will benefit college

By Editorial Board

Columbia’s College Council is in the process of drafting plans for the formation of a faculty senate. The faculty would essentially be separating itself from the College Council, which may then be modified or replaced altogether with a new organization. The senate would initially comprise full-time faculty—with plans to include part-time faculty members at a later date—and would be responsible for discussing and making recommendations to college administrators about faculty issues, including curriculum changes, pay scale matters and questions of tenure and seniority among the faculty.

A faculty senate would be a positive step for the college. It would allow educators to voice their opinions regarding issues that affect them the most. Under the current College Council, faculty opinions on these matters can be drowned out by reactions from administrators, deans and other college staff involved with the council who have no real stake in such matters.

However, it’s unclear what the fate of the College Council will be once a senate forms. The council, or some new organization that could take its place, should continue to exist as an outlet for representatives of administrators, deans, other college staff and the student body to have their voices heard regarding non-faculty matters on campus. Vice President of Student Affairs Mark Kelly has proposed a Columbia College Assembly, whose main purpose would be the gathering and reporting of information about various topics, including student affairs, business affairs and the campus environment. Such an assembly could be a useful counterpart to the Faculty Senate in advising and informing administrators about important college matters.

Regardless of what happens, the Faculty Senate and the new College Council or Assembly should collaborate with the Student Government Association to ensure that students continue to have a say in the workings of the college. Students are, after all, the reason the college exists, and their representatives should be consulted when administrators make decisions that will affect their education and experiences on campus.

If all aspects of the college—including students, faculty from all academic departments, administrators, deans and other staff—have a voice in determining their own affairs, the administration can make more informed decisions and provide the Columbia community with the best college experience possible.