Senate to vote on workload group’s document

By Lauren Kostiuk, Digital Content Manager

G-Jun Yam
An approved motion made during the Faculty Senate’s March 10 meeting will have the Senate vote on the Workload Workgroup’s new document before approval.

Faculty Senate will vote on the Workload Workgroup’s latest research document before final approval, according to a decision at its March 10 meeting.

The senate also welcomed the college’s first ombudsperson and the new senior vice president of Business Affairs and CFO to discuss their roles at the college.

The Workload Workgroup, which was created last year to address concerns about uneven full-time faculty workload, created a document that would provide better language to the college policies.

Co-chairman of the committee Scott Hall, senior lecturer in the Music Department, said the committee is hoping to deliver and approve the document at the Senate’s Statement of Policy Committee’s April 4 meeting. He said the committee will also hold an open forum on March 28 to solicit collegewide feedback.

Keith Kostecka, an associate professor in the Science and Mathematics Department, made a motion, which was approved by the Senate, that the document should come to the full Senate for a vote before going to the statement of policy committee.

“I am very concerned for everyone around this table that we have an opportunity to discuss this [document],” Kostecka said. “We need to have input and discuss it here—not at an open forum, not a statement of policy committee and not at the board of trustees.”

Sarah Odishoo, an associate professor in the English Department, agreed with Kostecka that the Senate needs to review the document before it is sent forward.

“If we don’t do that, we are at risk,” Odishoo said. “We are supposed to be the guides of the school. We have to approve it, read it and vote on it.”

The open forum would provide efficient feedback to make changes to the document before it’s brought to the statement of policy committee, said Angela Malcomson, a lecturer in the American Sign Language-English Interpretation Department, said

“They are just documents,” Malcomson said. “We are going to bring them to the entire faculty. They are going to get a look at them. We will have an open forum; if there are objections to [the documents], then the workload committee will know it.”

After the motion was approved, Senate President and Associate Professor in the Photography Department Gregory Foster-Rice said he applauded the group for its transparent process. Foster-Rice said the Senate will hold an ad hoc meeting March 31 to vote on the workload document.

Later in the meeting, the college’s new Academic Ombudsperson Connie Meyers discussed her goals and services. Meyers said she focuses on four principles: confidentiality, informality, impartiality and independence. These allow her to have full control and objectivity over faculty issues on an everyday basis. 

“I am not an advocate for faculty. I am not an advocate for any group,” Meyers said. “I sit in the middle and I have no horse in anybody’s race.”

 Senior Vice President of Business Affairs and CFO Jerry Tarrer told the Senate about his 90-day plan to evaluate the college’s business structure.

Tarrer said he wants to identify the stakeholders at the college and engage with them, like the Faculty Senate and his own team, and he hopes to get a better understanding of Columbia’s business strategy. He is also assessing his own team by evaluating their effectiveness and their resources.

Tarrer said he wants to meet with the Senate more often.

“If there is a particular topic you want me to cover, I am more than willing to come,” Tarrer said.