Council closes 2009-2010 year

By CiaraShook

The College Council meeting on May 7 was the last of the 2009-2010 academic year. Committees gave concluding reports and a new executive board was elected to the council.

Beyond hearing from reports of administrative officers and standing committees, the 2009-2010 council was adjourned and the 2010-2011 council elected next year’s executive committee and officers. Though this year’s council was on its way out, there was still business to be conducted.

Faculty Development co-chairs Barbara Calabrese, chair of the Radio Department and Robin Whatley, assistant professor of Science and Math, gave the committee’s final report before the council. Of the $226,334 requested by 62 faculty applicants for grants, $91,500 was awarded to 30 faculty members. The co-chairs attributed the tighter funds to the struggle of the economy.

“It’s an important gesture, to support the faculty even with small amounts,” Whatley said. “Some awards that were requested were as low as $600. People are not trying to ‘milk’ the system. They’re requesting money for some pretty significant projects.”

The College Council recommended the administration approve an increase of $90,000 per academic year for faculty development grants for a total of $180,000. Robert Gordon, adjunct professor of Art and Design, pointed out that there was no mention of part-time faculty receiving support for projects, recommending the proposal extend past full-time faculty.

“Wouldn’t that be appropriate that these grants be extended to include part-time faculty?” Gordon said.

Mark Kelly, vice president of Student Affairs, agreed with Gordon, and requested specificity of the money and how it would be allocated.

Kenneth Daley, chair of the English Department, and Jeff Abell, associate interdisciplinary arts professor, both proposed that more money be requested, as morale is low with faculty salaries across the college.

Pangratios Papacosta, associate science and math professor and chair of the Strategic Planning Committee, gave the committee’s year-end report as well, with recommendations of action for the year ahead.

This recommendation comprised four parts: support integrative learning in all its forms, especially in the organized pursuit of meaningful connections between the liberal arts and sciences and all major fields of study; create incentives and opportunities for collaboration for faculty from different departments/schools of the college; promote the college’s tradition of a constructivist approach to learning; and ensure part-time faculty are current in their field and in their pedagogy.

Paul Catanese, assistant interdisciplinary arts professor, questioned the recommendations of action, saying the items sounded like the mission of the college.

Bruce Sheridan, chair of the Film and Video Department, agreed with Catanese.

“I’m worried that if this becomes what we call ‘strategic planning,’ it’s really more of a tactical statement,” Sheridan said. “I’m not in a position of not disagreeing with it, but I feel it’s not what we need.”

Abell and Anne Becker, assistant educational studies professor, also objected to the idea of asking the administration to enforce specific teaching practices on faculty.

“The 21st century instructor ought to be more eclectic and using lots of different styles,” Becker said. “This is an individual decision the instructor makes. The college doesn’t need to dictate how one chooses their pedagogy.”

After the 2009-2010 council adjourned, the newly chosen council came to the table to elect the executive committee.  Those elected include Catherine Slade, associate theater professor; Elio Leturia, assistant journalism professor; Sandra Allen, assistant marketing communications professor;  Tao Huang, assistant art and design professor; Arvis Averette, adjunct humanities, history and social sciences professor; Tom Nawrocki, associate English professor; John Green, chair of the Theater Department; Louise Love, vice president of Academic Affairs; and Alicia Berg, vice president for Campus Environment.

Green was elected president of the Executive Committee, Leturia was elected vice president and Huang was elected secretary.

The 2010-2011 council will reconvene Oct. 1, on the eighth floor of the 1104 Center, 1104 S. Wabash Ave.

CORRECTION: The article “College Council closes 2009-2010 year,”  published May 12,  inaccurately reported the votes of the council regarding the recommendations made by the Strategic Planning Committee. The council voted in support of two of the recommendations. The Chronicle regrets the error.