Faculty Senate discusses curriculum, faculty changes

By Connor Carynski, Campus Reporter

G-Jun Yam
During the Feb. 10 Faculty Senate meeting, Greg Foster-Rice, associate professor in the Photography Department and Faculty Senate president, introduced a new curriculum approval process designed for efficiency and transparency.

Faculty Senate reviewed the 2018—2019 Catalog Curriculum Timeline, which the Executive Committee approved for implementation next year, and received additional information about the new Office of the Registrar at its Feb. 10 meeting.

At the meeting, held at Stage Two of the 618 S. Michigan Ave.Building, Associate Professor in the Photography Department and Faculty Senate President Greg Foster-Rice introduced the new curricular approval process and explained how it differs from old procedures—including the implementation of new software called Curriculog. 

The new programming allows all stages and committees involved in the approval process to use the same platform, Foster-Rice.

Proposal and committee deadlines for new curriculum were also changed, which Foster-Rice said allows for department flexibility and gives the Office of the Registrar time to ensure that changes are included in the course catalogue and communicated to students effectively.

“This is going to significantly improve the process,” Foster-Rice said. “It’s going to significantly improve transparency. It’s going to, hopefully, move things through the curricular process more quickly in a way we can adapt to changing realities of the 21st century. We can also make sure we don’t overburden ourselves with too many new programs at one time and make sure we are clearly communicating with students what programs we are offering in the next catalog year.”

Keri Walters, from the Office of the Registrar, also gave a presentation about the services her office has created. Walters said while many of the services the office provides are now centralized, more efficient and allow students a single location for multiple needs.

“We are very busy right now, over the next three years, we will be rolling out several new projects that will increase efficiency on campus and will support the Strategic Plan document,” Walters said.

The First Year Experience Committee and Core Curriculum Committee also presented a framework of new courses and class pathways at the meeting, which are set to be presented at a Feb. 27 collegewide assembly. The committees will then seek feedback on proposed programs, said Gregory Corness, assistant professor for the Interactive Arts & Media Department, at the Faculty Senate meeting.

Senators also discussed a Teaching Track Appointments proposal that, if the Board of Trustees approves in May 2017, would change lecturer and senior lecturer to the titles, assistant professor, associate professor and professors of instruction—all of which would fall under the teaching track faculty group, according to Foster-Rice.

The change would then clarify the 12 credit per semester requirement, plus service workload required of teaching-track faculty. It would also provide opportunities for promotion or pay raise depending on experience, and allow teachers to apply for tenure-track positions without risking their teacher-track positions.

After hearing the proposal, Chamille Weddington, lecturer in the Business & Entrepreneurship Department, asked what sort of questions the Lecturer Committee, which proposed the change, could expect from the Board of Trustees when it reviews the proposal.

Foster-Rice said he could imagine there would be questions about the need to change the names, but said his response would be that comparable institutions use the same names for their faculty.

“This is going to be a way for us to retain and recruit what is a very important contributing part of our faculty to our students,” Foster-Rice said. “This is very important for us as a retention tool to provide the opportunity for ranked promotion within that group, which comes with improvements of benefits as well.”