College Council announces College Assembly

By Lisa Schulz

The soon-to-be-dissolved College Council officially announced approval of the Faculty Senate bylaws at its Oct. 7 meeting, along with the upcoming College Assembly proposal and several other new topics.

The assembly is a public discussion held three times a semester. The first College Council meeting of the 2011–2012 academic year was held in the Hokin Lecture Hall at the Wabash Campus Building, 623 S. Wabash Ave., led by John Green, chair of the Council and Theatre Department. A motion will be made to dissolve the council by Dec. 1 during the November meeting, he said.

Additional topics discussed included student enrollment, prioritization, evaluation, part-time faculty concerns, student government plans and committee reports.

Green began the meeting with an announcement that Rose Economou, associate journalism professor, had died on Oct. 2. He noted her absence in the Executive Council meeting and described her participation in the College Assembly proposal, which will also be voted upon in the upcoming meeting.

“Working with her, I realized she had a profound love for this institution,” Green said. “She drove our committee with enthusiasm.”

Louise Love, interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs announced the approval of the newly revised tenure document. She said the most significant change has to do with tenure faculty being evaluated only once every three years. Small changes were made concerning chairs and reviewing faculty members.

A subcommittee in the Chairperson’s Council is looking at mentoring in the departments as a consequence of entering the tenure evaluation process, said Bruce Sheridan, chair of the Chairperson’s Council and of the Film and Video Department.

Sheridan announced Jay Wolke as the Chairperson’s Council co-chair. New executive committee members announced were Constantin Rasinariu, Barbara Calabrese and Richard Dunscomb.

Mark Kelly, vice president of Student Affairs, reminded faculty to submit their academic progress reports so that Student Affairs could intervene and offer encouragement and support when grades became an issue or students’ attendance dropped.

The reports are time-sensitive since the new policy states students on academic probation have one semester to get back into good standing before they are dismissed from the college, Kelly said. Previously, the policy allowed three semesters.

“It puts a lot of pressure on students,” Kelly said. “It means we have to be so much more on it and responsive and knowledgeable of our students and how they’re doing.”

Kelly also announced that the retention rate from freshman to sophomore students increased by 4 percent from 2008. However, student enrollment rates decreased from last fall, making 2011 the third consecutive year the numbers have dropped, he said.

“There is no better place for a young, creative kid to be in this country than Columbia—period,” Kelly said. “But if you go to our website, which you could argue is the most important asset to tell our story—our story is not very well told. It surely isn’t student-centered so that young creatives can make sense of who we are.”

Columbia’s Student Government Association is working with Roosevelt University to save the Pell Grant, said Cassandra Norris, SGA president.

Robert Gordon, a part-time faculty member in the Art and Design Department said the contract negotiations between the college administration and the part-time faculty union are ongoing. He doesn’t feel like the college has a full appreciation of part-time faculty, he said.

In response to Gordon’s statement, Love said the enrollment downturn probably affects part-time faculty the most because of section cuts.

“Even though it’s true—we’ve had a long and difficult negotiation,” Love said. “That does not take away from the fact that part-time faculty are absolutely essential to the college.”