Faculty strives for, hides transparency

By Lisa Schulz

The Faculty Senate boasted of its transparent discussions with Columbia’s administration in its March 16 meeting, than a short time later declared a closed-door session to discuss the provost search.

Prior to closing the meeting, the Senate’s discussion touched on newly presented financial models, reallocation of funds and search dates for a chief financial officer and provost. It also approved three new proposed majors in the Interactive Arts and Media Department. All of this used 30 minutes out of the allotted 90 minutes in the Alexandroff Campus Center, 600 S. Michigan Ave.

Pegeen Reichert Powell, Faculty Senate president and assistant professor in the English Department, encouraged senators to save their comments on prioritization for later, as there was a full agenda and “a lot to discuss.” During the discussion of President Warrick L. Carter’s request for the Senate’s input on search dates for a new provost, Reichert Powell said the Senate would allow visitors to contribute because the meeting would close halfway through the discussion for senators only.

“The Executive Committee of the Senate recognizes the importance of this issue and the sensitive nature, to some extent, of this issue,” Reichert Powell said. “[The committee] wants the senators to be able to have a discussion in private. It is out of respect for the serious nature of the issue.”

Reichert Powell said she stressed the urgent need for transparency between the Senate and the administration during a March 9 meeting with Louise Love, interim provost and vice president of Academic Affairs.

Previously, the Faculty Senate expressed its dismay in an email to Carter that Love appeared to be “taking action” on her recommendations for the prioritization process before the March 5 listening forum.

Some of Love’s actions were halted after the meeting, which Reichert Powell called productive. She noted she stopped Love from divulging private, off-the-

record information.

“I said to her, ‘Louise, I’m sorry. I will not hear anything off the record,’ that we are committed to a culture of transparency and if the president of the Senate doesn’t foster that culture, then there is no hope for it,” Reichert Powell said.

According to her, Love recognized her concern that anything in the meeting must

be shared.

“I’ve said that to Dr. Carter in conversations, too, and that’s just been my policy all along,” Reichert Powell said. “You all know that. No closed-door meetings here.”

She said Ellen Krutz declined to give her information regarding the new CFO candidates to protect the college’s position with negotiations. Reichert Powell also said the decision could possibly continue into the summer.

It was noted that Patty Heath, current interim CFO and vice president of Buisness Affairs, and Anne Foley, vice president of Planning and Compliance, offered new financial models to support the prioritization process. The Executive and Financial Affairs committees of the Senate scheduled a meeting for March 21 to discuss

the models.

The financial models are based on assumption and were not available to the Senate at the time of the meeting, Reichert Powell said. Love said the Senate should have copies of the model, but Carter had not authorized their distribution, according to Reichert Powell.

The administration will initiate a search for a new provost once the search for a new president of the college is complete, which Carter suggests should be in spring 2014, Reichert Powell said.

Michael Niederman, Television Department chair, was not in support of the model.

“There is a profound disconnect in the proposed financial model for the other parts of the prioritization process,” he said.

Myra Greene, a senator on the Financial Affairs Committee and assistant professor in the Photography Department, reported that the Faculty Development Committee has $72,184 available for the spring 2012 cycle.

The development grant will fund book projects, art exhibitions, films, dance and theatre performances and creative scholarly and scientific research, Greene said.

The Senate also approved proposals for three new majors in the IAM Department: a bachelor’s degree in mobile media programming, a bachelor’s in game programming and a bachelor of science in game programming.

Two-thirds of the Senate participated in reviewing the curriculum, Reichert Powell said. No one opposed the motion during voting.

“They make [the majors] much more efficient by organizing in two different areas, while protecting the very basic needs of our students and making our students much more marketable,” said Pan Papacosta, senator on the Academic Affairs Committee and professor in the Science and Mathematics Department. “I think it was a very excellent document.”

In the story “Faculty strives for, hides transparency” in the March 19 issue, it is incorrectly asserted that the Faculty Senate closed part of its meeting to discuss prioritization. The Faculty Senate did hold a closed-door session, but it was to discuss the Senate’s response to President Warrick L. Carter’s request for feedback regarding the timetable of the provost search. The reporting error was subsequently compounded during the editing process so that that the story read as though the Senate was disregarding its own commitment to transparency. The article further stated that Carter had requested Faculty Senate approval before advancing prioritization recommendations. Carter has made no such request. The Chronicle regrets these errors.