Faculty Senate considers role in Vitalization Project

Samuel Nusbaum, Administration Reporter

Faculty senate will talk about their roles both individually and as a governing body in the vitalization project in their next meeting.

Senator Teshome Abebe said there will be discussions about hosting a faculty forum for both of the candidates for Illinois State Representative, incumbent Reggie Phillips and challenger Dennis Malak.

He said they will also be talking about a request from Eastern’s President David Glassman on representatives on the search committee for the provost.

Abebe said the senate will be talking about the staffing on the various committees of the faculty senate.

“Sometimes faculty resign or they need to be replaced, they are on sabbatical or something of that nature, or their term expires. So the faculty senate has to fill them, so it is really a management issue,” Abebe said.

Abebe said there will be discussion from now until December about the Vitalization Project.

Glassman, as a means to help the university rebound after a rough last year introduced the Vitalization Project.

It is comprised of nine work groups which will look at all aspects of the university, from enrollment, athletics and student services, to marketing and academics.

Abebe said the senate needs to keep in mind what kinds of data and criteria are used by the work groups.

When he talks about data he means the information the work groups receive. The work groups will meet separately to solve a given a problem by using the proper criteria.

He said the senate needs to question if the data is accurate, consistent and if the data is valid for the purpose it has been chosen for.

He said the criteria needs to be valid, applicable and solve the assigned problem.

Abebe also said the recommended solutions the work groups decide need to be manageable and applicable.

Abebe said the faculty senate’s role is like any other member of Eastern’s community.

“We have been requested to nominate names just like everyone else has been asked to nominate that has been our role so far, nothing more nothing less,” Abebe said.

Abebe said he personally thinks everything has been expressed to him as a money issue. He said having a money-focused perspective; turns everything into an accounting problem, where he sees everything as a growth issue.

He said if everything is seen as a money issue, then cuts are the only way to go and growth cannot take place when cuts are happening.

He said if the university can grow, then any cost problems the university is having become manageable.

Senator Jeffrey Stowell said the members will talk about how the profit loss numbers were generated, which Grant Sterling, from their budget transparency committee, will be bringing up.

Stowell said Sterling has asked questions on how the profit loss data sheets were calculated.

An example he gave was how scholarships and waivers are included in the calculations, how credit units for things outside of teaching may be included and questions about money made through music camps and study abroad.

Stowell said four members of faculty senate who are in the vitalization project work groups.

They are Senator Billy Hung in work group two, Senator Todd Bruns is in work group three, and both Stowell and Senator Amy Rosenstein are in work group eight.

Stowell said he is certain the senate’s participation in the vitalization project will lead to talks about the projects’ progress.

“For example, our budget transparency committee has already started raising questions about budget numbers,” Stowell said.

Stowell said he is hopeful good discussion will take place in order to make the process as open and transparent as possible.

Samuel Nusbaum can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]