Nominations being taken for committee to give feedback on Workgroups no. 8,9

Cassie Buchman, Editor in Chief

Nominations to serve on a committee to review and give feedback on vitalization Workgroup no. 8 and 9’s recommendations will be taken by the Faculty Senate until Monday Oct. 16.

The Faculty Senate has sent out a call to faculty asking for them to nominate people and self-nominate to serve on the committee. Nominations can be sent to Jon Oliver, chair of the senate’s nomination committee and a kinesiology and sports studies professor, at [email protected].

“We’ll see how many volunteers we have, try to pick a good representation of faculty,” said Faculty Senate Chair Jemmie Robertson. On Tuesday, Oct. 17, the Faculty Senate will pick from the pool of nominees to appoint people to the feedback committee.

Provost Jay Gatrell submitted a written report to the Faculty Senate at its last meeting, asking that a “feedback committee” be made to determine the “merits, priorities and overall feasibility” of individual recommendations of Workgroups no. 8 and 9 made during last year’s vitalization project.

During the Faculty Senate meeting, Eastern President David Glassman mentioned that the

information dealt with in Workgroups No. 8 and 9 would be better decided between department chairs and faculty.

“(The recommendations are) very broad-based, and when I take a look at that, I go, well somehow, we’ve got to try and find a device in which we find out which really will fit us,” he said.

Workgroup no. 8 looked at developing programs that could increase Eastern’s enrollment and Workgroup no. 9 analyzed the organization of the university’s academic colleges, schools and departments. It also looked at different learning platforms and tuition models that could be used.

“Some of the ideas are really big and I think it’s important to have an opportunity to reflect on what the implications are and sort of figure out what we can work on now, what is two years from now, what maybe doesn’t make sense,” Gatrell said. The feedback committee will consist of two deans, one associate dean, two department chairs, and the five faculty members appointed by the Faculty Senate. The faculty members will represent each of the four colleges and Library Services. At least one of the five appointees must hold graduate faculty status.

Gatrell said he worked with the deans to invite associate deans and chairs to be part of the committees.

The provost will convene the group, whose first meeting will be 3 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20, at a location that has yet to be determined.

After being convened, the committee itself will then decide on its meeting times and dates.

The deadline for the committee to provide the provost with a summary of its work is Jan.15. It will then be further discussed  during President’s Council.

Though it is a condensed timeline, Robertson said it is a reasonable review period, as at some point the recommendations from Workgroups no. 8 and 9 need to be implemented.

“If a fresh set of eyes (looks at the recommendations,) they can confirm that the new ideas are good,” Robertson said.

While Gatrell said there are a lot of “interesting ideas” in the recommendations, he did not want to say specifics, as he wants the committee to make its own assessment.

“I just need (the committee’s) sense of whether that’s something that reflects our culture, our values and also reflects the directions the institution’s going over the next three to five years, because I think that’s really the timeline,” Gatrell said.  

Gatrell said any movement in a new organizational structure has to be reflected on.

“At this point it almost has to be budget neutral,” Gatrell said. “We have to be mindful of limited resources because we’re not going to get more money from the state.”

When it comes to changing the organizational structure of different colleges, which is part of what Workgroup no. 9’s charge was, Gatrell said it could lead to the development of new programs and collaboration, but there can also be opportunity costs if the changes are inconsistent with what the university’s mission and values you.

He said he is not wedded to any organizational structure, and wants to be “very cautious” going forward.

“What are the pros, what are cons?” Gatrell said. “These are things I need to know and we need to discuss those as a community.”

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]