Newly staffed review committee to meet Friday

Cassie Buchman, Editor in Chief

A committee to review the recommendations made by vitalization project Workgroups no. 8 and 9 has now been staffed, with a mix of faculty and administrative members.

Biological sciences professor Billy Hung will represent the College of Sciences, Todd Bruns, institutional repository librarian is the representative from Library Services, Michael Dobbs will represent the Lumpkin School of Business and Applied Sciences and English professor and women’s studies coordinator Jeannie Ludlow will represent the College of Arts and Humanities.

Rebecca Throneburg, a communication disorders and sciences professor, will act as an at-large member.

Provost Jay Gatrell picked the administrative members of the committee. These are Denise Smith, interim department chair of the Lumpkin School of Business and Applied Sciences, Dana Ringuette, chair of the English department, Stephen Lucas, the interim associate dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies, Douglas Klarup, interim dean of the College of Sciences and Bradley Tolppanen, interim dean of Library Services.

When picking administrators to be on the committee, Gatrell said he wanted to make sure as many constituencies as possible were represented.

The first meeting of the review committee will be 3 p.m. Friday in the Paris room of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

“We are working off of the products of Workgroups no. 8 and 9, which have far-reaching recommendations,” Hung said. “Some of them are fundamental changes in how we organize our school.”

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.

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.

The committee’s report will be posted publicly shortly after it is submitted, Gatrell said.

Hung said he wants to see that the committee members have a chance to have a dialogue, and talk about the implications the recommendations from the workgroup could have.

“It’s something we should have conversations about,” he said.

Hung said Workgroups no.8 and 9 have already involved the campus in their original recommendations.

Both groups had “town hall” meetings in the spring, where they presented their ideas to members of Eastern’s campus.

Now, the newly formed review committee will find ideas the Workgroups made that it can agree will bring “sustainable, beneficial” changes to campus, Hung said.

Both Hung and Ringuette said limited resources at the university will affect what the committee decides.

“We will have to be realistic about our recommendations,” Hung said. “It will have to be a part of the consideration, (we will) definitely have to talk about it as well.”

Ringuette said the committee has to look at options that are manageable while still planning for a future where enrollment is up and the university has more funding.

“As everybody knows we’ve been through a difficult couple of years, it probably couldn’t be a better time for university to look at where it wants to be,” Ringuette said. “It could be a very exciting time (to see) what will happen in the next three to five years at Eastern.”

At Friday’s meeting, Gatrell will be there only to convene it, and will let the members of the group organize and decide for themselves the direction the committee will go.

“I’m asking for the committee’s response, however they want to manage that,” Gatrell said. “I’m not going to dictate how that rolls out.”

This initial meeting will be more about the logistics, such as figuring out when and where to meet, Hung said.

“What is the workflow, what do we hope to achieve by Week 1, Week 2, Week 3,” Hung said. “I think that’s going to more organizational. Then we’re going to dig into the work.”

While he said he considered the committee to be an ad-hoc group, Gatrell is leaving it up to members to decide whether meetings will be open to the public.

Hung said he would like for the group’s future meetings to be open, and for the campus to be involved both formally and informally.

“We want to build on that foundation (Workgroups) 8 and 9 have created,” Hung said. “I want our committee’s work flow to be open and inviting and transparent.”

Though colleagues have talked with each other on a one-on-one basis, Hung said people have not formally sat down to talk about the Workgroups’ final recommendations.

“Any recommendations we make are going to affect the entire campus,” Hung said. “It’s only fair the campus knows about what we’re doing.”

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