Review Committee plans final recommendations


Brooke Schwartz

Todd Bruns is an institutional repository librarian who is working on the committee to review Workgroups no. 8 and 9’s proposals. He, along with biological sciences professor Billy Hung, will began work on writing a draft of the review committees final proposal which is due before Jan 15th.

Brooke Schwartz, Administration Reporter

With the final recommendations needing to be in by Jan. 15, the Workgroup Review Committee spent its meeting planning how to structure its proposal.

The proposal was created from the committee reviewing Vitalization Project Workgroups No. 8 and 9`s recommendations over the last seven weeks.

Members agreed to start the final proposal off with recommending college restructuring. These past two weeks, the committee has worked on creating an example of what this would look like which will be included in the proposal.

After that, programs that fit into the college restructuring plan will be mentioned, such as the idea of a university college and the center for excellence, a program dedicated purely to encouraging student research.

Rebecca Throneburg, a communication disorders and sciences professor, said she wondered if a separate center was necessary for research.

“It did say ‘a hub for the undergraduate research department,’ which is nice,” she said. “But in terms of what we already have on campus, and you’re talking about not making things more complicated or more layers of administration, when we may not need it.”

She said the Sandra and Jack Pine Honors College supports undergraduate research and the graduate school supports graduate research already.

“What’s one more umbrella actually going to do for us,” Throneburg asked.

Jeannie Ludlow, coordinator of the women’s studies program, said right now there is a GPA gap in who is recognized for student research.

“A gap in the work done with undergraduate research on campus is that most of the awards that come out of the honors college, you have to have a certain GPA to be eligible for that,” Ludlow said. “And what that means is that students who are not in that top tier GPA are not eligible, but in fact we know, there’s a whole lot of research out there, that shows that students who actually are struggling do better with independent research.”

Biological sciences professor Billy Hung said he thought a separate research program might attract more students.

“I think another attraction to me for this is that there is an identifiable entity that we can point to and use in our promotion and our recruitment effort,” Hung said.

The committee decided to include a center for excellence in their final recommendations, with a decision to possibly recommend combining it with the Honors College and the University College.

The committee also revisited the program proposals, deciding to recommend adding one or two agriculture majors over time as Eastern slowly gains the ability to hire more faculty members.

Stephan Lucas, the interim associate dean of the College of Education and Professional Studies, said the lack of an agriculture program is problematic given where Eastern is located.

“Looking longer term, as we’re trying to connect better with our region, it’s just a glaring oversight that we don’t do anything with agriculture here,” Lucas said. “Long term, looking at it, we’re starting to build faculty again. Targeting this is a possibility.”

After reaching out and discussing with each other and the surrounding campus, the committee decided not to recommend any type of shorter schedule, as a campus-wide one would be nearly impossible to implicate and would include minimal benefits.

The committee will have two more meetings before its final deadline, the first starting at 3 p.m. Jan. 5 in room 2121 Lumpkin Hall and the last one being held the following Friday.

Lucas said it is important for the committee to not just reiterate what was said in Workgroups No. 8 and 9 but to add something to their recommendations that will help increase enrollment and help improve the campus as a whole.

“(The provost) asked us to make a recommendation, not to rehash things,” Lucas said. “I think we need to be distinct.”

Brooke Schwartz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].