Brooke Schwartz | The Daily Eastern News
The Faculty Senate raised concerns with Provost Jay Gatrell’s college reorganization plan, which was first proposed Monday, at its meeting on Tuesday.
The plan involves the creation of a new College of Health and Human Services, as well as combining the current College of Arts and Humanities with the College of Sciences to create a new College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
A big concern for the senate was the aggressive start date Gatrell has planned for; he hopes to have new colleges started by July 1.
Philosophy professor Grant Sterling raised the concern of a possible violation of senate bylaws, as it is written that before a big administrative change is made, the senate must have 90 days in advance to discuss the change.
Gatrell said he was not aware of the bylaw. Senate members decided he had given them as much notice as he had been able to, given the long planning process that went into the reorganization plan.
The timing of the plan, whether in violation of a bylaw or not, was still a problem for Sterling and other senators.
“Faculty Senate will have no opportunity to discuss this plan. We only have one meeting left,” Sterling said. “It bothers me that a really major reorganization is proposed at a time when Faculty Senate has no opportunity to see it, think about it and discuss it.”
Biological sciences professor Billy Hung said he agreed, especially considering much of the implementation of the reorganization plan will fall into the summer months.
“Regardless of the 90 days, the feedback period did overlap with the period where the school is not in session,” Hung said. “That does bring issues about how to bring the comments to (Gatrell’s) attention, or to (Eastern) President Glassman’s attention in a way that would make a meaningful impact as the initial plans are laid out moving forward.”
Some senators, such as history professor Bailey Young and family and consumer sciences professor Nichole Hugo, said they did not mind the timeline Gatrell had laid out.
“There’s a momentum that’s been gathering force over certainly the course of this year, but certainly got stronger this last year with vitalization groups, and I think that it’s important that we stay with the momentum,” Young said.
He said it seems that often what happens in these situations where institutional change is considered, there is an instinct to “slow things down.”
“But in this case, I don’t have the sense that we’re moving too fast because I think, as has been said here already, that we have been talking about this in various ways and thinking about it and communicating about it (for years),” Young said.
Hugo said her department had been on the fence for a while and had been confused about what direction to head in and she is glad there is finally a chance to start evolving her program in the same direction as the campus.
Because Gatrell’s plan differs from the Workgroup Review Committee’s reorganization plan, more discussion needs to be had, Hung said, and the success of the new plan will rely on the details that come out of those discussions in the next month.
Any feedback on the reorganization plan can be emailed to Gatrell at [email protected]
Brooke Schwartz can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]