Faculty Senate to discuss Unit B senate seat proposal

Brooke Schwartz, News Editor

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Faculty Senate will discuss a proposal to create a dedicated Unit B seat on the senate, the email draft for faculty to be a part of the think tank and a topic for the presidential lecture series.

The role of annually contracted faculty, a part of the overall Unit B faculty, on the senate has been a topic of discussion since the senate’s Sept. 4 meeting.

ACF’s are said to make up from one-third to one-fourth of almost every department on campus, with some departments employing more or less ACFs.

There has been, in the past, little to no involvement from these faculty on senate or any other organization for a couple of reasons.

One main reason for this lack of involvement is that Unit A faculty are evaluated on their campus service, while Unit B faculty are not required to be involved on campus.

At that Sept. 4 meeting, provost Jay Gatrell said this lack of obligation should not lead to a complete lack of participation from ACFs.

“(University) citizenship isn’t merely about evaluations,” Gatrell said at that meeting. “I believe there’s something bigger about what we do here everyday.”

Stefan Eckert, senate member and associate professor of music, said he thinks this lack of required involvement is not the only reason why Unit B faculty do not always participate on university committees.

“After talking with (music Unit B faculty), we decided not to ask them to serve because … there is a possibility they won’t have a job, and that is very different from Unit A,” Eckert said on Sept. 4. “It’s kind of bizarre to say, ‘Oh, we want you to be a part of (senate) but no, no, (the university) might not actually have a contract for you.’ I find that a little cruel because we have this issue that (music) could not function without (Unit B), and we talk about … including them, but at the same time if there is anyone laid off, it will be them before (Unit A) because of contracts.”

The senate’s discussion has been whether creating a designated Unit B seat on the senate will encourage ACFs to get involved, whether that seat will limit Unit B faculty in thinking they can only have one spot on senate when they can have as many seats as they wish and whether a dedicated seat will make any actual difference in involvement.

Todd Bruns, Faculty Senate chair and scholarly communication librarian and institutional repository director, has consistently said he thinks the dedicated seat will encourage Unit B to run and participate in senate.

In the senate’s Oct. 2 meeting, Bruns voiced his support for a proposal like this.

(Unit B) could have run any time, and they haven’t, they never have, and I point that out when I talk to the departments,” Bruns said at that meeting. “But what I’m getting back is, they feel like a Unit B seat is an invitation to have a Unit B voice, they feel like there’s something about (a dedicated seat) that seems to formalize that.”

At the senate’s last meeting on Nov. 13, Bruns said he is going to bring a proposal to senate codifying the dedicated seat and that proposal will be discussed in the senate’s meeting Nov. 27.

The senate will also be discussing the specific language for the email being sent out to faculty to call for volunteers and nominations on the proposed university think tank, a group being formed to look at macro trends in higher education.

Topics for the presidential lecture series, discussed by the senate last year, will also be brought forth and proposed.

At the Nov. 13 meeting, senators decided that choosing a topic for the lecture sooner rather than later is important as they need time to acquire speakers and presenters before next fall.

Josh Norman, associate vice president of enrollment management, is scheduled to be in attendance of the senate meeting.

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

Faculty Senate discusses allowing Unit B faculty to serve in senate

Faculty Senate discusses Unit B involvement in senate