Faculty Sen. talks degree changes, COE goals

Corryn Brock, News Editor

The Faculty Senate discussed a proposal regarding upper division and residency requirements during its meeting Tuesday afternoon.

Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management Josh Norman and Vice Chair of the Faculty Senate Jeffery Stowell introduced the proposal and led a discussion on it.

The proposal recommends reducing residency hour requirements to align Eastern with its peers and make the university more competitive with other universities in the region for transfer students.

The requirement to graduate with a degree that says Eastern Illinois University is 42 credits from the university. However, 8 of the 12 public universities in Illinois have fewer hours required.

Currently, three hours of the residency requirement can be waived and six hours of the upper division requirement can be waived.

Stowell and Norman recommend decreasing that number to 30 hours, which is parallel to other universities in Illinois. The pair believes this will increase Eastern’s marketability.

“Any way that we can align ourselves with our peers to take some of the burden off of the perspective students is going to make us more competitive,” Norman said.

Norman said Eastern’s transfer enrollments are small. He said this is due to many transfers being sensitive to proximity meaning that they are more likely to transfer to a university near them.

He said the area Eastern is located in can affect the number of students interested in transferring to the university.

He added that that is not the only thing that may draw potential students to Eastern.

“If they’re your traditional vertical transfer, they’re coming because they’re cost sensitive.”

Both Norman and Stowell agreed that the proposal comes down to two important things, being efficient and offering the best experience they can to prospective students.

“Let’s serve our students better, let’s create some efficiency and let’s become more competitive in the marketplace,” Norman said. “Especially when we look at those residency hours.”

“Especially with the other universities, we are way out of market.”

The Senate also discussed that with the current requirement students who transfer in are not able to graduate in two semesters which is often what they intend to do.

The proposal would need to go before the Council on Academic to be officially considered. The purpose of presenting the proposal was to be informative and get perspective on how others viewed the proposal.

College of Education Dean Laretta Henderson also spoke to the Senate as a guest to discuss her college.

Henderson is new to her position after joining the university mid-pandemic on July 1.

She talked with the Senate regarding plans she had within her college.

The most discussed item was  Henderson’s goal to address the lack of interest in teaching and accessibility to students who are interested in the field, specifically students of color.

“We understand the shortage of teachers in Illinois, in the nation and particularly a shortage of teachers of color,” Hendersons said. “We understand the impact teachers of color can have on all children.”

The next Faculty Senate meeting is March 23.

 

Corryn Brock can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]