Faculty governance preps for a busy year
By Carly Simpson
Tomorrow will mark the start of another busy year for faculty governance at Grand Valley State University as the Executive Committee of the Senate holds their first meeting of the academic school year. At this time, the ECS will be finalizing their goals for 2014-2015, which will include business from last year as well as new charges.
Revisions to student evaluations were a major topic of discussion last year in faculty governance. In January, the University Academic Senate passed a motion to adopt a university-wide set of questions that all units will be required to use in addition to any internal measures they might want to use. Since then, a task force for Universal Student Evaluations on Teaching Implementation has been meeting to discuss the best practices for the usage of evaluations. The group is expected to make recommendations to the ECS by December, said Karen Gipson, the chair of ECS and UAS.
“The USETI task force met throughout the summer and delivered an update to the faculty this fall at each of college startup meetings,” Gipson said. “USETI’s work will definitely be continuing throughout the fall, and faculty input is encouraged.”
Students and faculty at GVSU can also expect to hear continued discussion about the creation of an Ombuds Office on campus, Gipson said. An Ombuds Office would be a place for members of the GVSU community to confidentially discuss complaints, concerns or problems with an impartial “Ombudsman.” The UAS voted in favor of the office during the last academic school year and sent a recommendation to Provost Gayle Davis last spring.
“I understand that the Senior Management Team discussed the possibility at one of its meetings over the summer, but we haven’t yet heard whether the Ombuds Office will be approved or not,” Gipson said.
Over the summer, the ECS held two retreats to discuss possible new business and charges to each of the standing committees of UAS. Gipson shared some of the topics that were discussed which include, among others, reconsidering the policy of credit/ no credit for study abroad, seeking ways to make GVSU easier to navigate for active-duty military personnel, investigating the possibility of graduate student stipends and developing additional “Issues” courses.
“We’ll also be working more closely with the Student Senate on some issues,” Gipson said. “For example, one of our topics of new business this week is to discuss the possibility of supporting the Student Senate resolution from last March calling for the creation of a meditation and reflection space on campus.”
Student Senate President Andrew Plague is excited by the prospect of increased collaboration between the faculty senate and the Student Senate.
“One thing that we are working on together is a remedy for the severe lack of quiet prayer and reflection space on campus for students of non Judeo-Christian faiths,” Plague said. “The Student Senate passed a resolution about it last year, and Karen is working to make it a priority in faculty governance as well. We continue to strive for our long-term goal of an Interfaith Center that can truly meet all of the faith needs of our diverse student body.”
The ECS meeting will take place tomorrow, Sept. 5, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in Room 3062 in James H. Zumberge Hall.