College faculty faces busy spring term
Beginning searches for eight new faculty members, reviewing the colleges
accreditation report, advising the president on next years budget
and confronting issues of college governance are just a few highlights
on the Antioch College facultys agenda this semester, in what is
already shaping up to be a very busy term.
The most important item on this agenda will be next years budget
and the colleges general financial health, according to several
faculty members, but some said it is too early to know how those discussions
will be framed.
College faculty there are 51 faculty members will also review
the effectiveness of the current calendar. Since the cooperative education
program began in 1921, the college has used a variety of calendars with
different approaches to sequencing students work and study term.
Tom Haugsby, faculty executive committee member and professor of cooperative
education, says the current calendar is not working as well as it could.
The key to having a calendar that works, at least from the perspective
of co-op, is having balanced, alternating divisions, Haugsby said.
Haugsby said that when divisions, or groups of entering students, are
unbalanced, it becomes difficult for the co-op department to maintain
steady relationships with employers.
The vast majority of our students enter in the fall, study for two
terms, and go on co-op together, he said. Because most of
our students are first- and second-years, we have an unbalanced division
of those students who are co-oping and those who are studying.
According to the associate dean of faculty and Social and Global Studies
Department chair, Cathy LaPalombara, the future of the current calendar
is uncertain. A committee will review the current calendars
goals and objectives, and any action will depend on whether or not those
goals and objectives are being met, she said.
This term faculty members will also examine the relationship between the
college and the university. While many declined to comment, Haugsby said
that it is not clear exactly how the college and the university can best
work together for mutual benefit.
Many faculty members will also serve on search committees for eight new
professors. Last term, the Advisory Council to President Joan Straumanis
approved searches for positions in history, philosophy, communications,
chemistry, psychology, economics, environmental studies and co-op.
According to Haugsby, the process of determining which departments would
be granted searches was anything but painless. Originally we thought
there would be eleven searches going forward, but the budget only allowed
for eight, Haugsby said. We had several meetings, and there
was a great deal of lobbying by students, programs and departments.
Eventually the council decided on the above searches, but according to
Haugsby, not everyone was satisfied with the decision.
Discussion of the North Central Association accreditation results is another
item on the facultys spring agenda. According to professor of biology
and environmental science Jill Yager, the final NCA report is due back
within a month, and the faculty members are eager to use the NCAs
feedback to help determine how to improve the colleges performance.
Haugsby said that before the NCA reviewers departed last October, they
offered preliminary comments in five major areas: governance, finances,
physical plant, admissions and retention. Haugsby says these areas will
be the most closely examined when the report comes back.
The faculty has a leadership role within this community, and we
need to carry out that role with the NCAs observations in mind.
If they recommend changes, we will have meetings to discuss how to best
implement those changes, he said.
The faculty will also discuss student life and campus culture, intellectual
property rights and student and faculty retention before the conclusion
of the term, according to faculty members. The final spring term faculty
meeting will be dedicated to the approval of graduates.