January 16, 2003
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Antioch College faculty faces busy spring term

Beginning searches for eight new faculty members, reviewing the college’s accreditation report, advising the president on next year’s budget and confronting issues of college governance are just a few highlights on the Antioch College faculty’s 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 year’s budget and the college’s 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 calendar’s 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 faculty’s 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 NCA’s feedback to help determine how to improve the college’s 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 NCA’s 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.

—Brian Loudon