The April 5 UNCG Faculty Senate meeting discussed new policies for the upcoming school year, for both students and the campus.
Anne Wallace, Senate Faculty Chair, opened the meeting with a brief summary of the agenda, which mostly consisted of resolutions to be voted on by the Senate.
The floor was then given to UNCG Provost Dana Dunn who presented new metrics for the upcoming year. These metrics, implemented by the General Administration of UNC, would be used to determine how and where grants would be allocated between the campuses in coming years.
The metrics included low income enrollment, rural enrollment, low income degree completion, rural degree completion, five year graduation rates, undergraduate class efficiency measure, achievement gaps in undergraduate class efficiency, students graduating into critical workforce areas, and research productivity.
The University’s ability to fulfill the metrics was stated to be of great importance in the next academic year, particularly given the expected budget cuts.
The cuts resulted from a recently implemented tuition freeze, where incoming undergraduate students would have 8 consecutive semesters of enrollment at the same tuition rate. This meant the usual budget increase from retained students would become stagnant, and they would need to rely more on increased intake.
Due to this, budget meetings are undergoing to ensure smooth functioning under the new budget plan, and to focus efforts towards the new metrics that would also have to be met to ensure grants would be given by the main administration.
The floor was then given to resolutions placed before the senate, presented by Government Committee Chair Greg Bell.
The first presented was to change the Ad Hoc Committee On Non Tenure Track Faculty Issues to a permanent committee, given their continued relevance and success in dealing with previously noticed issues.
Though the resolution passed unanimously, a concern was brought up by a senate member about the term ‘non-tenured faculty’.
“The name makes it sound like something lesser,” she stated.
Wallace confirmed that attempts on finding a better term were in the works. However, given the wide range of non-tenured employees, it was hard to find a word that would accurately describe the entire group.
The next two resolutions covered a shift in two committees’ focus, changing one from the Faculty Teaching and Learning Commons Committee to the Professional Development Committee, and the Professional Development, Compensation, and Welfare Committee to the Faculty Professional Compensation and Welfare Committee.
The change was due to the latter committee focusing more on compensation and welfare issues, and the former focusing more on development. As such, this change would better allow both to do their duties.
Colleen Fairbanks, Chair of the Academic Policies Committee, presented the next resolution, an alteration to the policy to office hours. It would require all faculty teaching a class to have two hours a week where students could reach them in person or via media like Skype
Steven Yarborough made a motion to amend the resolution and strike the two hour requirement, given the resolution’s requirement of responding to student requests in a timely fashion would make the need for specific time unnecessary.
The motion was passed, but, among protests that the requirement would put too much stress on schedules, the resolution as a whole was tabled until next session.
Fairbanks’ second resolution was a proposed change to the Academic Good Standing Policy, which had been changed previously at the behest of the Board of Governors to require a 66.7 percent completion rate for students to be in good standing.
“We now have evidence to suggest the policy had prevented students with a GPA of 2.5 or lower from completing their time at UNCG,” Fairbanks said.
This was due to the completion rate not regarding pass-fail specifically, but penalizing students for dropping classes, which meant students who dropped classes were being counted as failing. Given there were already policies in place to prevent the drop tool from being abused, she proposed the completion rate be changed to a ‘pass’ rate, which passed unanimously.
Afterwards, Wallace gave a short summary of the Faculty Assembly Delegation report, speaking in brief due to time constraints.
“President Spellings was informative,” Wallace said. “Reports were informative and useful to us.”
Wallace further stated that the Senate is working on the elections for the new faculty assembly, and would be presenting several more resolutions at their next, and final, meeting.
The UNCG Faculty Senate will next meet on May 3, at 3 p.m. in the Alumni House’s Virginia Dare room, and will be open to the public.