Faculty Talk Policy, Articles and Lunch at March Plenary

By Will DiGravio

At the monthly plenary faculty meeting on March 4, the faculty discussed a proposal to create an open-access repository at the College. The proposal was presented by Associate Professor of Sociology and Anthropology Svea Closser on behalf of the Open Access Working Group and the Faculty Council.

A repository is a database where faculty can make their published articles available for free in one location. The repository would include scholarly journal articles, conference proceedings and book chapters. It would not include creative works, books, commissioned articles or other publications where authors are compensated directly for their writing. Though submission of articles would be mandatory, faculty members would be able to obtain a waiver should they not want an article included. The faculty voted to table the proposal and will vote on it after discussing it in open meetings.

Later in the meeting, Professor of Psychology Barbara Hofer, on behalf of the Faculty Council and Appeals Council, proposed changes to the Faculty Handbook. She presented six recommendations aimed at clarifying misunderstandings that originate from the current handbook language regarding the faculty review process.

One recommendation proposed changing handbook language to say that any candidate denied a reappointment or promotion would be provided with a written rationale for the decision. Another proposed modifying a passage to clearly state that all tenured faculty members, even when on academic leave, are expected to submit a letter regarding a colleague undergoing review. The faculty in attendance tabled the proposal and will vote on it after discussing it in open meetings.

The faculty approved a proposal, made by the Educational Affairs Committee, to clarify language regarding honors eligibility after a student commits an academic honesty infraction. The old language rendered students who received either an official or unofficial College discipline ineligible for graduation and/or departmental honors. Now only students who receive an official College discipline are ineligible from those honors.

Joseph Burr Professor of Chemistry & Biochemistry Rick Bunt made a motion, on behalf of the First Year Seminar Steering Committee, to support the creation of an “All College Luncheon Day.” At the luncheon, faculty would sit at tables, grouped by department or program, and have lunch with undeclared students on one day, once a semester, to answer questions and provide guidance to students. The goals of the luncheon are to better communicate curriculum changes to students, build greater relationships between faculty and students and get students acclimated to the advising process. The faculty approved the motion, which formally recommends that the administration implement the luncheon.