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Faculty Senate holds March meeting

Interim Provost Morgan updates plans for graduate college, multicultural center

A new University of Delaware graduate college, a new award recognizing faculty excellence in scholarly community engagement and plans to create a multicultural center were among the topics discussed by Interim Provost Robin W. Morgan at the March 5 meeting of the University’s Faculty Senate.

Morgan opened the meeting by updating the group about ongoing work to establish a graduate college at the University. A resolution to establish the graduate college by Jan. 1, 2019 will be presented to the Faculty Senate in April, along with plans for the college, including a business plan detailing funding. Those topics also will be the focus of town hall meetings about the graduate college scheduled for March 19 and March 22. Both meetings will begin at 2 p.m. in the Trabant University Center Theater.

Morgan also announced the appointment of the first Cochran Scholar. Tiffany Gill, an associate professor of Africana studies, was chosen for this position because she continues to promote and exemplify diversity and inclusion through her work at UD, Morgan said. The Cochran Scholar endowed fund was established by Board of Trustees Chair John Cochran and his wife, Patricia. Gill’s appointment will be celebrated with an event on May 14.

Morgan made two additional announcements, reminding the faculty to participate in the UD ADVANCE Climate Survey and inviting them to attend upcoming presentations by the CRLT Players. The CRLT Players from the University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching use theatre to enhance teaching and learning and improve institutional climate.

Morgan also addressed the University’s plans to create a multicultural center, inviting input from the campus community on a recent consultants’ report about the center. Comments can be submitted on the Multicultural Center Working Group’s website or by email at mcc-workinggroup@udel.edu before April 6.

Morgan closed her remarks by informing the faculty about a possible 17-minute, national student walkout in protest of gun violence, scheduled for 10 a.m., March 14, and offering a reminder that attendance policies are set by individual faculty members.

Faculty Senate President Martha Buell opened her remarks with several announcements. She announced that there will be a second open hearing on the administration’s nondiscrimination policy and repeated Morgan’s announcement regarding the new Faculty Senate award recognizing community engagement. She also gave updates on the budget modeling process, the ombudsperson committee, the need for the Faculty Senate to review and approve the Academic Program Review process, the creation of a commission on adjunct faculty, and a request for the senators to read the tenure track commission report.

The Senate unanimously approved the consent agenda, which included 31 revisions to different programs and majors at the University. More details on those programs can be found in the Faculty Senate agenda.

The Senate also voted on eight new resolutions. These resolutions include establishing new doctoral degrees in nutrition science, communication and health behavior science and promotion; a master’s degree in data science; an honors degree in applied molecular biology and biotechnology and the creation of a graduate certificate in nonprofit and voluntary action in the School of Public Policy and Administration.

The Senate also voted on resolutions to install a closure policy at the University that fulfills a requirement for joining the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) coalition and an update to the handbook concerning the use of analytics for faculty promotion and tenure. There was some debate over the latter resolution, because some senators were concerned about the accuracy of some of the University’s rating systems on professors’ performance. All eight resolutions were approved by the Senate.

The meeting concluded with the introduction of new business by James Morrison, a professor in the School of Public Policy and Administration. He asked the Senate to consider a resolution to offer four-year scholarships to students who are children of officers, firefighters, teachers and first responders killed in the line of duty.

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