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Graduate college approved

UD Faculty Senate approves draft bylaws, organizational structure

The University of Delaware Faculty Senate approved a draft version of bylaws and an organizational structure for the new graduate college during its first meeting of the spring semester on Monday, Feb. 11. Creation of the graduate college was contingent on the Senate approving the draft according to a resolution passed by the Faculty Senate on May 7, 2018.

During the pre-vote discussion, several senators expressed support for the proposal and highlighted the benefits the potential creation of a graduate college would bring, while some expressed concerns over several details, including the breakdown of appointments to the Graduate College Council and the imbalance of representation for larger colleges over smaller ones.

The inclusion of an undergraduate representative on the council was also discussed and voted down. The potential representation of undergraduate students will continue to be reviewed by the soon to be formed Graduate Council.

UD Provost Robin Morgan assured the group that these details could be worked out.

“These are just draft bylaws,” Morgan said. “These are not the final bylaws of the graduate college.”

President Dennis Assanis agreed the draft was in good enough shape to move forward.

“I want to say for the record, I support the work so many people have done and the time they’ve taken to get us to this point,” Assanis said. “I think we are ready to consider this proposal.”

Prior to the vote, Martha Buell, chair of the Faculty Senate ad hoc committee to build the draft bylaws and professor of human development and family studies, updated the group on some concerns the ad hoc committee encountered when creating the draft.

“The last open hearing we had was over Winter Session,” Buell said. “Just in case you didn’t hear about it, these were some of the points we debated and resolved. One issue was the size of the Graduate College Council. What we ended up with was larger than what we originally imagined, but we wanted to make sure there was clear representation of everyone.”

At the end of the marathon discussion with numerous amendments, the resolution passed 37 to 16, and Faculty Senate President Chris Williams announced, “Pending final approval by the Board of Trustees, the University of Delaware officially now has its eighth college. Congratulations!”

The Senate also approved resolutions to disestablish several history/foreign language majors, create a second interdisciplinary track in the Honors Program and change the name of the doctorate degree in bioinformatics and systems biology to bioinformatics data science.

Morgan spoke briefly about two upcoming events. The Friends of the University of Delaware Library will hold its annual dinner on Monday, April 29, at 6 p.m. at the DuPont Country Club. The event will feature Wil Haygood, award-winning author and journalist. On Saturday, Feb. 23, at 10:30 a.m., there will be a memorial event celebrating the life of the late Richard Murray, former University provost, in the Gore Recital Hall of the Roselle Center for the Arts.

“Many of you may not have known Dick Murray, but he was quite a gentleman, quite a scholar, and he had a great sense of humor,” Morgan said. “We’ll be celebrating his life on Feb. 23.”

Morgan also said work continues on establishing a formal mentoring program for faculty members. A strategic plan for IT security at UD is underway, and a survey to better understand what researchers need for data storage, curation, preservation and access is in the works. She also said the ad hoc committee on adjunct faculty has completed its report and will give an overview during the April meeting.

In his remarks, Williams said the spring semester is normally a busy time for the Senate. The Senate will vote on curriculum updates, personnel policies for the faculty and finalize recommendations for the tenure track commission. There will also be an open hearing at 3:30 p.m., March 11, to discuss raising the grade-point-average requirement for the Dean’s List award from 3.33 to a 3.5. Additionally, new business to improve student death notification and the academic program review process are also being reviewed by Senate Committees.

New business at the end of the meeting recommended the Faculty Senate Budget Committee review Assanis’ proposal to offer free tuition to lower income Delaware families.

Williams noted senators should consider joining committees and the Faculty Senate executive board for the 2019-20 school year. Open positions will include secretary, Committee on Committees and Nominations (COCAN) chair and incoming president-elect, he said.

“I strongly encourage you to take your involvement beyond just this place,” Williams said. “Volunteer your time on one of our committees and also be thinking about executive board membership.”  

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