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Faculty Senate holds first meeting of new academic year

President Assanis offers welcoming remarks as Senate prepares to celebrate 50th anniversary

The University of Delaware Faculty Senate convened in Gore Hall on Monday, Sept. 9, the first meeting in a year that marks the 50th anniversary of the body.

President Dennis Assanis offered welcoming remarks, noting construction around The Green that was breathing new life into the campus, along with the presence of 4,200 new resident students.

Assanis announced that the senators and the campus would all be receiving a draft copy of the Strategic Plan and that he looked forward to their input and comments on the document over the next two weeks. “This is a document that reflects our institutional priorities. It is a living document, one that is never complete and as new opportunities arise, we must be agile in addressing them.”

He introduced Gary Henry, new dean of the College of Education and Human Development, and Rodney Morrison, new vice president for enrollment management, as well as Michael Vaughan, who is serving as interim vice provost for diversity and inclusion. He also announced that a national search is underway for the University’s next chief diversity officer.

In addition, Assanis thanked the Senate for its work in establishing the new Graduate College and announced that the search for its founding dean will commence shortly.

Matt Kinservik, vice provost for faculty affairs, followed up the president’s remarks and noted that UD welcomed 80 new faculty this fall, with another 10-12 coming on board in January.

New Faculty Senate President Matt Robinson said he was grateful for the opportunity to serve in this role, noting that UD had been here long before he came here and would be around long after he was gone, so it was his turn to do everything he could to “leave it a better place than I found it.”

Robinson said next month’s meeting will include a 50th anniversary celebration, with past Faculty Senate presidents and members coming back to recognize the institution’s important role in promoting shared governance at UD.

Parliamentarian John Jebb discussed the importance of the body’s rules, pointing out that procedural issues in the U.S. House of Representatives had recently made news and driving home the point that the rules are about doing business in a way that allows for a fair and open discussion.

Mark Rieger, dean of the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, led a discussion of the accreditation review being conducted by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Part of that process involves creation of a self-study document and Rieger sought input on how the Senate’s work contributes to institutional priorities and the successful outcomes that should be highlighted in that self-study, a document he hopes will be drafted by the end of November.

Finally, Lynnette Young Overby, deputy director of community engagement initiatives, offered an update on the UD Community Engagement Initiative and indicated an impact survey will be forthcoming and that the first annual Provost Symposium on the Scholarship of Engagement will take place in the spring of 2020.

For information on the new slate of Faculty Senate officers, as well as meeting minutes and past and upcoming meeting information, visit the Senate’s website.

Editor's note: Minutes of the Sept. 9 meeting are posted on the University Faculty Senate website.  

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