This Week's Message
I had no idea that the senate chair took a turn at these cover letters, and I doubt I have anything to say that merits much attention. But here goes.
I can only say that the senate this year will be discussing issues that go to the heart of the college identity and mission. The dean tells me that upwards of ten to a dozen new majors are in the works, and I agree with him, President Bahls, and past senate chairs that so many new majors at once may change the character of the college more than we want, no matter how interesting these new majors are. Clearly, the senate will need to approve these majors-perhaps a package of them-with an eye toward the college's ethos and reputation and stated mission. We will need to balance other needs, such as our challenges with the admissions work we all share, and the way we will be judged by accrediting agencies and others in the wider world.
On Thursday we will also consider a motion to name members to a task force charged with examining a major curriculum shift. This group will look into the implications of a shift in graduation requirements and faculty load. As this task force reports to the senate and the faculty at large we will need to enter into serious discussion about these implications. It is a relief to many, I know, that a curriculum shift that leads to a load reduction is to be considered apart from reductions in teaching positions or other cost-saving measures. I for one would really welcome a 2-2-2 load. Yet we know that a shift in requirements leads to other shifts in student demand for courses, and savings may need to be realized down the road if we are to establish a sustainable budget, and so we will have to be deliberate and careful in our considerations.
These are two expected challenges; there will also be the (currently) unexpected ones.
So on Thursday at 11:30 in Science 102, we begin to meet this year's challenges.
All the best,
Senate Chair, 2009-10