Once every month, the faculty senate meets to discuss how they can best shape the curriculum around Pacific University’s educational mission. This year, the focus has mostly been on reviewing and approving changes in the university handbook that change the way the University Personnel Committee (UPC) works.
“These changes will shift responsibilities of the UPC away from review of individual faculty members’ dossiers for tenure and move towards a role in review of the different colleges’ policies regarding tenure,” Katie Bell, a professor who is active in the faculty senate said.
The changes in language also allow for the UPC to focus more on administrative positions and as an appeal panel in faculty personnel decisions. The main focus of the senate is to work on academic and major non-academic issues that arise around campus.
“Typically, we tend to deliberate on matters of curriculum, faculty development, challenges facing the university as a whole and other items that impact the faculty and students,” Bell said.
There is never a specific goal the senate goes into the year with, they simply review changes in the curriculum and to the handbook and review the ways they will affect the university and students. By being able to give that feedback, the senate is able to directly influence the changes we see that impact the environment that we learn in.
Potentially the biggest change that has been talked about around campus is getting rid of winter term. The change will get rid of the two week term in the first weeks of January and move them to May, after spring term ends. There are many different opinions about this change, both good and bad, but it will be happening regardless.
This change to the yearly calendar has not yet been discussed in the faculty senate. However, like students around campus, there is both worry and excitement about the changes. There are many possibilities with the schedule change allowing for easier ways to teach, but there are also challenges that the senate and all faculty will have to face with the new schedule.