On Wednesday, May 6, Faculty Senate held its last meeting as an independent entity and voted on the proposed constitution for the Common Council shared governance structure.
Faculty Senate is currently made up of faculty and academic staff but soon university staff will be joining the discussion on campus-wide issues.
“As it is now, the three voices of the university are all separate, so if the chancellor goes out to each group and asks what should we do involving a specific issue, the chancellor may wind up with four different opinions,” said Faculty Senate Chair Randy Olson. “At that point, the chancellor is free to do what he wants but that might not be what the majority of employees want to see.”
Olson said the university will mainly have two governing voices, the Common Council and the Student Government Association.
“I don’t feel like Faculty Senate is fully going away,” said Nathan Wetzel, Graduate Council chair. “If there is a curriculum issue that will be voted on by faculty and probably academic staff, if there is an issue in regard to parking then because that affects everyone, then it will be voted on by everyone.”
Wetzel believes there will be kinks that need to be worked out as the council moves forward.
“I think the only thing that’s going to be different is the voting blocks, and if those blocks start to vote simply as a block instead of a representation of the university, then we might end up in trouble,” Wetzel said.
There may be issues that come up and affect part of staff or faculty. This could create conflict when determining who will vote on what issues.
“I am thankful to the group that did it, but I think there’s going to be details that we need to revisit,” Wetzel said. “I think the main issue is going to be determining whether a particular topic is going to be affected by different subgroups.”
Faculty Senate discussed voting on the constitution for the Common Council during the meeting.
“Academic Affairs is going to be revising the interior architecture major,” Olson said. “We also discussed a proposed authorization for a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering and a Bachelor of Arts degree in sustainable food and nutrition.”
Generally, larger organizations do not have government systems similar to universities.
“The amount of participation by employees is much greater,” said political science Professor Dennis Riley. “Even in a government agency, you wouldn’t have the same level of open participation in the election of people and have an elected body that can speak to administrators.”