Faculty Meeting Minutes
February 28, 2012
FACULTY MEETING MINUTES, February 28, 2012, Olin 105
The meeting was called to order at 11:30 by President Schrum.
The minutes of the January 24, 2012, faculty meeting were approved on a voice vote.
The list of candidates for May graduation was approved on a voice vote.
University Council. Jim Hunt reported that there was no business for the faculty to consider but that the council was becoming more proactive.
Academic Affairs Council. Suzanne Buchele moved, on behalf of the council, that the final draft of the QEP proposal be adopted. In the ensuing discussion several questions were raised and answered: Can clusters include courses that have just a module with cluster-related material? (Yes, the purpose of the cluster system to stimulate conversation.) Will there be a formal process for approving courses for clusters? (Yes, but we will wait to include any “recommendations” from SACS to set up the final process and it will remain under AAC supervision.) Is the cluster paradigm widespread among colleges? (No; ours is unusual although not unique.)
The proposal was approved by secret ballot, 76 for and 6 against, with 3 abstentions.
Faculty Affairs Council. Brian Neighbors moved adoption of a revised Statement on Religious Diversity. The proposal was approved by voice vote. Text of the Statement is included as attachment A. Dr. Neighbors also reported that the council was continuing its work on the Faculty Evaluation Task Force proposal on criteria for promotion to full professor. The council welcomes feedback from faculty in this attempt to systematize the process and eliminate inconsistencies. Issues raised in the discussion included possibly requiring five years at the associate level before eligibility for promotion; defining scholarly achievement, noting among other points that conference presentations are not equivalent to journal publications; the failure to provide a grandfather clause for faculty members hired under the current standards; a possible review process for full professors; better teaching review procedures, including addressing possible gender bias in student evaluations; and mentoring junior faculty in both teaching and research areas.
President’s report. Mary Visser has been named to the Herman Brown Chair. Theresa Sullivan, president of the University of Virginia, will be the 2012 commencement speaker. The Brown Foundation has been asked to grant 3 million dollars for work on the science building. The locker room in the Robertson Center will be named for recently deceased baseball coach Jim Mallon.
Provost’s report. Jim Hunt announced the hiring of two new assistant professors, Valerie Renegar in Communication Studies and Erin Crockett in Psychology. A promised bequest has been made by alumnus Joe Taylor, now 60 years old, of 5 to 15 million dollars, to be directed toward academic purposes. The new football coach (Joe Austin), coming to Southwestern from Hanover College, has arrived and begun work. Planning continues on the institution of a January term next year. This will result in a one-week delay in the start of the second semester.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:21.
Final SU Statement on Religious Diversity
Southwestern University is a crossroads for a range of communities. We are a meeting place for and home to a wide array of cultures, generations, academic disciplines, and perspectives. Consonant with the educational mission of The United Methodist Church, our United Methodist heritage, and Southwestern University’s Core Purpose – fostering a liberal arts community whose values and actions encourage contributions toward the well being of humanity – we recognize that diversity in one category is impossible without diversity in others. We are a meeting place for differing religious beliefs and practices as well as spiritualities, and we encourage, and are committed to providing institutional support to a diversity of such traditions, and we understand that an enlightened model of religious diversity also encourages the presence and perspective of humanists, agnostics, and atheists.
We are committed to making it as easy as possible for students, faculty, and staff to participate in the celebrations and observances of their respective faith communities. We facilitate participation of Southwestern students in religious communities beyond the campus, and welcome our neighbors to religious practices and celebrations on campus.
Our goal is to be respectful and appreciative of our various religious and non-religious traditions. We seek to provide educational opportunities for each of us to learn about one another’s cultures and practices. Dialogue can sometimes be painful; the legacies of intolerance run through the histories of almost all religious and secular traditions. Respectful dialogue, nevertheless, is the first step in modeling a peaceful world, in welcoming what is strange, in making new friends, and in deepening our lives. Indeed, no position should be imposed from one person on another. We welcome dialogues based on mutual consent in which the explanation of each person’s secular or religious position is offered.