Faculty Senate passes resolution on relationship with Northwestern administration

Leah Dunlevy, Reporter

Faculty Senate passed a resolution Wednesday asking Northwestern administrators to work with the Senate and its committees instead of forming ad hoc task forces when seeking faculty input on issues.

The resolution said that faculty who serve on such task forces are chosen by administrators instead of by other faculty, and they may not be seen as having the necessary authority to speak on the behalf of all faculty.

“By contrast, Faculty Senators are elected by their departments to represent the interests and perspectives of their colleagues,” the resolution said. “Because every department has a Senator, every faculty member at Northwestern should be adequately represented.”

Ad hoc task force meetings are often poorly attended, the resolution said, but Faculty Senate members are expected to regularly report about Senate activities to their departments. The Senate process aims to give all faculty an opportunity to share their input, the resolution said.

“The Senate offers the best way for the administration and the faculty to collaborate in a productive, efficient manner,” the resolution said.

University spokesman Al Cubbage could not be reached for comment by the time of publication.

Wednesday’s meeting also addressed the ongoing discussion on changes to the academic calendar. A modification to the calendar was initially proposed by the 2015 Faculty Task Force on the Undergraduate Academic Experience, calling for NU to begin classes in late August and end in late May. Under this so-called “10-5-5-10” calendar, Winter Quarter would be divided into two five-week sessions, separated by a Winter Break with no assignments.

At its November meeting, Senate discussed shortening each quarter by one week at its meeting on Wednesday as an alternative to the “10-5-5-10” calendar.

“I had a chance to speak to people all over the University and (the calendar change) was not met with much favor,” philosophy Prof. Baron Reed, a member of the educational affairs committee, said on Wednesday.

Still, Senate is continuing the discussion and is looking for other possible solutions. Reed told The Daily in an email that the educational affairs committee has not yet voted on which options to continue discussions with.

At its next meeting on Jan. 11, Faculty Senate will feature a talk with Jonathan Holloway, who was recently named the next provost of Northwestern.

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