Faculty Meeting News and Notes: March 21, 2024

By Laken Franchetti, Editor-in-Chief

President Bob Iuliano began Thursday’s meeting by informing the faculty that Dean of Admissions Gail Sweezey will be retiring at the end of July. She has served 41 years at Gettysburg College.

Director of Peace and Justice Studies and Associate Professor of Africana Studies Hakim Mohandas was recognized for being selected as a Fulbright Scholar Alumni Ambassador. Associate Professor of Management Patturaja Selvaraj was also recognized for receiving an award from the R. Edward Freeman Journal of Business Ethics Philosophy in Practice.

Provost Jamila Bookwala reminded faculty members that Associate Professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute of New York University and Research Director at the NYU Alliance for Public Interest Technology Meredith Broussard would be visiting campus to present her research on the role of artificial intelligence in investigative journalism. The event will take place on April 10 at 7 p.m. in the CUB Ballroom.

Bookwala’s second point for the faculty was a request for them to submit input to the Provost’s Office on modifying the timing of the first sabbatical leave for faculty after they have successfully undergone tenure and are promoted to the rank of associate professor at the College. The Provost’s Office approached the Faculty Development Committee with a proposal. On the condition that the Provost’s Office does not change the proportion of faculty who normally are on sabbatical leave, which is currently about 10% or less, the proposal would see faculty taking their first sabbatical leave after their first year in associate rank.

The final point Bookwala discussed regarded information she has gathered about the College’s endowed chair program. Bookwala shared that the program can be a faculty recruitment and retention tool, and it also enhances the prestige of the College. She has found that the current structure of the program has costs that exceed the income accrued, so there will be a reimaged endowed chairs program.

Continued Discussion and Vote on the Proposed Finance and Economics Major

Members from the Faculty Finance Committee (FFC) presented their potential financial benefits and costs of the proposed finance and economics major. Potential benefits included the possibility of recruiting additional students and retaining existing students. Potential costs included additional staffing as one and a half positions are needed for this proposed major. This would mean hiring two new faculty members as one would be involved completely with the new major and the other would be shared with the Data Science Department. These new positions would be called Professor of Practices and serve a three year term.

The FFC concluded their assessment by stating that the proposed major is a low-risk proposal with a high potential for financial benefit.

Professor of Management Heather Odle-Dusseau asked what data the Provost’s Office is using to support the claim that prospective students would be interested in the proposed major. Vice President for Enrollment and Educational Services Carey Thompson responded that they have anecdotal and quantitative data that suggests finance and economics is a major students have expressed interest in. Odle-Dusseau followed up by asking if faculty could see this data to help in deciding whether to approve the major, and Bookwala responded by saying the data would not be presented at the meeting.

Another faculty member asked for more information about the Professor of Practice title and how much the position would cost. Bookwala shared that in terms of compensation, the positions will have compensations higher than what a typical visiting professor receives as the hope is that the College could hire someone with experience. Therefore, the positions would not be entry-level as visiting professor positions are.

Associate Professor of Anthropology Donna Perry stated that until there is a commitment to the existing programs on campus that are performing well, the amount of majors at the College should not be expanding. Professor of Economics Charles Weise responded by saying that the proposed major is not a pure financial transaction and that approving the major would be at the benefit of students. Weise also shared that the Professor of Practice positions would allow the College an “out” if the proposed major did not perform well, as they are three year terms.

Chairperson of the History Department Dina Lowy questioned why there should be a third major in the Economics Department when the College is facing a budget deficit and a shrinking student body. Lowy questioned if the faculty could be thinking more creatively about the resources they have in place, such as offering a concentration or certificate in finance rather than an entire new major. The response to this was that neither the Management Department or Economics Department has staffing to offer finance courses.

Associate Professor of Biology István Urcuyo asked if there could be specific numbers or data presented to the faculty on how much the proposed major would cost. Urcuyo felt this proposed major was asking the faculty to make a decision with a lack of transparency.

The vote on the motion to pass the proposed major then took place, and the motion did not pass.

In response to the proposed major not passing a faculty vote, Iuliano stated he respected faculty judgment yet felt the College standing still was not a good answer. He said that there needed to be curricular adaptation so that the College could greater compete within the market for students.

Faculty Governance Committee Update

Chair of the Faculty Governance Council and Chairperson of the Africana Studies Department Scott Hancock shared that there will be a change in the ballots to how faculty have voted. In the past, they have been separated by gender, and this will no longer be done.

Faculty Governance Review Commission Update

Chairperson of the Faculty Governance Review Commission and Professor of English Christopher Fee shared five faculty generated motions. The motions are as follows: present an explicit understanding of what shared governance is at the College, put guidelines in place for ad hoc committees, defining and quantifying “invisible labor,” eliminating committees deemed unnecessary or non-functioning and amending the College-wide governance cycle.

Further discussion on the motions will take place at the next faculty meeting.

Author: Laken Franchetti

Laken Franchetti ’24 serves as the Editor-in-Chief for The Gettysburgian. She has previously served as News Editor, Assistant News Editor and as a staff writer for the news and arts and entertainment sections. Laken is an English with a writing concentration and history double major. On-campus, she is the Editor-in-Chief for Her Campus, the Nonfiction Genre Head for The Mercury and a user services assistant at Musselman Library. Laken is also a Lincoln scholar and spent the Fall ’22 semester abroad in London and Lancaster, England. In her free time, Laken is an avid film fan and enjoys reading.

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1 Comment

  1. The President really made this a meeting to remember, from his nasty innuendo that he was glad the editor in chief of the Gettysburgian was graduating to his temper tantrum at the end that the vote didn’t go his way. Keep it classy Bob.

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