Faculty Meeting News and Notes: April 18, 2024

By Laken Franchetti, Editor-in-Chief

Provost Jamila Bookwala began Thursday’s faculty meeting by announcing that President Bob Iuliano was unable to attend due to unforeseen family matters.

The Endowed Professorship Program

In the faculty meeting on March 21, Bookwala discussed information she had gathered about the College’s endowed professorship program. Bookwala recognized that the program is prestigious and an important way to recognize faculty members at the College, yet she found that the current structure of the program has costs that exceed the income accrued. Bookwala expressed that there should be considerations to restructure the program to use resources in a more sustainable manner as the Provost’s Office is spending a considerable amount of money from the academic division’s budget to cover the perks that come with the program.

Professor of Mathematics Ben Kennedy asked for clarification on why the Provost’s Office is committed to the viewpoint that the program is losing money if it is not covering baseline salaries, even if it is covering the extra costs of having an endowed position. Bookwala responded that a good endowed professorship program should pay for itself.

Associate Professor of Africana Studies Hakim Williams questioned why if the program is structured in a manner where there is a loss, why is the College accepting money from donors. Bookwala shared that the College is trying to raise funds at a higher level to establish a new professorship. She restated that the Provost’s Office does not wish to get rid of the endowed professorship program but instead wishes to ensure the College is spending funds in a sustainable manner.

Bookwala expressed that faculty members could reach out to her with questions or concerns as she does not wish to make changes to the program without further faculty input.

Faculty Governance Review Commission

Chairperson of the Faculty Governance Review Commission (FGRC) and Professor of English Christopher Fee returned to discussions surrounding the last of five faculty generated motions that the FGRC had originally brought to faculty at the faculty meeting on March 21. Four of the motions passed at the faculty meeting on April 4, but due to time constraints, the final motion amending the College-wide governance cycle was not able to be voted on at that meeting.

Voting occurred during Thursday’s faculty meeting. The motion proposed a reevaluation of the Governance Cycle to maximize the number of faculty available to serve in the Standing Committee Structure of Gettysburg College in any given year. This amendment would have faculty members protected from service only during the year of their sabbatical, which is year seven in the governance cycle for faculty in tenure-track positions.

Concerns were presented by faculty members who felt that despite this amendment, six years may not be sufficient in finding candidates for Standing Committee elections or that other faculty members would still have to serve during years they were meant to be inactive. Another concern was brought forward by Art and Art History Professor Felicia Else, who voiced concern over losing time to complete research.

Fee voiced his appreciation for the faculty’s concerns and fears regarding the motion.

Voting then occurred, and the motion was passed.

Academic Policy and Program Committee Motion

Chairperson of the Physics Department Bret Crawford represented the Academic Policy and Program Committee (APPC) and the Global Studies Program Committee to bring forth a motion to approve an interdisciplinary semester-long faculty-run program in Bonn, Germany. The program would be in collaboration with the Academy for International Education (AIB).

The motion was passed.

Governance System Concerns

Chair of Faculty Council and Professor of Economics John Cadigan and member of the Faculty Council and Professor of Psychology Richard Russell brought forward concerns with the faculty governance system.

Cadigan began by recognizing how the Middle States Evaluation Committee gave friendly advice to the College for having them reconsider the governance structure, such as how people are selected to serve on faculty committees. He recognized that previous faculty-only town halls indicated frustration with the structures and also stated that the Provost’s Office has been challenged by a lack of clear progress in making changes.

Cadigan brought forth options for discussion, including using an external evaluator to lead a team of faculty to talk about making changes to the faculty handbook and sharing recommendations with FGRC.

Russell recognized how rebuilding the faculty governance structure would take time. Russell shared an option to conduct an expansive reading of existing faculty committee charges to see which should take on more expansive roles.

Faculty comments showed support for further discussion on these options and moving towards an expansive interpretation of faculty committees. There was concern, however, that possible changes could take power away from committees.

Recognition from the Provost’s Office

Associate Provost for Academic Affairs Jeanne Hamming recognized Professor of Chemistry Shelli Fry for her leadership regarding the Cross-Disciplinary Science Institute (X-SIG) program. Professor of Physics Kurt Andreson will be taking over the position of X-SIG coordinator.

Hamming also recognized Associate Professor of Biology István Urcuyo for his leadership with the STEM Scholars program. Assistant Professor of Health Science Megan Benka-Coker will be taking over as Director of the STEM Scholars program.

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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