Faculty senate aims to be more transparent

Bobby Shipman

The USI Faculty Senate unanimously voted in favor of continuing with a strategic planning charge that works to improve their functionality during Friday’s meeting.

The charge, which was proposed last semester, states that the Senate will take action to conduct an audit of its policies and procedures, such as updating data, researching data from other institutions and revising its handbook.

“Aside from this just being a good thing to do – to assess your organization – we didn’t have a lot of charges this year,” said Jason Fertig, senate chair. “With that said, we wanted to understand what’s going on. Are we best serving our constituents?”

Following the Spring Faculty and Administrative Meeting Jan. 7, the Senate held a breakout session geared toward gathering feedback from faculty.

“We had a down year so we wanted to correct it and change that,” Fertig said. “We started seeking feedback from faculty to see their thoughts on what Senate does well and what it does poorly and it came about in this charge.”

Fertig said that the Senate would like to have a consistent list of improvements to address every meeting, but that’s not the case.

The charge addresses five areas of improvement, like creating a smoother transition for the Faculty Senate Chair succession process.

Another aspect was the length of a senator’s term in office.

But the topics that roused the most discussion at Friday’s Faculty Senate meeting were the lack of senior Faculty Senate members and communication with Senate subcommittees and faculty.

“We’re going to start emailing out the Faculty Senate agenda to all faculty when it comes out,” Fertig said.

The rule of meeting minutes is that they are approved at subsequent meetings, after which Fertig said they will also notify faculty.

“I’ll either send it out,” he said, “or I will send an email saying it’s available on the website.”