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Faculty Senate Has First Session 

Lucas Corbin, Reporter 

On Jan 23, the university’s faculty senate met to discuss its agenda for the year. 

University President Dan Shipp was featured as the guest speaker, where he spoke of the university’s plan to include an associate degree for students, making it the first university in Kansas to do so. 

“The architecture of higher education sometimes works against students. We have many students on our campus that leave after year two, three, and four, and never finish,” said Shipp. “There are hundreds of students that are earning that, but we’re just not conferring that.” 

The associate program will go into effect this Spring, with students that have left Pittsburg State potentially having the option to retroactively obtain their degree in the future. 

While the relocation of the College of Business has been discussed for more than a decade, Shipp has stated that he has prioritized the new college above all else since he took office. 

“We can’t wait another ten years,” said Shipp. “We have to get it done in, I’ve said, three years… and not just raise the money, but actually put [it on] the ground.” 

While the location has not been confirmed, potential spots are located downtown near the Block Twenty-Two and beside the current College of Technology. A satellite college is planned to remain on the main campus for lower-class students. 

During the open forum, Senate President-Elect Rebecca Book asked Shipp his thoughts on a four-day school week. While Shipp was neither in favor nor opposed to the idea, Senate Provost Howard Smith stated that year-round classes were possible. 

“It’s easier for students to plan around work, around life… so that came up quite a bit.” Said Smith, speaking of the past semester’s transition discussions. 

Diane Letner, Human Resource Specialist at the university and President of the University Support Staff committee, further discussed the recent Unclassified Professionals and University Support Staff (UPS-USS) survey from 2022. The survey, which was released in November, showed that PSU employees have a higher satisfaction rate compared to employees at other schools in Kansas, with 80% stating that they “enjoy doing things they do at work”, per the published survey. 

“We know that Pitt State is a great place to work, and we hope to be a part of the efforts to make it even better for our staff and students,” said Letner. 

The survey also showed that 46.5% of university staff have a second job and that a slightly larger percentage than the state’s average reported that their pay was “somewhat unreasonable”. 

The eighth draft of the university’s new strategic plan was unveiled to faculty members. The proposed plan presented would update PSU’s mission to “transform lives by ensuring all students are successfully educated and prepared to make positive contributions to their chosen professions and future communities.” It also expands on the university’s goals 

While the plan has yet to be enacted, senators were instructed to review the draft and return to the next meeting with changes and suggestions. 

The Senate is currently scheduled to meet again on Feb. 23.  

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