Lucas Corbin reporter
On Feb. 27, the University Faculty Senate held its second meeting of the year.
Senate Provost Howard Smith began the meeting by discussing the Kansas Board of Regents’ new program review process, which will change the process of the implementation of new classes and encourages the State’s universities to have similar courses determined by a thorough analysis by the Board.
The Senate passed a three-part curriculum package, which helps promote the unique university-wide general education program.
“We are way ahead. I talked to K-State about what we did with our university-wide program, and they said ‘Excuse me? Your colleges don’t have their own requirements?’” Said Bob Kehle, Pitt State Pathway committee chair.
Within the package, there were also minor revisions to course content for criminal justice and automotive engineering technology majors.
While the majority of the Senate supported the new program, some raised concerns about department cuts due to the changes.
“It’s a fully transferable program, but we’re seeing English literature being dropped out entirely,” said Casie Hermansson, English professor and chair of the Constitution Committee.
President Shipp has prioritized an Associate of Arts program at the university. The Senate is anticipating voting on the Academic Committee’s proposal in April.
“What we want to do for those students that select Pitt State… is to get them that associate degree,” said Shipp to the Senate in January. He now hopes to have it implemented by the next school year.
“We offer all the courses that the community colleges do. The students take all those hours. That’s the only thing they can’t have because we’re a four-year institution,” said Smith at the meeting.
Following the shooting at Michigan State University, campus officials have begun readdressing safety concerns on campus by creating a task force to reduce dangers on campus. The task force is scheduled to create a report which will be distributed to faculty by Mar. 10.
The Kansas National Educators Associating (KNEA) presented the current contract negotiations between the university and its employees. Some benefits that contracted employees will notice upon its ratification include raises to the base pay, automatic promotions that do not have to be negotiated yearly, and free use of the Student Recreation Center. The new contract also reinforces the current policy which prevents faculty activities from being scheduled when class is not in session, such as holidays, unless agreed on by the faculty and administration.
KNEA is negotiating other provisions, including free parking for faculty in blue and brown lots, an increase in the number of professors, and the right for faculty to file grievances on individual areas of the faculty annual report.
In recent years, the university’s travel budget has significantly decreased from $81,665 in 2019 to $48,122 in 2020. The university did not pay for travel in 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
In an attempt to promote professional development, Ananda Jayawardhana presented changes to how faculty apply for funding for conferences and other travel. Jayawardhana’s changes would increase the amount that non-tenured faculty can apply for and widen the criteria for applicants.
In 2023, the university hopes to spend the one hundred thousand dollars allocated within its travel budget.