Faculty Senate meeting discusses plans, policies for the coming year

Julie Shadoan, the new Chair of University’s Faculty Senate sits in a Faculty Senate meeting as Senate Officers vote on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019.

Lily Burris

The Faculty Senate discussed three new policies at its monthly meeting on Thursday, one of which was tabled indefinitely for further discussion. 

The officers and standing committee chairs gave their reports to start off the meeting. Julie Shadoan, faculty senate chair and paralegal studies professor, shared topics from her meeting with Provost Cheryl Stevens and announced some committees she will be serving on this year. 

Two standing committees gave reports on what had occurred during their meetings. Guy Jordan, budget and finance committee chair, gave a report on what the committee discussed in their first meeting.

“The main theme of most of the discussions had to do with transparency,” Jordan said.

The main topics from the budget and finance committee meeting were plans to update the committee’s website, transparency in the relationship between the budgets of athletics and academics, transparency of foundations relation to WKU, involving faculty in budget model changes and the impact of pension reform.

The faculty welfare and professional responsibilities committee’s report was brought up and comments were given by Lauren McClain, the chair of that committee. McClain brought up the main points from the report and discussed them with the senate.

Three new policies were brought for approval. The first one was the extension of the probationary period. Shadoan explained that the policy was modified to reflect changes within the Provost’s office and that there were no major changes made. The policy was approved.

The last policy discussed was the deferral of honorary degrees. Shadon explained that the policy clarified the process. It was approved.

The policy most discussed was Course Section Delivery Mode Definitions and Relationship to Distance Education. Shadoan said she understood the policy was mainly to address new delivery modes of some courses and clarify some definitions for accreditation and tuition purposes.

Jim Lindsey, senator for computer information systems, opposed the policy.

Lindsey said he understood the need for course definitions for various reasons.

“If WKU did not charge a tuition differential for online students, I would support this proposal wholeheartedly,” Lindsey said. “The problem, however, is that WKU does charge a significant tuition differential for online students.”

Lindsey said he was concerned that this was created to define more students in a way where they could be charged a differential. He said he wanted to vote against the policy or table it to get administration to work on the tuition differential.

“If anything, it should be the same or cheaper than regular face-to-face course,” Lindsey said.

The Faculty Senate voted to table the policy indefinitely in order to further discuss the policy.

News reporter Lily Burris can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @lily_burris.