Emslie cancels bi-term proposal, has no plans to bring it back

Provost Gordon Emslie cancelled his proposal for an emphasis on bi-term instruction at WKU at the University Senate meeting on Feb. 21 and ensured he has no plans to propose it again.

“I elected not to proceed with the emphasis on bi-term proposal in response to input I received from students and faculty,” Emslie said.

In his speech, Emslie said he appreciated the opportunity to discuss the possibility of WKU moving to an increased emphasis on bi-terms through a series of college forums.

“It is clear from these discussions, and from other input I have received, that an overwhelming majority of faculty and students do not support a deliberate, systemic move toward an increased emphasis on bi-term instruction at WKU,” he said in the speech.

According to Emslie, a majority of students and faculty who did not support the proposal felt that it could have a negative impact on student enrollment, cause more stress and create complicated scheduling logistics.

Students would also have less time to write and prepare meaningful assignments and absences would have a greater impact.

Emslie also said in his speech that because of these considerations, WKU will continue to offer primarily courses in the semester-based format.

The idea for the proposal developed around January 2012, and Emslie brought the proposal to the Senate Executive Committee in July.

Emslie also held forums to get feedback regarding the bi-term proposal.

Mac McKerral, journalism and broadcasting professor and chair of the senate, said the bi-term proposal created a lot of healthy discussion about ways in which WKU faculty could handle academic scheduling.

“I think for the time being, the faculty seems to be satisfied with having the option to use bi-terms if they want to,” McKerral said.

Cory Dodds, president of the Student Government Association, said he believes the revocation of the bi-term proposal is in the best interest of the student body.

“I strongly opposed it,” Dodds said.

The SGA and senate both previously passed legislation against this change to a bi-term focus.

Emslie said that despite the outcome of the bi-term proposal, he encourages faculty to “explore teaching courses in bi-term mode during fall and spring semesters.”

“Indeed, several units have indicated that they do plan to explore the enhanced use of this already available accelerated-learning mode,” he said.

Because of the growing level of participation in summer and winter courses, Emslie pointed out that enhancing these additional learning opportunities could be beneficial.

He ended his speech by saying he is appreciative that his request in early fall that campus give his idea a “fair shake” was honored.

“I would like to thank you all for giving the bi-term concept such fair and thoughtful consideration, and I look forward to a similar level of campus engagement in future initiatives,” he said.