Open forums held for bi-term proposal

Discussions continue between Provost Gordon Emslie and faculty and staff regarding bi-terms at WKU, which led to Emslie creating forums that would address faculty concern and answer questions.

Emslie estimated more than 100 people in attendance at the forum Tuesday afternoon for Potter College of Arts and Letters.

“The faculty expressed some very valid concerns regarding the appropriateness of the accelerated learning model, both with respect to the requirements of various courses and to achievement of course learning outcomes in general,” Emslie said in an email. “There was some concern about the ability to schedule both semester-long courses and bi-term courses concurrently in a given semester. Issues regarding faculty workload distribution under a bi-term teaching schedule were also brought up.”

The forums are held with each of the colleges, and staff involved with advising, retention programs, housing and other areas of student life are also encouraged to attend a forum, Tucker Davis, Faculty Welfare and Professional Responsibility Committee Chair, said in an email to all staff.

Student Government Association President Cory Dodds said he and fellow SGA senators will remain resolute in their opposition to the bi-term proposal.

“I plan to use my influence on the Board of Regents and University Senate to voice student opposition to the proposal should it become necessary, but I hope that Provost Emslie will drop the idea following the conclusion of his college forum tour,” Dodds said in an email.

Faculty senate chair Mac McKerral said the bi-term has been “a difficult thing to get your hands around” for a lot of faculty, which is why the forums should be able to help answer some questions.

“It’s been kind of nebulous, and so the provost will go out with the forums,” he said.

McKerral said the push for bi-term and attendance at the forums could also be for the potential revenue the university could gain from the switch.

“I certainly think that part of the reason why this has surfaced is because there might be positive financial implications,” McKerral said.

Dodds previously estimated that under a bi-term plan, cost of tuition for four years would increase to $40,440 from$33,888, an additional $6,552.

Emslie stressed at Thursday’s forum with Ogden College of Science & Engineering that educational reasons drive the proposal.

“This is not driven by financial concerns,” Emslie said.