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Faculty Senate Meeting Veers From Monotony

Submitted by Alexis Williams on November 1, 2012 – 12:36 pmNo Comment

The Faculty Senate’s monthly meeting on Friday, Oct. 19 in the Legends room at the Jack Stephens Center yielded animation and considerable progress in regards to the controversial undergraduate curriculum requirements debate.

This progression could perhaps be attributed to its change of venue. The Senate moved its meeting from Dickinson Auditorium to the Jack Stephens Center to accommodate the Discover UALR event that Friday. Dickinson Auditorum is a typical college lecture hall, complete with tiered semi-circular seating and decidedly dim lighting (to better accommodate PowerPoint discussions). Legends, in contrast, is bright and open, with ceiling-to-floor windows and elongated tables arranged in a mammoth rectangle, around which the senators seated themselves. This change-up may have served as a catalyst for the senatorial steam at this particular meeting. Though not quite as productive as the most recent undergraduate curriculum meeting, it still consisted of nimble debate and subsequent voting on topics related to the Faculty Senate.

Like the latest curriculum review meeting, the senators voted fervently on measures to be taken in regards to the document. The senators also discussed UALR’s involvement in the nationwide “Complete College America” campaign.

According to its website, the mission of the campaign is to “work with states to significantly increase the number of Americans with quality career certificates or college degrees and to close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations.”

Interim Provost Sandra Robertson reported 2012 statistics for the university, which showed 847 of the total student population (12,090) are first-time, entering freshmen.

“As a result, we have to accept all transfer credit,” said Amy Barnes, associate professor of mass communication.

As a consequence, non-transfer UALR students must adhere more rigorously to meeting general education requirements than transfer students.

Nickolas Jovanovic, associate professor of construction management and civil and construction engineering, re-introduced his curriculum proposal and invited the Senate to debate its amendments. They voted to keep many courses he listed, namely physics and philosophy.

The question of certain courses’ relevance prodded the Senate to wrestle with the quandary of correct procedure. Senators voiced their opinions over which system would be most effective: to vote on courses to be included first, and then devise a plan for general education criteria that the courses must meet those standards, or initially devise a set of criteria for potential core courses, and subsequently include courses that meet the criteria.

“Whatever process we do come up with, [it should allow the graduate to show employers] that ‘I am an educated person’ not just a specialist in a major, which is also important,” said JoAnne Matson, professor of rhetoric and writing.

As the meeting neared the two-hour time limit, the senators agreed to postpone until the next undergraduate curriculum meeting, which is scheduled for  Friday, Nov. 2 in Dickinson Auditorium.


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