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Radical restructuring proposed

By John Ashby

Spectrum Volume 18 Issue 17 - January 18, 1996

Members of the Faculty Senate heard what Effective Senate Work Group representative Charles Goodsell described as "a radical proposal" at the December senate meeting.

What Goodsell described was a reorganization of the university's governance structure which would effectively dissolve the existing Faculty Senate. The senate and several commissions that deal with academic affairs would become a body called the Faculty Council. The council, unlike the Faculty Senate, would be within the university's governance structure.

The Effective Senate Work Group was formed in response to concern that the senate could be more effective. "The Faculty Senate and the governance structure could be much more expeditious, forceful, and relevant to the life of the university," Goodsell said.

The proposal from the group would involve "radical restructuring of that part of the governance structure which deals primarily with academic issues. We are not proposing any change in the power structure-the power would still reside with the president and the Board of Visitors," Goodsell said.

The proposal would leave intact the following areas of the governance structure: the commissions on Classified Staff Affairs, Research, University Support, Public Service and Extension, and Student Affairs. The bodies would continue to report to the University Council, the president, and the Board of Visitors.

The Faculty Council, which would report directly to the president and the BOV, would replace the Faculty Senate, Commission on Faculty Affairs, Commission on Administrative and Professional Faculty Affairs, Commission on Graduate Studies and Policies, Commission on Undergraduate Studies and Policies, and the Advisory Council on Strategic Budgeting and Planning.

"We want to move from the dispersion of faculty participation in governance to a plan which uses a concentration of faculty participation in governance," Goodsell said.

The proposal calls for a 25-member Faculty Council to be elected on one day, with leaders elected at large, college delegations proportionate to size, and standing committees to deal with academic issues.

"The new Faculty Council would have a much bigger role than the senate," Goodsell said. "The Faculty Senate now acts as a sounding board. The new council would have a policy-review function."

There were no objections voiced by senators regarding the concept of dissolving the senate in favor of the new proposed governance structure. Questions were of a more practical nature: How would we get the administration to approve of the new structure, how would fair college representation be achieved, and would it be possible to clearly delineate faculty issues from administrative issues?

No vote on the proposal was planned for the December meeting's agenda.