Marquette Wire

Academic Senate meets for first time in new year

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In its first meeting of the new school year Monday night, the University Academic Senate addressed last semester’s turbulent College of Arts & Sciences dean search and how the university can better assess itself moving into the future.

During the Provost Report, Provost John Pauly discussed the work done by university officials, including himself and University President the Rev. Robert. A. Wild, over the summer to rectify the damage caused by the failed dean search of last spring.

“Over the summer, we worked with deans and faculty to try and talk more about what the university needs to improve on, and what our strategic commitments should be,” Pauly said.

Pauly said he had met with Wild about improving the current process used for dean searches and establishing a protocol.

Although the senate officially condemned the process of the failed dean search last spring, Christine Krueger, the new senate chairperson and a professor of English, reiterated there was not a need to hold Wild specifically accountable.

“There is no cause to bring a vote of no confidence against Fr. Wild,” Krueger said. “There has been enough progress on the motion of last May regarding the dean appointment. The executive board feels that it is not necessary.”

When conversation shifted to how the university will handle future appointments, Pauly identified four main areas that Marquette has marked to assess and improve: academic freedom, the LGBTQ community at Marquette, shared governance and Marquette’s Catholic, Jesuit identity.

While exact plans to tackle each issue were not yet specified, a majority agreed the best way to handle the task was through cooperative discussion.

“We need to make all these target areas a point of discussion,” said the Rev. Philip Rossi, interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. “We need to continue to discuss and make it more part of our intellectual identity.”

Shared governance proved a particularly important item to the senate. The senate took an initiative to improve upon the relationship between the power-sharing entities of Marquette last academic year in the hopes that the faculty, and the senate in particular, would be more integrated in the decision-making process.

“Because of the leadership in the senate, the last couple of years there’s been some genuine progress made in shared governance,” Pauly said.

In regards to looking at Marquette’s Catholic identity, the Rev. John Fitzgibbons, an associate provost for faculty development, announced the university has booked a series of speakers for Mission Week.

“We chose speakers and a theme that articulates or invites a consideration of the intellectual life of our Catholicism,” Fitzgibbons said.

Other notes from the meeting:

  • Marquette received a $1.1 million grant for a five-year program aimed at improving disability services.
  • MAP-Works, a program designed by Ball State University for enabling achievement and retention among minority students, was announced as being possibly implemented during the next year.
  • The new senate homepage was launched Friday night. The improved website now posts agendas and all materials related to certain agenda points, as well as senate and committee rosters.

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