Academic Senate passes motion on gender equity

The University Academic Senate passed a motion during its monthly meeting Monday to request a presidential task force be formed to follow up on a previous study on gender equity.

The proposed task force would be charged with assessing the state of gender equity among faculty in accordance with recommendations made in a 2001 report by the initial task force.

In addition, the task force would be set up to establish an ongoing gender equity monitoring system capable of producing annual reports.

Lisa Hanson, an associate professor in the College of Nursing and chair of the Subcommittee on Equity, said although progress has been made, a follow-up is still needed.

“Since 2001, the teaching and research landscape of the university has changed,” Hanson said. “We need to recognize and assess the areas where gender inequality might be present.”

Hanson said, like the first task force, the majority of membership would be comprised of appointed faculty.

The Rev. John Fitzgibbons, associate provost for faculty development, also gave a presentation on faculty issues.

In his presentation, Fitzgibbons outlined a set of recommendations for improving faculty development based on consultations with Marquette faculty and administrators.

Fitzgibbons also based his recommendations on conversations he had with similar personnel at comparable universities, including Boston College, Fordham University, Loyola University Chicago, Georgetown University and St. Louis University.

“Basically, we tried to answer the question, ‘What makes for a meaningful, satisfying, and productive career at Marquette?’” Fitzgibbons said.

Recommendations fell under four categories — faculty work-life balance; academic review and promotion and tenure procedures; transparency of operations and administrative procedures; and faculty respect, recognition and reward.

One of the recommendations, an overhaul of the student advising process, is already underway with the implementation of the MAP-Works pilot program, Fitzgibbons said. The program is used to gauge how freshmen are transitioning to college, and if there are warning signs of them dropping out.

Other important recommendations included setting up a fund for diversity hires, creating a new retirement package and introducing annual reviews for all faculty.

The senate announced it will hold a forum in the spring with newly elected University President the Rev. Scott Pilarz after an initial meeting.

“Fr. Pilarz made it clear he wanted to forge a strong connection with faculty, and the senate in particular,” Provost John Pauly said. “After the first meeting, he has made it a point to carve out some time for discussion.”

Pauly also said the senate will meet with Richard Fotsch, a member of the board of trustees and chair of the board’s committee on academic excellence, in a discussion on the status and future of academic excellence at Marquette.

“After a listening session in spring, the board made it clear they enjoyed the faculty input and wanted to hear more,” Pauly said. “This forum will be the best venue for giving a sense of how we can sustain academic excellence.”