Academic Senate discusses uncertainty of fall semester, enrollment

Academic+Senate+met+virtually+Monday+to+discuss+the+fall+semester%2C+enrollment+and+numerous+other+issues.+

Photo by Jordan Johnson

Academic Senate met virtually Monday to discuss the fall semester, enrollment and numerous other issues.

In an Academic Senate meeting over Microsoft Teams Monday, University Provost Kimo Ah Yun said 1,142 students in the Class of 2024 have sent in deposits to attend Marquette. Student enrollment is down 11% from last year with 162 students behind enrollment expectations for 2020 incoming first years.

Ah Yun addressed the uncertainty of the fall semester.

“If you look at the national landscape, there is a greater number of students who are saying they are likely to not go to college in the fall,” Ah Yun said.

The provost said some high school students are experiencing struggles with online education, and seniors are hesitant to commit to college given the possibility that online education will extend to the fall at many institutions.

“Those students are saying they will be unlikely to go to higher-priced institutions if they were going to be completely online,” Ah Yun said.

Marquette University’s tuition for the 2020-21 academic year will still be $44,970.

Ah Yun said faculty should not reach out or respond to incoming first-year students and families about having in-person classes in the fall as Marquette does not have an official answer on whether the fall semester will be online or not.

The provost said Marquette is beginning to think about future plans and how that will effect decisions moving forward. 

With the Democratic National Convention shift to August, Ah Yun said the university will continue to provide facilities for the convention. He said money generated from the DNC “infuses directly to support our students and specifically to support our diverse student initiatives.”

Medical experts at Marquette expect another wave of COVID-19 at some point, Ah Yun said.

“There is talk Milwaukee will be peaking in the coming weeks,” he said.

Ah Yun added that another wave of increased COVID-19 cases could occur in November, but Marquette will continue to work with medical experts and the university COVID-19 response team, and consult national data to make a decision on whether to reopen campus in the fall.

The timeline for campus reopening will be updated on a regular basis, but more clarity may not be known until mid-June, Ah Yun said.

During the meeting, Academic Senate also unanimously passed a proposal to form an Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Practice committee under the senate.

Marilyn Frenn, a professor in the College of Nursing, proposed the motion.

The official document proposal for the committee states it is designed to guide and support health care interprofessional education at Marquette.

A faculty representative will be appointed for three years from each of the following programs: athletic training, clinical laboratory studies, counseling psychology, dentistry, nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, physician assistant studies, speech pathology and other “interest professions.”

Sumana Chattopadhyay, associate professor of digital media and faculty chair of the Academic Senate, said that a consensual relationship policy for the Title XI Office is in draft.

“I am working with a couple of different groups on campus, and we are drafting a consensual relationship policy and that will come to senate once that is ready to be looked at,” Chattopadhyay said.

The policy’s content was not discussed at the meeting.

This story was written by JK Rees. He can be reached at james.rees@marquette.edu.