February 8, 2012

Faculty debate new FP

The faculty debated the merits of the new Freshman Preceptorial (FP) system over the old during the monthly faculty meeting on Monday. The new system is still in its experimental stage, and no action was taken with respect to FP.

The faculty debate was prompted by a report from the Curriculum Committee reviewing the new FP system. Though no action was taken, the discussion was meant to clarify the report and give the Curriculum Committee a sense of the feelings about FP among the faculty.

In light of the recent discussion among students and faculty concerning the removal of the diversity requirement from FP and the subsequent student petition, the discussion turned toward diversity.

Dean of the College Lawrence Breitborde, speaking as a former FP instructor, pointed to the student survey questions pertaining to the diversity component of the course.

“We really don’t know what may have accounted for their response,” Breitborde said. “I’m not ready to jump in and say they don’t realize what happened and we should talk ourselves out of accepting their responses. I’d rather ask, ‘What accounts for the reports they gave?’”

Breitborde said there is no real data concerning the “composition” of students in each section of the course and how that may have affected the discussions about diversity, noting that some FP instructors have had difficulty generating discussion about the “difficult questions” that FP poses.

“On the other hand, you can have the most innocuous topic in front of people,” Breitborde said, “but depending on who they are and their backgrounds and the way they see the world,” those conversations may happen.

Professor of Environmental Studies Peter Schwartzman said the faculty should review the actual definition of “diversity” in the college catalog before proceeding.

At the Feb. 13 faculty meeting, they will debate a motion by Associate Professor of History Konrad Hamilton to require two diversity-designated courses for graduation to make up for the loss of the FP diversity designation.

Athletic recruiting expansion

The faculty also debated and approved a motion to allow for the expansion of off-campus recruiting for prospective student athletes.

The faculty unanimously voted to “expand recruiting contact to high schools, homes, and at athletic department functions that specifically target student-athletes.” This issue was brought to the faculty following a relaxation of recruiting policies by the Midwest Conference.

For this new recruitment system, Athletic Director Chad Eisele said he would request $15,000 more per year, but he said it would help the college get better student-athletes.

“I’ll give you an example. I lost a kid last week,” Eisele said. “Augustana was in his house, and Illinois Wesleyan was in his house. And he said, ‘You know what, coach, I just felt like I needed to make a decision.’ We never got the kid on campus. He [has] a 32 ACT and he threw for 2,500 yards as a quarterback. I certainly would love to have him here, but I never got a chance to sit down with him.”

The new policy allows coaches more freedom to recruit off campus, but it caps the amount of days during which athletic representatives can be recruiting to 25 days per sport per academic year. For representatives who coach multiple sports, the cap is 50 days per year.

For complete coverage of the new policy, see page 15.

Shared faculty positions

Faculty also discussed a new policy recommendation from the Faculty Standing Committee concerning shared appointments to faculty positions, in which two people share one full-time position in terms of pay and teaching responsibilities.

One major point of contention with the new policy was that faculty in a shared position are each to be held to the same standard as full-time faculty with respect to their scholarly pursuits.

Professor of History Michael Schneider said one major issue with the old policy was that the performance reviews of each person in the shared position were tied to the other.

Other business

The faculty took a survey administered by the Honor Code Review Committee as part of its information gathering process for the Honor Code review.

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