Through strawpoll votes in their March meeting, the faculty expressed support for keeping the second specialization requirement, not requiring a certain number of Elements courses before declaring a major and eliminating the Educational Plan in the curriculum overhaul.
Interim Dean of the College Michael Schneider presented on the current plans drafted by the Curriculum Committee for the new system and the faculty then discussed five parts of the plan: the second specialization, the Ed Plan, FP substitutions, needing some general requirements before declaring and transfer and examination credits applying for general requirements. The plan is for the Elements to be similar to the current Foundations requirements.
During the discussion, the faculty were concerned about how to balance requirements and busy work. Providing guidance so students can get the education they need, while also making sure that requirements do not create things for students to simply “check off” at busy times is key for the faculty.
In discussing the second specialization, some faculty also expressed worries that the minor or second major should perhaps be required to be in a different area than the major. The goal would be to ensure students are fulfilling the broad base of learning that the supporters see as central to a liberal arts education. The requirement would prevent students from getting an Economics major and a Business minor, an example brought up by faculty.
Chair pro tempore and Professor of Biology Stuart Allison also encouraged the faculty to think about how to ensure that students have a single, uniquely Knox experience while they are here.
The April meeting will have the official voting on the curriculum overhaul.
After the strawpoll conducted on the topic of curriculum changes, the faculty approved an Environmental Science major for a B.A. degree. The degree will focus more on the science side than the Environmental Studies major and include chemistry and biology requirements. It will pull from existing courses and faculty, rather than creating a new department.
Like the other science B.A. programs, a B.S. program will be added in the future.
The faculty were also presented with a proposed change to the procedures for reviews of faculty by the Faculty Personnel Committee, such as for contract renewals or tenure. The changes made official the already occurring informal practice of a committee member recusing themselves if they are from the same department as the faculty member under review.
Faculty were worried by phrasing in the changes that did not make it clear that committee composition guidelines would be followed in bringing in the replacement from among the most recent retirees from FPC. The proposal was scheduled to be revisited in the April meeting.
In her report, President Teresa Amott said that following the school shooting in Florida, she had checked with T. Rowe Price, the financial institution Knox uses for its investments, about holdings in gun related companies. Knox does not have any direct investment in or mutual funds with gun manufacturers, or in sales locations like Dick’s Sporting Goods or Walmart. T. Rowe Price is checking if there are any holdings in companies that may manufacturer widely used parts that may be used in guns.