At their May meeting, the faculty voted to approve an Integrative Business and Management major and a Peace and Justice minor to be added to the catalog this summer and have students be able to enroll in them Fall Term.
With Professor of Biology and Conservation Stuart Allison on sabbatical, Professor of Psychology Frank McAndrew led the meeting. After approving the minutes from last meeting and the agenda unanimously, the faculty moved into discussion of the motion to introduce a Peace and Justice minor.
In order to approve the curriculum changes, the faculty had to suspend a rule that states that they must vote on curriculum changes by the April meeting. Having done so, discussion on the minor focused on the difficulty of getting faculty to teach the two to three course modules that will be a central part of the program.
Professors worried about fair compensation for the modules. According to Interim Dean of the College Mike Schneider, a donor had been found who was willing to provide compensation and fund the program.
Schneider also emphasized that the college needed to experiment and try new things to grow and that if they worked and the college did grow, adding new faculty in a program would not necessarily mean that other faculty had to be cut. However, some still worried that smaller programs inherently have more work involved due to larger numbers of independent studies and lack of resources.
The faculty voted 85 percent in favor to approve the minor and then moved to discussion on the Integrative Business and Management major.
With the new major, the discussion focused both on the major’s place at Knox and also some of the specifics of the requirements. The major will be largely interdisciplinary, with students choosing certain focuses within the major, including, for instance, arts administration or environmental management. There are plans for as many as seven or eight focuses currently.
Some professors worried about how many courses in the focus should be required and how writing components would fit in with the major. Broader discussion asked how the new major would affect the economics department and how the Knox business major would stand out compared to other business programs. The planners emphasized the strong ethical component to the plans and the interdisciplinary nature.
The major was approved with 85 percent of the vote.
The faculty then moved into a closed committee of the whole to discuss course evaluations.
During the committee reports, there was brief discussion of the best practices for speakers that the Diversity Committee has been tasked by Student Senate to create. In response to worries about first amendment issues and student groups having to seek approval from Student Senate, which controls their budget, Director of the Center of Intercultural Life Tianna Cervantez said that the guidelines were not about needing permission or the budgeting process but meant to ensure people think more about the impact of bringing speakers to campus.
In her report, President Teresa Amott noted that Whitcomb Art Center had received LEED Gold certification and discussed faculty salaries, which were frozen this year causing them to fall in relation to other ACM salaries. She said that part of the fix is to attract more students, something that the new programs approved at the meeting, along with introducing a Bachelors of Science and facility improvement, would hopefully do.
Amott also commended Schneider for his work this year and for being willing to step into the role as dean and the faculty gave him a standing ovation.