Breitborde proposes changes to FP

The faculty convened for their regular meeting at 4 p.m. in the round room. The centerpiece of the meeting was the discussion of Dean of the College Larry Breitborde’s experiment for First-Year Preceptorial (FP). The motion would radically change the course’s format starting fall term 2011. The essence of the proposal is to break up the common experience into four sections that are geared towards each of the disciplines: arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences.

Chair of the Psychology department Tim Kasser spoke in favor of the motion saying it would, “make it more appealing to teach, and more satisfying for students.” He then likened Breitborde’s experiment to the deprecated advanced preceptorial. Chair of the History department Michael Schneider also drew the comparison to advanced preceptorial which he said was a great program.

Though no faculty member opposed the motion, some were concerned that some of the more meaningful elements of the common experience would be lost. Chair of the Journalism department Marilyn Webb said, “We’re going to lose the identity of the whole class.” Assistant professor of History and former member of the FP steering committee Catherine Denial said that when the college implements the experiment she would like to maintain a policy of all first-years attending lectures from academic speakers and preserving the faculty’s “tradition of talking to one another.”

Breitborde had the last word before the vote. First, he impressed upon the meeting the value of the increase in faculty enthusiasm that his experiment is sure to generate. Second, he reiterated that it would be an experiment and that the college would not be stuck with it by any means. A voice vote followed, in which there was not a single “nay.”

Trustee Richard Riddell ’72 gave an update on the presidential search. According to Riddell, there are now three candidates and all three are coming to campus to meet with any members of the community who wish to participate. Anyone who wants to attend these meetings will need to sign a confidentiality agreement to prevent complications for candidates at their current institution. To be fair to all candidates, the committee also encourages anyone who plans to attend any of the meetings to attend all three. The dates of the visits are January 24, 26, and 31. The search committee will circulate a survey after each meeting.

Professor of English Robin Metz inquired whether the firm Isaacson-Miller was too active in the early parts of the search. Riddell defended the level of involvement throughout the process. Co-chair of Classics Stephen Fineberg questioned the attendance requirement of signing a form. Riddell retorted that it is indeed a necessary measure to protect the candidates. Webb proposed, and Riddell agreed, to the idea of a moderator at the meetings.

The Student Life Committee (SLC) had the only committee report which was to say that the Inter-Fraternity Council intends to create an inter-fraternity judiciary body. The chair, professor of theather Liz Carlin-Metz, said that the body would be formed with no intent to circumvent the college’s conduct council. Fineberg criticized the idea, labeling it redundant, and predicting that it would lead to further exclusion. Liz Carlin-Metz defended the idea, reminding the faculty that the idea originated from the Greek Task Force.

At 5:35 p.m.,with two significant items of new business to go, professor of History Penny Gold, who runs the meetings, declared that there would need to be another faculty meeting this month, specifically on January 17. The meeting adjourned.

Maxwell Galloway-Carson

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