Faculty Senate discusses sanctuary campus status, curriculum changes

Megan Ayscue

The Faculty Senate met on Monday afternoon to discuss recent updates and developments within the Kent State community.

Kent State President Beverly Warren and Provost Todd Diacon addressed the recent petition created to make Kent State a sanctuary campus, as well as a draft of a pledge called “Kent State United,” created by the administration in response to the petition.

“The sanctuary status does not come with any legal status,” Warren said, “and there’s no law of additional protection that a campus receives by declaring itself a sanctuary.” 

The draft reiterates the core values of Kent State’s strategic roadmap. Some of the discussion points Warren and Diacon covered included the public statements of support — such as the Bridge Act — and a letter organized by the American Council on Education about President Donald Trump’s executive order of the travel ban.

It also reiterates the notions that Kent State is an environment for “freedom of expression and the free exchange of ideas,” non-discrimination statements and remaining “engaged with the Scholars at Risk initiative.”

The petition urged Kent State to refuse to “honor or recognize federal, state, or regional laws, statutes, or regulations that target students of color, international students, members of the (LGBT) community, disabilities or either express a preference for a particular religion and/or target specific religious communities.”

“I have said I am willing to go to jail for our cause,” Warren said. “But keep in mind that while I’m in jail, they will come and they will deport the students that have been targeted.”

The endorsement of the petition for Kent State to be a sanctuary campus was tabled for the next Faculty Senate meeting.

Jennifer Marcinkiewicz, interim director of the university’s Center for Teaching and Learning, explained the changes being made to the Student Surveys of Instruction (SSI). This included how to interpret different items and not using single numbers or sections to decide how a professor is performing.

Marcinkiewicz also suggested taking peer reviews and what the professor had to say about their teaching into account. Additionally, Kent State will be piloting electronic SSIs again. However, how this will work and if there will be enticement for students is not certain.

Kathryn Wilson, vice chair and economics professor, discussed her take on the university’s climate survey.

In general, adjuncts seemed to be the “happiest,” with the best ratings followed by the non-tenure track faculty and then tenure track faculty, Wilson said. Most of the discomfort for faculty comes from being disrespected, excluded or ignored.

The motion for a new math course, ‘Quantitative Reasoning,’ was passed. This will be effective Fall 2017 and will not replace any existing course.

Consolidation of the crafts and fine arts majors will combine to be one major: studio art. This will be effective Fall 2017 as well. There will be concentrations in ceramics, drawing, glass, jewelry, metals and enameling, painting, print media and photography, sculpture and textiles.

The Center for Applied Conflict Management will also become its own school within the College of Arts and Sciences. It was recently an extension of the Department of Political Science called the School of Peace and Conflict Studies. Additionally, five faculty members will move to the new school, and three more will be hired.

Patrick Coy, a political science professor in the Center for Applied Conflict Management, said that moving the center to a school would bring a more “elite” status. This would include building a program “from the ground up,” something faculty members would want to be a part of.

“There’s a moment here for capital growth,” Coy said.

The College of Nursing established a new major: Nursing for Registered Nurses. This is an online only class for students who hold an active registered nurse license effective Fall 2017 (pending Higher Learning Commission approval).

The next Faculty Senate meeting will take place on March 13.

Megan Ayscue is an administrative reporter, contact her at [email protected].