Faculty Senate approves new college status for the School of Technology

Amanda Garrett

Amid applause and hugs from the standing-room-only crowd, the Faculty Senate approved a proposal to change the School of Technology to a college.

The approval of the proposal came after a vigorous debate among the senators about the reasons for the name change.

Technology Dean A. Raj Chowdhury began the debate in front of a packed house of technology faculty, students and alumni.

The benefits of the name change would include an increase in high-quality faculty and funding, Chowdhury said.

The School of Technology has met all the criteria the Provost’s Office set before them, said Senator Lowell Zurbuch, an associate professor of technology.

“We generate $15 million for the university working from a $2.1 million budget,” he said. “We don’t deserve second-class citizenship. We deserve to be a college; we’ve earned it.”

Some senators expressed reservations about the rationale for the name change.

“The only reason I can see for the name change is to possibly make people feel better,” Senator Frank Smith said. “I don’t think that’s a good enough reason.”

Smith and Senator Susan Roxburgh expressed concerns about funding for the new college. Approximately $500,000 will be allocated for new faculty salaries in the proposal.

The next step for the proposal is approval by Provost Paul Gaston and President Carol Cartwright. Gaston has said he plans to approve it.

The final step will be approval by the Board of Trustees, which should take place on Nov. 16. The proposal already has been approved by the Educational Policies Council and several faculty committees.

In other business, the Senate approved the establishment of the Libraries and Media Services Advisory Committee. The new committee will replace the Educational Policies Subcommittee.

The new committee will deal with collection, copyright and information technology issues, said Mark Weber, dean of library and media services.

The Senate also heard a presentation on information technology and security by Ed Mahon, vice president of information services.

Mahon said the university is improving security by updating security software and hiring and training more tech help.

One of the proposals under consideration is eliminating Social Security numbers as the primary means of identification for students, faculty and staff.

Contact academic affairs reporter Amanda Garrett at [email protected].