Faculty senate expresses concerns

The latest Faculty Senate meeting covered several current topics, including the move to Division I, the search for a new president and midterm grades for more students.

Faculty Regent Chuck Hawkins and three members of the search committee visited the Oct. 24 meeting. The committee’s administrative coordinator Carole Beere, chemistry professor Kristi Haik, and communications professor Chris Strobel were on hand to answer faculty questions about the firm selection and open forums.

Beere encouraged faculty to voice their opinions at open faculty forums scheduled for 3:10-4:20 p.m. Oct. 26 in the Griffin Hall Digitorium and 11:15-12:30 Oct. 28 in Otto M. Budig Theater. She said consultants from Issacson, Miller, the firm chosen to help recruit and screen candidates, will be on campus through Oct. 28 to host forums.

One faculty senator expressed concerns about the firm coming in with “preconceptions” about what the next NKU president should be like, based on what they read about NKU, that will influence the kind of candidates they are looking for.

Beere explained the firm’s representatives will be asking forum attendees questions about what opportunities they see for growth at NKU, what challenges the university faces and what NKU’s priorities should be. They will find a common answer and use that to use to find candidates.

There will be other options available for people who are unable to attend any of the open forums. She said a new page will be added to presidentialsearch.nku.edu that gives information about how to connect with Issacson, Miller, including a form to submit ideas to the firm. Anything submitted can be sent anonymously, Beere said.

The potential move to D-I athletics was another topic discussed at the meeting. Professional Concerns Committee Chair Jeffrey Williams expressed dissatisfaction over how the decision was made.

Williams said it seems decisions are being made “unilaterally,” and that the faculty are “last in line” to find out about changes. “We’re left to be reactors rather than participants,” Williams said. But he added, “It’s exciting to be dealing with these important issues.”

Despite saying he feels as if the faculty are left out of decisions, Williams said he will not accept a defeatist attitude.

“One phrase I will not tolerate is ‘done deal,’” Williams said. “There is no done deal until the Faculty Senate allows it to be.”

Faculty Regent Hawkins said the Board of Regents has not yet “ruled” on the decision to move to D-I, and they cannot until the university is invited to a conference.

When faculty raised concerns about the motivation behind the decision to move to D-I, Hawkins said, “No one sees it as a revenue generator for the university.”

Instead he said “the whole issue is of branding and where it could take us in the future.”

Faculty Senate President Alar Lipping said President James Votruba, Athletic Director Scott Eaton, Associate Athletic Director Kathy Steffen and Budget Director Kenneth Kline will be at the next senate meeting Nov. 8 to discuss the implications of moving to D-I.

Faculty members are also discussing the SGA proposal to offer midterm grades for all students in 100-300-level classes. They heard from SGA Vice President Erik Pederson and Student Rights Committee Chair Mike Adkins about the resolution. Faculty Senate is still researching the feasibility of providing midterm grades to more students.