Faculty Senate debates effectiveness of committees

Faculty members debated and discussed how to make committee meetings more effective at the Nov. 1 Faculty Senate meeting.

Some senators said the committees are not effectively communicating and meeting due to the lack of common availability and unreserved locations.

They said these conflicts are making it difficult to deal with the workload each committee undertakes.

At the meeting, senators discussed the possibility of creating a set dead time in the scheduling grid that would allow for a common meeting time to become available for committee members.

“If we want to do it, we as the Faculty Senate will do it,” Faculty Senate Chair Margaret Brabant said. “But there is no administrator in his or her right mind that can force us to do it.”

The dead space in the scheduling grid would better allow the faculty members to organize their workload and timing issues to ensure a stricter meeting time in order to follow through with the committee work.

“A number of variables are always at play whenever we undertake the effort to locate a common meeting time for faculty and staff,” Brabant said in an email.

Brabant said as of now, there is not any common unscheduled time or dead space within the faculty grid—meaning the faculty have differing schedules throughout the day and into the evenings.

“Part of the problem associated with finding a time in which committee work may be conducted stems from the fact that there is no such thing as unscheduled time,” she said.

She also said classrooms are usually booked throughout the day and night—making meeting location an obstacle as well.

“Finding a space that is appropriate to a given committee’s work is also complicated by the fact that classroom and meeting spaces are typically booked in full throughout the academic year,” she said.

Education Professor Arthur Hochman said he has not found scheduling a meeting time or location to be a problem but said he does sympathize with his colleagues that do.

“I would support finding a common time if it would help my colleagues,” he said.

Biology Professor Thomas Dolan said it is difficult to find a common meeting time with the committee he serves on, but that having a single dead space in the schedule might not solve all the issues.

“I am in favor of a common meeting time,” he said. “That said, I’m not sure a single dead space would completely solve the problem since there are dozens of committees, and often people serve on more than one committee.”

Dolan said the allotted time would most likely need to extend to multiple days to allow for a common availability for all committee members.

Registrar Sondrea Ozolins said the possibility of creating a committee meeting time was considered last year, but there was no available unused time in the schedule.

“Classes are held all day, five days per week,” Ozolins said. “Finding a common meeting time would mean replacing class time with meeting time for students, faculty and staff.”

Ozolins said if this change were to happen, early mornings on Tuesdays and Thursdays would be the best possibility, but it would cause a “considerable change in the number and time of course offerings.”

Though the Senators reached no consensus last Tuesday, the issue could be considered in the scheduling grid in the future.

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