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Faculty meeting kicks off new semester

The beginning of the new semester brought the first faculty meeting of 2013. Held on the first Monday of every month, faculty meetings are a forum in which members of the voting faculty and some members of the Bates community can discuss important departmental and school-wide issues.

“Voting faculty” includes the president, deans, chief financial officer, registrar, librarian, principal assistant librarian, professors, associate professors, assistant professors, instructors, lecturers, and visiting professors.

Other members of the College community, including professional librarians, the director of equality and diversity resources, the director of career development, and the college chaplain (among others) may attend the meetings as non-voting observers. Similarly, three students appointed by the Bates College Student Government and three students who sign up individually may attend certain meetings.

This meeting began with the Action Reports from the Educational Policy Committee, which discussed the Bates College Statement on Academic Integrity. This includes the College’s strict plagiarism policy, a hot topic for any educator. Faculty members discussed the importance of syllabi.

“Parts of Monday’s faculty meeting were quite fascinating,” said Dr. Theri Pickens, Assistant Professor of English, explaining that syllabi are technically legal documents, meaning that they represent a binding agreement between a professor and his or her students at the start of each semester, not just an outline of the course.

New business included the announcement of the 2013 Kroepsch Award for Excellence in Teaching, as well as a report from the Student Conduct Committee regarding Student Activities last fall. Also, the faculty discussed sabbatical and replacement updates and analyzed course enrollment. The last scheduled topic of discussion was the outline of EMS and their services, brought forth by the Bates Emergency Medical Services Club.

Not everything on the agenda at faculty meetings becomes legislation. In order for a topic to be placed on the meeting’s agenda, it must be proposed a month in advance. Then, the process calls for two readings of a proposed change.

Shareen Gustin, the Assistant to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and the Dean of Faculty, explains, “After discussion at the faculty meeting on the second reading, the legislative document is voted on by the majority of faculty attending the meeting. The votes can be done by show of hands, verbal or ballot, depending on presenters asking for the vote.  If the legislative document is passed than the appropriate changes are made.” The faculty handbook is updated each summer.

Next month’s faculty meeting will be held on the first Monday of February.

Questions? Concerns? Curious about how the process works? Contact Professors Jane Costlow and Lynne Lewis, the Co-Chairs of the Committee on Faculty Governance.

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