At its most recent meeting, the University of Delaware Faculty Senate addressed three big Cs: consideration, course offerings, and a UD council doing critical work to protect the future of the next Blue Hens. .
Provost Robin Morgan kicked off the discussion, held via Zoom on Monday, April 4, with a call for consideration from the UD Muslim community. She reminded the teachers that we have entered Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar, and observant students will be fasting from sunrise to sunset. These blue hens may need to leave evening classes to eat or pray, so “we have to understand that,” she said.
Morgan also reminded faculty of UD’s “essentially important” decision days, open houses for admitted students in April, with the next scheduled for April 23.
Comprising the gist of the meeting, the Senate passed 159 resolutions, many of which related to the creation of new undergraduate and graduate programs. Among those offerings, which will be submitted for board approval in May, are a bachelor’s degree in intensive French studies, a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity engineering, and a master’s degree in insect and wildlife environmental education.
The only resolution that sparked debate was a request to permanently remove a rule in the course catalog limiting the number of online courses a student can take per semester to two. (This is a limit that has already been suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic.)
Some senators have argued for an amended resolution that would suspend the limit only temporarily, for the 2022-2023 academic year. This, they argued, would give relevant committees the opportunity to study the budgetary impacts of various course modalities (in-person, online, hybrid) before making recommendations on how courses should be taught at the institution. coming. But others have deemed such a review period unnecessary.
“When I look at our comparator institutions…they have no restrictions like this on the number of online courses their students can take,” said Senator John Pelesko, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor. of mathematical sciences. “One of the things we’ve heard repeatedly from students throughout the pandemic is that they’ve appreciated the flexibility of online classes. And we would like that to continue, at least to some extent.
Ultimately, the Senate voted in favor of the original resolution, 26-23. The body also voted to publish its own academic and educational policy responsibilities on the Faculty Senate website.
Moving on to the third big C on the agenda, Senate Speaker Chris Williams provided an update on the efforts of the “fantastically dedicated” people who make up the UD Sustainability Council, which he co-chairs.
“It is extremely important that universities, especially those of us who are land-grant institutions, have a responsibility to lead by example,” he said, adding that sustainability is a matter of environmental, economic and social justice. In other words: “It’s more than changing light bulbs.”
Williams noted that sustainability is key to the University’s recently approved strategic plan, a bold vision for the institution’s future, and he outlined several action items needed for success, including reducing the UD’s carbon footprint and leveraging sustainability expertise at UD to attract quality undergraduate and graduate students.
To learn more about how the board plans to move the University forward and become a leader in this space among peer institutions, it asked faculty to read the University of Delaware’s new sustainability plan.
For new business, Senator John Morgan, associate professor of physics and astronomy, introduced a resolution expressing the Senate’s approval of the state legislature’s concurrent resolution (HCR 53) condemning the invasion of Ukraine by Vladimir Putin and expressing his support for the Ukrainian people.