Faculty form ad hoc committee on charter status
In response to lingering concerns about the charter proposal, the Faculty Senate recently formed an ad hoc committee to address the initiative. The committee will hold its first meeting next week.
Faculty Senate Chair Marcia Day Childress said the group will expand faculty understanding of the charter legislation and address concerns about the implications of charter status and how local implementation might proceed.
Childress said many faculty members expressed interest in creating a committee to examine the charter proposal.
"We thought it was reasonable to assemble a group of people who are interested in looking into this issue," Childress said. "In prior discussion it was clear that faculty involvement in this issue is very important for us to model. We are asking questions and looking at various points of view."
The committee is comprised of Senate members and faculty members at large from each school at the University. The participants hold differing positions on the charter initiative, English Prof. Alison Booth said.
Booth, who also is a Senate member, and History Prof. Herbert "Tico" Braun will co-convene the committee. Additional members of the new committee have not yet been named, Childress said.
Booth said faculty members want to be prominent in discussion surrounding the charter proposal.
"The committee is not hostile to the administration," Booth said. "We are trying to work as a means to inform them and offer advice and input."
Booth said the committee will focus on several concerns faculty members have highlighted as worthy of more discussion, such as how the charter would impact their job descriptions.
"We want to know how new positions under charter might be defined differently," Booth said. "We want all employees to be treated fairly."
Some faculty members also are interested in how the increase in tuition under the charter initiative would affect the makeup of the student body, Booth said.
"We do not want the student body to be too homogeneous," Booth said. "The University needs a diversity of means and backgrounds."
The committee also plans to seek a spot for a faculty representative on the Board of Visitors, Booth said.
The committee is working under a time constraint since the General Assembly plans to consider the charter initiative in January, so Booth said the committee will work quickly to educate faculty members.
"I do not think people are terribly well informed," Booth said. "It is not that the information is not available, but some faculty members do not think it matters. There is a lot of room to discuss the implications."