ABSTRACT of the Faculty Senate Meeting – February 13, 2012


Karen Stout, Faculty Senate President, called the meeting of the 2011-2012 Faculty Senate to order at 4:05 pm.

Senators accepted the Senate minutes of February 6, 2012 and Standing Committee minutes.

§  President Stout reminded faculty that:  1) a “Humans vs. Zombies” game will take place the weekend of February 18 and 19; 2)  as part of administrative review for John Lawson and Roger Gilman surveys were sent to faculty this past week; 3) the March 5th Senate meeting agenda will include a second vote on Sections 7 and 8 of the Code of Faculty Ethics; and 4) Western received an award for largest participation increase in its successful Combined Fund Drive this year.

§  Provost Riordan announced that a reception will be held for Dr. Moheb Ghali who will resume teaching economics.  Kathy Kitto will be acting Dean of the Graduate School and is experienced in terms of sponsored research.  Kitto will seek information from departments on their interests, needs, and initiatives for research separately from graduate program review and transitions will allow an interim for faculty to provide insight and ideas. 

§  Riordan and Vice President Steve Swan are interested in input from faculty on how best to make external partnerships work.

§  Riordan reported on a recent AASCU conference and would like faculty to attend to learn about national trends in public higher education.  Riordan believes faculty need to take charge of the textbook arena in which publishers sell faculty materials and intellectual property back to students at exorbitant prices. Riordan showed “Flatworldknowledge.com,” an online site that produces free and adaptable textbooks.  Senators and Riordan are concerned generally about inappropriate liberties taken with intellectual property; Senators underscored the need for summer research grants and mentioned that different disciplines might incorporate different ways of getting information to students, including creating “apps” for smart phones and e-tablets.

§  Dan Boxberger sent information via President Stout on several bills of concern in Olympia, including SB1650 which would provide state need grants to private for-profit universities; many of these have much higher tuition rates and state need grants to them would drain the pool of available financial aid for WWU students.

§  Senators heard Directors Sherry Mallory, Student Life, Nancy Corbin, Counseling Center, and Emily Gibson, Student Health Center, provide information on helping students who may be struggling with mental health issues or substance abuse.  Faculty are urged to make safety a concern and can call 360-650-SAFE or 360-650-3911 to reach campus police.  A 2011 issue of Praxis provides detailed information on Western’s many counseling and health services available for students and referral services available to faculty and students.  The link is http://www.wwu.edu/vpue/Praxis/Praxis_Summer%202011.pdf .

§  Stephanie Bowers, Vice President University Advancement and Brian Burton, Dean of the College of Business and Economics, provided Senators with a brochure entitled “Western Stands for Washington” for the Western campaign and discussed ways that faculty can foster students’ connections to the university as future alumni.  Burton emphasized that our students are our best sales people and that engagement comes first and creates synergy.  Since class reunions are generally department-based, the biggest reunion is Back to Bellingham which can already provide the staging for departmental reunions. Senators confirmed that online social media is growing as an avenue that fosters relationships between past and future students and their faculty.

Senators adjourned at 5:59 pm without caucus.  


Appointments and Elections:   Jackie Caplan-Auerbach, 2011-12 Officer

Ø    Auerbach announced that SENATE NOMINATING PETITIONS will be emailed this Friday and are due back to the Senate office by March 9. 

Ø    Senators are asked to let the Senate office know if you are planning to run for a second or third term on the Senate from your area, and please encourage colleagues to serve as well.

Ø    Spencer Anthony-Cahill thanked Babafemi Akinrinade and Sandra Alfers who will work with him on revising the Academic Freedom section of the Code of Faculty Ethics.