Comment area for called faculty meeting, April 29th, 2015

Please feel free to comment on the April 29th faculty meeting here.

I received one anonymous comment on a card at the meeting:

I think that the IS [International Studies] proposal needs to be considered before the summer.


  1. Since you’ve called extra faculty meetings to address issues you care about, you probably should do a called faculty meeting about this. Otherwise, you could be seen as using your position to manipulate faculty legislation by prioritizing or delaying investigation and discussion.

  2. When colleagues throw things and express disdain for comments physically, it is almost the same as doing so in words, perhaps worse. We will not always agree or even like each other, but am deeply trouble by the utter disrespect of alternative points of view that is so often expressed by non-verbal means in our meetings. These things count. We must be responsible and accountable.

    • A point of clarification: if I am the colleague referred to in the comment on throwing things, I hope this helps.

      During David Hammond’s comments about colleagues’ possible motives for raising concerns about the International Studies proposal, I broke in half the golf pencil that I was playing with. (I want to say that “the pencil in my hands broke”, but clearly I must have broken it, though I can’t say at this point whether I did it consciously.)

      Having made eye contact with the Clerk, I pointedly *dropped* the pencil pieces onto the desk in front of me. I’m not terribly proud of having done it, but while I was initially convinced that the interpretation that I was “throwing things” was a good-natured joke, it seems that some colleagues do believe that I was “throwing things” in anger or disdain, and this is not the case.

      To be clear, I *was* angry, and meant to communicate my anger in response to David Hammond’s comments to the Clerk. (Isn’t it funny how one can feel invisible at the front of a room with 50 people behind one?)

      If it matters, my anger was provoked by my impression that concerns about the proposal were not being addressed. And I felt that instead of getting answers to our concerns and questions, those of us who were asking substantive questions were being told that our motives were suspect and that the proposal was too important to question.

      I think that approving a necessary and beneficial change to this important major will happen more quickly if we deal with the substance of the proposal, rather than impugning each others’ motives.

      We have a lot of work to do, and if we can tackle that work, rather than each other (and I do have my own issues in this regard, for a multitude of reasons, but the point still holds), we can do amazing things.

  3. David – thanks for the feedback. I’ll raise the idea of another called meeting with Clerk’s at our Monday meeting. Please remember that Clerk’s Committee has called the two extra meetings we had this year, not me personally.

    Also, today’s meeting was called at least in part to allow the International Studies proposal to be discussed. We heard from Curriculum that it was coming, but not in time for the scheduled meeting on the 22nd, which is part of why we cancelled that meeting and called the one today. The report from the ad hoc curriculum review committee and the potential that we’d have a report from the trustees were the other reasons we delayed the last meeting by a week.

  4. Let’s try to learn from this. Inclusive conversation needs to happen before a major proposal is brought forward for approval. In the past when there wasn’t time for two meetings on a proposal, a draft was posted for comment and discussion. That way those bringing forward the proposal know what to expect at the meeting and perhaps some issues would be ironed out beforehand.
    In a case like this one we also need to know that all participating departments are on board. It was confusing that there were questions about the proposal from participating departments. Those things need to be worked out beforehand. And we need to hear from academic leadership that a process is underway to create the joint appointment structure and to integrate it into FAC review work. And we need to know that participating departments are ready to commit parts of FTEs. That very crucial information was mentioned at the very end of the meeting, It’s good news.
    Finally, I don’t think we should be surprised that we’ve needed more meeting time this semester than we’ve used in the recent past. Many thanks to the Curriculum Committee, the Clerk and Clerk’s committee, and the folks working on the IS proposal for your time and energy on this important proposal for the college. It seems to me that we are almost there.