Questions of shared governance legitimacy brought up in A-Senate meeting

The future of the fifth Central Michigan University shared governance committee, passed overwhelming last month, was brought up during Tuesday's Academic Senate meeting.

Members of the A-Senate were asked about the legitimacy of the committee — what concerns it would address and what action, if any, the committee would take.

A-Senate Chairman Jim McDonald, also a member of the shared governance committee, said the committee would present motions to the university’s high office.

“(Communications and Dramatics Arts professor) Tim (Connors) and I are committed to proposing concrete things that will go to the office of the president,” McDonald said.

Questions raised by A-Senate members also asked about the use of outside consultants and the participation of administration and the CMU Board of Trustees.

University President George Ross reassured the A-Senate that Sarah Opperman, the committee's trustees member, is committed to participating regularly in what McDonald said will be weekly meetings that he hopes to start in the fall. Provost Gary Shapiro stood by Ross as the A-Senate asked questions and discussed the pros and cons of such a committee.

Ross said he is looking forward to the development of the committee and wants to see it begin after a patient, determined effort to make sure the formation of the committee is built to last. Some A-Senate members said in this meeting and previous meetings that the past four shared governance committees fizzled after a while because of the confusing charge of responsibility. Ross said the committee will open an avenue of dialogue for heads of the university’s political environment.

“Ultimately, it’s (about) communicating all the time,” Ross said. “The point is, the major constituents are represented.”

The 13-member committee, including two student representatives, two staff, four administration, four faculty and a board of trustees member, will begin sending surveys and listening to concerns.

Other business

The A-Senate voted to approve a new program, a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Science degree and Engineering Science Major: Biomedical Engineering concentration.

It also voted to delete three programs, including the geology major and it's hydrogeology-environmental concentration and the master's of arts in health promotion and program management.

Mahmood Bahaee, chairman of the management department, was nominated as a faculy senator on the Academic Planning Council. The other two faculty senator positions open for election received no nominations.

Four  openings in the Committee on Committees received no nominations. Three student positions and a College of Health Professions position remain left open.

In a presentation, Athletics Director Dave Heeke pointed to the successes of the CMU athletics program, raising awareness of specific strengths and weaknesses of the programs. He listed various athletics successes presentation that CMU, since 1976, has led the Mid-American Conference with 110 conference championships.

A-Senate members asked about the quality of academic resources available for student-athletes and why CMU is last in the MAC in scholarship money awarded to students. Derek van der Merwe, deputy director of athletics and chief operating officer, said the number of sports CMU has in comparison to other schools is among the variables that determines the amount of scholarship funding.


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