Academic Senate adopts academic calendar compromise

Charlotte Bodak/Staff Photographer Physics professor Joseph Finck speaks during the Academic Senate meeting Tuesday afternoon in Pearce 138.

A compromise to keep the academic calendar at 16 weeks with two modifications was adopted, with 60 percent approval, by the Academic Senate during Tuesday's meeting.

The action will keep the academic calendar at 16 weeks and would move the Gentle Thursday/Friday days to coincide with the local school areas' spring break calendar. The semester would also start no more than one week before Labor Day.

A-Senate chairman Jim McDonald said it's easier to move forward with the new motion instead of rehashing what happened with the wording of the initial motion during the Jan. 29 meeting.

"We are eager to move on to other things," McDonald said.

This motion was proposed by mathematics professor Donna Ericksen and physics professor Joe Finck.

"It's been a tough two weeks for me," Finck said. "I read things from SGA that said, quite frankly, it would be unfair for this conversation to end due to a technicality within parliamentary procedure."

The "technicality" was the use of the word "rescind" in the language of the original proposal to change the calendar. The use of that word required a two-thirds majority vote from the Senate on a motion that would have rejected the original calendar change.

"If we go with the majority, it passed. If we go with the word 'rescind' added at the meeting, it needs two-thirds vote, which it didn't get," McDonald said.

McDonald said the rules surrounding the word "rescind" are gray.

"The word 'rescind' was the original idea that put the provost's report in motion," Finck said.

The motion will now be sent to the Faculty Association and administration to be bargained.

"We don't change the calendar ... all we make is a recommendation," Finck said.

The major concern with the motion was some of the senators wanted time to talk to their departments about the motion before voting.

'Vision' for research

Another topic discussed at Tuesday's meeting was the vision for research at Central Michigan University.

"I want to develop a shared vision for how research can move forward at CMU," said John McGrath, vice president for research and sponsored programs.

McGrath showed a presentation that introduced a vision of how a shared vision could be put together.

"How do we know whether we're getting better?" McGrath said.

McGrath said it's important for faculty to be aligned on all levels including departments, each college and the university as a whole.

"I don't think we're going to be (the University of) Michigan (in terms of research), but what do we aspire to be?" McGrath said.

McGrath showed a chart of 10 universities listed as CMU's peers in terms of research, including Ball State University and Northern Illinois University.

The chart showed where each university ranked in terms of success with research, and CMU was below average.

"The awards we get are very small. Do we want to change that?" McGrath said. "I think a faculty dialogue committee is one way to do it"