Academic Senate discusses updated strategic plan, FCC money


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Provost Micheal Gealt speaks during the Academic Senate meeting on March 21, 2017 in Pearce Hall.

 President George Ross began the first Academic Senate meeting of the 2017-2018 year by announcing plans to distribute the $14 million earned in the public broadcasting auction earlier this year.

The Federal Communications Commission auction that the Board of Trustees opted to participated in was designed to clear broadcast bandwith for broadband providers.

Ross said the board is in deliberation regarding the money Central Michigan University earned after selling its Flint Public Broadcasting station. News of the sale was announced Feb. 7.

“While I can’t speak for (the Board of Trustees), I have been a part of those discussions and they are leaning at this point on reinvesting all $14 million dollars to students and academic excellence,” Ross said.

During the meeting Tuesday afternoon, he said that he had no more information to provide at this time and that the use of the money is still to be defined at a later date.

Ross addressed plans for the updated Advancing Excellence strategic plan that was adopted by the board in June.

In a statement released on Our CMU Aug. 2, Ross said the plan’s key initiative will include reviewing and restructuring the academic and administrative structure. 

The main goal, Ross said, is for undergraduate students to be prepared for graduation within four years.

On Sept. 26, Ross intends for the senate to elect two faculty senators to a committee spearheading the first reconstructions. This committee will feature 11-to-12 people representing each of the academic colleges on campus.

The board is now seeking nominations for the committee. 

“The second committee is on the academic administrator structure,” said Provost Michael Gealt, explaining that all non-college and non-department faculty and offices are to report to him during the reviewing phase. 

This will include any vice presidents, the vice provost and Office of International Affairs.

Senator Bryan Gibson of the psychology department was concerned about restructuring in regards to shared governance between faculty and the board. 

“I just like to say that the way this has sort of appeared to us (communicates) a lack of concern for shared governance,” Gibson said to Ross during public comment. 

Gibson said that he and other faculty who read the plan in the spring found the board had added new reorganization and restructuring to the plan. 

He said that although faculty had been told of the plan’s intentions and were allowed to provide insight, they were being ignored in decisions made by the board. 

“We were told a brand new senior administrative position has been created to guide this process at a time when departments are losing ten year lines (and) an edge off faculty to help teach their classes,” Gibson said. “To me this is another example of failure of shared governance.”

Gealt announced the university will take bigger action against phishing–a practice of sending misleading emails to gather passwords and credit card numbers that has affected faculty, staff and students.

“Phishing is out there,” Gealt said. “We are going to have mandatory phishing training starting over the next month.”

Gealt said a campaign will begin to reduce the amount of phishing, an issue that has resulted to more than 300 reports a month being made on campus.

Senator Tiffany Waite of the School of Broadcast and Cinematic Arts said the issue is not just taking place in emails.

“At the end of last week, in one of our larger lecture classes, someone came in and started passing around a clipboard and got about 70 of our students names, phone numbers and addresses,” Waite said, explaining the method has been used to harass students over the summer and making odd job requests. 

Waite said it is something that needs to be reported more frequently and awareness should be brought up around campus. 



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