Students, faculty share opinions of Academic Organizational Review at feedback sessions
Student advising, language ambiguity and lack of rationale were among the concerns of initial committee recommendations of the Academic Organizational Review.
The sessions were offered as an opportunity for faculty, staff and students to voice questions and opinions about the reorganization recommendations released Jan. 29.
Carol Cartwright, former president of Kent State University and Bowling Green State University, facilitated the sessions.
“My job is to listen, and then I’ll have an opportunity to give feedback to the committees,” Cartwright said. “I’m looking for patterns, any repetition of issues that I hear throughout the sessions.”
Flint senior JoAnna Lincoln found issues with the recommendations from Committee II: Academic Advising. She said she has been moved between advisors many times during her tenure at Central Michigan University.
“I see a big problem with making academic advising more generalized,” Lincoln said. “You’re going to be missing many of the smaller details, specifically for students who are looking at certain research projects that really require specialized knowledge that an academic advisor simply is not going to have.”
Many faculty members questioned whether this reorganization was created with student success in mind.
“A student survey found that students said that faculty advising was the most effective advising,” said Ed Simpson, journalism professor. “But what (Committee II) came up with was a centralized advising system where faculty is further away.”
Several members of advising staff agreed with the Committee II recommendation to centralize advising.
"It's a great idea to have all students start with a general adviser," Amy McPike, general academic adviser said. "Students are overwhelmed, they don't know where to go. This would ensure the transition from one level of advising to another is a more seamless process."
Through multiple sessions, attendees brought up concerns with ambiguous language, especially regarding the Committee I recommendations for the College of Education and Human Services.
In the recommendation, it is stated that “all faculty members who teach education methods courses have a formal affiliation with the School of Education.” However, there are faculty members across many colleges that teach courses that could fall under “education methods.” This leaves many feeling unsure of how this will effect non-CEHS departments that engage in teacher education, and how this will be implemented.
It is stated in the recommendations that these changes will be “determined during the implementation phase of the reorganization.” Since there are no details listed about the implementation, the ambiguous language leaves many to feel they cannot properly assess and vote on recommendations, Simpson said.
One recommended change from Committee I included disbanding the Department of Counseling and Special Education and having counseling faculty join a newly-created Department of Human Development and Family Studies.
Representatives from both departments stated that neither was in support of the merger and questioned how these changes would benefit students in any way.
According to the overview of the review process, the next step in the reorganization is voting. The departments and colleges will be formally notified of any changes to the recommendations by Feb. 16. After that, voting will begin in the departments, colleges and Academic Senate.
Cartwright will meet with all committees the afternoon of Feb. 8. Three additional feedback sessions take place from 8 a.m. to noon the same day.