Provisions made for filling vacant faculty positions

By Stephanie Bradley

The NIU Faculty Assembly voted to require college-wide faculty elections for open faculty positions in the University Council after a lengthy discussion at its meeting Wednesday.

Elections Committee Chairman Jeff Parness said there will be at least one vacancy for each of the colleges on the council for the next academic year. He said there will be four names submitted from each college for each position open.

History Professor Patrick White said he could not find the clause in the NIU Constitution and Bylaws which states the faculty of the colleges can elect nominees. He said he did not know why there must be four nominees and then an election to narrow the field down to two nominees.

Norman Magden, University Affairs Committee chairman, said the motion will “ensure a college-wide election, if that is acceptable.”

Anthropology Professor Ronald Provencher said the old NIU Constitution and Bylaws did not give the faculty much governance of the university, and that the Faculty Assembly is the only place in which the faculty has any control. He said it bothers him that the faculty is disconnected with the students and the rest of the university.

Regency Professor William Monat said the Rules Committee could address the concerns right away. He said, however, that a “quick fix is not good.”

A motion was made by Don Davidson, chairman of the ad hoc Committee on the Economic Status of the Profession, to have the Instruction Committee write to the colleges to ask if they would like to assist in the spring elections and how the elections should be conducted. The motion also requested that the election process should be referred to the Rules Committee and reported back to the assembly.

In other business, Gordon Dorn, art department undergraduate coordinator, said faculty might “already have collective bargaining without having voted on it” because of some of the promotion benefits faculty at Sangamon State University receive. Dorn expressed a concern that SSU might regulate benefits at NIU.

Monat said the Board of Regents does not set pay raise standards at the Regency universities. He said each university decides whether increases should be in terms of merit or across-the-board.

Davidson said his committee has been asked to examine benefits to see if they should be critically assessed or modified.

NIU Provost Kendall Baker will attend the Jan. 11 assembly meeting and Board of Regents Chancellor Roderick Groves will attend a meeting sometime next spring.