Second hearing held to gather faculty input

By Katrina Kelly

A second open hearing Monday to field faculty input on a proposed faculty senate included the comments of one NIU faculty member who was skeptical about the possible senate.

Sociology Professor Herb Rubin addressed Faculty Senate Task Force Chairman William Monat and five other task force members, saying the idea of a faculty senate “shows credibility,” but has two problems. The first problem lies in the proposed senate’s voting, and the second in that a large faculty senate would require considerable faculty time and energy.

Rubin said he agreed with the statement by Robert Suchner, associate professor of sociology, at the first task force hearing Nov. 29. At that meeting, Suchner and two other faculty members submitted written statements to the task force listing possible qualities of a representative faculty body. Suchner’s statement called for a faculty senate to “monitor and annually assess and report to the faculty and administration.”

Judy Bischoff, task force member and University Council executive secretary, said implementation of a faculty senate would require a proposed amendment to Article VII of the NIU Constitution, as well as a referendum to be voted on by the entire NIU faculty.

Bischoff said a faculty senate would expand the current membership of the 30-member Faculty Assembly, NIU’s present faculty body. One faculty member would be elected from each of NIU’s 41 academic departments and be added to the Faculty Assembly members to form a faculty senate, she said.

A statement read by biology professor Jack Bennett at the first hearing proposed that the real reason a “faculty senate is being encouraged by the administration is that it serves their purposes.”

Bischoff expressed concern that a possible faculty senate might “usurp authority already given to other committees.” The Academic Planning Council was cited as an example. Monat said he does not think a faculty senate should vote on matters of academic programs.

A total of 10 faculty members attended the two hearings to offer their opinions, Bischoff said. She said she received written statements from other faculty members who did not attend the hearings.