Faculty senate discusses transparency

By Jackie Nevarez

After a five minute meeting, Faculty Senate members spent nearly an hour discussing issues such as transparency and budget uncertainties Wednesday.

At the first meeting of the semester, and the first meeting of his tenure, Faculty Senate President Greg Long said he would like to change the way meetings are run in order to promote more item discussions.

“I want to get us a bit more engaged in how we’re … doing things within this body,” Long said. “I’ve had a number of people tell me about how very bored they are when they come to Faculty Senate, and let’s change that. This is the time to stand up and … make a difference.”

Long had Faculty Senate members talk to others around them about their top three concerns.

Rich Grund, assistant professor in the School of Theatre and Dance, said although there wasn’t much to say about the budget’s status in Springfield, he’d like to have an update from Alan Phillips, vice president of Administration and Finance, on what NIU has been doing in regard to the budget.

Accountancy Assistant Professor Meghann Cefaratti said a main concern was transparency, exemplified by the university’s motto, “Learning Today, Leading Tomorrow.” Cefaratti said a program had to change its tagline after NIU announced its own because the program’s was similar.

“Our group was talking about this transparency and things happening and just being notified when things are happening,” Cefaratti said.

Kinesiology Associate Professor Todd Gilson said NIU President Doug Baker’s long-term goals for NIU aren’t clear.

“We’re looking for concrete ideas he can articulate to us that we can take back to our classrooms,” Gilson said.

Before the discussion among the faculty, the Senate, with a 46-1 vote, passed revisions to the Faculty Senate Bylaws that will combine the Rules and Governance Committee with the Elections and Legislative Oversight Committee. The new committee will become joint committee to the Faculty Senate and University Council, according to Wednesday’s agenda.

The bylaw was unfinished business from the final May meeting, where an insufficient amount of Faculty Senate voting members prohibited a vote on the measure.