Faculty senate talks syllabi


Faculty Senate President Alan Rosenbaum spoke about the importance of student retention, and the desire to enroll international students, and providing the campus a more global perspective.

By James Green

The Faculty Senate voted to revise syllabus requirements, endorsed a pension resolution and talked budget concerns at Wednesday’s meeting.

After a presentation by Greg Long, professor and Presidential Commission on Persons with Disabilities chair, the Faculty Senate voted to revise the academic policy and procedures manual to require faculty and instructors include an accessibility statement in their course syllabi. Although the council voted for the revision, the matter will be handed to the University Council.

NIU’s accessibility statement informs students with disabilities they have access to the Disability Resource Center and professors have an obligation to accommodate them.

In his presentation, Long said he and his students found that while the majority of syllabi have the statement, it would be in students’ best interests to encourage all instructors to include it.

Long said he believes the exclusion of the statement is mostly a matter of miscommunication, but said syllabi are the primary way of making that information like the accessibility statement available to students.

“It allows them to know that resources exist, and it also shows that instructor is aware and accepting. It creates a better class climate,” Long said. “Also, from a higher learning standpoint, accreditation bodies look at how we ensure students’ knowledge of their civil rights.”

The Faculty Senate voted to endorse a revised pension resolution, as well. With pension reform an ongoing process, the resolution is meant to make known faculty and staff’s wishes for reform. Deborah Haliczer, University Benefits Committee chair, said the resolution will receive support from the University Benefits Committee.

Jim Wilson, Resources, Space and Budget Committee spokesperson, said that according to NIU President Doug Baker’s address to the committee, it may take up to a year to see pension reform.

Faculty Senate President Alan Rosenbaum said that in the same address Baker emphasized enrollment as NIU’s greatest tool in “controlling its own destiny” in the face of possible cuts in state funding. Rosenbaum said Baker sees potential in reaching out to international students, and he mentioned NIU’s recent delegations with Chinese universities as an example of creating foreign connections.