Tuition waivers discussed in Faculty Senate

By Kia Clair

The Faculty Senate discussed types of tuition waivers at its meeting Wednesday.

Attendees were informed of the potential changes in tuition waiver funding and recommended changes to budget priorities.

“What I heard was that each graduate assistant comes with a tuition waiver,” said anthropology professor Winifred Creamer. “My understanding is if you have less than 20 hours you get partial tuition. We give 10 hours to graduate assistants, students would get half [their] tuition waived. Now they get [their] whole tuition waived.”

A pilot of what open access is and how it can be beneficial to what NIU already has was provided to the council by Dean of libraries Patrick Dawson. He said open access would allow faculty members the opportunity to publish some of their work and enable them to research without a fee.

“This gives them the opportunity to publish work if it’s the publication fee that is stopping them,” Dawson said.

NIU would cover the cost of the open access fee for faculty members, which is about $500 to $2000, per faculty member, according to Dawson.

“Open Access would enhance scholarly communications [and] expose artistic and scholarly works of the NIU community to a greater audience,” Dawson said.

Open access would allow a central access for journal resources that can be viewed and printed online, according to Dawson.

Participants also viewed a presentation on open access, which is the practice of providing unrestricted access via the Internet to peer-reviewed scholarly journal articles. Appropriations of the budget were also discussed in the meeting.

The state fiscal crisis is not going to end anytime soon, nor will past levels of funding be restored, according to a budget priorities statement from the Committee on Resources, Space and Budgets (CRSB).

Fund allocation needs to be prioritized to safeguard the teaching mission of the university, including programs and services directly related to student learning and welfare, according to the CRSB budget priorities statement.

“Cost is a little bit different for education for a nursing student to a engineering student,” said Charles Cappell, associate professor and director of sociology. “There should be more transparency that shows the reality of budgets.”

NIU has to find additional sources for revenue and the CRSB recommends the university form a group that could identify new and additional resources to determine what support structures are necessary to pursue such sources, and educate and incentivize the NIU community to seek such streams, according to the CRSB Statement of Budget Priorities.

“We would like to see resources allocated,” said Alan Rosenbaum, Faculty Senate secretary and psychology professor. “We have no control in the budget, but when money is available we want to be able to say this is how we think the money should be allocated. It was very good to have the senate updated by open access and tuition waivers.”

Rosenbaum said he appreciated the Faculty Senate offering recommendations to the university regarding budget issues, and interesting in hearing the senate.

The Faculty Senate meets again at 3 p.m. March 27 in the Students Holmes Center’s Sky Room.