September 19, 2011


B. Faculty Role in Educational Policy Formation.

The PowerPoint slides for Past Chair Neikirk’s report are attached as Appendix A. Because the information on the slides parallels Professor Neikirk’s presentation, the narrative of the minutes will highlight important points made in the meeting and questions and discussion not available in the slides.

Past Chair Neikirk reminded the Council that the body had endorsed, in March 2010, a set of minimal standards for college and school governance regarding the development of educational policy formation on curriculum issues. To meet the three tenants of the minimal standards, each college/school was required to do the following:

  • hold an annual college/school faculty meeting;
  • establish and utilize an Educational Policy Formulation Committee elected by the faculty, or circulate curriculum changes to the full college/school faculty for approval or protest if the committee members are appointed by departmental chairs or the dean; and
  • establish and use a college/school governance process that has been recently approved by its voting faculty members.

Professor Neikirk highly recommended that all Council members review the governance process for their college/school as posted on the Faculty Council website. As indicated in Appendix A, the overwhelming majority of colleges/schools have met the three criteria. The School of Law and the College of Liberal Arts have met the first two criteria, but have not yet held a faculty vote on their respective processes.  Past Chair Neikirk said he had assurances from the College of Liberal Arts that a review of its policies and procedures is currently underway and a faculty vote would occur no later than this coming spring. The only unit that has not submitted any information about its educational governance process is the College of Communication. 

Past Chair Neikirk emphasized that each Council member had a duty to review all catalog changes, whether brought to the floor of the Council for discussion or just posted on a no-protest basis. Council members receive notification regarding all proposed curricular changes, because Faculty Council approval is required for matters involving the undergraduate curriculum. Therefore, Council members should do the following:

  • review and consider each proposed curriculum change carefully, taking into account the substance of the  proposed change as well as the respective unit’s governance process;
  • if appropriate, protest a proposed change on content or procedural issues; and/or
  • let the FCEC know if a unit’s posted governance process is not being followed.

He stressed that protesting legislation is not the same as rejecting legislation; a protest only means that the proposed change will be brought to the floor of the Council for discussion and for vote by the Council.

Professor Hillis asked what would happen when the College of Communication proposes a change in its curriculum. Chair Friedman responded that he expected a protest would be filed by Council members from that college or elsewhere because of the importance of faculty oversight of undergraduate curricular issues.  The proposed change(s) would then come to the floor of the Council for discussion, debate, and a vote.  The Council could vote to approve the proposed legislation, despite the failure of the college to meet the minimum governance standards regarding educational policy formulation, or vote it down until the college conforms to the minimum standards.

Mr. Reid Long (chemistry and biochemistry, Graduate Student Assembly representative) said Professor Staiger, who is no longer a member of the Council, would like to speak, and Chair Friedman granted her permission. Professor Staiger reported that faculty in the College of Communication had received a memo saying a college meeting would be held in November. She also said the unit was conducting a poll of its faculty members to determine if the process it currently has in place regarding curricular review and approval should continue or be changed. She added that she thought the College of Communication was working toward meeting the requests of the FCEC and Faculty Council. Chair Friedman thanked her for the information and said it appeared the resolution was “having the desired effect.”  He added that other units had recently met the standards because they had curricular changes that they wanted approved for the upcoming catalog. He said the Faculty Council was “committed to the cooperative model of governance here” and pleased to see that others across campus were as well.


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