Faculty senate address concerns about department restructures

Myrka Moreno

Concerns about the state of the campus were discussed at the latest faculty senate meeting on Oct. 27. While no votes were made at this meeting, the Office of Information Technology made two separate presentations about new and upcoming software. The senate also voiced their concerns about the layoffs that took place earlier that week.

OIT addressed their stall in implementing their next phase of G Suite products following the transition from Zimbra to Gmail. OIT previously told Hilltop Views the addition of Google apps  would be launched tentatively in October.

“We are trying to reach out to faculty and receive feedback,” said IT Training Manager Joana Trimble.

She then opened the floor to the present faculty senate for their input on which apps they would like to see and when.

“[We needed them] yesterday,” said professor Steven Fletcher. “It’s time, we needed that right away.”

Concerns on communicating with students via Google Docs came up. One senate member expressed that it requires the use of a personal email, which not everyone is comfortable sharing. Trimble also confirmed that the addition of Google Drive will not replace Box, stating that faculty will not be required to learn or use Drive if they do not want to.

Another OIT presentation by Leanndrea Turbeville and Johanna Jones addressed any questions professors had on the new banner and course registration process.

In final business, Faculty Senate President Lorelei Ortiz introduced a grade change policy she is working on with Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Molly Minus. The policy, which is still in the works and being modeled after examples from other universities’ own policies, would address how and when to change the final grade of a student after the semester is over.

“As of right now, there is no specific policy,” Ortiz said, adding that it is up to the professor’s jurisdiction. Ortiz  went on to mention a previous student that was unable to complete a class due to chemotherapy sessions. The student was able to turn in the late work after finals week and Ortiz administered a grade change.

“Cases like that are obvious, but not all of them are,” Ortiz said.

The policy will provide professors with guidelines on when it is acceptable to change a final grade after they have been submitted.

Final comments opened a discussion of concerns over the layoffs and departmental restructuring this semester.

Fletcher asked if it would be possible for someone from higher administration to present at a Faculty Senate meeting to provide and confirm any necessary information. Faculty present noted that the information they learned came second-hand rather than from higher administration.. Fletcher attributed what he knew from social media posts by students.

“[The] morale of students in student life is at the bottom of the barrel,” Fletcher said.