Faculty adds dean of the faculty to CEP

The motion stated that the dean of the faculty would “be made an ex officio non-voting member of the Committee on Educational Policy on a provisional basis for three years, effective November 1, 2003.” The change was described as an experiment due to its temporary status. The motion continued, “At the end of that [three-year] term, a vote will be required to continue or discontinue the practice.”

Professor of History and American Studies Frank Couvares supported the motion. “I’d worry more not knowing the minds of the president and the dean than having them there,” he said.

Professor of Jurisprudence and Political Science Austin Sarat opposed the addition of the dean of the faculty to the CEP. He argued that one of the advantages of teaching at the College is the independence afforded to professors. Sarat feared that if the dean were added to the CEP, the committee might consider itself more powerful and try to manage the curriculum of the College.

In response to this fear, Professor of German Christian Rogowski suggested that the members of the CEP be elected rather than appointed.

Professor of English and American Studies Karen Sanchez-Eppler attempted to find middle ground by proposing a substitute amendment. This amendment would have read: “The dean of the faculty … attends two meetings of the Committee on Educational Policy each month, and may attend additional meetings upon invitation from the Committee.” Sanchez-Eppler’s motion failed by a count of 12-79 with four abstentions.

Professor of Computer Science Catherine McGeogh argued in favor of the substitution. “The committee can serve as its own control group,” she said, after expressing concern at the lack of comparative knowledge that she anticipated will be problematic when the dean’s three-year term is over.

Associate Professor of Law, Jurisprudence and Social Thought Lawrence Douglas argued against the alteration. “[The CEP] has been a very reactive body, and if it is to become proactive, having the dean [of faculty] would be good,” he said. “It seems it would be counterproductive to spend a substantive amount of time deciding whether we want the dean at the next meeting.”

Later in the meeting, dean of the faculty Gregory Call raised the issue of institutional research during his remarks. “During the last decade, the College and its peer institutions have been encouraged to step up [in the field of institutional research],” said Call. He noted that funding sources increasingly want information about the results of previous gifts before providing additional funds. During the past five years, institutions including Brown University, Dartmouth University, Swarthmore College and Williams College have established the position of director of institutional research.

The College had someone in this post until 1991, but due to a lack of interest in the topic, the College did not fill the position when the director retired. Registrar Gerald Mager currently does some institutional research, but can only devote a fraction of his time to it. “We need someone who will continue to be able to gather information on many fronts but also be able to help us analyze … that information,” Call said.

Call announced that the College will hire a director of institutional research as soon as a highly qualified candidate is found. They hope to do this by July 1, 2004.

Call also reviewed the College snow-day policy, which allows professors to choose whether to conduct class regardless of the administration’s decision on whether to close the College.

The faculty also approved 11 new courses for the spring semester.