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Ohio University President Duane Nellis speaks at the Faculty Senate meeting on Feb. 5. 

Faculty Senate to discuss Faculty Handbook, responses to legislation Monday

Faculty senators will gather Monday to discuss and vote on resolutions about taxation of textbooks and Graduate Faculty status. 

February’s meeting will begin with updates from Ohio University President Duane Nellis and interim Executive Vice President and Provost Elizabeth Sayrs on the budget and search processes for a new vice president of advancement and a permanent provost. Faculty Senate Chair Joe McLaughlin expects there to be questions about the interim "Freedom of Expression" policy.

“Provost Sayrs chose not to sign the resolution we passed (about the policy) in October and that happened in early January, so she may get some questions about that,” McLaughlin said.

Most of the meeting will focus on the five resolutions scheduled to be presented. Faculty Senate will vote on two of those. 

The first resolution on the agenda would endorse House Bill 337, which provides a sales tax exemption for textbooks purchased by college and university students. McLaughlin expects that resolution to have a lot of support. 

The second resolution could establish an official rank for faculty members who teach graduate students. If the resolution passes, Ohio University’s Faculty Handbook will include a broad definition of Graduate Faculty Rank but allow colleges, schools, programs and departments to further establish such criteria. 

“We’re not having any presentations from administrators, so I’m hoping we can spend most of the meeting talking about the resolutions,” McLaughlin said. “I think we’ll have a pretty lengthy discussion about the graduate faculty status resolution. I think that will generate a lot of conversation.”

A resolution from the Educational Policy & Student Affairs committee is expected to generate debate beyond Faculty Senate. 

That resolution suggests adding a residency requirement to minors and certificates. In order for transfer students to graduate with minors or certificates, they would have to take at least half their credit hours at OU.

“From a philosophical perspective, students who claim a credential from OU (major, minor, or certificate) should have earned most of those hours from OU,” Educational Policy & Student Affairs Committee Chair Katie Hartman said in an email. “This is important from a quality, consistency, and learning perspective.” 

As a state-wide trend over the past 10 or 15 years, transferring credits has gotten easier, McLaughlin said. That makes it even more important for residency requirements to be fully established and followed. 

“We may be opening up a can of worms there,” McLaughlin said.

Resolutions from the Promotion & Tenure committee will address state legislation and how Group II faculty are involved with promotion and tenure appeals.


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