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Executive Vice President Chaden Djalali answers questions from the Faculty Senate on Monday, April 8, 2019, in Walter Hall.

Faculty Senate: General education reform, software policy issues discussed

Faculty Senate met for the second time this year Monday to further discuss general education as well as software issues and graduate policies.

Ohio University President Duane Nellis opened the meeting by updating faculty on current events, such as enrollment and fraternities.

"We wanted to put a pause on all of the Interfraternity council activities,” Nellis said. “Our number one priority is student safety and we want to make sure those fraternities are operating in the way in which they were chartered. If you look at their bylaws, their mission, their vision, much of that relates to service to each other, commitment to community — doing good and positive.”

He confirmed that nine out of the 15 are being investigated by the Student Board of Conduct. He also said the fraternities must sign off on criteria to ensure they move in a positive direction.

Nellis also confirmed declining enrollment numbers at OU. There were about 1,800 fewer students enrolled this fall compared to last fall. 

Online enrollment and international recruitment has also declined, Nellis said. However, a record number of freshmen came from the top 10% of their high school.

"We’re getting a higher tier of students and I think, at least in part of that is the new honors program that's complementing HTC," Nellis said. 

The General Education committee proposed three models to reform general education classes. It clarified its intent to meet the Ohio common goals, which include aspects such as critical thinking, ethical reasoning, written communication and more. 

"We decided that probably the most efficient way to do this would be to present a number of models, each representing a different point on the gen ed curricular integrations," Beth Quitslund, co-chair of University Curriculum Council individual course committee, said. 

The models include a fully integrated model, a distributed model and a blended model.

The distributed model is what general education is currently like at the university. That system models learning outcomes through individual courses. The integrated model would focus on program level outcomes. 

Faculty Senate members will aim to vote on a model in January.

The Office of Information Technology, or OIT, has also implemented new regulations that limit different software programs, which Chair Robin Muhammad said have a negative impact on collaboration.

Dropbox, for example, can no longer be installed on any university computer and cannot be bought with a grant.

“They really don’t understand the external use of some of these things and they’re looking at a very narrow perspective of, ‘If you all use this software, then we can manage that,’” Sarah Wyatt, chair of the Faculty Senate Professional Relations committee, said. 

Finally, Faculty Senate passed a resolution to create graduate pathways.

According to the resolution, "some exceptionally well-qualified undergraduate students may obtain conditional admission to a graduate degree program and begin coursework during their undergraduate careers through an Accelerated Graduate Pathway.”


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