Faculty Senate approves new majors, minors

The Faculty Senate approved eight new programs and policies to the college's curriculum for the 20192020 academic year.

The new programs, approved at the Dec. 7 meeting, include an audio arts bachelor's degree, cinema and television arts minor, communication minor, tap studies minor, interaction design masters and devised performance practice master's. Two policies were also approved by the Senate: the graduate student auditing policy and the accelerated master’s degree policy. 

Paige Cunningham, associate chair in the Dance Department, said the tap dance minor is dependent on outside funding to support a three-year lecturer position. The program needed to gain approval before the funding could be secured. This raised questions from other senators about the risk to students enrolled in the minor and the future of the minor if funding were to end. 

“There is some risk,” Cunningham said. “We need to know if it’s actually going to be approved to say to the donor, ‘this has gotten approved, and the college is ready to move forward.’ Simultaneously, the outside funding source could, potentially, pull out.”

Cunningham said although having outside funding is a new situation to deal with, the tap dance minor could be very beneficial for enrollment because not many colleges offer it. 

“The most important part of it is that it’s there—the funding is there, the person is there. It’s a real opportunity for the dance program to tap into the expertise of this person,” said Associate Professor in the Theatre Department Frances Maggio. 

Keith Kostecka, associate professor in the Science and Mathematics Department and vice president of Faculty Senate, said the auditing policy that allows graduate students to audit undergraduate courses is long overdue at the college. 

"I see this improving the level of instructions for our graduate students,” Kostecka said.

Other topics discussed at the meeting, held at 618 S. Michigan Ave., included moving forward with the phased retirement plan. This will allow faculty to reduce their workload over a few years' period to prepare for retirement, as reported March 9 by The Chronicle. Faculty members can begin to apply for phased retirement in fall 2019, Kostecka said.

Associate professor in the Interactive Arts and Media Department Dave Gerding discussed the possibility of a new parental leave policy that administration is currently reviewing. 

“We have a terrific new possibility of a paid parental leave, and the proposal that is on the table is four weeks of paid leave for adoption and independent care,” Gerding said. “[The administration] is scheduled to announce its decision in January 2019.”