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From left to right: Karen Baehler (Vice Chair), Elizabeth Worden (Chair), and Andrea Pearson (Past chair)

Summary of Faculty Senate Meeting, October 3, 2018

Senate Chair Elizabeth Worden presented her report, which included approval of the September minutes, a reminder of the focus groups being conducted by the Provost and Faculty Senate to gather faculty views on the draft strategic plan, and an announcement that a task force has been established to explore assessment of teaching beyond SETs (chaired by Max Paul Friedman and Karen Baehler).

The Senate voted unanimously to extend the terms for members of the Senate’s standing committee on learning assessment (COLA) from 2 to 3 years. The extension recognizes the ‘learning curve’ required of new COLA members and the fact that all other Senate academic committees use 3-year terms.

Interim Provost Mary Clark provided time-place-venue details for the remaining focus groups on the strategic plan and encouraged faculty to attend. She noted that the results of the focus groups will be anonymized, aggregated according to the nine strategic imperatives in the draft plan plus general notes, and written up in a final report. The upcoming retreat (Oct. 12-13) provides an additional opportunity for faculty and staff to provide extensive feedback on the draft strategic plan.

American University President Sylvia Matthews Burwell reported that the budget committee has begun its work on the next two-year budget and that the Provost search is proceeding on schedule. She highlighted two large, recent gifts to the university: $5 million toward the Hall of Science, construction of which is now underway, and $10 million to establish the Sine Institute of Policy and Politics. Most of the president’s time focused on the latest version of the draft strategic plan, which she presented briefly in Powerpoint form before engaging senators in a wide-ranging discussion.

For the good of the order: Vice President Fanta Aw reported on the campus response to the transformer fire over the previous weekend. Andie Rowe from Human Resources provided information about upcoming pre-retirement seminars for faculty and staff (“Retire Well”). Senators were reminded that the Office of the University Registrar is seeking volunteers to participate in the Fall 2018 pilot of the new, shorter SET survey.