Steps made toward change


TICKING BOXES—The NMU Academic Senate convenes to discuss curriculum changes in store for the university’s future.

Mary McDonough

October opened with another opportunity for the Academic Senate to continue progress on a number of different program changes within university departments, during the Tuesday meeting in Peninsula II of the Northern Center. 

Chair Alec Lindsay opened with a report on his recent activities with Associated Students of Northern Michigan University (ASNMU) and the efforts to get student representation on many of the Senate’s different committees. 

“They’re a real engaged bunch. I know there are a number of their members who were voicing interest in getting on committees,” Lindsay said. “I encourage any committees, if we have a need for student membership, reach out to ASNMU.” 

The Senate then moved forward to look over changes to the psychology minor detailed in the Committee on Undergraduate Programs Report (CUP). These alterations aim to focus on the flexibility of topics within psychology for students to experience a wider range of topics, according to the report. Specifically, this would require students to take 16-17 credits of 200 level electives, making 300 level electives only an option, not a requirement. The motion was passed, and this moves the changes onto the Provost for a second read.

Similarly, the Graduate Program Committee brought a list of adjustments with a large focus on the nursing master’s and doctorate program. This would include the addition of six new courses, the reinstating of another six and the deletion of ten. The motion was passed and also moved to the Provost.

Debate began with discussion about the three candidates eligible to receive honorary degrees at commencement. The reasoning behind the eligibility of one particular candidate, former Board of Trustees (BOT) member Dan DeVos, is something that Head of Collections and Metadata Krista Clumpner believes to focus too much on monetary value. 

“We have no other rationale in giving an honorary degree except for the hope to get money out of them, and we don’t think that’s a good enough reason,” Clumpner said.

Biology Professor Brent Graves pointed out that one of the other approved candidates was also a past board member and that personal wealth should not be a limitation in giving this honor.

“Just because he’s wealthy I don’t think is a reason not to give him an honorary degree,” Graves said. 

Despite Clumpner’s opposition, the motion passed through the majority.  

Outside of the formal senate agenda, Native American studies professor Judd Sojourn informed other members that while BOT has held off on recognizing Indigenous People’s Day, there will still be events on Oct. 14  to commemorate it. 

“It’s a celebration but it’s also kind of a memorial, so it’s balanced event,” Sojourn said. 

The BOT is looking into creating a committee to review the decision.

The next Academic Senate meeting is at 3:05 p.m. on Tuesday Oct. 15 in Peninsula II in the Northern Center.