Senate votes on programs


CURRICULUM SHIFT—Academic Senate discussed and passed changes to the required curriculum in the Languages, Literatures and International Studies Department, adding language certifications.

Mary McDonough

With winter semester now in full swing, Academic Senate   (AS) moved to make a number of different changes to programs at the university during the Feb. 4 meeting. Some of these shifts were unexpected.

Faculty and staff were notified late Feb. 3 that American Association of University Professors (AAUP) President Brent Graves was resigning from his position. Senate Chair Alec Lindsey explained that the president acts as “a liaison between AAUP and Senate.” 

AAUP Vice President Wendy Farkas said that a plan was discussed during an Executive Senate meeting on what will be done to move forward given Graves’ resignation. She and Leslie Putnam will work together for the Senate.

“I agreed to share responsibility with a couple other people on the executive committee in the interim. We’re going to hold an election in March,” Farkas said. “We’re going to share; mainly Leslie and I will fill in when she’s unable to make it.”

After handling the change, the Senate moved on to a number of program proposals. One specifically was the addition of different language certifications within the department languages, literatures and international studies, while also removing an economic course from the program’s required list. 

This action raised questions from senate members, and Department Head Tim Compton explained that this move is about trying to provide variety while still keeping a main focus of study within the department.

“The effort is to reduce the number of credits in the major. We had to look at what was required and what makes our program somewhat unique,” Compton said. “We were thinking that we do what we do best with the international studies major and have it focused on the human, culture, religion and then allow there to be a lot of choice within the electives.”

Associated Students of Northern Michigan Universitym (ASNMU) Chair of Assembly Emma Drever brought up clarifications as to how the language certification would be tangibly helful for students. Spanish Professor Micheal Joy explained that the process won’t change much if the proposal is accepted after a second reading. 

“We have certifications now that are on the transcript, it’s just more of them,” Joy said. 

A number of different proposals were brought up for debate but were all met with a lack of debate before being passed onto the provost.

Drever explained that changes such as ones made to the English department are a welcome shift that has been a long time coming.

“Basically there are a bunch of upper level English courses that were three credits and are now four,” Drever said. “My professors have been talking about this for years now. It really helps me personally.”

The next AS meeting is in Peninsula Room II from 3 to 5 p.m. on Feb. 18.