(This post is long overdue – many apologies! My notes on the Senate discussion are a little rough, so please send me any corrections/clarifications you have.)
At the November 9 meeting, the Faculty Senate passed a few motions (#3.2012-13, #4.2012-13, #5.2012-13) regarding faculty representation on University committees. I asked for some clarification at the meeting about what committees would fall under the new language, since we’ve got a lot of TAG members working on various projects. Further discussion with members of the Senate Executive Committee indicated that there was some murkiness about TAG’s official connection to the Senate. Back in 2010, when Jeremy and I approached the Senate about creating TAG, we got verbal approval as a subcommittee of the Senate’s Academic Support committee, but there wasn’t ever a vote or any formal documentation of our status.
The Senate Executive Committee was kind enough to sit down with me early in December to hash out some language formalizing TAG’s status as a Senate subcommittee. From a TAG perspective, we were looking for a structured, defined relationship to the Senate (and a clear communication channel to the Senate), but with a flexible membership — ideally, TAG’s membership should be representative of the faculty as a whole, but should also take into consideration a faculty member’s interest in or expertise related to technology. I wrote up some notes for the Senators about TAG’s current makeup and the kinds of projects we’ve been working on.
At the December 14 Senate meeting, the Executive Committee introduced the following motion:
A proposal to change the Faculty Senate Bylaws to include the Technology Advisory Group (TAG) as a formal subcommittee of the Academic Support Committee.
The Academic Support Committee has from five to ten members of whom a majority must be members of the Faculty Senate. This committee prepares recommendations for consideration by the Faculty Senate on all aspects of support for academic programs. The Academic Support Committee has oversight of the Technology Advisory Group (TAG), a standing subcommittee of the ASC. The total membership of TAG is flexible, but should strive for representation from each of the five colleges.* The subcommittee must include one Faculty Senator who serves as a liaison between TAG and the ASC.** The Faculty Senator can, but is not required to, serve as both a liaison to the ASC and a college representative. TAG is free to seek expertise outside the faculty*** to complete its membership.
A discussion followed, primarily focusing on oversight and composition of TAG. There were a few concerns about TAG’s level of autonomy – some Senators suggested that TAG be chaired**** by a Senator on the Academic Support committee, and/or that TAG’s members be appointed by Senators from Academic Support. Others were concerned about micromanaging TAG when, to date, the group has been functioning well. General consensus seemed to be that more clarification on TAG’s goals and oversight may be needed in the future, but that for now the proposed language would be sufficient.
Some clarifications were proposed — “representation from each of the five colleges” was changed to reflect that CGCE does not have its own faculty, and “must include one Faculty Senator” was changed to “must include at least one Faculty Senator”. With this clarified wording****, the motion passed.
Since the proposal is an amendment to the Faculty Senate Bylaws, it will next go to a full faculty vote for approval, sometime after the start of the Spring 2013 semester. A 2/3 majority of those voting is needed to amend the bylaws.
Many thanks to the Executive Committee and the rest of the Faculty Senators for their time and consideration!
* Currently, we have 4 members from CAS, 4 from PCPS, 2 from KSOM, and 1 from the Library.
**Currently, TAG’s membership includes two Faculty Senators (Katie Iacocca and Dave Dzurec).
***From the beginning, TAG has included staff participants in order to facilitate communication about technology on campus.
****For the record, neither Jeremy nor I are opposed to a change in leadership for TAG. Any volunteers? :)
*****I don’t trust my notes on the exact wording changes – I’ll post the altered language when the meeting minutes come out.