Faculty Senate promotes participation

Group advocates for concerns of professors and students

By Stacey Palmieri | gargoyle@flagler.edu

Changes are happening at Flagler College as the faculty senate emerges as a school-run form of government.

The Flagler College faculty senate was first proposed in Dec. 2006 and approved the following January. It started as a faculty idea that quickly earned support from the college’s president and deans.

“The idea is to give faculty a formal way to participate,” Arthur Vanden Houten, chair of the faculty senate and political science professor, said.

“It brings initiative in shared governments with faculty and administration. Many colleges have a similar program, and though Flagler is a young institution, it is striving to develop successful practices and understandings like this.”

The faculty senate spent its first semester running elections and getting organized. The first change it made was the development of learning communities under the quality enhancement plan. Recently, it was the faculty senate that brought forth the college’s first day off in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. day. It is also trying to institute a new system of establishing criteria for evaluating and promoting faculty members.

The faculty senate is focusing on the needs of the students in its efforts toward reforming the general education requirements.

“The general education changes have not yet been passed, but show the faculty is making significant efforts to making big things happen,” Vanden Houten said. The changes were put before the senate, which passed a resolution that has been forwarded to the dean of academic affairs.

One change toward the general education requirements has been made: the removal of the computer science class that many students find contains information they already know.

The faculty senate will listen to “anything the students want heard,” chair of the Student Government Association Academic Committee Sam Taylor said.

Taylor, who has been to many of the meetings, said, “It’s a wonderful thing because the faculty argues for the students…they really like input from the students.”

“The opportunity to have a formal voice on the academic side of the college is the biggest element of why students should be interested in the senate’s workings,” faculty senate vice chair Barbara Blonder said. She believes students should be aware of the importance of these things.

“We now have a voice and responsibility. Those types of opportunities are a big step forward for the college.”

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