Faculty review diversity course requirement, grievance policy

Chancellor Brady Deaton and Budget Director Tim Rooney said faculty salaries were their "No. 1 priority."
Animal science professor Bill Lamberson poses a question to Faculty Council Chairwoman Leona Rubin at Tuesday's General Faculty Meeting. The diversity course requirement was among the topics discussed at the meeting.

Faculty Council Chairwoman Leona Rubin told the audience at Tuesday’s General Faculty Meeting that her year in charge hasn’t been easy – but it has been rewarding.

“It’s been an honor and a pleasure to serve as your chair for the past two years,” she said. “I’m wound about as tight as a clock, so I’m about due for a break. It’s been sometimes frustrating, but definitely the most rewarding thing I’ve done in my time at MU.”

Some issues on Rubin’s plate this year were the diversity course requirement, the grievance policy and the capstone requirement. Consequently, these were among the updates she shared with the general faculty at the meeting in Wrench Auditorium.

She said that MU has seen three separate grievance policies over the past 10 years, which haven’t met the desires of the faculty. Last week, the faculty decided it was satisfied with the pilot grievance policy program that has been in place since 2008, and voted for it to become permanent.

“The goal is to keep this process at MU, and this is a decision that you will be making,” Rubin said, in reference to the fact that faculty will soon vote on this proposal.

Faculty will also soon vote on whether to implement the changes to the general education program, or more specifically, whether to adopt the diversity intensive course requirement.

“This is not new,” Rubin said. “We’ve been listening to a lot of feedback on the requirement for a diversity intensive course on this campus. We’re actually one of the remaining few AAU schools without a diversity course requirement for our students. This is an important addition for our program.”

Also included in the vote will be a question of whether to modify MU’s capstone requirement. Rubin said that the capstone requirement, in many departments, does not meet the needs of a capstone course as it is typically defined. Other departments, she said, utilize the capstone very seriously.

The council decided to create a compromise, she said. The compromise is that students can either take a capstone course, or take a 4000-level course that would meet the capstone course requirement.

“We did this because if we just simply took the requirement away, it would be possible for a student to graduate without ever taking a 4000-level course,” she said. “We didn’t think that should happen.”

Chancellor Brady Deaton then took the stage, where he and several other administrators discussed topics ranging from the Campus Master Plan to faculty salary increases.

“We must address salaries,” Budget Director Tim Rooney said. “That is our No. 1 priority.”

Among the ways MU will generate revenue to fund the increase is increased enrollment and tuition. He said that a predicted 6,093 first-year college students will attend MU next year, up six from last year. The predicted total undergraduate enrollment is 25,463 – 999 more than last year.

Deaton recognized the Kemper Fellows at the meeting, though he said the list of faculty he could have honored goes on and on.

“I have to hold back my impulse at every faculty meeting to tell you all of the wonderful things that we get to see,” Deaton said.

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