Faculty board faces DI switch, tech plan

Justin R. Lessman

Justin R. Lessman

Have you ever wondered who wrote the SDSU Academic Integrity Policy on the bottom of your class syllabus?

Or, who decided the faculty’s position on controversial university mascots? And who on campus is going to give opinions on this Division One proposal?

The answer is the SDSU Academic Senate.

Patty Hacker, executive committee chair, is in the first year of her second three-year term on the board. She said the senate is, in one capacity, a clearing-house for information.

“The Academic Senate is an elected board, an advisory board,” she said. “It’s a forum of concerns, both student and faculty. Sometimes we are asked to take positions on issues like the university mascot issue.”

Hacker said the senate currently faces two prominent issues.

The first is the SDSU Athletic Department’s Division One proposal. Hacker said Athletic Director Fred Oien would be at today’s open meeting to answer questions that students and faculty may have.

Another item that will soon appear on the senate’s agenda is a plan now being molded by the Board of Regents and the council of vice-presidents.

This plan is for a sort of information database, Hacker said.

“Basically, it’s an info-tech plan that involves accessing information on course work, credit hours, things like that,” she said.

Those who take classes from another institution will find the plan especially useful, Hacker said.

“It’s just another useful technology initiative. When it gets up and running, and we’re working with it, the senate will give input back on it,” she said.

Since their inception as a governing body in 1970, the Academic Senate has made many decisions that impact not only faculty affairs, but academic and student issues as well.

The Academic Senate is one of the largest governing bodies on campus.

Its members are 26 faculty senators who represent all eight university colleges and the library, one professional administrator and two student senators.

Hacker said constitutional authority grants that one faculty member sits on the senate board for every 20 full-time equivalents (student carrying 15 credits) in a college.

Dr. Carol Wake, a first-year member of the senate from the college of Agriculture and Biological Sciences, said the nomination and election processes differ slightly.

“It’s a nomination from faculty across the university,” she said. “Then candidates are voted on by faculty members of the respective colleges.”

The idea of the Academic Senate is not a new concept.

In fact, SDSU has a rich history of faculty governance dating back to the middle of the twentieth century.

According to SDSU archives, the first Faculty Association was organized in 1946 to “promote faculty interests and faculty welfare.”

The association was not a decision-making body, but had some influence on university policy.

In 1970, led by campus library namesake Hilton M. Briggs, the Faculty Association formed the current Academic Senate in an effort to have a more official role in campus politics.