University Council and Faculty Senate

FACULTY MATTERS

January 2014, Volume 3, Issue 2


The mission of Faculty Matters is to keep the faculty informed
about policies, issues and events of interest to, and affecting, the faculty at NIU. It is written and published by the President of the Faculty Senate and distributed to all faculty. Comments and suggestions can be sent to Alan Rosenbaum, Executive Secretary
of the University Council and President of the Faculty Senate, at arosenbaum@niu.edu. Letters to the editor will be considered for publication. Letter writers must identify themselves and will be identified if the letter is published.

In this issue:
What's in your syllabus?
Got provost?
Let's do lunch
Spread the word, not just the cheese
Tell us about your plus/minus experience
Finally...

What's in your syllabus?

On November 6, the University Council passed a resolution requiring faculty to include an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) statement in every syllabus. Because it was passed by the University Council, it became policy immediately and, therefore, all faculty should have the statement in their Spring, 2014 syllabi. The recommended wording is accessible through the Disability Resource Center website. You can craft your own statement; just make sure it has all of the components and the same tone as the sample. For those who want to read the entire policy themselves, it can be found in the Academic Policies and Procedures Manual (APPM), Secton III, Item 3, H.

While we’re on the subject, the reason the University Council passed the resolution is because there are apparently still some (thankfully only a few) faculty members who feel students with disabilities should just pull themselves up by the bootstraps and try harder. Some think that accommodations are at the faculty member’s discretion. Not so. Complying with accommodations is the law and having the ADA statement in your syllabus is university policy. And treating students (and anyone else) with a disability with respect is the moral and ethical thing to do.

Since many of you have already dispensed your syllabi for the spring semester, if you didn’t include the accessability statement, rather than revise your syllabi, you might consider posting the statement in your Blackboard announcements or writing a brief statement and handing it out to your students. You might recall that in the May, 2012 issue of Faculty Matters, this topic was discussed and faculty were encouraged to include the accessability statement. A recent survey by Greg Long, chair of NIU's Presidential Commission on Persons with Disabilities, found that more than 80 percent of faculty do include such a statement; so for most of you, this is already part of your syllabi.

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Got provost?

Nominations, that is. The Provost search is underway. The advertisements appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education in early January. If you know of individuals who would be good candidates for the provost position, please let me know at arosenbaum@niu.edu and I will forward them to the search firm. Strong candidates will be individuals who are currently serving as either deans, vice presidents for research, or provosts. Your name will be associated with the nomination. According to our search firm, many of the best candidates result from faculty nominations.

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Let's do lunch

Faculty Club lunches will resume in February. The first two Faculty Club lunches were very successful. The food was good and the company better. We want to make the Faculty Club a regular event and we will increase the frequency of lunches if sufficient numbers of faculty participate. The dates for the spring semester will be as follows:

Wednesday, Feb. 5, Chandelier Room
Menu: South of the Border
RESERVATION DEADLINE Monday, Jan. 27.

Tuesday, March 4, Ellington's Hunt Room RESERVATION DEADLINE Monday, Feb. 24.

Thursday, March 20, Ellington's Hunt Room RESERVATION DEADLINE Monday, March 10.

Wednesday, April 9, Chandelier Room
Menu: Caesar Salad Buffet
RESERVATION DEADLINE Monday, March 31.

Thursday, April 24, Ellington's Hunt Room RESERVATION DEADLINE Monday, April 14.

Notice that the first lunch (Feb 5) and the fourth lunch (April 9) are in the Chandelier Room in Adams Hall. These will be served buffet style and the charge will be $11, inclusive. The buffet lunch will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with seating from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Those lunches held in Ellington’s will continue to be $10, inclusive. Menus will be posted on the Ellington's website as they are determined. Lunch will be open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with seating from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Lunches in Ellington’s will be limited to 50; those in the Chandelier Room will be capped at 80. As always, you will have to make a reservation in advance by emailing Pat Erickson. Please attend to the reservation deadlines.

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Spread the word, not just the cheese

The 1st Annual Faculty Holiday Wine and Cheese Social was held in the Altgeld Hall auditorium on Tuesday, Dec. 3. Our thanks to the NIU Foundation and Mike Malone, VP for University Advancement, for sponsoring the event. The social also served as a kick-off for our Faculty Fund Drive and highlighted the value and accomplishments of our Faculty Fund. It was a great way to end the semester despite the fact that only about 10 percent of our faculty attended. Mike and the foundation have generously agreed to support the event again next year and we hope attendance will improve as word of its greatness spreads. If you attended, please talk it up with your colleagues for next year.

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Tell us about your plus/minus experience

The fall semester was the first in which grades including plusses and minuses were able to be assigned to undergraduates. The Faculty Senate is monitoring the effects of the new grading system. If you taught an undergraduate course during the Fall, 2013 semester, please tell us what you thought of the new system by completing this brief anonymous survey.

Thanks for your help.

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Finally...

This is promising to be an interesting semester. We will be selecting a new provost, a new chief financial officer, and a new chief information officer. All three will play significant roles in shaping the future of NIU. There will be opportunities for faculty to meet many of the finalists in on-campus open forums and provide feedback. We will keep you posted. We are also keeping an eye on legislative doings in Springfield. The pension reform bill will be tested in the courts and whether the Illinois General Assembly extends the (temporary) income tax increase could have a major impact on the university, and the near-term likelihood of salary increments. Best wishes for a successful semester.

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Important Links
University Council
Faculty Senate
2013-14 Meeting Schedule
Academic Policies & Procedures Manual
Statement of Professional Ethics for Faculty
State Pension & Budget Update
Vision 2020

University Council and
Faculty Senate

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