Academic Senate Update
by Joan McDonough | published Mar. 14th, 2014
The Academic Senate meeting on March 6, 2014 covered three main topics: the Smoking Policy, the Strategic Planning Initiative and RIT Policy E7.0.
The Smoking Policy
The Task Force for the Smoking Policy, instated in October 2012, is co-chaired by Assistant Vice President for Student Wellness Donna Rubin and Associate Director for Wellness Michael Stojkovic. It was established as a wellness initiative for RIT. The task force is comprised of students, faculty and staff.
The proposal is set to go before the Institute Council May 7. In preparation, the co-chairs presented the proposed policy to Academic Senate to request their endorsement. The policy would ban all tobacco use on RIT owned property as well as e-cigarettes. Tobacco use could not be prohibited inside privately owned vehicles, however.
If passed, the task force intends to change the smoking culture at RIT to one of compliance through a 12- to 18-month-long campaign before the policy is set in action. They framed such a culture in opposition to one that would necessitate enforcement of the policy.
In September 2013, the task force was asked to survey RIT’s international students. Of RIT’s 2,106 international students, 555 responded to the survey. Of these 555 students, approximately 60 percent stated that they would support restricting smoking on campus, while 20 percent opposed the proposed revisions.
“We were surprised to get the overwhelming support of the international students,” Stojkovic said.
There was a field in the survey to indicate whether or not the responding students were smokers but that data was unavailable at the Academic Senate meeting. Other student input was gathered through open forums and from the students directly involved in the task force. Nearly 1,200 campuses have already moved to this smoke-free environment and the task force looked to these during their time of research.
Academic Senate voted to endorse the policy to Institute Council with 17 members endorsing the policy, three opposing it and eight abstaining.
Strategic Planning Initiative
This second presentation was an update given by Provost Dr. Jeremy Haefner and Vice President for Strategic Planning and Special Initiatives Dr. Kit Mayberry. This ten year plan — though Mayberry says most of RIT’s Strategic plans don’t last that long — is still in its early stages.
The strategic dimensions or pillars of this plan are student success, global engagement and international education, research and graduate education, curricular innovation and creativity, diversity and organizational agility. This is simply a working list and will more than likely be shaped as the plan evolves.
The Strategic Plan will be created through the use of task forces, each focusing on a particular strategic dimension. Their final reports will be due to the Strategic Planning Initiative Steering Committee by May 12, 2014. The final plan is not set to be approved by the Trustees until mid-November 2014.
The task force will be comprised of students, faculty and staff from all areas of the RIT community.
Policy E7.0 Annual Review and Development of Faculty
Tom Policano, associate professor in the Arts & Imaging Studies Department of NTID, proposed some changes to Policy E7.0 on behalf of the Faculty Affairs Committee.
The section under review determines how faculty members are to be evaluated by their immediate supervisors. This was a first look at the proposed changes by Academic Senate; they will be revisited.
The majority of the discussion on this topic revolved around the semantics of the added or altered categories of performance and their corresponding descriptions. Other proposed changes include making longer-term lecturers eligible for this annual review, having evaluation guidelines created by each college for classes not currently in the SmartEval system and saving copies of the evaluations in the respective deans’ offices.