Program change update: 9/2/2017

We continue to hear of program changes moving forward on campus. The fiscal sustainability plan presented to the BOT in July targeted the following programs for possible elimination:

  • BS and MS in Mining Engineering
  • BA in Business Economics
  • BS in Physical Education Teacher Education
  • BA in Africana Studies
  • MA in Political Science
  • Ph.D. in History

Among the other proposed changes we are aware of on campus are

  • A proposal to merge Curriculum and Instruction (C&I), Educational Administration and Higher Education (EAHE), and Workforce Education and Development (WED), into a new Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leadership in the College of Education and Human Services.
  • A proposal to add a Doctorate of Education in Administration in CoEHS.

Any faculty member concerned about changes at any point of discussion or implementation is encouraged to get in touch.

While we have generally worked productively with the administration to ensure proper implementation of Article 9, a serious difference about the meaning of the contract has developed and led to a grievance. The administration believes it has the authority to suspend admission of new students to a program at any time, and particularly when that program is under consideration for closure. Our view is that closing programs to new students effectively undermines the deliberative process Article 9 is meant to protect. The administration’s view essentially allows it to close a program first, then engage in deliberations about whether or not it should remain closed. The grievance has now been heard at the Chancellor level; failing resolution there, the FA has the right to appeal to a third-party arbitrator.

In this context it is worth noting that the Article 9 process does not seriously delay program changes when those changes are non-controversial, as it allows faculty to vote to waive their right to a 90 day period of deliberations before proposals can undergo a formal vote. What could and perhaps should delay program changes is the formation of a meaningful vision for the campus. It would seem to make little sense to pursue controversial program changes or mergers before a new vision is put in place.

The FA’s interest is not in stopping or endlessly delaying all program changes, but in ensuring that faculty, the campus experts on our curriculum, have a full opportunity to weigh in on major curricular changes.

About Dave Johnson
I'm an Associate Professor in Classics and currently (fall 2016) President of the SIUC Faculty Association.

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