Faculty Senate discusses different policies


State Hornet Staff

The Sacramento State Faculty Senate sessions for the 2015-16 academic year continued on Thursday, March 3 in the University Union Foothill Suite.

The session focused on amendments to the probationary appointment, faculty position duties of department chairs, and field trip policies.

“If you want to exclude the department chair from voicing an opinion, then you probably have deeper problems within your department,” said Anthony Sheppard, professor of recreation, parks, and tourism administration.

Nominees for Committee on Committees were also chosen during the meeting. Each college was allocated three to seven nominees.

Choosing new nominees each year ensures the “units…[are] provided with more home rule; give units the opportunity to set the ground rules for their Search Committees; lessen the likelihood of noncompliance; and, make some Search Committee requirements less cumbersome,” according to the March 3 Faculty Senate Agenda.

The Senate also discussed enacting a field trip policy during the Thursday session, causing considerable confusion and spurring a passionate discussion.

“My concern with the language as it stood was that, if it was strictly interpreted, any course a faculty member [has] would be required to provide alternative assignment for a student if they decided that they were unwilling to accept the risk associated with participation in the field trip,” said Maureen Smith, a kinesiology and health science professor. “This would create a situation where a student could enroll for a field class …decline participation … and it would be the obligation of the instructor to have a parallel set of assignments to make up for that.”

Other senate members voiced similar concerns to Smith.

“I think this is unnecessary, because we are making a provision for an eventuality. The only case in which I think changing the perceptions of risk for students … makes sense if a faculty member changes something about the trip,” said Harvey Stark, a humanities and religious studies professor. “Because students at any point change their perception of what a course is like … I think there is a provision here that we are doing too much … it is pretty clear as it stands.”

The meeting adjourned early, with Faculty Senate Chair Sylvester “Jim” Bowie saying there was not enough time left for all involved to voice their concerns.