Senate Chair Todd Eisenstadt reviewed the next steps for the Grade Inflation Committee report, noting the recommendation to appoint a new committee to implement the report. Bryan Fantie will chair the committee and Kyle Brannon will continue as a member.
Senate Past Chair Larry Engel reported on intentional mentorship initiatives pertaining to RiSE, in which faculty would learn to better engage with each other, staff, and students.
Dean of Academic Affairs Mary Clark and Dean of the School of Education Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy provided context for a new Target of Opportunity initiative. The initiative aims to recruit exceptional senior faculty who would enrich institutional diversity (demographic, intellectual, political, viewpoint, and methodologic). Several concerns were brought forward, including availability of resources and access to materials by the Committee on Faculty Actions.
Staff Council Co-Chair Keesha Ceran described the purpose and activities of the Staff Council, with the aim of partnering with the Faculty Senate in the future to, for example, positively enhance the campus climate. Larry Engel described a staff/faculty-faculty/staff collaboration award that will roll out in January 2017.
Lydia Fettig, Chair of the Ad-Hoc Faculty Committee on Expectations and Guidelines for Faculty Conduct, presented a revised committee report for discussion. With the addition of two friendly amendments, the Senate voted unanimously to accept the document.
Traci Callandrillo, Director of Counseling Center Services, clarified the institution’s services for student mental health. The Center provides free, confidential primary care: evaluations, individual treatment, group therapy, and triage for emergencies by appointment and drop-in. Referrals are sometimes made to off-campus treatment centers. Faculty and parents can consult with staff about at-risk students; faculty should notify the university about students of concern with a Care Report.
Todd Eisenstadt initiated a conversation on how the Senate can contribute to civil discourse, encourage campus climate moderation, and create productive learning spaces. Discussion followed. Senators, visiting faculty, and Student Government President Devontae Torriente advocated for Senate action.
The formal resolution, approved 20-0-0 was:
In coordination with groups inside and outside of American University, prior to the presidential inauguration the Faculty Senate will organize a university community teach-in.