The Penn State Faculty Senate will meet today to discuss topics including showing support for Rodney Erickson and the Board of Trustees, and the ratio of fixed-term to standing faculty.
The Faculty Senate will discuss expressing its support for Penn State President Rodney Erickson and the university’s Board of Trustees, according to the agenda.
In light of one of the most intense years the university has seen, the Faculty Senate will discuss affirming its “commitment to furthering the cultures of excellence” at the university, Thomas Beebee wrote, according to the agenda.
University Park Undergraduate Association Academic Affairs Chairman Rick Pooler, who also sits on the Faculty Senate, said the resolution from the Oct. 16 meeting would be an expression in support of Erickson, the board and people who have been sexually abused.
Senate Chairman Larry Backer said he has intentionally abstained from taking a position on the resolution to ensure that all voices were heard in the debate.
“This is something that I think ought to come from, and be an expression of, the senate without feeling like they’re being managed by the leadership,” Backer said. “I really want the senate to speak from their heart.”
The Senate will also hear a presentation about the increasing trend in the ratio of fixed-term faculty to standing, or tenured-track, faculty.
According to appendix C of the meeting agenda, the Senate committee on intra-university relations recommends that the Senate discuss whether “a threshold for the ratio of standing faculty to fixed-term faculty be established.”
“It’s just an information report, so it’s not really proposing a course of action,” Pooler (junior-electrical engineering) said. “I don’t know if [whether or not a professor is tenure-track is] necessarily the best measure of what makes someone a good, proficient professor.”
According to the agenda, Vice President of Student Affairs Damon Sims will also give a presentation during the meeting, detailing some of the “alcohol issues at Penn State.”
The meeting will be held in the Kern Graduate Building at 1:30 p.m.
Backer said he would like to see more student discourse in the Faculty Senate because Senators need student perspective when making decisions.
“I would be delighted to work with students through their organizations more closely to make sure that student opinions are given much more weight,” he said.
Backer said students can become more involved in university government by reaching out to the student organizations in which they’re involved.
The next meeting of the faculty senate will be held on Jan. 29.
Collegian staff writer Mitchell Culler contributed to this report.