September 8, 2016

Faculty senate embraces ‘year of transition’

By Phillip Lentsch–

U of L’s faculty senate discussed the tuition increase, the university budget and the search for a new president in their Sept. 7 meeting.

At the beginning of the meeting, faculty senate chair Pamela Feldhoff officially passed off the gavel, citing this meeting as her last in leading senate affairs. New senate chair Enid Trucio-Haynes led the rest of the meeting.

SGA Academic Vice President Meredith Cooksey spoke on the Sept. 6 SGA meeting. She discussed extended library hours and plans to expand the “Student of the Month” program. Cooksey will remain as a student liaison at all faculty senate meetings.

Many of the senators shared their thoughts on what qualities they found applicable for a new president.

“I think it needs to be non-negotiable that this person has an academic background,” one senator said.

Other senators want a new president who holds experience in the academic and business realm, citing recent events with the board of trustees and the tuition increase as relevant issues to tackle.

“I think some experience with economics would be important given the high standards of integrity and transparency that we hold this university to right now,” senator Valerie McCarthy said.

“I’d like to see somebody with a degree, but I also want someone who has executive experience at either a university or a large business,” senator Reginald Bruce said. “I want to see someone who can get things done.”

Trucio-Haynes touched on the possibility of an external search for the new president, but said that it’s still unsure. Questions were also raised about whether this new president – like former president James Ramsey – will also head the U of L Foundation. None of the senate was sure of whether the two positions were formally coupled, but Trucio-Haynes said that that issue would be clarified at the October senate meeting.

“It’s important for us to stay ahead of this so we can ensure the widest form of faculty involvement,” Trucio-Haynes said.

Acting Provost Dale Billingsley also spoke at the meeting, touching on the qualifications of the new freshmen class. Although the final numbers aren’t officially in, enrollment has gone up and this incoming class holds the largest amount of African American and Latino students in U of L’s history.

“Despite all that has occurred in the past few months, this freshmen class is one of the most well-qualified classes that U of L has ever seen,” Billingsley said.

Acting President Neville Pinto spoke on the status of U of L.

“This will be a year of transition, but in no way will it hinder our progress as an institution,” Pinto said. “We still plan on pursuing the 21st Century Initiative, as well as continuing our commitment to expanding U of L’s campus through construction and increased recruitment.”

Pinto spoke on many of the changes going on at U of L, ranging from ongoing construction at the SAC to the appointment of a new vice provost at U of L. He also gave a brief update on the two boards of trustees, but not much was said in regards to which body would be made permanent in the coming months.

Many senators also asked about the current accreditation process going on. According to Pinto, SACS plans on continuing its investigation into the board of trustees for the next few weeks, and will provide feedback before December.

“We should all keep in mind that accreditation is not a police action. It’s when a set of colleagues gather to make sure that the institution has been acting within its bounds,” Pinto said.

File photo / The Louisville Cardinal

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