The faculty at Southeastern Louisiana University are involved in Southeastern's academic and institutional governance through participation in the curriculum development process, appointments to institution-wide committees, the Faculty Senate, and appointments to college- and departmental-level committees.
Faculty Participation in Curriculum Development Process
Southeastern faculty members are integral participants in determining the curricula across the University. The University Curriculum Council (UCC) must approve any and all changes to degree program curricula for programs at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. The composition of the UCC is broad-based, consisting of the following members:
- The Chair and Vice Chair of the College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee,
- Chair of the College of Basic Studies Curriculum Committee,
- Chair of the College of Business and Technology Curriculum Committee,
- Chair of the College of Education and Human Development Curriculum Committee,
- Chair of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences Curriculum Committee,
- Chair of the Graduate Council,
- Member of the Sims Library Staff, and
- Representative of the Student Government Association.
The process through which curriculum changes are made starts at the department level. As outlined in the University Curriculum Council Guidelines and Procedures for Submitting Catalogue Changes, each department is required to establish a curriculum committee, consisting of at least three full-time faculty members. The chair of the committee will normally serve as the representative to the college curriculum committee. Proposed curriculum changes can be initiated by the department head or by any faculty member, through the department head. When the department curriculum committee takes favorable action, the chair forwards the request to the department head who, in turn, reviews the materials and approves or disapproves the proposed curriculum changes. If the department head does not approve a proposed change, he/she is required to have additional dialogue and interaction with the department curriculum committee. Ultimately, proposed curriculum changes must be approved by the college curriculum committee before they are forwarded to the University Curriculum Committee.
University Councils and Committees
Southeastern's faculty actively participate in managing the academic environment of the University through participation in a variety of institution-wide committees, which are described in the Faculty Handbook (Part IX, Section A). Faculty are appointed to University councils, including
- Academic Affairs Council
- Council for Teacher Education
- Graduate Council
- University Curriculum Council
- University Planning Council
Faculty participate in decision-making across a broad spectrum of university governance by serving on the following University standing committees:
- Alumni Committee
- Athletics Committee
- Campus Grounds and Beautification Committee
- Campus Media Committee
- Commencement Committee
- Committee on Laboratory and Other Academic Support Fees
- Continuing Education and Special Activities Committee
- Discipline Committee
- Employee Advisory Committee
- Faculty Excellence Committee
- Honors Committee
- Institutional Effectiveness Committee
- Institutional Review Board
- Library Committee
- Lion's Pride Committee
- Minority Affairs Advisory Committee
- Radiation Safety Committee
- Research and Grants Committee
- Safety Committee
- Technology Oversight Committee
- Traffic and Parking Committee
- University Calendar Committee
Before the end of each academic year, faculty members communicate to the President of the Faculty Senate their preferences for service on university committees for the year to come, based on their knowledge, skills, and interests. The Faculty Senate President then assigns faculty members to these university committees for specific terms, based upon both their individually indicated choices and his/her judgment for achieving broad representation from across the university community. This recommendation is forwarded on to the Provost, and at the beginning of each academic year the Office of Academic Affairs communicates, in both printed form and on the web, the composition of University councils and standing committees for that academic year.
Southeastern's Faculty Senate
The Faculty Senate's participative role in university governance is explicitly described in Part IX Section B of the Faculty Handbook. The Faculty Senate Constitution and Bylaws were jointly agreed upon by Southeastern's President and the faculty in 1978 when the body originated. The three purposes of the Faculty Senate are
To serve as a representative voice of the faculty. The President of the Faculty Senate serves as a voting member of the Academic Affairs Council and of the University Planning Council.
To provide a means of communication between faculty and the Chief Administrative Officer of the University.
a. To provide a means whereby the administration, through the Chief Administrative Officer of the University, may refer matters of common faculty interest to a body representing the faculty.
b. To provide a means whereby the faculty can offer suggestions or recommendations to the Chief Administrative Officer of the University pertaining to matters of common faculty interest.
To accept and share responsibility with administration and students in all efforts to improve the stature and the usefulness of the University.
This joint commitment has proven true over the past twenty-five years. Southeastern's Faculty Senate addresses issues of importance to the entire institution, ranging from academic and procedural matters to concerns over facilities, athletics, and faculty welfare. The Faculty Senate has an advisory role in institutional governance, and its leaders have enjoyed a cooperative and synergistic relationship with Southeastern's administration over the course of many years.
An example of the interplay between the Faculty Senate and Southeastern's administration can be seen in the manner in which Senate action leads to constructive change at the University. In the 2003-2004 academic year, the Faculty Senate passed a total of twenty-eight resolutions dealing with a wide variety of subjects, including
- Day Care
- Plagiarism and high-tech cheating
- Smoking on campus
- Sabbatical leaves
- Withdrawals, and
- Change of grades.
In the 2003-2004 academic year, the Faculty Senate also deliberated University policy changes in the areas of
- Academic dishonesty
- Intellectual property
- Multiple catalogues, and
- Distance learning.
The Senate investigated (through its committee structure), discussed, and passed resolutions on each of these policy changes, which affected the entire campus. The Faculty Senate President, who is a voting member of the Academic Affairs Council, then presented the faculty's position on these policies to the University's Academic Affairs Council before the policies were approved and implemented.
The President of the University
responds annually to the Senate's resolutions from the prior academic year. These are posted on the Faculty Senate's web site. An example of the administration's reaction to the Faculty Senate's actions can be seen in the University's current smoking policy, which came about as a result of the Senate's call for such a policy in 2002. The Senate and the administration have partnered to help make the University's smoking policy a success for Southeastern's faculty, staff, and students.
College and Departmental Committees
In addition to the Faculty Senate and participation in institution-wide committees, faculty members are also active participants in college- and department-level committees. Serving in both appointed and elected roles, faculty members on these committees help to develop missions and strategies, shape curriculum, set policies, and influence decisions on a myriad of issues. This service dedication is one of the hallmarks of Southeastern, as committed, devoted faculty members of all ranks and in all colleges contribute in a multitude of ways to the quality of the University and its programs.
An example of how the committee system works within Southeastern's respective colleges can be found in the College of Education and Human Development (COEHD). The College is comprised of the following academic departments: Educational Leadership and Technology, Human Development, and Teaching and Learning. Faculty from these three areas combine to carry-out the overall mission of the College, which is
to maximize the development of our students for leadership roles in education and human service professions, and society in general. COEHD programs provide quality instruction which incorporates multiple learning service experiences, contributions to research and other scholarly activity, and the wise use of technology. To fulfill this mission faculty model the joy of lifelong learning, the celebration of diversity, and the provision of caring service. We strive to empower individuals to change their world in large and small, but ever-significant ways.
The mission is partially achieved through service on various college-wide and departmental committees. On the college level, service is given to the following standing committees:
Faculty serve on a variety of departmental level committees that further the mission of the University, their college, and their respective departments. Examples include
- Educational Leadership and Technology
- Content Area Committee, which plans the cycle of courses on and off campus;
- Advisory Council, which works on redesign issues, plan collaborative projects, and collaborates on funding opportunities;
- Teaching and Learning
- Curriculum Advisory Council, which is made up of the chairs for each of the sub committees for PK-3, 1-5, 4-8, Secondary Education, Master of Arts in Teaching, Special Education, and Graduate Curriculum and Instruction, meets regularly to discuss curriculum issues such as catalogue changes, course consistency, redesign, etc.
- Assessment Committee, which works with the department's Assessment Coordinator on types of information to be collected in Passport (performance assessment support system utilizing a web-based portal), as well as other evaluation instruments;
- Peer Evaluation Committee, made up of senior faculty as well as new faculty, who are researching alternative evaluation methods for faculty teaching;
- Portfolio Review Committee, which reviews student portfolio requirements and assessments.
This example demonstrates how faculty members are active participants in University and academic governance at Southeastern at all levels. Faculty participation on committees and councils and through organizations like Faculty Senate is highly encouraged, and annual faculty evaluations reflect participation in such service activities.