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Davis is new Faculty Senate chairman, Childress next in line

By Matt Kelly

Marcia D. ChildressMarcia Childress was nominated to run unopposed for chairwoman-elect of the Faculty Senate.

Childress, whose name was placed in nomination May 7 at a Senate meeting in the Rotunda Dome Room, will serve as chairwoman-elect for the 2003-04 academic year and then chair of the Senate in 2004-05.

“I have a real and practical interest in inter-school collaboration,” said Childress, co-director of Humanities in Medicine at the Medical School. Having different disciplines working together is invigorating for the faculty members involved and for the University, she said.

Childress is also interested in recruiting and retaining diverse faculty, especially “women and other underrepresented groups,” she said.

Robert J. Davis was the sole nominee for secretary of the Faculty Senate’s executive committee.

Nominated for three seats on the Executive Council this year were Marian Moore, M. Norman Oliver, Rebecca Kneedler, William Kehoe, Claire Cronmiller and Ellen Contini-Morava. Council terms are for three years, with the University president, Faculty Senate chairman, chairman-elect, immediate past chairman and secretary, as well as the chairs of the Academic Affairs and Research and Scholarship committees, all serving as ex officio members. Seven council members are elected by the Faculty Senate.

Robert E. DavisCurrent chairman Michael J. Smith, in handing the chairmanship over to Robert E. Davis, recounted his year at the helm. He reminded members of the Senate’s support for the University’s involvement with the Mount Graham observatory, adding a non-voting faculty member to the Board of Visitors and endorsement of a tuition increase.

The Faculty Senate has also taken an active role in diversity issues.

“We need a diverse faculty that looks more like the community it serves,” Smith said.

In other business, the Senate is working with the Center for Undergraduate Excellence, which assists undergraduate research, to turn over administration of the Harrison Undergraduate Research Grants program, Childress said in her report from the Research and Scholarship Committee. Details are still being negotiated, but she hopes to have the transition in place by the summer. The Faculty Senate will still be heavily involved in the selection and review processes.


For information about the Faculty Senate, including reports and upcoming committee and full Senate meetings, visit its Web site.

The committee is also trying to change how the Harrison money is paid. Currently, she said, students are reimbursed for research-related expenses, which can create problems because students have to spend their own money up front. The money should be paid out as a fellowship, Childress said.

The committee also hopes to change how grant money is paid to faculty mentors. The committee had hoped to pay the money into a research account, but Childress said this was not possible this year because of tax considerations.

An online system of course evaluations is moving forward, according to Academic Affairs committee Chairman Robert

O’Connell. He said the committee had made some suggestions about the program, which is run with volunteer respondents this year. He predicted it would be several years before the program is fully in place.

The ROTC committee reported a sharp increase in interest in the program. The Air Force ROTC detachment has increased 35 percent over the last year, and six of its seven third-year cadets have been selected for pilot training. The Army ROTC has been ranked in top 15 percent of programs nationwide for the second year in a row and has its largest first-year class in 15 years.


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