During Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting, Regent Martin Jacobs announced he will not seek re-election, committee discussed classification change
Story by Alicia Steele, Staff writer
Martin Jacobs announced during the Faculty Senate meeting Tuesday that he will not seek re-election for faculty regent after his term expires in June. He told his fellow faculty members he is in good health as of now but does not see another three-year term in his future.
Jacobs, an education professor, won a special election to serve as faculty regent starting in October 2014 to replace Renee Fister after she accepted the position of senior presidential adviser for strategic initiatives.
Marjorie Hilton, associate professor of history, introduced a proposal during Tuesday’s meeting to ask the university to rethink the naming of Murray State’s classification system of freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors. Hilton said other universities have chosen alternative names, such as “first-year students” instead of freshman.
The senate’s Academic Policies Committees, which has discussed the issue, sent faculty senate members a memo last month saying the classification names “are somewhat problematic” because the term “freshmen” excludes women, “‘sophomore’ is a little too close to sophomoric, ‘junior’ is too diminutive and ‘senior’ is too overtly hierarchical,” according to the memo.
The memo said coming up with alternative names could be opportunity for Murray State to “call attention to its own traditions and distinctions.” As an example, “Mustang” could be used for a freshman, “Blazer” for a sophomore, “Palomino” for a junior and “Secretariat” for a senior. Hilton said the ultimate decision would be up to the academic council.
She also said she is concerned about the retention rate of faculty members, especially amid the threat of more state budget cuts. Hilton said this year three faculty job candidates have turned down Murray State and two refused to come to campus. She also said last year around 70 faculty members left Murray State.
Also during the meeting, David Roach, chair of the finance committee, reported on the tuition model, including members who voiced their concerns about the proposal to add a 50 percent surcharge for tuition over 15 credit hours.
In this model, the number of scholarships would be raised while the “floor” of where students start receiving scholarships would lowered.
The Board of Regents will hold a special meeting on May 15 to debate this model, Jacobs said.
Paula Amols, director of Dining Services and Racer Hospitality, said faculty and staff have a meal plan that allows them to add dining dollars to their ID cards like students can add flex dollars with a 10 percent bonus.
“The more I talk to people on campus, the clearer it becomes that not everyone is clear on the services we have,” Amols said.
Peter Murphy, director of the university studies program, offered his concerns about the university studies assessments.
Murphy said the challenge will be getting faculty who teach university studies courses to collect and share data and interpret it to know what to do with it.
However, university studies is still a state mandate.
“We are not masters of this enterprise,” said Taufiq Rashid, senior lecturer of history. “We answer to a higher master if you will.”
Correction: The caption to our photo previously identified the location of the meeting as Business Building South. That is incorrect. The meeting was in Business Building North. The News regrets the error.