University Senate Round-up: Senate Changes Definition of “Student”

The University Senate voted to amend the definition of what constitutes a “student” last week to allow greater access to university services over the summer.

Under the changes, “continuing students” would receive access to university services over the summer, even when not presently enrolled, if they are registered for the upcoming Fall semester. Previously, such a student would not receive access to the university health clinic or university housing when not enrolled for classes, for instance.

Expansion of Committee on Student Discipline

Due to an “increased workload ” of the Committee on Student Discipline, the University Senate voted to expand  the total number of faculty members on the committee by three, increasing the total number of members to 14.

The Committee on Student Discipline meets to determine the guilt of serious violations of the student code of conduct. Although the Student Judicial Board also deals with violations of the code, only the CSD can rule on matters dealing with academic dishonesty or sexual assault.

“We’ve opened up the pool of members that can sit on the committee simple because we are dealing with so, so many of them,” said Allison Renyi, the chief justice of the Student Judicial Board. “We’re working a lot with athletics because there has been a rise in the number of athletes who have been accused of committing academic dishonesty.”

However, athletes aren’t the only ones with honor code violations, according to Renyi. Indeed, the University Senate also considered a motion last Thursday regarding the school’s policy towards the revocation of degrees from those found guilty of plagiarism, in particular graduate students.

“There’s also been a rise in the number of grad students who have even received degrees in the past decade that it has come to the attention of the university that parts of their masters or doctoral theses might have been plagiarized, and those degrees are now in question,” Renyi said.

President Becker praises expected state funding with exceptions

President Becker began the meeting by discussing the Georgia Legislature’s new session and the funding implications for the university.

Becker praised the Governor Deal’s recent “State of the State” where the governor emphasized the importance of education funding and expressed his confidence in getting education funded as a priority, as opposed to years previous.

“It’s a small thing in there, and it has no dollar signs attached to it, but the governor said very clearly that he has confidence in the University System of Georgia. This is very much a positive because in the political framework of the last few years that has not always been the view of the Hill,” Becker said.

President Becker also briefed the University Senate that the school would be trimming down its budget by two percent, per the governor’s request, although the cuts would not be as drastic as other years where the school did not have advance warning.

Finally, President Becker called the restoration of formula funding and special project funding into the state higher-education budget “very important” and necessary for continued growth, although he said he still hoped for salary raises for public employees this legislative session.

Georgia State will accept foreign credits

In an effort to become “welcoming to students from around the world,” the university will now begin to grant credit for foreign subject examinations, beginning Fall 2012.

Similar to the rationale for the university to accept credit for high scoring International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement exams, the Office of Admissions will receive score reports and each department will determine, on a case-by-case basis, whether to give credit or not.

Summer faculty pay cap raised

In 2009, the university instituted a nine percent faculty salary cap, a one percent decrease from years previous, for summer classes to cut costs. The University Senate voted to raise the cap back to 10 percent because of “an improving economy and state revenues, yet given the fourth year of no faculty pay raises,” according to the motion.

The vote passed unanimously.

Senate adopts revised promotion and tenure manual

The update manual improves on the previous tenure and promotion track by adding several more levels of qualification for promotion.

Under the new process, each candidate for promotion or tenure must provide a minimum of five letters of reference, a statement on his or her promotional track and a more rigorous evaluation process to include additional standards added into the new manual

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