Faculty Senate approves new major in ecology


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8:56 a.m., Dec. 10, 2010----A new provisional major and honors major in ecology were among the items approved by the University of Delaware Faculty Senate during its regularly scheduled meeting, held Monday, Dec. 6, in Gore Hall.

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The new five-year provisional ecology and honors ecology majors will be interdisciplinary, with the Department of Biological Sciences supplying the training in the basic tenets of biology and the Department of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology offering courses related to diversity, behavior and ecological interactions among organisms.

Senators also approved the establishment of a provisional honors bachelor of science in marine science with a concentration in marine biology. The five-year provisional establishment of the major is effective Feb. 7, 2011.

Academic degrees approved on a provisional basis are subject to approval by the UD Board of Trustees after the provisional time period has passed and the Faculty Senate has reviewed the degree program and recommended permanent status for the degree.

A discussion on the listing of religious holidays on the UD academic calendar yielded several suggestions, including not listing any religious holidays, listing all religious holidays or adding the list of religious holidays as an attachment to the academic calendar. The matter was referred back to the executive committee.

Consent agenda

Senators approved a request to revise the English education major, with the goal of building a nationally prominent undergraduate English education program at UD.

The proposed changes will allow UD English education majors to meet or exceed all 42 National Council of Teachers of English standards and will ensure continuing national program accreditation.

To make room for the sufficient treatment of all 42 required categories necessary for national program accreditation, the number of required history courses will be reduced. Advisers will recommend that students take history courses as part of their Group B requirements.

Consent agenda items do not require the approval of the UD Board of Trustees.

Provost report

UD Provost Tom Apple reported that representatives of the Faculty Senate Promotion and Tenure Committee are meeting with representatives of the American Association of University Professors to resolve differences between the faculty handbook and the collective bargaining agreement.

Apple also said that UD is in the middle of its first University-wide search for faculty positions (http://www.denin.udel.edu/employment-opportunities) in the Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN).

“We have had upwards of 100 applications for these positions, and we are expecting that number to exceed 200 to 300 applicants,” Apple said. “The search is interdisciplinary, and all UD departments are eligible. I have encouraged all department chairs to identify candidates and bring them to the attention of Dan Leathers, who is chairing the search.”

Apple also reminded senators of his continued efforts to strengthen student writing and communication skills across the curriculum and to develop a more equitable system of faculty evaluations.

“I would much rather see the focus based on what students feel they are learning in the class,” Apple said. “I personally feel that we should not focus so much on whether the faculty member is popular with the students, but how much they learned by taking the course.”

The next Faculty Senate meeting will be held at 4 p.m., Monday, Feb. 7, in 104 Gore Hall.

Article by Jerry Rhodes