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The Antelope

Chancellor gives faculty a rundown of initiatives

Chancellor Doug Kristensen updated the Faculty Senate at their March 2 meeting and thanked them for their work in the reduction in force earlier this year.

According to the Society of Human Resource Management, Reduction in Force is defined as removing a position with no intent to replace it. This leads to employee terminations.

The university announced the elimination of six faculty positions in December, amongst the art, geography, music and philosophy programs.

“It is never easy to take lines and people,” Kristensen said. “It just isn’t — it’s hard. It’s hard for all of us. Mainly because we know everyone.”

Four positions in geography and philosophy were eliminated following a review of the university’s staffing loads. Additionally, two unfilled positions in art and music will go unfilled. Kristensen said this reduction is being used as an example at other universities for potential budget and staffing cuts of their own. This process reflects a shift in higher education budgeting.

“The days where we just go cross the board and everybody takes a 3% haircut (funding cut) is probably over,” Kristensen said.

Chancellor Kristensen also commented on the higher levels of student engagement this semester. An example includes the quick ticket sales for this spring’s Yung Gravy concert.  Student excitement for events helps with retention rates and building a sense of community that has been hard to build in the aftermath of COVID.

Some students have said they are afraid to walk across campus at night, not because of the darkness, but because of who they are. Kristensen praised the efforts of Chief Diversity Officer Maha Younes. The longtime social work professor was selected for the position over the summer of 2021. 

The potential for artificial intelligence in the classroom was also addressed. Kristensen thanked current faculty senate president Derek Boeckner for his work in helping find solutions with potential academic integrity issues. Boeckner went before the student senate earlier in the semester to hear what students thought about AI.

Later in the meeting, George Holman presented on the TargetX software the university is working to bring online for student success purposes. Renee Zimmer also talked about student organization training for advisers. Training would involve learning the Presence software, which the campus uses to organize all campus groups. Advisers would also have the opportunity to learn about the application process for university program faculty fees (UPFF) and LoperNites funding.

Faculty senate meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the first Thursday of every month. For the month of April, there is an extra meeting to wrap up the senate’s business for the academic year.

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