What is Academic Senate doing?

What is Academic Senate doing?

by Destiny Caster

The Academic Senate recommends policies on curriculum, academic standards and other matters that affect faculty and students. During the fall semester, they are focusing on addressing equity and anti-racism and any roadblocks to education.  

The Academic Senate at CI is the collective voice of the faculty that shares the governance of CI with administration. Its purpose is to be involved in decision making revolving around the academic environment on campus. Faculty members have the responsibility of curating the curriculum and looking at how faculty are hired and promoted.  

The chair of the Academic Senate, Gregory Wood, stated, “We can weigh in on all academic policies and practices, especially those around faculty and administrative hiring.” Education is their highest concern. The Academic Senate’s main goal is to promote academic excellence at CI. By setting this goal, they are looking at key factors to promote academic excellence in the foremost concern of ensuring all campus resources are being used for the benefit of student learning.  

With election day around the corner, members of the Academic Senate are carefully considering a resolution to make it easier for everyone to vote.  

Along with voting in this year’s election, the Academic Senate voted on creating a new minor in Africana Studies. Wood told The CI View that the “faithful implementation of Assembly Bill 1460” is proposed to be added as an ethnic studies course as well as a graduation requirement for all students, without increasing units for graduation. The voting took place at their Sept. 29 meeting along with discussing a “set of shared definitions of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.” Wood shared. The proposed minor received letters of support from CI’s Chair of Political Science, Sean Kelly, as well as from Vandana Kohli, the Dean of Arts and Sciences. 

When asked the question, “Are there any current policy changes or decisions that the Academic Senate will be addressing?” Wood responded, “Perhaps the issue that we are most passionate about is Black Lives Matter and anti-racism.”  In the recent events of the murders of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Memorial Day, May 25, and Breonna Taylor by the Louisville police officers on March 13, national responses have “many faculty urgently wanting to root out institutional racism on campus.” Wood stated.   

The Academic Senate is designing a new committee specifically on equity and anti-racism. In broader terms, the committee is looking to improve communication so that roadblocks to education can be “addressed more quickly and improve policies to ensure fairness for everyone,” Wood stated.  

“Last year we laid the groundwork for greater faculty participation in the budget process and in a stronger faculty voice across campus and I expect this faculty voice to result in better educational opportunities for all students.” 

The work that faculty do through the Academic Senate continues to strengthen the University. Their goal is the protect and raise academic standards so students can continue to have access to higher education. The work they do increases the meaning and value of a degree at CI and improves the learning experience for all CI students and the environment they are in. 

For more information, visit https://senate.csuci.edu/ 

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