Senate endorses midterm plan

Senate endorses midterm plan

One hour was definitely not put to waste at the last faculty senate meeting of the year, which was on Tuesday morning.

Several issues were voted on, including changes to course and major degree requirements, approval of next year’s travel interterm courses and an agreement on the May graduates. Hot topics at the meeting were free speech and midterm grades.

Professor of Speech Communication Susan Emel brought a motion to the floor urging Baker University to condemn the theft of the April 7 issue of the Baker Orange newspaper, as it was not only a loss of money, but a loss of free speech.

“The faculty senate condemns the recent theft of nearly $2,500 from The Baker Orange and the attending loss of free student expression,” Emel’s resolution said. “Further, we would like to go on record as supporting the right to free speech and press at Baker University and opposing censorship in all forms.”

Baker Orange Editor Jen Thierer expressed her concern at the meeting.

“The money is not what matters,” Thierer said. “Because someone disagreed with something in the paper, they tried to silence it…Censorship is not an appropriate response to this action.”

The motion passed with the support of all faculty senate members present.

Detailed discussion also arose concerning the question of whether professors should be required to submit mid-term grades to all students. This would formally inform students where they stand academically so they can avoid academic caution status.

Currently, faculty are only required to submit mid-term grades to freshmen and transfer students.

Results of a recent survey sent out to faculty came in with large amounts of support for the proposal. In addition, a student opinion was brought in via the Web site by Student Senate President Ryan Boyer, which reflected that of the 50 random students surveyed, all of them were in favor of the change.

Assistant Professor of History John Richards was in favor of the proposed mid-term policy.

“Mid-terms would help redirect probation instead of waiting for a full year for these habits to blossom and develop,” Richards said.

Probation is the next penalty placed on students after academic caution. Richards, along with many other faculty members, agreed the submission of midterm grades to all students would allow students to be referred to the Learning Resource Center after only a quarter at Baker instead of a full semester.

A motion was passed with the majority of the faculty in favor of adopting the new policy. The revision stated that students who have midterm GPAs of less than 2.0 would be placed on academic caution for the remainder of the semester, and students who earn a semester GPA below a 2.0 would either be placed on academic probation or declared ineligible to enroll.