Faculty senate delays vote on strategic plan one week due to pushback

Photo courtesy calvin.edu.
Photo courtesy calvin.edu.

Faculty senate delayed a crucial vote to approve the new strategic plan one week to Monday, Dec. 16 at 4:45 p.m. after several faculty senators voiced concerns about the timeline for the document Monday night.

The original plan was to hold the vote next Monday, after receiving a final draft this Friday.

Faculty and staff are expected to receive the final draft of the strategic plan on the Tuesday before the vote.

The senate also voted to allow a replacement members to vote, in the case a sitting senator can’t come to the new meeting.

The motion to postpone the vote on the strategic plan emerged after faculty senators debated the need for more time to discuss the upcoming revised draft.

History professor Dan Miller was one of several senators who voiced their concern over the time constraint.

“I didn’t want to see us get this on a Friday and vote on a Monday over a weekend during final exams because that just struck me as a very hasty and unrealistic expectation that we could read the document with any attention and receive any comment that could make our consent an informed one,” said Miller.

Faculty senate vice chair Jennifer Holberg also supported the decision.

“It makes good sense to take this extra time. I remain confident that the good work of the editing group will result in a document that senate can vote on on Dec. 16.”

President Michael Le Roy emphasized the importance of a collective backing of the strategic plan.

“We’re trying to get to a point where we have a document we all can approve, and in the long run, we also want a plan that everyone believes in,” he said.

In response to the constrained discussion period, engineering professor David Wunder, a member of the subcommittee tasked with revising the draft, explained that the timeline was more of circumstance than intentional.

“We’ve been under time constraints and that poses some challenges. I think reviewing it over a weekend really wasn’t an intention; it was more of a circumstance of the process,” said Wunder. “I don’t think anybody intended that there be a weekend for a review, but given the time constraints, that’s what we ended up with.”

But since some senators said that one more week wasn’t long enough, Le Roy did not rule out the possibility of pushing the vote back again.

“We might be able to get an approval in December, but if it takes a little longer to get a document that the community can get behind and believe in, that’s something I’m willing to get behind and consider,” Le Roy said.

Miller believed that the issue of delaying the strategic plan vote was centered on two competing imperatives.

“One imperative was that if the document is being rewritten to accommodate the comments that were made by the divisions of the faculty, we want to see how those comments have been incorporated into the document before we vote on it,” said Miller. “The more time we have to see that document and share it with our colleagues in our department, the more informed our consent can be and the more comfortable we feel about approving it.”

While the additional time has been appreciated by many senators, Wunder also pointed out that pushing the date back farther wouldn’t yield much change.

“As you work on a project and invest more time in it, the amount of change and amount of improvement that you can impart decreases with time,” said Wunder. “I don’t think another month will make a big difference in the plan itself but I do know that folks would like more time to spend with the plan so they can have time to reflect on it.”

Economics professor Scott Vander Linde also echoed Wunder’s sentiments.

“I think there are diminishing returns to the more time. If we don’t do it in the next two weeks, we almost have to go months out, and I don’t think that extra time will produce anything much more valuable than what we have right now,” said Vander Linde.

About the Author

Alden Hartopo

Alden Hartopo is the Chimes campus news co-editor for the 2013-14 school year. He is a junior from Jakarta, Indonesia studying International Relations and Economics. He believes that all forms of journalism function as an indispensable third party to facilitate communication, transparency and dialogue for students, faculty and staff.

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