Faculty Discuss Changes to Fall Academic Calendar
Issue   |   Wed, 02/18/2015 - 01:28

The faculty discussed changes to the academic calendar, accreditation for Five College certification programs and archival of theses at the first faculty meeting of the calendar year on Feb. 17.

Following opening remarks from the president, Dean of the Faculty Catherine Epstein presented the minutes of the Committee of Six, which met on Feb. 16. The committee had discussed, then rejected changes to the faculty tenure policy. The committee had also talked about changes to the position of academic department chair, with the goal of decreasing the workload and increasing the authority and compensation of the position.

The faculty then held a minute of silence in memory of former faculty member Rose Olver, the first woman to be appointed to a tenure-track position at Amherst. Olver was a member of the Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies and Psychology departments.

On behalf of the executive committee of the faculty, Professor Christopher Kingston then proposed changes to the academic calendar of 2015-2016 to accommodate a later Labor Day in the fall. Fall break was shortened by one day, reading period by one and a half days, and examination period by half a day. Kingston said that this was necessary to maintain a 13-week semester. The new calendar was approved by voice vote.

Professor David Hall proposed an amendment to the academic calendar changes stating that all school-wide closures must be decided by a vote of the faculty. After a lengthy and heated discussion, the faculty voted via paper ballot, and the results were 46 in favor, 58 opposed and 12 abstaining.

Professor Mark Marshall proposed that Amherst join the other Five Colleges in offering accreditation for the Five Colleges Coastal and Marine Sciences certificate program. The program has existed since 1983, and while Amherst was unable to accommodate the certificate program at the time due to a lack of faculty members and courses, the college now has the resources to do so. The motion passed with a voice vote.

On behalf of the Committee on Educational Policy, Professor Adam Honig proposed Frost Library’s new policy on archiving theses. The committee proposed that theses be collected and archived digitally, both in order to streamline the collection process and to allow audiovisual documents to be officially archived. The proposition would also allow faculty advisers to restrict access in the library to the theses of their advisees. Previously, this right had been limited to the thesis writers themselves. After a lengthy debate over access rights to theses, the faculty voted on the motion by paper ballot. The result was 62 in favor, 41 opposed and 12 abstaining. The meeting was then adjourned.