The current Constitution for the Faculty Organization is more than thirty (30) years old and it has been more than twenty (20) years since it has been changed. Because so many sections of it need to be revised, The Constitution Revision Committee has been asked to consider rewriting it. Before the Committee begins this task, it is necessary to know whether the faculty at IUN desires a new constitution for an organization basically similar to what now exists, or whether the committee should write a new one.
In order to ascertain the will of this body, the Constitution Revision Committee has prepared a Motion asking the Faculty Organization for authorization to investigate the possibility of changing faculty governance for a Council of the Whole to a Faculty Senate. Before this Organization votes on this Motion, it is important to address some basic questions about this new form of governance.
VISION: What we envision is a governing body in which fifteen (15) or more faculty representatives are elected to represent the faculty in the Faculty Senate. Representatives will be elected from each academic unit based on the number of faculty members in that unit and at large. Each academic unit will be guaranteed a minimum number of senators to represent it.
RATIONALE: It appears that there is unanimous agreement that our Constitution is outdated and needs to be amended. Efforts to update the Constitution have failed because the mechanism to amend the Constitution requires a higher number of votes from members of the faculty than there are faculty members willing to participate and vote.
Secondly, our Council of the Whole has not been an effective mechanism for mobilizing and presenting the voice of the faculty. While we have been able to react to the changes that confront us, we have not been able to proactively affect them. If we are to clarify and strengthen the voice of the faculty, the governing body needs to meet more frequently, be able to call emergency meetings, debate and make more decisions than those that are currently being handled in monthly meetings.
We need a new mechanism that can insure that the faculty governing body can efficiently and expeditiously respond to the challenges that are rapidly confronting this University. Debates and recommendations/decisions on matters such as enrollment challenges, post tenure review, the role of a teacher-scholar and distance education have not and cannot be adequately addressed in two hour monthly meetings of seventy (70) or so faculties. If the faculty wishes to be a part of the process that effects creative change in the field of education, we must create a mechanism that allows faculties to mobilize and engage each other in the creative process.
We have spoken to representatives from IPFW and IU Southeast about their Faculty Senates. They have assured us that the smaller body is more efficient, can meet more frequently, can respond more rapidly to the issues that are presented and involves the faculty more actively in decisions that affect the University. In fact, the president of Faculty Senate at IPFW informed us that they recently streamlined their Faculty Senate from forty (40) members to twenty-eight (28) members to make the body more responsive and efficient.
PROCESS: In order to respond to these challenges, we are prepared to write a new Constitution. Before we take on the work this projects entails, we need to know the will of this body. We have presented the Motion before you to ask if you are willing to consider a Faculty Senate. This Motion is not a vote authorizing the creation of a Faculty Senate. It is merely a directive for us to propose a Faculty Senate to see if this form of governance can meet the needs of this body.
If the Motion passes, we will begin to write a new Constitution adopting a Faculty Senate form of governance. When the Constitution is in a best draft form, we will distribute this draft to the faculty members. We will then ask the Chair of this body to convene two open hearings for this Committee to present the draft and debate it with those faculty members who choose to attend the hearings. These open hearings will be scheduled on different times an days to insure the broadest possible participation. A recorder will be present at these hearings to record the comments.
When the hearings are conducted, the Committee will convene once more to consider the comments and make appropriate changes. When this process is completed, the new Constitution will be presented at Faculty Organization for debate and submitted to the faculty for a ballot vote.