Attendees of this semester’s faculty town hall meeting discussed the presidential search committee, better communication with the Ithaca College Board of Trustees and issues of diversity and inclusion.
The meeting, held Feb. 16, was closed to the press and nonfaculty members of the college community. Peter Rothbart, chair of Faculty Council and professor in the music theory, history and composition department, said about 25–30 people attended the discussion.
Rothbart said faculty expressed in the meeting that they want to come up with ways to better communicate with the board of trustees so they know what’s going on on campus.
Elizabeth Bleicher, associate professor in the Department of English and exploratory program director, said they discussed ideas about how to create a formal way for faculty to effectively communicate with the board because as of now, there is no way for faculty to do that.
“Both populations are now very eager to improve relations and to understand each other better,” Bleicher said about both faculty and board members.
A new database of diversity and inclusion resources, created by Faculty Council to help educate faculty about race, was also discussed at the meeting. Rothbart said the database was created after many faculty had expressed that they want to learn how to deal with racial insensitivity but didn’t know how. Rothbart said he thinks the database will be available to all of the campus community by March 1, but details are still being worked out.
Rothbart said the council had gathered resources from outside of the campus, like from the Southern Poverty Law Center, and internal campus sources from the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, the Department of Education and the Center for the Study of Culture, Race and Ethnicity.
Bleicher said faculty discussed how they don’t want to lose the momentum the students have built up from last semester to improve the climate at the college. They shared what professors are doing in their departments and classrooms to help promote a safe environment.
“We’re trying to keep central to our teaching practices, the momentum that the students built for us, so that we can make their experience better, and so that we can make our campus and our school better,” Bleicher said.
Rothbart also said there was discussion surrounding the presidential search committee, which will be made up of the board of trustees, three faculty members, one staff member and one student. At the Feb. 18 Faculty Council meeting, the council plans to develop a search procedure to pick a pool of faculty committee candidates.
Rothbart said people left the meeting feeling very positive.
“I think there was really good, active communication and discussion that will bleed out to other areas,” Rothbart said.
Bleicher said it’s an exciting time to be at the college, and she said she’s glad these conversations about what is going on on campus are still happening.
“Faculty are committed to keeping the students at the heart of what we do and are making things better,” Bleicher said.
A previous version of this article stated that there would be three staff members on the Presidential Search Committee. This article has been corrected to say that there will be one staff member on the committee.