Members of the Executive Committee of the Faculty Council at Ithaca College are calling for change in the way the college is governed.
About 70 faculty members gathered in a town-hall style meeting Oct. 9 to voice their concerns about the college’s increasingly top-down model of governing, especially with the implementation of IC 20/20’s new Integrated Core Curriculum and the new student media policy. The Executive Committee of the Faculty Council, which has 30 members, now plans to meet with President Tom Rochon and Marisa Kelly, provost and vice president for educational affairs, to discuss the need for more faculty input in college decision-making
Concerns about the fast-paced implementation of IC 20/20 policies and the college taking on a more centralized, corporate structure drove the call for change.
The concept of shared governance, which allows faculty to have a larger role in policy decisions, does not force the administration to call every action to a vote but offers a pathway to greater faculty involvement in issues that directly affect them and their students. Though the ultimate authority for decisions on academic policies lies with the board of trustees, power is delegated to the president to manage the college and faculty to set academic requirements and standards.
While IC 20/20 is being put into practice, top administrators should take extra steps to ensure as many voices as possible are being represented in the new curriculum while still allowing the process to progress in a timely manner.
Because faculty spend more time with students and with the curriculum on a day-to-day basis, their opinions are crucial to making IC 20/20 successful.
The responsibility for communication lies with both the administration and the faculty. If the college expects to create an environment where educational and personal growth for its students is fostered, the faculty and the administration must combine their expertise to ensure all policies are created and executed in a way that most benefits students.