Arts and Sciences Council Discusses Future Initiatives

The+Arts+and+Sciences+Council+explored+various+initiatives+during+its+last+meeting+of+the+Spring+2016+semester.+%28The+Fordham+Ram+Archives%29.

The Arts and Sciences Council explored various initiatives during its last meeting of the Spring 2016 semester. (The Fordham Ram Archives).

The Arts and Sciences Council explored various initiatives during its last meeting of the Spring 2016 semester. (The Fordham Ram Archives).
The Arts and Sciences Council explored various initiatives during its last meeting of the Spring 2016 semester. (The Fordham Ram Archives).

By Mike Byrne

Members of Fordham’s Arts and Sciences Council met on April 20 to discuss various initiatives and future plans. The council is made up of faculty and administration from both the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses and previously met once this semester on Feb. 24.

Chair for the political science department, Robert Hume, reported on the results of the Core Curriculum Committee’s examination of diversity in the core. The committee was taking into consideration a student proposal for the introduction of a new “Diversity in Society” core requirement.

Hume said the committee reached out to department chairs and subcommittees for feedback. “I would say that the sort of feedback we were getting was consistent; there is enthusiasm for the student proposal, but a lack of clarity for whether the proposal will actually work,” Hume said.

Hume said the Core Curriculum Committee felt it needed to further study the proposal and that the idea needed to be opened to a larger community outside of the committee. The committee gave the recommendations that an ad hoc committee be formed, a faculty pluralism seminar created, course development grants be offered and web resources made available to faculty members teaching pluralism courses.

Chair for the theology department, Patrick Hornbeck, raised the concern of creating another entity and asked whether the committee could take on the questions of diversity within the core itself.

The council accepted the recommendations with the exception of the proposal to create an ad hoc committee, which the council felt needed further examination. The council also pointed out that the topics of diversity and pluralism in the core curriculum would become a greater discussion next semester, as the university was preoccupied with Middle States accreditation this academic year.

The council also went over the approval of a name change and curriculum change in the women’s studies program, a new interdisciplinary minor in Jewish studies and a change in the psychology major to include a diversity requirement. The council discussed the creation of a marketing minor at the Lincoln Center campus and the introduction of online courses that are being offered over the summer.

Associate Dean for STEM and Pre-Health Education, Carla Romney, brought up issues of disparity in research opportunities between the Rose Hill and Lincoln Center campuses. Romney said it is often difficult for Lincoln Center students who want to be involved in STEM research at Rose Hill to find a mentor to gain access to Rose Hill facilities. “Students at Rose Hill have one set of opportunities while Lincoln Center students … don’t have the same kinds of access and funding to participate in those kinds of activities,” Romney said. She suggested the creation of a task force or ad hoc committee to deal with the issue.

Romney said Rose Hill professors who mentor Lincoln Center students do not get compensated, and Lincoln Center students cannot compete for Rose Hill research awards. Additionally, Lincoln Center research awards offer less money. Lincoln Center students also have fewer summer research opportunities according to Romney. Other members of the council said that humanities research is very different from STEM research, so it may not be possible to create a blanket policy. Romney said that for this reason the Science Education Committee wants to open the issue to a broader committee and introduce fiscal aspects to the problem.

The Science Education Committee found Rose Hill mentors have many more resources and funding opportunities available to them. Romney said the committee would leave the issue as a report for now and would consult faculty committees and examine options for going forward.

The council also discussed the creation of new web resources for the College of Arts and Sciences. They looked at council restructuring and how it could improve engagement.
Hornbeck also discussed the status of the Continuous University Strategic Planning committee’s (CUSP) framework draft. Hornbeck said the committee received feedback and is currently forming a new draft to be released.

This was the final Arts and Sciences Council meeting for the Spring 2016 semester.