Faculty Senate debates classroom policies, disability services

first_imgStudent behavior during class, disability services and a new master’s program sparked debate in Faculty Senate this semester, chair Morten Eskildsen said. Eskildsen said the group acts as a voice for faculty interests on campus. “We work in two ways — first as a reactionary to initiatives, proposals or anything that changes across campus that would affect faculty and secondly as a proactive group to address issues we feel could be improved,” Eskildsen said. Faculty Senate met only twice this semester due to the death of former chair J. Keith Rigby, Jr., Eskildsen said. Rigby, an associate professor of civil engineering and geological sciences, died Nov. 5. Eskildsen said he cancelled the group’s November meeting in honor of Rigby. Generally the Faculty Senate meets once every month. Within the Senate are four committees — Academic Affairs, Administrative Affairs, Benefits and Student Affairs. Two students also sit on Faculty Senate as non-voting members. Ellen Childs represented graduate students, and student body vice president Brett Rocheleau spoke for undergraduates. The faculty representatives discussed disruptive student behavior during its meetings this semester. Eskildsen said the use of cell phones and laptops during class concerns some faculty members. Some professors also expressed frustration with tardiness and students who left during class, he said. “The first thing is then to do some fact finding and find out to which degree this is a real issue,” Eskildsen said. “Some people have expressed this concern on one committee, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s widespread.” Rocheleau said he hoped to work with the committee to solve any issues professors had with students’ behavior in class. “Talk about it and tell us,” Rocheleau said. “If a professor puts it in a syllabus, we know. Some professors agree with some points [on student behavior] but I don’t see how anything would be achieved by a study, which some faculty want to do.” The student representatives made a list of seven initiatives that could possibly improve student-faculty relations, Rocheleau said. The seven initiatives included developing graduate student committees, improved graduate housing, reform in graduate health care, provision of teaching opportunities to graduate students, achieving balance in faculty’s academic and home lives, the creation of an online syllabus database and updating disability services. Disability services have been a large topic of discussion in the group this semester, Rocheleau said. Eskildsen said the Faculty Senate worried the services did not fulfill the needs of those students. “We have an office that provides services for anyone with a physical or learning disability, but it would seem it is understaffed,” Eskildsen said. “Some teachers even take it on themselves and go way beyond what preparation for class should be to help remove obstacles in their way.” Another item on the Senate’s agenda has been a proposal for a master’s degree in Patent Law, which would be a part of the College of Science. “The Faculty Senate is asked for input when new programs are proposed,” he said. “The Academic Affairs Committee is looking into this one.” In addition to these issues, the Faculty Senate also planned to reassess faculty benefits, Eskildsen said. “Hopefully in our [next] meeting , [director of compensation and benefits] Denise Murphy will brief us on some of the latest developments relating to retirement savings and those programs,” he said. “The Committee on Benefits monitors what is going on and advocates for the faculty.” No matter the topic of discussion, Eskildsen said the main goal of the group this semester was to resolve issues on behalf of the faculty. “We try not to just point out problems, though it is necessary,” he said. “We want to offer constructive solutions as to how things could improve.”last_img read more

Syracuse to play rescheduled game against Miami 5 weeks after Irma blew Hurricanes season into chaos

first_imgUPDATED: Oct. 11, 2017 at 6:29 p.m.The Publix and Winn Dixie’s in Miami resembled a “zombie apocalypse.” Inside the grocery stores, Miami resident and Hurricanes defender Tati Pardo gazed at empty refrigerators, bare sections where water normally sat on shelves and a few boxes of packaged food.In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, which hit Miami late on Sept. 10, spurring university-wide evacuations, drivers raced through broken streetlights that should have been four-way stops. Objects blown by over 100 mph wind gusts littered the streets. Trees collapsed sideways in Pardo’s yard, just as they did for UM coach Mary-Frances Monroe. Players heard about people fighting over supplies in stores.“It was just so dark because none of the street lights were working … it was just really dangerous,” Pardo said. “Everything looked really ugly. It still does, Miami looks kind of brown now instead of bright and green.”All of Miami’s (4-7, 0-5 Atlantic Coast Conference) women’s soccer players except for Charlsey Zyne and Pardo fled Coral Gables, Florida, during the storm. Six games into the 2017 season, the athletes escaped to Orlando or one of a half-dozen states. Miami’s final two nonconference games were cancelled. Now, the team travels to Syracuse to make up the delayed would-have-been-ACC opener with the Orange (6-5-2, 1-3-1 ACC) on Wednesday at 1 p.m.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAs Irma approached, it was the first Category 5 hurricane to threaten Florida since Wilma in 2005. The University of Miami evacuated even the storm-equipped freshman dorms. On Sep. 6, following a six-game road trip, Monroe let her team go. Her house was open to anyone who needed it and those unable to return home could go north to Orlando for shelter.Monroe and deputy athletic director Jennifer Strawley talked at least 20 times every day leading up to the storm, she said. They tried to come up with a plan for what was predicted to be a Category 5 hurricane, the magnitude of which Monroe has not handled. So, the athletic department decided to have everybody leave campus.“That period was actually very scary,” Pardo said. “It was looking like (the storm) was coming right toward us … I was jealous of (teammates) leaving, because in the early days we thought it was going to hit us directly, so I thought my house was going to be destroyed.”The rush to get out became more difficult with airlines charging “almost $2,000” for one-way tickets, Monroe said. Senior forward Ronnie Johnson struggled to find a flight to Toronto. When she finally found one from Orlando, she had no means of getting there. Sophomore midfielder Lexi Castellano invited Johnson to stay with her in northern Georgia instead.Sophomore midfielder Kristina Fisher and redshirt junior goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce crafted a survival kit, complete with food, batteries and a flashlight. Tullis-Joyce went to Shoreham, New York, to ride out the storm. Fisher stayed in, Jupiter, Florida.The team’s exodus was complete when Irma’s path shifted west and hovered over south Florida as a Category 3, then weakening another Category 2. Zyne, Pardo and Monroe, all staying at home in Miami, sighed in relief.“The wind gusts were the scariest,” Zyne said. “It kind of sounded like a freight train or something like that. It was really loud … I had two dogs in the apartment so I actually had to go outside during the hurricane to let them go to the bathroom … one of my dogs actually fell over when I was walking her because the wind was so strong.”Zyne had planned on taking the LSAT in Syracuse on Sept. 16. With the delay, she had to travel there alone. When she reunited with teammates in Virginia, it had been 11 days.Players in other states could run or get touches on soccer fields. For Zyne and Pardo, downed powerlines and flooded streets made going outside too dangerous. One week after the team dispersed and the storm died down, Monroe gave them 48 hours leeway to make it back in order to coordinate flights or provide enough time for long drives.“To be honest, (soccer) wasn’t my priority,” Monroe said. “Of course I’m a soccer coach and I’m super competitive, but it was the worst timing possible.”The hurricane occurring in the midst of their schedule forced the team to immediately prepare for another road trip. They had only played one home game over one month into their schedule due to the cancellations.On Sept. 14, half the team returned three days prior to another road trip to Virginia to open ACC play. Johnson and Castellano drove 18 hours to be there. Miami suffered numerous power outages. The university had none, preventing it from using the facilities. To practice, the team traveled five miles to use Christopher Columbus (Florida) High School’s field.“You guys can either be victims or you can take control of this situation,” Monroe told her players.They did some conditioning, but mostly got into two teams and scrimmaged to get touches.“Everybody was just really lethargic,” Johnson said. “The first two practices we had, the first one with part of the team and the second one where we had the whole team back, it was a little bit strange. Then the third day it started feeling back to normal.”The team departed for Virginia on Sept. 17 to get acclimated early. They had only three practices on hand and under 24 hours together as a full team. Virginia’s coach Steve Swanson, a long-time friend of Monroe’s, invited the whole team over to his house for dinner. It was the beginning of nine-day road trip before playing their first home game in over one month.The Hurricanes took the field for their first game in over two weeks on Sept. 21, losing 1-0 to Virginia. But, to Monroe, she was proud of her team because that game meant more than soccer.In the weeks since, Miami has yet to win an ACC game as it travels to Syracuse to play the game that Irma stole from them in September. The Hurricanes season has been one of nonstop travel, but they’re relieved nonetheless.“It definitely stinks for us,” Pardo said. “(But) it could have been a lot worse.”This post has been updated with appropriate style. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+ Published on October 11, 2017 at 12:38 am Contact Bobby: [email protected]last_img read more