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Faculty Senate examines Academic Plan themes

Last fall, Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs James C. Bean put out a call to the Northeastern community to engage in the Academic Planning process. And students, faculty, staff, and alumni have responded emphatically and offered their input into the university’s road map for the next 10 years.

At Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting, the senators engaged in an open dialogue about ways to best address a number of the themes that have surfaced during the process.

Vice Provost for Academic Affairs Mary Loeffelholz outlined five themes that have been regularly discussed during a series of town hall meetings as well as in comments on the Academic Plan website. Those themes are diversity and inclusion, faculty of the future, the global university, lifelong experiential learning, and research and scholarship for impact.

The entire Senate, as well as guests attending the meeting, broke into interdisciplinary working groups to discuss the themes, wrote ideas on large easels, then voted for their favorites. Some of the ideas that were generated included cluster hiring of diverse faculty, improving communication across academic units, and establishing joint educational centers with universities around the world.

“Our intent was to have the senators contribute to these conversations and I think we accomplished that,” said Carmen Sceppa, professor and chair of the Department of Health Sciences, and chair of the Senate Agenda Committee.

Loeffelholz said she would collect the ideas and add them to the Academic Plan website by the end of the week. The next town hall meeting is set for March 1 at noon and it has already reached capacity for audience size.

Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the Faculty Senate unanimously approved a resolution to establish a Bachelor of Science in Professional Communication to be offered by the College of Professional Studies.

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