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Faculty Senate: Chair to step down

Erickson, Beth | Thursday, November 6, 2003

Faculty Senate members discussed the election of a new chairperson and the dearth of library resources in the group’s November session held Wednesday.

Elections for a new chairperson will be held during the Senate’s December meeting, over which Vice-Chair Jeremy Fein, director of the Environmental Molecular Science Institute, will preside. This election has been necessitated by the decision of Chair John Robinson, associate dean of the Law School, to resign from his post due to medical reasons.

Robinson expressed hope for the continued success of the Senate during his absence. “[The Senate] still has a long way to go before it has proven itself,” he said.

He said that his principal goal as chairman has been to show that, contrary to the beliefs of much of the faculty, “the interests of the administration and the faculty do converge.” In his experience, the administration highly values the interests of the University and the opinions of faculty members, Robinson said.

The University would be the worse for lack of the Senate, which strengthens the voice of the faculty, he said.

Jennifer Younger, director of University Libraries, was invited by the Academic Affairs Committee to address the Senate concerning the current allocation of and future outlook for library resources.

Younger informed the Senate of the pressing need of additional funds for the library materials budget. “No [department] has too much money,” she said, but some departments are in direr straits than others.

Throughout the past three years, the materials budget has been flat, with increases only in endowment income. This year, the library has subsisted only via ad hoc money furnished by the Provost, she said.

The basic allocations of library resources were determined in the 1970s and have only been “tweaked” since.

During this fiscal year, the library expects to see an overall decrease in library materials funds of $330,000. Concurrent with this decrease, future costs are expected to steadily rise.

Last year, the library attempted to alleviate the deficit by carrying out a 6 percent decrease in commitments across every subject area. They also instituted polices canceling paper versions of journals received in digital form and purchasing trade paper bound books rather than hardcover editions.

The University Libraries has published a strategic plan with which it will approach future challenges. This plan is based on “where we want the library to be in 20 years,” Younger said.

“The strategic plan is clearly based on a growth of financial resources, however,” she said.