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Hatch reflects on progress made during provost tenure

Teresa Fralish | Thursday, February 10, 2005

University Provost Nathan Hatch, recently named president of Wake Forest University, reflected on his tenure at Notre Dame at Wednesday’s Faculty Senate meeting, while student affairs committee members reported little progress on the formation of a committee to oversee creation of a new student course evaluation mechanism. In his presentation, Hatch outlined progress on six major academic goals he set when appointed provost in 1996, including improvements to graduate study, academic programs and centers and increased funding for engineering and the sciences. Though these developments represented major steps forward for Notre Dame, Hatch said he strove throughout his tenure to maintain a balance between academic quality and teaching excellence.”I think we’re committed to great research and great teaching and not seeing them as unrelated,” Hatch said. In particular, Hatch cited the strengthening of specialized programs such as Irish studies and Latino studies and academic centers like the Kaneb Center. He also discussed large increases in undergraduate financial aid and its ability to bring top students to Notre Dame as a major achievement. “That has tremendously helped our diversity – it’s tremendously helped our quality,” Hatch said. The University has also made significant progress toward integrating academics and Notre Dame’s Catholic character, according to Hatch.”I do think, better than any university in this country, Notre Dame has been a center for Catholic intellectual engagement,” he said. Hatch will depart Notre Dame on July 1 for the Wake Forest presidency. In the student affairs subcommittee, chair Jay Brandenberger said little progress had been made on the senate’s December resolution authorizing the formation of a student and faculty committee to oversee creation of a new student course review process. “We’ve not gotten much response,” he said. To date, only one faculty member, engineering professor Al Miller, has stepped forward to join the committee. Brandenberger said he would continue searching for two additional faculty members, not necessarily from the senate, to join the committee. Until this occurs, work on the course review proposal will remain stalled. First proposed by associate provost Dennis Jacobs, the initiative calls for the University to create a new procedure, separate from teacher course evaluations, for students to assess classes and professors and provide that information to other students.

In other Faculty Senate news:u John Robinson, academic affairs committee chair, announced the creation of a “trilateral committee” consisting of representatives from the Faculty Senate, Provost Advisory Committee and the Academic Council to oversee changes to the evaluation of teaching in tenure and promotion decisions. The impetus for such reforms came from a report presented to the senate by Associate Provost Dennis Jacobs in November. The senate passed a resolution calling for the committee in November.