BGSU Faculty Senate

BGSU faculty committee finds no single solution to textbook costs

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News No one solution exists for addressing the costs of textbooks. The Textbook Affordability Committee report to the Faculty Senate recommended a multipronged approach that built on what is already being done at Bowling Green State University and approaches taken at other institutions. The report was presented to the Faculty Senate Tuesday by Ellen Gorsevski, who chaired the committee. The senate voted to accept the report and discharge the committee. In a separate vote senators submitted the report to the administration saying it should be used to guide the university’s policy on textbooks. BGSU and other state universities have been feeling pressure from Columbus politicians over the costs of textbooks. One proposal that worked its way through the legislative process before being killed would have limited the cost of textbooks to $300 a year and would have required universities to pay for textbooks. In the end, the legislature left it up to universities to develop policies to reduce the costs of textbooks. “That could change,” Gorsevski said. “This is an evolving issue.” The problem with these state approaches, Gorsevski said, is that they lacked data to back them up. How much the “object formerly known as a textbook” costs students and families is hard to determine. Now texts come bundled with digital and online resources, which can drive up the costs. The committee did some number crunching, but it is still uncomplete. One of its recommendations for the administration is to determine these costs, and then post those numbers so they are easily accessible to students and their families. What the committee did determine was…


Faculty Senate wants BGSU to become a welcome campus

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News No pickets showed up for Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting advocating for Bowling Green State University be designated a sanctuary campus. A crowd was expected for the on-call session, which is on the calendar but seldom convened. Much to the dismay of a dozen or so students and faculty gathered for the proceedings, signs at the entryway to the assembly room advised that the seats were saved for senators. Once roll was called Rachelle Kristof Hippler, who chairs the senate, invited them in to fill whatever empty seats were left. Aside from reports from President Mary Ellen Mazey and Provost Rodney Rogers, the only item on the agenda was a resolution calling for BGSU to become a welcome campus. The change in the wording from “sanctuary” to “welcome,” was intentional. Asked to explain the difference Christina Guenther, who introduced the resolution and had called for the session last time senate met, said that being a welcome campus better aligned with the Not In Our Town efforts. The term also was “less loaded in terms of associations,” said the professor of German. A bill, supported by U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green), has been introduced in the U.S. House calling for sanctions against sanctuary cities. Regardless of the term used, the senate after no action on the issue the previous two times it met, passed the resolution 46-6 with one abstention. The resolution was a softer version than the original petition. This time, Mazey choose not to express her opposition, though after the meeting she said she was not ready to say she approved. The resolution…


Faculty senate hears about parking, approves graduate program & honorary degree

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Faculty Senate at Bowling Green State University was not stuck in park when it met Tuesday. Its agenda was jammed, but it kept moving, at least with as much speed as it could manage with presentations on faculty files related to merit and promotion, charter revisions, and a change in who is qualified to teach and supervise graduate students. Then there was the discussion of parking. Aaron Kane, manager of Parking Services, explained the new system his office will be initiating. Now parking enforcement officers will cruise lots and scan license plate numbers to determine if cars are parked where they should be. The system, he said, has many advantages. It should save time and energy. “Improved productivity is going to be a major benefit,” he said. People will no longer have to stand in line to get their hanging passes. The registration process will be done all online. Each faculty member will be able to register two cars. Students will be able to register one car. People with loaners or rental cars will be able to go online and change the registration so that car will be covered instead of one of the two originally registered. When prospective students and their families come to campus they will be able to register their vehicles ahead of time. At the ice arena, Kane said, people coming for open skate, now have to park, run inside, get a tag, and return to the vehicle to put it in. Now they’ll just give their license plate number at the desk. The system will allow parking services…


Faculty will write next chapter in plan to reduce textbook costs

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University Faculty Senate opted not to take action on a resolution calling for a goal of cutting student textbook costs by 50 percent. Instead the senate at the urging of Jim Evans will leave it up to an ad hoc committee to come up with a proposal, and then will act on that proposal. That’s the way the senate procedure should work, Evans said. He argued that the resolution before the senate, which had been tabled in November, would be an “insult” to the members of the ad hoc committee because it spells out what they should decide. That resolution called for the committee to report to the full senate by next May, and there was no indication that the timeline would change. Everyone in the senate, everyone at the university, Evans said, wants lower textbook costs. The senate should allow the committee to study the issue and deliver a resolution based on what they find. The decision should be based on “facts and data” not “hearsay,” which is how he characterized what was in the resolution. Anne Gordon asked why the resolution insisted that BGSU lead the state in reducing textbook cost. “That seems to me to be part of the agenda of moving so quickly,” she said. “Why is taking lead in this issue so important?” Allen Rogel said it was important for the senate and the university to present options before “we get something rammed down our throats by the legislature.” Provost Rodney Rogers noted in his remarks that the BGSU Board of Trustees will be discussing textbook…


Faculty senate mulls options for cutting students’ textbook expense

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Bowling Green State University heard about many ways to reduce the cost of textbooks on Tuesday. When it came time to approve a resolution that called for formulating a plan by May, 2017, that would cut costs in half, the senate balked. Not that the senators weren’t behind cutting textbook costs. Rather they were concerned about committing to that specific target before the issue had been studied, as well as for procedural reasons. Gov. John Kasich and the Republican-controlled legislature have been pushing for reductions on the price of textbooks as part of efforts to reduce the cost of higher education for students. This concern comes at a time when the trend has been a significant decrease in state support for higher education. Universities did receive a modest increase in funding in the most recent budget. Before considering the resolution titled “To Lead Ohio Higher Education in Textbook Cost Reduction,” the senate heard from a panel about what is being done to control the cost of textbooks. Provost Rodney Rogers said that after the major expenses of tuition, fees, room and board are paid, students and their parents are then confronted with “additional costs that are pretty significant and sometimes it surprises families.” Jeff Nelson, the manager of the University bookstore, said that the timing of when professors decide what materials they will use is key. The earlier, the better, he said. Through BGSU Choose, price comparison software, the bookstore gives students information on what books and materials cost at the bookstore and at 12 other national vendors, including Amazon. As soon as the…


BGSU studies tweaking course evaluations

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The way Bowling Green State University students evaluate their courses is getting a makeover. At Tuesday’s Faculty Senate meeting, the Senate Chair Rachelle Kristof Hippler reported on the work of the group that is studying a proposal to have a uniform set of questions across the university. Now those can vary by department. Hippler said that the proposal was not to make the entire evaluation form uniform, but just to make sure a standard set of questions was on all evaluations. Questions specific to the department will still be included. The group that studied the issue looked at more than 60 different course evaluation instruments. From those, Hippler said, they pulled 45 possible questions. Julie Matuga, Associate Vice Provost for Institutional Effectiveness, who was part of the group, said that a survey will be circulated to faculty from Oct. 17 through Oct. 28 to determine which of those would be most useful. The survey should take about 10 minutes to complete. An open session will be held on Nov. 8 at 9 a.m. to discuss the results of the survey. The new evaluation will be reviewed and finalized in time for it to be used in a few courses at the end of this semester. It will be further refined after that pilot administration with another pilot program planned for the end of the spring semester. In his remarks to the senate, Provost Rodney Rogers said that BGSU and universities are preparing to make their case to the legislature about the importance of public higher education. Public higher education, he said, is “incredibly cost…


Survey shows most oppose concealed carry on BGSU campus (Updated 4/27/16)

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Most people surveyed at Bowling Green State University oppose allowing concealed carry of weapons on campus. Of more than 5,700 faculty, staff, administrators and students surveyed, 61.4 opposed allowing concealed carry and 38.6 were in favor.  The survey was done by a committee charged with studying the issue after the State House voted to loosen the restrictions on concealed carry on college campus and other currently restricted zones. The bill, House Bill 48, is still before the State Senate. If it became law, the university trustees would have to approve allowing concealed carry on campus. The committee also found a majority would not feel safer if anyone, including students 21 and older, could carry concealed weapons on campus. That was especially true of women, of whom 74.6 percent said they’d feel less safe, and faculty members, 88 percent of whom would feel less safe. Having concealed carry found greatest support among undergraduate males, 42.7 percent of whom said they would consider carrying a weapon if allowed. Alfred DeMaris, a sociology professor and statistician, said the committee made an effort to reach out to all segments of the campus community. The committee distributed 20,338 surveys, and got 5,792 back, a 28.5 percent response rate. While the committee hoped for more, he noted that this was not a target sample, but the entire target population. Graduate students had the best response rate of almost 70 percent, followed by faculty with just shy of 50 percent. Undergraduates had the lowest response rate, under 20 percent. The committee, which was charged to studying the issue and any possible…


BGSU adopting new budget process

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Bowling Green State University is changing the way it budgets its operations. Forums have been held recently on Performance-Based Budgeting, and this week President Mary Ellen Mazey and Provost Rodney Rogers gave a presentation to Faculty Senate on how the institution-wide process would affect academic units. With the change, the budgeting, specifically that covering faculty, will move to the college level with deans having more control over the money. “We’re trying to align resources with the activities going on on the collegiate level,” Rogers said. But that will come with more scrutiny of individual academic units, whether colleges, schools, departments or programs. Mazey promised the new budgeting process would be “open and transparent.” “What we are trying to achieve is to align the budget with the vision and mission of this institution,” she said. That vision is all about “student success.” That means recruiting students and then keeping them until they graduate. Financial resources will be allocated based on how well programs do that. But Rogers noted, not all units are the same. He said the administration will proceed cautiously to avoid unintended negative consequences. Rogers said in light of the new state oversight through House Bill 6, which requires universities to look at what programs and courses have few students and low enrollment, this approach makes sense. “It’s not a new model,” Rogers said. “It’s a new model for us.” Data will be collected annually, then rolled into a three-year average to smooth out any one-time divergences. That data will be compared to data from a group of 33 peer institutions. The administration…