October 4, 2013
With President Ditzler’s initial plan for the “Bold Initiative’s” $5 million grant rejected by faculty in September, Ditzler and the faculty met again on Oct. 1 for the unraveling of a new proposal, which was received with limited enthusiasm by the faculty.
Ditzler’s new initiative proposes hiring three-member teams from separate departments who will focus on a singular issue. The goal is to make “focus issues” a new niche for Monmouth College. “This proposal will help support and boost our focus on integrated learning,” said Ditzler during the faculty meeting. In the proposal, the teams were referred to as “triads of excellence.”
The “triad” professors would teach three courses per semester. Their main responsibility would be to teach one or two classes on the “focus issue.” The “triad” would be a group compiling interdisciplinary information revolving around a certain focus. For example, the proposed focus for the 2014-2015 school year will be on food distribution where the school would hire a biology, ethics and business professor.
Yet, the “triad team” concept raises many complications for faculty members. According to Faculty Senate Chair Ian Moschenross, there was a question on the status of these professors. One problem would regard salary. Since these professors would be brought in for their expertise, faculty wonder whether the “triad” professors would receive the same salary and benefits as assistant or full professors, or be paid according to their expertise and effort.
This could cause a potential stratification among the faculty. Moschenross said, “One of the comments from one of my colleagues was ‘so we got these “triads for excellence” and what are the rest of us minions of mediocrity supposed to do?’”
Another issue was how the faculty would move forward with the initiative. Professors are concerned as to how the “triad” would be added and evaluated as well as the possible need for developing another curriculum for students who take an interest in these “focus” courses. These problems, among others, are being weighted and revised as the proposal is being brought to the Board of Trustees for approval.