University Senate

Senators discuss ongoing dean searches, library budget at monthly meeting

Syracuse University could have three new deans by the summer as several ongoing dean searches are close to completion.

Interim Provost Elizabeth Liddy gave an update on the three dean searches during the University Senate’s February meeting on Wednesday afternoon in Maxwell Auditorium. The dean search committees for the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the School of Education and the library all expect to make recommendations before the end of the semester, Liddy said.

The School of Education dean search began last fall and the second round of the search will wrap up this week. Finalists are giving open presentations on campus and meeting with the chancellor and provost. The search committee will meet and make its recommendation this month, Liddy said.

The first round of the search for a dean for the College of Engineering and Computer Science will begin next week with the second round slated for early March. The search committee will make its recommendation in March, Liddy said.

The library dean search committee just started the process last month and so far has held an open session to get input from the campus community on what they would like to see in the next dean. The committee is currently working on creating a position profile for the new dean. The first round of the search will take place in March, finalists will return to campus in April and the committee will make a recommendation before the end of the semester, Liddy said.

Senate Committee on the Library report

During the meeting, the Senate also heard a report from the Senate Committee on the Library. Deborah Pellow, an anthropology professor, presented the report and highlighted the library’s need for more funding.

“The library’s progress continues to be impeded by annual shortfalls in the operations budget,” Pellow said. “This is a structural problem that only the administration can choose to resolve.”

On average, the library has been underfunded by about $250,000 a year, going back to 2004, Pellow said. If this $3.3 million shortfall is resolved, the library’s ranking would rise from 80th to 62nd, according to the committee’s report. The administration has promised three one-time infusions of $500,000 a year, the first of which has already been delivered, Pellow said.

These funds come at a time when the journals migration program, which involves moving some print journals to an off-campus facility, is projected to save the library $1.93 million, she said.

Another aspect of the committee’s report that caused discussion in the Senate was access to the law library in Dineen Hall. The law library is a congressionally designated depository for U.S. government documents and as such is required to provide public access. Pellow said she was unable to use the library when she took one of her classes there and Thomas Keck, a political science professor, said he has heard similar concerns from students.

“We’re looking at it,” Chancellor Kent Syverud said of the concern.

“By federal law there’s supposed to be access so I don’t understand really the basis for any thought about what’s going to happen,” said Bruce Carter, an associate professor of psychology and child and family studies.This is not something that the law school really has a choice in unless they don’t want to be a federal depository.”

Christian Day, an associate dean for academic affairs at the law school, told the Senate that people who need to use the library can sign in at the desk and get a pass. The security at Dineen Hall is partly because the law school had “a significant crime problem” when it was located at the top of the hill and had no security, he added.

Many students felt insecure at the old building because law students typically work until late at night, but Day said the enhanced security at Dineen Hall has helped.

“It’s made a huge difference in the quality of teaching and learning that goes on in the building,” he said.

Other business discussed:

  • Can Isik, chair of the agenda committee, said he will be meeting with three senators about setting up an ad hoc committee on disability.
  • The University Senate and the Academic Strategic Plan Steering Committee will hold an open forum on Feb. 25 to give the university community a chance to discuss the academic strategic plan, Liddy said. More details will be released soon, she added.

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