The purpose of this document is to set forth a number of issues with the proposed re-structuring of both the International Studies Curriculum Committee and the International Selection Committee. The International Studies Curriculum Committee has been dissolved, an International Studies Curriculum Coordinator has been appointed, and that position, which had been filled, in the past, through application to the International Studies Curriculum Committee has been placed in the Government Department, along with the International Studies major and minor. Additionally, I have been informed that the International Selection Committee is slated to be disbanded as well. Since both of these committees went through a lengthy development and review process, were approved by Faculty Senate, and became part of the Governance Document (pages attached), changes to these committees must follow the procedures set forth in the Governance Manual.
Policy/Process Has Been Violated
It was pointed out to Faculty Senate, at its first meeting this academic year, that the administration may place a program wherever it likes. While it is true that contractually the administration is not required to have faculty input into the selection of a program director, such as the International Studies Curriculum Coordinator, that is before anything is done, before any agreements are made. But in this case, the administration agreed to the structure established and placed it in the Governance Manual. The administration now also is bound by that policy, because they agreed to it. I do not believe that policy in the Governance Manual has ever been so grossly ignored until now. This is a serious departure from past practice.
Implications for MU's Organizational Culture
Over the past 20 years at this university, an atmosphere of collegiality has prevailed. This is part of the legacy of President Caputo. Under his leadership, a community emerged at this University that has been characterized by open discussion and civil engagement. This has enabled much creativity and change to emerge over these past two decades at our University. Part of Dr. Caputo's vision for this way of working together was the creation of the Governance Manual. This document was to spell out formally how we all would work together to continue this tradition of collegiality. The culture of Millersville University has been one of open discussion, respect, and process. We didn't always agree, but process was followed. People were respected. Discussion was encouraged. Honoring agreements made and recorded in the Governance Manual will help us to continue this positive, collegial environment on our campus.
A Little History
The international studies curriculum, and the structure for administering it, is the culmination of work begun in February 1983, by the International Studies Task Force, appointed by Provost Keith Lovin. This interdisciplinary group completed its work one year later, and Dr. Lovin took its formal report to the Faculty Senate in the Fall of 1984. The Faculty Senate requested that an International Studies Committee be created as an Ad Hoc Committee of Faculty Senate, to formalize the recommendations made by the task force. Dr. Lovin came back to the Senate with 15 names (3 from each division) of members for this ad hoc committee, in February 1985. The ad hoc committee submitted its implementation recommendations to Faculty Senate in January 1986. In February 1986, the Faculty Senate established the International Studies Curriculum Committee as a permanent standing committee of Faculty Senate, and the policy and procedures approved were published in the Governance Manual. The International Studies Curriculum Committee called for applications for the first International Studies Curriculum Coordinator, made a recommendation to the administration, and as a result the first International Studies Curriculum Coordinator was appointed in Spring 1987.
During the 1987-88 academic year, the International Studies Curriculum Committee worked with two outside consultants on the international studies curriculum proposal. After countless meetings and consultation with curriculum committees in all three schools and the UCPRC, the International Studies Curriculum Committee brought its final proposal to the Faculty Senate, which approved the International Studies major and minor in May 1988 (see curriculum sheet attached).
Following the completion of the curricular work, the administration established an Ad Hoc Committee on International Affairs to propose a structure and process for international faculty and student exchanges. This group submitted its final report to the Faculty Senate in November 1990 (see committee's cover page attached). The Faculty Senate approved the proposal, which included additional appointments to the International Studies Curriculum Committee (see attached "FACULTY SENATE Action Summary, 4 December 1990").
Placing such a broad, interdisciplinary program under the auspices of a single department sends the wrong message to our students. The world, now more than ever, since 9/11, needs interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, multi-generational coalitions to address human social, cultural, economic, and political problems. This decision which positions the International Studies Major as a major within the Government Department (or within any single department) is the wrong move at the wrong time.
The faculty who designed the International Studies major and minor believed that we could create a truly diverse curriculum that would help to prepare students for the complex world in which we live. We, the faculty and members of the administration involved, also aspired to act in that same fashion - to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration - to walk the talk - to model, for our students, a dream for a better world, a world where difference coming together results in solutions of higher quality for all.
Request for Action
Indigenous wisdom teaches that one of the most important aspects of leadership is the ability to extend honor and respect. The term "respect" comes from the Latin word respicere, which means "the willingness to look again" or "to look back, showing consideration." Leaders are willing to take a second look rather than remain stuck in a particular view of a situation.
I request that the Faculty Senate exercise leadership on this issue by referring any changes to be made to the international studies structure to the International Studies Curriculum Committee, in accordance with the Governance Manual, in order to allow all of us to revisit - to look again - at this issue, to come together and consider the current needs of this curriculum and to make a proposal that maintains the integrity of the International Studies Major and Minor, as well as meets its present needs.
The claim has been made that the program would be better served by housing it in a regular department, but why the Government Department? Why didn't the other departments that have a stake in the International Studies Major have an opportunity to bid on this? As is clear in the following, there are a number of departments that are major stake holders in the International Studies Major.
|Department||Number of Courses in the International Studies Major|
|Foreign Languages||6 language courses per student/plus 1 Latin Am Lit course|
In summary, there are key questions that need to be addressed. What has happened with this program has both substantive and procedural implications. All of the proposed changes are important to the integrity of the program.
Should the International Studies Major and Minor be housed in a department, and if so, how should that department be selected?
Should the committee that oversees the international curriculum have a multi-department composition?
Should the curricular recommendations of such a committee be subject to the approval of the Government Department (or any single department)?
Should the International Studies Curriculum Committee continue to recommend candidates for the position of International Studies Curriculum Coordinator?
Do any of the above policy changes require Senate approval, or is the administration free to decide on its own?
I request that the Faculty Senate review any proposed changes and that changes to the Governance Document follow the procedures as specified by the Governance Manual.