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UO Senate outlines spring term goals



This term, the University Senate hopes to change the general education requirements for all students. Other goals on its agenda include approving honorary degrees and updating leadership within the Senate.

Core education

The Senate is making changes to general education, now called core education, to better align with the university mission statement.

“What the accreditors want is alignment between what we are offering and assessing with the university mission,” said Senate President Chris Sinclair.

These changes are supposed to simplify requirements students need to graduate, such as the specifics for a Bachelor of Arts.

“We would like to be able to make some innovations on this where students can take clustered themes of courses,” Sinclair said.

For example, if a student wanted to major in business, they would take the business cluster that would satisfy all general education requirements for that student in the most efficient way possible, ultimately expediting general education requirements, according to Sinclair.

The new system would create a solid foundation that the university can build on, creating more unique aspects of the general education experience, according to Sinclair.

These changes and others have to go through an extensive review process. The soonest changes, including changed learning requirements for each class, could be implemented by fall 2018.

Honorary degree process

Last year, the university changed its policy on awarding honorary degrees to now include the Senate as a part of the chain of approval for them.

An honorary degree is a degree awarded to an individual who has done something substantial for the community without going through the typical requirements for receiving a degree.

In 2001, Marian Wright Edelman, founder of the Children’s Defense Fund, was awarded an honorary degree at the UO for advocating for disadvantaged individuals.

During week four, the senate will have a closed meeting to discuss the nominated individuals and decide to approve or deny the individuals’ honorary degrees.

The list of approved individuals will be forwarded to President Schill and the Board of Trustees for final approval.

Appointments and elections within the Senate

Starting next week, surveys to indicate interest in serving on committees will be sent to faculty, officers of administration and classified staff.

In the Senate, several committees are responsible for a specific issue or topic, such as course evaluations or environmental issues.

The Senate either appoints or elects members to its various committees. Elections for committees will be held later in the term.

The Senate will also nominate its new vice president on the floor of the Senate during its week 10 meeting.

The current vice president will become the new president of the Senate and the current president will become the immediate past president.

“I will be rotated into the immediate past president, Bill Harbaugh will be rotated into the president, and whomever is elected to be VP will be going into that position,” Senate President Chris Sinclair said.

Last term, the University Senate passed a resolution from the UO Student Collective denouncing white supremacy on campus, began discussions on changing the general education requirements and made changes to the Clark Honors College.


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Hannah Kanik

Hannah Kanik

Hannah Kanik is a News Reporter. She is a sophomore majoring in Journalism and Political Science and loves coffee and classic movies.