The faculty governance committee passed a motion on Tuesday to officially solidify the duties of the ad hoc committee on expansion, and to hold a special election for faculty who will be on it. This committee will be taking over the responsibility of monitoring the expansion from the Faculty Academic Policy Committee (FAP).
The governance committee has charged the ad hoc committee with “coordination, oversight, modification of and/or addition to existing metrics governing impacts of size of our student body,” according to the Clerk of the Faculty Robert Root.
This ad hoc committee will be in place “until either the end of the 2025-26 academic year or until the end of the expansion, whichever is later, unless the Faculty votes to disband it earlier,” Root added.
A special election will be held in the next couple of weeks to determine the committee’s membership. Six faculty members will serve on it, along with two “ex officio” members appointed by President Alison Byerly, Root added. The first member appointed by Byerly is Special Assistant to the President for Strategic Planning and Implementation Amir Tejani. Byerly said she is unsure as of Wednesday afternoon who else she may appoint, but that it will probably be a senior administration official.
One function of the committee will be to make a recommendation to the administration each year on whether or not student body expansion should continue, which is planned to be by 50 students each year.
Byerly noted that the idea of an annual review of the Affordability Through Growth Initiative, as the expansion plan is formally known, has been a component of the expansion since the start.
“We’ve said all along that we want to get input as to how the plan’s progressing, and when the plan was approved, both the trustees and the faculty said they wanted to produce an annual report or review information annually to see how it was going,” Byerly said.
“There wasn’t a specific pathway laid out at that time about exactly what happens in the event of a particular recommendation and we haven’t yet had a recommendation that called for any action other than continuation,” she added.
Recommendations thus far from FAP, which was previously charged with overseeing expansion among several other duties, had only been to continue expansion as is, Byerly said.
“We haven’t yet had a recommendation that called for any action other than continuation, so I think we would have to wait and see what circumstances led to that if there was in the future a point at which the faculty recommended slowing down or pausing [growth],” Byerly said. “It’s more expected that the faculty oversight and monitoring would help shape things in the most productive manner possible.”
The motion to create the committee was proposed to the faculty along with a motion to temporarily halt the student body expansion until certain concerns of the faculty relating to pressures from the growing student body could be addressed. Both motions were put forward by biology professor Nancy Waters.
Waters and Root noted that the FAP committee is known as one of the busier faculty committees. Thus, an ad hoc committee for expansion will allow more focused oversight.
“By empowering an ad hoc committee, it permits oversight to be more focused,” Waters wrote in an email, “and can be ended by the faculty when it is no longer needed. In this structure it is not so cumbersome in actual membership as to preclude reasonable meeting scheduling and workload, and it reports directly to the faculty.”