Faculty evaluates new sustainability requirement

The Oct. 12 faculty senate meeting covered topics rang- ing from the new sustainability general education requirement to an updated title of a university degree.

Sustainability Curriculum Review Committee co-chairs Laura Hill and Deane Wang spoke regarding the sustainability general education requirement, which was implemented in fall 2015.

The sustainability requirement is the newest University-wide requirement.

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Jan Carney, faculty senate vice president, opens the floor for presentations at the UVM faculty senate meeting, Oct. 12. The faculty senate represents faculty interests on campus. KAT WAKS/The Vermont Cynic

New students can fulfill the sustainability requirement either through an approved course, curriculum or co-curricular activity.

The committee anticipated needing 840 students to enroll in sustainability courses for the 2015-2016 academic year.

The actual data showed that 815 full-time first-year students, and 168 transfer students enrolled in sustainability courses.

This exceeded the estimated number of seats needed, according to the SCRC Capacity Model.

More seats for those enrolled in sustainability courses will be required next year, Hill said.

Brian Reed and Jennifer Prue, co-chairs for the new Strategic Curricular Oversights Committee, spoke about its preliminary stages. The main purpose of SCOC is to safeguard the UVM’s educational mission as it might be affected by the new incentive-based budgeting model, Prue said.

UVM recently switched its budget model to IBB, or incentive-based budgeting.

In the IBB model, instead of all the money UVM gets from tuition, the state and other sources being put into a general fund, a portion of the money will go to schools and what is left will be allocated to the offices of the president and provost, according to a PowerPoint from the first meeting of the IBB steering committee.

The model serves to provide more transparency, encourage a comprehensive “all funds” budgeting approach and ensure the University’s long-term financial sustainability, according to Provost David Rosowsky’s Final Report of the Incentive-Based Budget Model Steering Committee from January 2015.

Reed and Prue reminded the faculty senate that the SCOC has only had one meeting so far, and so its main task at this time is to identify the kinds of procedures the committee would follow as faculty raise concerns regarding IBB.

Rosowsky said that the intentions of the committee are to protect the educational integrity of UVM, including smaller class sizes and personalized attention from professor to student.

Also discussed at the meeting was a possible name change for a degree.

Cathy Paris, chair of the Curricular Affairs Committee, introduced a proposal to change the name of a degree from “Bachelor of Science in Mathematics” to “Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Sciences.”

In May 2015, the faculty senate decided to postpone the decision until October due to a lack of support for the change, Paris said.

Jeffrey Buzas, chair of the mathematics and statistics department, said the new name change is more “all encompassing” of the major. The faculty senate unanimously voted to approve the proposed name change.