Proposal to change office hours discussed

Lennie Ballosh, General Staff

Faculty Senate considered two proposals from faculty members on the appropriate ways to gauge whether instructors are available for consultations with students. The proposals were discussed at length during the Nov. 11 meeting.

The current system only considers whether faculty members are present in their offices during 10 predetermined hours per week, a university-wide mandate.

Mathematics professor Benjamin V.C. Collins brought forward a resolution that suggested instructors might use “their own professional judgment to find appropriate ways to make themselves available” to students. His resolution also suggested that departments or schools might “wish to set their own guidelines for office hours.”

“My proposal is to allow instructors more flexibility to meet the needs of their students that may not be met in their [instructors’] physical office,” Collins said.

Michael Compton, the director of the School of Agriculture, brought in his own proposal that he said would consider a broader definition of office hours to include other activities where faculty engage with students. Compton said that faculty members who spend extra time working with student organizations and working with students on undergraduate research are being penalized by the 10-hour requirement.

“It’s not cutting office hours, it is promoting student engagement,” Compton said.

“I think that we need to consider all of the potential effects that these changes could have before a decision is made,” Hannah Corcoran, Chief of Staff for Student Senate and senior Spanish and education major, said.

Collins and Compton will collaborate on a combined proposal to be presented at the next Faculty Senate meeting at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 25. Student Senate President, Joseph Sigwarth, will be consulted during the process.

See next week’s issue of the Exponent for more information.