Getting Ready for the Start of a New Academic Year

As we do each year, there are a number of important activities scheduled in the so-called “pre-week.”  The calendar is available here.  A few of the events deserve special mention and there are also some changes from how the pre-week activities worked last year.  Hopefully, everything will come off this year without the dramas of a year ago – some folks are still talking about the earthquake, the horrific thunderstorm, and the hurricane that all occurred during the pre-week time and even forced the start of classes to be delayed by one day!

Monday, August 20 is once again “College Day.”  The idea is to provide an opportunity for each college to focus activities designed to get the year off to a good start.  Additional details are forthcoming from each College Dean about what will be scheduled on this day and where those meetings will take place.

On the morning of Tuesday August 21, the University Faculty Council and all university level committees will meet to organize themselves for the coming year, elect committee chairs and secretaries, and carry out other business as required in order to get the governance year off to a good start.  A calendar of meeting dates for the coming year, worked out in conjunction with the UFC and the leadership of each of the colleges, is available here.

This calendar is different from ones organized in the past in that there are no designated meeting days for university or college committees.  As the number of faculty committees has increased by virtue of having university and college level committees, it became readily apparent last year that attempting to establish a fixed schedule for all the various committees was unworkable.  Many committees were already negotiating different meeting dates on their own to take into account schedule conflicts of the members of the committee.  The new Faculty Handbook points out that each university committee is to set its own meeting schedule and that those dates are to be made available to all faculty by August 30.  The organizational meeting time on August 21 will enable the various committees to set their meeting schedules, determine how to make the faculty aware of those dates, and make other decisions necessary in order to ensure a smooth flow of governance business throughout the year.

For everyone’s convenience, we have once again organized a calendar of important dates for instructional faculty.  This is a handy reference for all of the various deadlines on the teaching schedule (last day to drop classes, midterm deficiency report due date, and so forth).

The annual opening general faculty meeting occurs on Thursday, August 23 at 10:30 a.m. in Dodd Auditorium.  Several presentations are on the agenda.  President Rick Hurley will offer remarks about the state of the university and plans for the current year.  Interim Provost Newbould will offer some comments and thoughts for the coming year from his perspective.  Vice President for Student Affairs Doug Searcy will have a few remarks and announcements as well.  Department chairs will do the usual brief introductions of new full-time faculty members in their departments, and the winner of the Topher Bill Service Award will be announced.  This meeting is followed by the traditional faculty luncheon with seating available in the Great Hall (Woodard Campus Center) and in the Faculty Staff Dining Room in Seacobeck Hall.

In a change from last year, the opening Honor Convocation will take place on Friday, August 24 at 3:45 p.m.  The faculty will again convene in academic regalia for the event – a reminder and specific instructions for where to assemble will be sent a few days before the event.  Honor Convocation will again take place in the Anderson Center.

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