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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Members resign from lead university planning committee

Concerns expressed over effectiveness of IPC

Recently, numerous faculty members resigned from the university’s Institutional Planning Committee (IPC).

According to the faculty handbook, the IPC “is charged with advising the university president and cabinet on the five-year goals and short-range objectives establishing priorities concerning resource allocation and the procedure for evaluation of program effectiveness at the university.”

The IPC meets once a month and is primarily composed of faculty members as well as two student leaders, usually from University Student Senate, and various administrators. It is one of the three committees, along with the BAC (Budgetary Advisory Committee) and ABFC (Advisory Board on Faculty Compensation) that are a part of the larger shared governance system at the university.

During the monthly meetings of the IPC, presentations are given regarding different topics and issues across campus, and then members of the IPC provide feedback.

Recent topics that were presented to the IPC were the new mission statement and the decision to increase enrollment for the fall.

“We don’t vote on anything,” said student body president, Nicholas Paolizzi, ’15. “It’s more like when we hear presentations from these different areas on what they’re doing or what their plans are, we give them feedback right away. It fosters a discussion.”

“You’re supposed to help with the planning of the institution, which means the strategic long-range plan, going out three to five years,” said Claire Simmers, Ph.D., professor of management and a faculty member who recently resigned from her membership on the IPC.

“How will the university provide and thrive coming into the future?…You would take a very external, encompassing look at it in terms of demographics and economics and politics and technology… and then you look internally at what are the strengths and the weaknesses, so that then you could put forward goals and objectives,” Simmers continued.

However, Simmers went on to explain that in recent months, the IPC has not been fully performing its defined functions; it has been more focused on presentations when the decision has already been made, which is part of the reason for her resignation.

Richard Haslam, Ph.D., professor of English and another member who resigned, echoed Simmers’ reasoning, saying, “[There] was a feeling that we were giving advice but it wasn’t really being listened to.”
Paolizzi went on to explain that the fact that the IPC does not make any concrete decisions has raised some concern about its effectiveness.

“One of the concerns that a few faculty and I even echoed in our discussion [with the Middle States Review] is that we feel like… these items are presented when the processes are already starting,” Paolizzi said.

He continued, “Since it’s not necessarily being voted on, there is a concern as to how far that feedback goes and if it’s even taken into consideration. So I would definitely say in some areas that maybe it’s not as effective as it should be…but I would say it’s not pointless.”

Cary Anderson, Ph.D., vice president of student life also echoed these concerns, saying, “I would say in a while we haven’t met as often and haven’t been focusing as much on planning as perhaps more informational issues at that point. So what I would say is, as part of the overall review of shared governance, that one of the issues is, I think, that IPC and some of the other committees need to be examined or reexamined.”

Anderson continued, “I think that at one point it [function of the IPC] was pretty clear, and then things have become somewhat murky and now we need to come out of it and bring clarity to it again. So I think that’s the next step moving forward…I know there’s frustration with members and they’ve expressed that frustration. I guess what I would say is, I’m in agreement that we need to look at it as what its function is, and what it could be.”

When asked about his thoughts on the resignation of numerous members, Anderson replied, “I think that that was part of a very strong statement that we [members of the IPC] don’t think that shared governance and these types of committees are working well.”

Haslam, along with Anderson, also thought it was a strong statement from the faculty.

“For those sort of people to be so frustrated and bewildered is something unprecedented, that there would be that degree of consensus. It’s a sign that there is something wrong with shared governance,” Haslam said.

When asked about her resignation specifically and whether she would later come back to the IPC, Simmers replied, “When we go back to the description of the committee in the faculty handbook I would be happy to rejoin the committee. But given its very passive role, I would feel that my time and talents could be better utilized in other areas.”

Jeanne Brady, Ph.D., interim dean of the college of arts and sciences, Martin Farrell, vice president of university advancement, Brice Wachterhauser, Ph.D., university provost, and John McCall, Ph.D., professor of philosophy and management, all were unavailable to comment.

Kathleen Gaval, Ph.D., chair of the IPC, Jodi Mindell, Ph.D., professor of psychology, Maria Marsilio, Ph.D., professor of modern and classical languages, Stephanie Pricken, liaison to BAC, and Springs Steele, vice president for mission, all declined to comment.

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