Faculty Beat: Faculty Continue to Adjust New Group Requirements

Between unreinforced masonry, picky accreditors, and distribution requirement changes, Reed faculty had a lot more than just complimentary cookies on their plates for this month’s faculty meeting.

After opening statements praising the record attendance of Parent Visit Weekend, Acting President Hugh Porter gave the floor to Towny Angell, Director of Facilities Operations, to discuss a new development in Reed’s ongoing earthquake-preparedness measures. While reviewing the Hauser Library’s South Wing renovations, engineers came across sections of wall built in 1963 which are unreinforced. This means that they are more susceptible to damage during an earthquake.

As a result, this area of the library will have to be renovated in the near future. While this renovation can be paid for by the college, it will be a “major unplanned capital expenditure,” and it could take around fourteen months to complete. In the meantime, staff are working to find new thesis desks for seniors who may be affected by these renovations.

Despite the fact that many parts of the library were constructed in the 1930s, the renovated South Wing seems to be the only part of the library with unreinforced masonry. Other Reed buildings built by the same architect in the 1960s, including the Sports Center and Physical Plant, are currently undergoing review to determine if they, too, must be renovated.

Nigel Nicholson, Dean of the Faculty, then presented on the recent visit of accreditors on Reed campus. While the accreditors have not prepared their final report on Reed’s accreditation status, he said that their initial responses were “generally very positive, as you’d expect.” Accreditors were happy with the Junior Qual and Senior Thesis, Reed’s Computer and Informations System (CIS), and in-major advising. However, they had issues with first-year, non-major advising and how distribution requirement outcomes are measured. While the accreditors have not responded to questions and have not yet released a detailed report, it seems that overall their visit went relatively well.

The bulk of this month’s faculty meeting was dedicated to discussions surrounding the new set of distribution requirements that Reed College will be adopting in the upcoming 2019–2020 academic year. The Committee on Academic Policy and Planning (CAPP), which is made of faculty and nonvoting students, presented a near-final draft of these new requirements. However, faculty quickly pointed out concerns over the integration of interdisciplinary majors, including Comparative Race and Ethnicity Studies and Environmental Studies, into the new distribution requirements. The Environmental Studies faculty moved to be taken out of the distribution requirements until further discussion has been held, citing concerns of understaffing of courses such as ES 200 (Introduction to Environmental Studies Research), which would be applicable to science group requirements. CRES faculty, meanwhile, opted to add a note to the new requirement structure clarifying that courses cross-listed as CRES and a second department (for example, ANTH/CRES 396, Anthropology of Race and Ethnicity) will not count towards CRES program requirements.

Ultimately, the faculty voted to pass the revisions proposed by CAPP and the faculty this meeting. While this does not mean that these new group requirements have been totally finalized, it does mark an important step in getting these requirements in place the coming academic year.

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