The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

EPAG moves to restructure

By Amy Ledig

Educational Policy and Governance is the most important committee on campus that no one knows about. Not only do they oversee the addition -or dismantling – of departments and programs, they among other things advise on curricular changes, evaluate general education requirements and toward the end of the year morph into the Allocations Committee, helping determine which faculty searches get the go ahead. By the end of the semester, though, EPAG hopes to streamline their processes, clarify their duties and hopefully have a little less on their plate.”I think there was a sense that EPAG was getting involved in too many things- was micromanaging too many initiatives,” said Pete Ferderer, an economics professor and current chair of the committee.

Kendrick Brown, a psychology professor who chaired EPAG last year, headed up the ad hoc committee that explored possible changes to the structure of EPAG and subsequently presented recommendations to the committee members during the fall semester. EPAG has since discussed the potential changes and Ferderer said this week they will begin putting together language laying out their views on how the restructuring should take place. They hope to finish the process and present their conclusions to the faculty by the end of the semester.

“They were spending so much time on relatively minor things that they did not have time for strategic planning related to the curriculum,” Provost Kathy Murray said. “Having worked with the committee since September, I agree with that view and support their efforts to revise the structure of the committee.”

The goal, Ferderer explained, is to allow EPAG to step back and take a wider look at the college’s needs and help develop long-term strategy.

“I think governance and curriculum are the two key words there,” Ferderer said, adding that EPAG should be focused on how the curriculum changes, who is making changes and how the college is growing.

Among the curricular challenges looming are what fields the college should focus on in a rapidly changing world. Ferderer cited the growth of Chinese programs at Macalester as an example of the college adapting to shifting global conditions. EPAG supported and the faculty approved the establishment of a Chinese Culture and Language minor within Asian Studies at the February faculty meeting.

While most of the proposed changes are minor and will address the committee’s make up and procedures, there are some more significant moves on the way.

“The important issues that perhaps has implications for students and faculty are considerations about how the provost interacts with committees as far as allocations for new positions,” Ferderer said.

One goal of the restructuring is to clarify exactly what EPAG’s role in the allocations process is. EPAG considers department proposals to add new faculty positions or fill open spots, making recommendations to the provost who then has final say in the process, not making the decisions themselves. Ferderer said confusion over the process has led to some tensions with faculty members, something that hopefully will be addressed with a new, clearer explanation of the committee’s role in allocations decisions.

Ferderer was optimistic about the process and the future of a new, improved EPAG.

“I do hope it makes EPAG more efficient and allows EPAG to focus more on the strategic, long run issues,” he said.

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