The Emporia State Faculty Senate discussed the opening of the Prophet Aquatic Research Center during their first meeting in April, despite continued concerns about the budget and about future sources of funding.

“Brent Thomas and many other people and science faculty have been involved in fundraising literally for years to make this facility a reality and they’ve had a lot of hurdles to clear to get to this point, but it is truly a remarkable achievement for those people,” said Provost David Cordle. 

The privately funded project started construction in March of 2018 and should be open to students by next semester, said Cordle.

 “Occupancy for the facility will probably come towards the end of April as it is still a hard-hat area. May 22nd will be the ribbon cutting, and from that point on even this summer it will be possible to have guests in there and host outreach activities. This fits in perfectly with one of our strategic resource strategies.”

One of the anonymously submitted questions Cordle answered about the budget compared ESU to the University of Phoenix, arguing ESU has lowered its standards of admission requirements, especially online students in hopes of squeezing more revenue out of students, who should not be viewed as customers.

“I don’t think ESU is trying to be the University of Phoenix at all,” Cordle said. “What we are doing is trying to extend our reach to some students who are never going to be able to come here, live on the campus and attend courses in our classrooms for a semester at a time. This is largely graduate students we are talking about, so I would submit to you that reaching those students and engaging them is a good thing for those students and it is a good thing for the university too.”

The business side of ESU was also addressed, making addressing their wants and needs an even greater priority, said Cordle. 

“We are a tuition dependent institution. That is a fact and there is no denying that and tuition is paid for by real life breathing students,” Cordle said. “From my perspective it probably makes sense for us to make students and their needs a priority, but I do not think it means that we do, or should, view them as revenue units or anything like that.”

Brenda Koerner, associate professor of Biology and next president of the Faculty Senate, discussed attendance requirements for senators in a post-pandemic world.

“There are two issues we need to address and the first is illness. We already have policy to deal with that since no one is expecting you to come into work when they are ill so there are provisions for finding substitutes and if you can’t find a substitute there are allotted absences and that would obviously be one,” said Koerner. “Currently attendance is in person so that is what I will expect going into next year unless if this body decides to change the bylaws for those purposes we will deal with that at that time. The exception to that is if anyone has an accommodation they have to seek those through (Human Resources) and we will find ways to accommodate that particular senator based on HR’s recommendation.” 

With the semester ending, the Music department will be holding a Jazz concert at 6p.m. on April 20 outside Beach Hall according to Ramiro Miranda, assistant professor of Music.

“The jazz band and faculty jazz band combo will be right outside the Beach Hall main doors and it will kind of be a bring your own lunch kind of thing,” said Miranda. “The wind ensemble has a concert on April 27t, also at 6p.m.. We are also working hard on putting on social media all the ensembles for you to see since we have a lot of music that we unfortunately weren’t able to share since we didn’t have live concerts this last year.”

The next Faculty Senate Meeting will be on April 20, at 3:30 p.m. via Zoom. 

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