Faculty Senate approves removal of student Graduate Council positions

The Faculty Senate approved several motions regarding new undergraduate programs and one regarding the composition of the Graduate Council on Wednesday, Feb. 2. The Graduate Council’s motion included the removal of two of their student positions. 

The motion, submitted by the Graduate Council’s Committee Chair Wes Fondren, passed in a 53-3 vote during the senate meeting. Fondren said the motion was submitted due to repeated difficulty filling the positions. 

“We’ve had two graduate student spots, and they were supposed to be there to represent graduate students,” he said. “The problem that we’ve had every single year is that there were no graduate students that wanted to participate.” 

Fondren said trouble filling the position stems from graduate students being busy with numerous other responsibilities. He said they refrain from recruiting first-year students because of their lack of experience with them. For second-year students and beyond, he said they’re busy with off-site work. 

“Graduate students in general are committed outside the campus, and a lot of our graduate students are working full-time jobs, or they have families they’re trying to care for,” he said.  

Despite the removal of the student positions, he said students still have a voice, with many of the considerations within the council and the senate being from student suggestions. Fondren said they hope to reintroduce the positions once they reach a point where they can keep them consistently full. 

Along with the motion by the Graduate Council, the Faculty Senate approved proposals for several new programs. One of these proposals included the creation of the Journalism and Sports Media major.  

Department Chair of Communication, Media, and Culture Kyle Holody said the program will help create a clearer outcome for students who are interested in journalism and sports media. While the coursework is similar to that of the Communication Studies program, he said this was by design.  

“It’s intentionally similar to make transfer easy,” Holody said.  

He said the key motivation for creating the program was to aid students who are not only interested in journalism and sports media, but those who want to focus on it. Even so, Holody said they’re planning to hire somebody in sports journalism and sports media, which could help shape the program from their experience. 

“Based on what they bring in, we’ll update the curriculum,” he said.  

While the motion for this program passed in a 57-2 vote, Holody said it still has to be approved by the state of South Carolina. Still, he said he’s confident it will pass and that they plan on implementing the program in the 2023 Fall semester.  

“Our hope is that it will start in August,” Holody said. 

Other programs approved by the Faculty Senate include: 

  • Business Analytics Minor  
  • Bachelor of Professional Studies  
  • War and Society Minor 
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing  
  • Health Science B.S.  

The next Faculty Senate meeting will be on March 1, 2023.