Web exclusive: Faculty Senate looks to add co-op seat

By Hailey Hudson

The Faculty Senate discussed a proposal to add a co-op department seat on the senate last Wednesday.

The goal of the proposal is to fully integrate the academic and experiential aspects of the university, but many members found flaws with the plan.

The main conflict hinged on the fact that the seat would be filled by a faculty member who is not necessarily on the tenure track, and also that co-op is not a college within the university, but instead a division.

Senate member Stephen Kane was the main voice in support of the proposal.

“I think it’s essential for there to be a co-op voice on the faculty senate,” Kane said. Provost Ahmed Abdelal supported Kane’s stance.

“There need to be discussions between co-op faculty who work in arts and sciences and academia,” Abdelal said. “We must have a full integration of faculty – that includes co-op faculty.”

Engineering Professor Ali Touran said Northeastern is nationally recognized for its co-op program, so it would be understandable to have a representative from co-op.

Professor Bruce Wallin of the political science department agrees with the intent of the proposal but believes, from a policy perspective, that it is flawed. “It’s na’ve to expect people to compete while during a period of change, ” said Wallin.

Wallin said co-op should be represented but, basically, this is not the right way to go about doing so. There seemed to be a general consensus among the opposition that there had been success in the co-op division of Northeastern University due to its decentralization of power.

Kane yielded his time to Bill Ray, a representative of the co-op faculty, in order to give the senate a more detailed description of the unrest and hostility felt by co-op faculty members. Ray said there is a huge level of disconnect between the co-op division and the other departments.

Earlier in the meeting, members had determined the co-op program’s current “decentralized system” has been successful and shouldn’t be tampered with.

Ray countered by describing the sense of “disenfranchisement” the co-op faculty currently feels.

History Professor Gerry Herman said co-op needs to be represented because it is a key aspect of Northeastern.

“We need this step to make this school truly interdisciplinary,” Herman said. “We need someone who speaks for that voice of the faculty; the experiential part needs to be continually represented at this table.”

Leave a Reply