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Faculty Senate Raises Concerns Over Sustainability of Random COVID Testing

College of liberal arts

College of Liberal Arts | Photo by Diana Jaber | The Wright State Guardian

Wright State University (WSU) faculty senate met to discuss the COLA reorganization, COVID testing concerns, and the Center for Faculty Excellence (CFE). 

COLA reorganization/dean searches

WSU is planning to split COLA into three separate schools according to the reorganization report submitted on Nov. 1. According to the report, COLA will be split into the School of the Arts, the School of the Humanities and the School of the Social Sciences. 

The report explains that faculty in COLA decreased by 50% from 2015 to 2022. The proposed reorganization would introduce new curricula. 

WSU’s goal is to maximize enrollment within COLA. President Sue Edwards stated that the search for a COLA dean will begin once a search committee is formed. 

“Successful reorganization will promote curricular reform so as to maximize enrollment in our courses as part of a 2-5 year time frame,” according to the report. 

Active dean searches include the searches in the College of Health Education and Human Services and the College of Science and Math. A search for vice provost for the Lake campus is also underway.

READ MORE: COLA Committee Proposes Downsizing 10 Departments and Schools to Three

COVID testing concerns

Senators raised concerns over the amount of money being spent on randomized testing as only 0.3% of random tests came back positive according to Edwards. 

“We have randomly tested over 2,000 students; roughly about 437 a week,”  Edwards said. “So far out of that 437 a week, we’ve only had seven positive cases of asymptomatic students.”

Some senators believed this expanded testing takes too much of the university’s budget.

“COVID is here to stay; you are going to have asymptomatic cases,” said Senator Vicki Evans from the College of Nursing and Health (CNH). “So why would we put that money out when it is not medically best practice to begin with and not sustainable?”

Senator Valerie Stoker of the College of Liberal Arts (COLA) raised a concern about a vaccine mandate given low resources for the testing center and high number of students already vaccinated despite low report rate. 

The testing center has completed multiple vaccinations amongst students according to Edwards. 

The Center for Faculty Excellence

Dr. Carol Loranger, the past faculty president from 2015-2017, stated that she learned that the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) closed. She proposed a new center after doing research.

Loranger looked at CTLs at different universities and what they have done with them. 

“Many [universities] had transformed their [CTLs] into a Center for Faculty Excellence [CFEs],” Dr. Loranger said. “Centers that were focused on improving teaching and introducing faculty to new pedagogies but also into developing the whole faculty.”

Loranger suggests that the CFE would build upon WSU’s CTL. More information on the CFE will be announced in early January according to Dr. Loranger. 

The faculty senate will meet again on Dec. 6.