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Faculty Senate chair returns with vision for UWRF change

September 29, 2011

Starting his 11th year on Faculty Senate, Professor Wes Chapin has returned to the Senate ready to “help and shape the university.”

Faculty Senate is a group of professors that meet every other Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. in the Willow River Room of the University Center, to receive and consider suggestions, proposals, and recommendations brought before the Senate by the faculty, student body and administrative staff.

Chapin is returning this year as the Senate chair. He is also the chair of the international studies program, chair of the political science department, 2012 group leader for the International Traveling Classroom study abroad program, the 2012 group leader for the Germany study abroad trip and he teaches one section of Political Science 377.

“I’m a busy guy,” said Chapin.

Chapin said the biggest issue he expects to come up in the near agenda is the privatization of textbook services.

“This would have a big impact on professors for when they are designing their classes and assigning textbooks and requirements,” said Chapin.

Chapin said he was unsure if the privatization would require more money from students or staff.

Another issue Chapin expects to come up in the next couple months is the effect of the Conceal and Carry law that comes into effect in Wisconsin on Nov. 1. The state of Wisconsin has passed a Conceal and Carry law, meaning that carrying a weapon is permitted in any public place unless that public place has a sign banning it. Chapin said he thinks the most threatening place for a weapon to be on campus is in the residential halls.

According to the UW-River Falls Faculty Senate website, the Senate is the “legislative arm of the faculty.”

“Faculty Senate really puts you in a position to help shape the university,” Chapin said. “Most faculty say they went to teaching at a higher education to make a difference for students and society, and teaching is a great way of doing that, but government is another great way to impact student learning.”

The Senate gets approximately a $3000 stipend, but Chapin said he doesn’t think anyone does it for the money.

According to the Faculty Senate Constitution, there are three different elections for the Senate. Elections are held during spring semester for divisional slots first, and then for at-large seats and then the Termination Committee is nominated and elected by the faculty. UWRF has five divisions: the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education and Professional Studies and the College of Business and Economics. Representatives selected for the 2011-12 Faculty Senate are: Ian Williams (CAFES), Don Stovall (COEPS), Patricia Berg, Kris Butler and Larry Harred (CAS) and Thomas Pedersen (Fourth Division or CBE).