Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Valentine's Day Bingo
February 24, 2024

Provost Lawrence visits SGA

Thursday’s Student Government Association (SGA) meeting began with an appearance from Provost Pareena Lawrence, who came to talk with the senators about diversity and faculty. Her speech began by talking about faculty tenure and the hiring process.
This year, according to Lawrence, Augustana has hired 12 tenure track faculty members.
“This is a big number for us,” said Lawrence. “We have only 150, so that’s almost 10 percent.”
She continued explaining the differences between faculty, such as how they decide which types faculty would stay each year, and which wouldn’t.
Lawrence explained that more often than not, faculty know how long they would be teaching at Augustana when they get the job. Other times, Lawrence said, they find out when their term appointments are not extended. And sometimes, faculty aren’t offered extended contracts if their reviews look bad.
When asked about some departments lacking faculty, Lawrence explained that Augustana normally would fill vacancies. However, because of the loss of the MAP grants, Augustana had to abandon some searches. Nearly all of the lack of faculty is rooted in lack of funding.
Lawrence described one situation in which she had to decide to hire one faculty over another (without mentioning names), against her own bias.
“If I fill [one] position, it means I’m not filling someone else’s . . . As much as I want to fill this one position, I had to fill the other position,” said Lawrence. “It almost killed me, but the other position had a wait-list of  30 students in each section.”
If the students are showing more demand for a certain faculty, the school has no option but to respond to that demand.
Lawrence concluded by offering a chance to the SGA to share ideas about what should be done on Martin Luther King Day.
The meeting took a break before its only contingency to discuss the possibility of installing a fire pit on campus. Although it was only a discussion, and no decisions were being made, many members of the SGA were concerned with the damage a fire pit could cause in the hands of students.
Throughout the year, the SGA had been aware that some of the schools resources were being abused by students.
President David Sommers, who brought forward the idea, told the SGA, “We are asking for student accountability…we want to see students use resources, like a fire pit, but we need to hold them accountable.”
Some speculative discussion ended with a quick vote that the SGA would begin to develop the idea into an actual plan.
The only contingency was made by the Eagle Scout fraternity Epsilon Tau Pi (a national chapter), which has 13 members. The fraternity was looking for some funding for supplies, such as camping and work tools, which they intended to use for service projects.
They reported that, although sometimes equipment was available from other departments, it wasn’t always well maintained and having to share gear meant that plans had to change, or be cancelled, often.
When asked about fundraising, they reported that the fraternity had tried, but it was slow going. They offered to sell some chocolate to the SGA, if they were interested.
They compromised with the SGA, agreeing that other groups could borrow the equipment if it was well maintained.
They took the contingency to a vote, and Epsilon Tau Pi received their funding.
 

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Provost Lawrence visits SGA