College Council Discusses New Programs


Published: October 8, 2009

On Sept. 24, Fordham College Lincoln Center (FCLC) held its first College Council Meeting of the 2009-2010 school year in the South Lounge of the Leon Lowenstein Building. Representatives of all of the university’s departments as well as the book store, and Residence Hall Association (RHA) were present. Key topics of discussion included H1N1 flu measures, the new history core and Fordham’s revised academic integrity policy.

The College Council discussed H1N1 flu measures, a new history core and revisions of the history core requirements. (PJ Williams / The Observer)

Rev. Robert R. Grimes, S.J., dean of FCLC, presided over the meeting. Grimes opened by welcoming new faculty members and outlining student and alumni achievements. Grimes pointed out that nine Fordham  students received Fulbright scholarships. Grimes also mentioned alumni of Fordham’s fine arts program have been accepted to the Ailey school and appeared in the broadway musical, “Phantom of the Opera” and the television soap opera “All My Children.”

H1N1 influenza was also discussed by the council. Grimes said, “No plans have been made to close the college in the event of a widespread breakout.”

Grimes urged professors to make revisions to their attendance policies to accommodate for ill students. One possible suggestion he made was to offer “Blackboard continuations of courses.” He also stated that students would not be required to provide doctors’ notes to excuse their absences.

“The idea is to self-contain and have that and recovery be the primary objectives for ill students,” he said. Teachers were asked to notify the dean of the college if students reported contracting the virus.

Grimes also drew attention to the Oct. 17 open house for high school seniors. He cited this event as being especially important this year, as this generation of freshmen is “looking at the world from a different economic standpoint” from previous classes. Grimes said that most students had chosen their preferred colleges before the economic downturn, and would hopefully try to find new means to fulfill their goals. Grimes said that he is unable to foresee the impact that the global financial struggle will have on Fordham in the coming year.

The next item on the day’s agenda was a series of elections. Two representatives were voted upon for the Arts and Science Council: Leonard Nissim of the mathematics department and Christopher Maginn of the history department.

The next election was for the College Council Stearing Committee, for which two faculty members and one student member were voted. Susan Berger, Andrew Clarkand and Christopher Chromey were the selected representatives. This committee is mostly an online one and requires members to bring up topics to be added to the Council’s monthly meeting.

Grimes opened the floor to a speaker from the campus bookstore. This speaker promised to make textbooks available to students before finals of the preceding semester. He also offered the possibility of making books by alumni and professors available.

Following on the agenda was a vote about revision of the history major requirements. The addendum, requiring 10 courses, mostly 3000-level, was approved. The additional clarifications have not yet been voted upon. They include whether the interdisciplinary seminar can count as a history elective or the history seminar, whether AP credits can substitute choice electives and if 3000-level courses may be substituted for the second understanding of historical change requirement.

The academic integrity policy was the final agenda item discussed in the panel. Fordham will institute a new academic integrity policy involving a panel of students and faculty members. This committee is intended to determine disciplinary action against students accused or suspected of  breaching their academic integrity in cases that cannot be resolved between the student and the faculty member. Grimes said that the panel is only anticipated to be necessary in about 3-5 cases a year, and that ultimately he imposes final disciplinary action.

During the new business portion of the agenda, Andrew Clark, of the Modern Language Department at FCLC, asked about the Master Plan and an approximate timeline for construction. According to Grimes, “All approvals are in and the design is nearly finished.  Financing is all that is not yet in place.” All elements of design are anticipated to be entirely finished by January 2010 and Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., would like to begin construction as soon as possible, Grimes said. He did note, however, that other institutions such as Holy Cross and Georgetown have suspended their building plans due to the current economic climate.

The Master Plan discussion then spawned questions regarding leasing classroom space in the neighborhood by Rosemary Wakeman of the urban studies department. The question of a day care center to compliment Fordham’s school of education and social work as a part of the master plan was also came up here, but without a definitive conclusion.