The Faculty Senate of Seton Hall University

Newsletter Vol. 1, September 2003


         Welcome to the Premiere Issue of the Faculty Senate Newsletter!

This newsletter will serve to update the Faculty regarding the most recent and upcoming Faculty Senate Meetings and provide direct links to important information. For more extensive information, please go to the Faculty Senate Home Page.


Minus Grades Motion Passed by Senate

At its Sept. 5th, 2003, meeting, the Faculty Senate approved the introduction at Seton Hall of a Plus/Minus Grading system (without the grades A+ and D-). Quality points will be assigned on the following scale: A, 4.000; A-, 3.667; B+, 3.333; B, 3.000; B-, 2.667; C+, 2.333; C, 2.000; C-1.667; D+, 1.333; D, 1.000; F, 0.000. The optimal date for the introduction of the new system would be September 2004, which Enrollment Services recommends. Please see the attachment for the full report of the special Minus Grades Committee. 

Minus Grades


Faculty Senate Action Items for 2003-2004       

     In her Convocation Address on Sept. 12th, Faculty Senate Chair Roseanne Mirabella outlined the following agenda items for the 2003-2004 academic year:

bulletTo continue to support Program Review and "to ensure that Senate recommendations on individual programs will be completed within a timeframe compatible with the university budget process and reflected in that budget."
bulletTo continue to support the improvement of general education at Seton Hall with the development of a new core curriculum.
bulletTo support external revue for promotion and tenure as long as it is in conjunction with appropriate levels of support for faculty scholarship.
bulletTo continue to pursue faculty representation on the Board of Regents.

In her call to action, Dr. Mirabella also asked for the following:

bulletGreater academic rigor across the curriculum
bulletThe return of Enrollment Services to the Academic Affairs division
bulletA Program Review process that leads to real, substantive change and modifications
bulletThat new programs only be approved if there are adequate university resources available to support such a program
bulletTo avoid course duplication by placing the new course approval process back into the hands of the college EPCs and Senate APCCC
bulletA reduced course load for faculty in keeping with the Tier Two status to which we aspire
bulletCompensation for faculty matching that of our peer institutions

 (Please see the link for the full-text of her convocation address.)

In his remarks, University Provost Mel Shay said that the administration will continue to work with the faculty to provide a supportive environment for faculty work life.


Core Curriculum Update

The Senate’s Core Curriculum Committee is developing a revamped approached to general education at Seton Hall. A new emphasis will be placed on making good on our institutional commitment to service. The core will focus on skill development and skill application. The proposed model was developed in response to specific ideas and concerns that the faculty shared with the committee both at department meetings and through a faculty survey. The plan to transform general education will result in a major departure from the current model on campus, providing a coherent educational experience – a signature experience for Seton Hall students. I believe that the Seton Hall community is ready to engage in the hard work and sustained commitment that will be necessary to transform general education at Seton Hall University (from R. Mirabella's Convocation Address).

Reflecting on the Core Curriculum Committee's efforts in his address to the faculty at Convocation, Msgr. Robert Sheeran stressed that this core should "reflect our mission and the rich Catholic intellectual tradition."  He assured the faculty that he would ask the regents to provide generous funding for a new core that brought national recognition to Seton Hall (as did the IT initiative).


                                  External Review

The Faculty Guide Committee has created draft language on external review in the area of tenure and promotion. The Senate is especially concerned that the guidelines establish fair and reasonable rules and procedures for this process. As proposed, external review would be administered at the departmental level, would provide a packet to reviewers outlining the candidate’s scholarship, and would provide the external reviewer with information on institutional support provided to the candidate during their time here at Seton Hall. The draft language includes a timeline for phasing in the process over several years. The Senate stands ready to forward this language to the Provost once the appropriate levels of academic support for scholarship have been adequately addressed (from R. Mirabella's Convocation Address). .



If you have comments, questions, or suggestions regarding the material in this newsletter, please contact Mary Balkun, Faculty Senate Executive Secretary, at

Executive Committee Report 9-05-03

Program Review Update

The Faculty Senate is seeking volunteers, preferably tenured, to help review programs of study in our various colleges and schools. 

We are striving to increase meaningful faculty participation in university governance, and one of the ways we as faculty members can do this is by assuming greater responsibility for academic programs (which should be our purview anyhow).  Specifically, we should be the major voice in deciding which programs are strong academically and are good investments of our resources, versus which programs should be phased out. 

The Senate is aware that in the past Program Review has sometimes required a lot of work with very little result.  The way to improve this is to ask each volunteer to review only one large or two smaller programs and to appoint reviewers who are able to give honest opinions, including suggestions for improvement, criticisms and, where necessary, recommendations for discontinuance.  We believe that tenured faculty members should be best able to offer such straightforward opinions. 

Please contact either of the committee co-chairs, Mary Balkun (English) or Bob Massey (Psychology and Family Therapy) to indicate your willingness to serve in this important capacity. 



























[Developed for the Faculty Senate by the TLTC.]













Convocation Address

Meeting Minutes:   9-05-03

Senate Membership

Senate Committees