February Senate Meeting

Updates on the Counseling Center, Course Cap and More


Maryam Pervaiz, News Editor

The university’s senate held a meeting earlier this month. The President of the committee, Christopher Shamburg, began by announcing a moment of silence for Sheila Kirven’s (an associate professor in the library) passing in early January.

Shamburg continued with the senate agenda, however, Joseph Moskowitz, a Political Science professor raised a question in regard to the pass/fail option. Moskowitz asked for more information on why the administration did not go along with the Senate’s suggestion for the pass/fail option as well as if this option is being discussed for the spring 2021 semester. Shamburg said, “They have been thinking about it for a while and felt that it wasn’t in the best interest at that time. I don’t know if it is on anyone’s radar for spring 2021.”

Tamara Jhashi, Provost and Senior Vice President, said, “It was a considered decision…We did look at the data on the midterm grades before we made this decision and we did not see a precipitate decline…We were trying to create the best possible opportunity for students on the transcript and if you’re going to apply to graduate school, for a scholarship, to use your transcript in a professional way, no credit doesn’t really do you much favor.”

Jhashi continued, “We are going to put together a small group of people, of students, faculty, administrators, to discuss how we might view our grading policy for spring.”

Course Cap

Shamburg has stated a motion regarding the course cap at NJCU, “Course caps have an important role in the quality of education and have been raised by the administration from spring 2021. Therefore, the senators firm the importance to returning to maintaining the approved course gaps for all NJCU courses.”

Discussion for this motion was raised. Max Herman, an associate professor in Sociology and Anthropology, said, “We are in a budget crisis, there are concerns that if we look at the budgetary process projected over the next few years, it looks like in order to save money, we are going to have to be increasing course caps and putting more bodies in classrooms… I think we need to do what we can to keep the course caps the way they are…More bodies you put in the classroom, the more work to be done by the professors, the less personal attention a student gets. I don’t think it’s in the service of the students.”

More bodies you put in the classroom, the more work to be done by the professors, the less personal attention a student gets. I don’t think it’s in the service of the students.

— Max Herman

The Senate committee voted on this resolution resulting in a 39-3 pass.

Jhashi also weighed in on this topic, “Course caps- when you look at the chart, you will see that most of these are by 2-3 students… You all know the supplemental budget instruction has been cut and you’re sitting in my chair presumably and you have a budget and you have a message coming through enrollment saying we might have another 400 students that are going to register. What are you going to do with that? A logical solution would be to add 2-3 more students. I used to do that.”

After this resolution, Ricky Cruz, the President of the Student Government Association (SGA) spoke on the results of the student survey that was sent in late December.

Counseling Center Update

Jodi Bailey, the Interim Vice President for Student Affairs provided an update on the counseling center after a shortage of counselors.

Bailey said, “We are happy to say that we have Dr. John Sherry as a consultant for the spring semester…We have also hired a part-time counselor for 30 hours a week to help fill some of the space.

After announcing the two new staff members, Dr. John Sherry and Fran Gutherie in the counseling center, Bailey shared that NJCU won a scholarship through the Governor’s Office to become a GED school. She continued to talk about how the center is in the works of improving their services and will look into after-hour talks for students.

More information on the NJCU Senate: https://www.njcu.edu/directories/offices-centers/university-senate