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Possible changes upset students, faculty

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Doanepic

Editors note: This is a developing story, a follow up article will be posted soon.

Doane University intends to eliminate LAR and completely change academic advising, named and unnamed sources told the Owl. 

Alleged plans for academic advising include getting rid of the Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs position and moving current assistant dean Becky Hunke to an assistant to Dean of College of Arts and Sciences Pedro Maligo. 

Andrea Butler, associate vice president for academic affairs/adult and online operations and dean of School of Integrative Learning, will advise all Doane University campuses according to sources. 

 The Doane Owl attempted to contact administrative officials but only Maligo responded.

I wouldn’t know anything about rumors related to either topic,” Maligo said. 

Faculty think they are more than rumors, though. 

They contend there was a meeting on campus Friday to discuss these issues. 

Professor Kate Marley did not attend the meeting, but an upset colleague told her what happened. 

Marley, who teaches a LAR class, was concerned to hear of these contending changes. 

“I think that the intention is that this is an official thing because people have been told that their jobs are changing so the university imagines that this is a done deal,” Marley said. “No dollars have been spent yet.”

Marley is concerned with advisors being outside of majors because she says this is an important part of a Doane education.

“This is a continuation of decision making without capturing Doane strength, which is people here who are already doing great work. Why don’t we get together to come up with what is the next best idea to move forward?” Marley said. 

Marley said the university is making these decisions without faculty, staff or student input, all of which will be impacted by these decisions. 

“We should demand a seat at the table,” Marley said. 

Several professors said they would wait until they hear an official plan or the issues have been formally announced. 

“You may know more than I do,” Tim Hill said. “I'm not comfortable commenting on specifics yet, as I have yet to hear the entire plan or the rationale from those who came up with it.”

Becky Hunke was contacted regarding the changes in her position. 

“(I’m) Not ready to talk yet,” she said. 

Student Congress President Mady Vogel was approached by another StuCo member about changes in academic advising.

Vogel quoted this student by saying, “One of my professors today brought up that advising may be changed. So instead of having an advisor in your department, you would have a basic advisor who is not in your field. It’s apparently just beginning right now, and she suggested that we need to figure out what’s going on with this and see what students think.”

 Education professor Linda Kalbach heard about this and gave her LAR 202 class a poll to see if they would prefer to have an advisor in their program of study or have someone from an “advising center”. 

“Response was 99% in favor of advising by faculty in their program,” Kalbach said.

As a member of Faculty Council, Kalbach has had inquiries from colleagues but knows nothing first hand. 

Danelle DeBoer, sociology professor and department chairwoman, said that she is concerned that the university is putting in structures that resemble a large university, but will limit the ability to build relationships at a smaller school like Doane. 

“I have been at Doane for 18 years and in my opinion, over the last seven years we have added layer upon layer of administrative and middle management positions that have limited direct and transparent communication between groups on campus,” Danelle DeBoer said. “I can speak to the alienation and powerlessness faculty feel because we are not involved in the conversation regarding the changes being made on campus.”