EKU’s first ombud was introduced at the first Faculty Senate meeting of the year on Monday, February 5.

Faculty Senators discussed the future of EKU through Eastern’s Quality Enhancement Plan, information relevant to performance funding and changing Eastern’s Learning Management Solution from Blackboard.

President Benson started the first Faculty Senate meeting of the semester by addressing the Moore Building, currently home to many Science classes that Benson says will be moved to New Science 2 over the summer.

Jill Parrott, an associate professor of English, announced Eastern’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP). QEP is a series of workshops to help students improve metacognitive critical reading and to help faculty improve their pedagogical strategies.

Parrott aims to help students and faculty improve performance across the board and create an environment that encourages students and makes people excited to learn and teach.

“Our goal is, really, to make a culture change on campus,” Parrott said.

Over 100 students attended QEP workshops in the week prior to the meeting.

Retention data that was presented to the Board of Regents in January was presented to Faculty Senators by Gene Palka. Retention data is a major factor in the funding Eastern receives under the state’s new performance based funding model.

A document containing the presented retention data can be found in the online version of this article.

Palka also mentioned that EKU has retention challenges specific to the university, but performance based funding does not allot for that.

EKU faces an economically depressed service region, a vast number of first-generation college students and a low level of college preparedness among incoming freshman, Palka said.

Matt Winslow, a professor of psychology, addressed changes to EKU’s Learning Management Solution, currently BlackBoard.

EKU will begin transitions from BlackBoard in Fall 2017 and will switch to either New BlackBoard or Canvas.

So far, faculty members have been in favor of the familiarity of the new BlackBoard. Students are currently field-testing apps for the services because students reported apps as being their favorite way to find their grades.

The transition to a new system, starting this fall, could last up to four semesters before every course is in the new system.

The next Faculty Senate meeting will be on Monday, March 6 at 3:30 p.m. in the South Ballroom on the second floor of the Keen Johnson Building.