Honors Program leadership enters formal review

Ryan Moore, Editor in Chief

A formal resolution process lies ahead pertaining to the Honors Program, its leadership and personnel. This decision was reached over the semester break and was communicated to the Honors Program in a letter from Provost Karen Kaivola on Jan. 11 — just before the start of the semester.

   This process will be carried out alongside the existing review of the Program that is being chaired by interim Honors Program Director Stacy Freiheit. Kaivola writes, “In addition to the overall review of the Honors Program that is currently underway, we have continued to consider — through the processes available to us — personnel actions that may be appropriate responses to student concerns.” The formal resolution process comes following an informal process that was guided by the Faculty Handbook; as Kaivola writes, this informal process “failed to achieve an appropriate resolution.”

Both the informal and the formal resolution processes are detailed in the Faculty Handbook under section 2.6: Adherence to the Code of Ethics. Two potential routes for the formal resolution process are written into the Faculty Handbook for ethical violations of a faculty member involving either professional standards or professional relationships. The Committee on Tenure and Promotion (CTP) will be consulted with the possibility of a hearing committee being created, according to Kaivola’s letter. Faculty members on the CTP, as listed on Augsburg’s website, are Andrew Aoki, Anthony Clapp, Joe Erickson, Diane Pike, John Schmit, Ben Stottrup and Mark Tranvik; the Provost is also listed as a non-voting member of this committee.

   In her letter, Kaivola says she is hopeful this formal resolution process will reach some conclusion during our current semester. Kaivola writes, “During the Spring term and while Formal process is underway, Professor Adamo will be assigned non-instructional responsibilities, and interim leadership of the Honors Program will remain with Dr. Stacy Freiheit.” When asked for further comment on this formal resolution process, Kaivola responded, “The Formal Resolution process offers a structure that involves faculty colleagues in the review and resolution of potential violations of the Faculty Code of Ethics … It reflects principles of shared governance in higher education, and it provides the opportunity for faculty colleagues to advise the administration on appropriate next steps when more informal processes do not achieve resolution.”

   The climate of the Honors Program was not left out of the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Action this past Monday; one of the breakout sessions was titled “Diversity and Inclusion in the Honors Program: Recommendations Moving Forward.” The session served as a means for students to advocate for reforms in the program pertaining long and short term solutions.

   Danny Reinan, a first-year student in the Honors Program and one of the student representatives on the preexisting Honors Review team, said, “The Honors Program is now entering a formal review process, and during this process, every question is worth considering, including questions about foundational elements of the program that previously went unchallenged.”

This article was originally published in the Jan. 25, 2019 issue. 

Screenshot of faculty handbook from google drive.