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Discontinuation of athletic training still possible

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As the discussion for discontinuance of the athletic training program continues, a hearing held last Friday uncovered more issues besides the program not meeting the faculty and graduation requirements for the course.

The tenure of Mathew Howe, assistant professor of physical education and recreation, has also been put into question. If the program is discontinued, Howe will not receive tenure and will be put on an annual contract.

Howe first came to Emporia State in 2001 as an undergraduate and has since then received a master’s degree from the university. He is in his sixth year of employment. He has received all the necessary marks for tenure and should have been put up for tenure in March. But Ken Weaver, dean of the Teacher’s College and professor of psychology, has recomended the program for discontinuance.

“I feel like I am just caught in the middle of a bad storm right now,” Howe said. “It is all just coming in at the worst possible time, and we are doing everything we can to see it through. I know it is not intentional.”

The program discontinuation document was submitted to the Faculty Senate Executive committee from the academic affairs committee on April 3. Weaver said this recommendation comes after receiving the news that the program would have to hire another full time employee to meet standards. The program has also seen declining numbers of graduates in the last four years. Only graduating about five students per year, it has not been meeting the ten required.

“I cannot justify advocating for a second faculty member for a program that for five years hasn’t met the KBOR minimum when I have all these other programs who are in some cases down multiple faculty members,” Weaver said in an interview before the hearing.

Weaver did say that there is are positives that come from the program, and the issue is not about the quality.

“(Howe) has done a great job educating and preparing athletic trainers over the past years, and if the program is discontinued, he will not lose his contract,” Weaver said.

Howe, along with Shawna Shane, associate professor of health, physical education and recreation, and Leslie Kenney, athletic trainer, talked in front of students and faculty attending the meeting held in the Preston Family Room last Friday. Howe said he did not feel like he was in a fight with administration and felt supported in his plea to continue the program.

Faculty members were also concerned with the rate in which the program is being pushed through the discontinuation process. John Schrock, professor of biological sciences, said during the hearing that the discontinuation process should start at the faculty level and work up, since it is a long and thorough process.

“To keep the qualities of coursework at where it needs to be, that is the job of the faculty and the faculty within the departments and the chair,” Schrock said. “That is where curriculum review should start because that is where curriculum quality starts… I think we have people at the top we can trust and the procedure will occur the right way next time because it did not this time.”

A resolution has reached Faculty Senate and will be reviewed at today’s Faculty Senate meeting. Sheryl Lidzy, associate professor of communications and theater and Faculty Senate president, said they would separately discuss program discontinuation and the tenure of Howe.

“The process, as it is in place now, should be time- consuming,” Lidzy said. “And what has happened in this instance is that this process should have taken a lot more time.”

The Senate will have 30 days to vote and submit a written recommendation to administration.


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Discontinuation of athletic training still possible