Faculty Senate denounces Accenture’s recommendations

Campus Editor and Campus Editor

During a Tuesday meeting, members of the Faculty Senate expressed concerns over Accenture’s recommendations about the Union Bookstore, urging University officials to reject them.

Speaking on the Bookstore Advisory Committee’s behalf, committee member Ann Darke announced to the senate their opposition to Accenture’s proposals.

Accenture is a private consulting firm that the University contracted to find ways for the University to reduce costs and increase revenues. The Accenture proposals for the Bookstore include consolidating to one floor, moving many services online, potentially eliminating the brick and mortar location and outsourcing book purchasing and rental services to private companies.

“We strongly argue against the Accenture bookstore recommendations,” said Darke, instructor in Math and Statistics Department. “They’re misunderstanding of the vision of the BGSU Bookstore.”

After Darke read the statement, Senate members discussed the outcomes of enacting these proposals. Some concerns were that it would harm retention, as the store is a popular stop for those on campus for tours. Others were concerned that the loss of the Bookstore would rob the University of part of its identity. Students can buy T-shirts and other University gear there to express their school pride.

Bookstore Director Jeff Nelson was also there to answer questions. One point he raised is that Accenture’s report lacked important detail, like how much money the proposals would save.

“It didn’t really get into a lot of specifics on where the savings would be earned,” Nelson said to the Senate.

Rather than consolidate or eliminate the space, Nelson suggested “there is opportunity for us to use the existing space in a different way.”

Alex Solis, the president of the Undergraduate Student Government, told the Senate that many students are buying books online, and that he thinks Bookstore “usage has declined.”

“With that being said, I think a bookstore should have a place on this campus,” Solis said.

Darke also announced that Senate members can nominate themselves or others for positions for next academic year.

Darke herself was nominated for Senate secretary, a position now held by Elizabeth Wood, librarian at Jerome Library. Steve Cady was also nominated for Senate vice chair, a position now held by Joel O’Dorisio, instructor in the Chapman Learning Community.

Members were initially hesitant to speak up at the meeting, as only a few positions received nominations, but Darke assured them they will have until April 11 to nominate someone. She encouraged everyone to nominate at least one person to make the process go smoothly.

During the meeting, Senate Chair Sheri Wells-Jensen, associate professor in the English Department, presented the feedback from members during the previous March 4 meeting, when members were asked to get in groups and discuss how to accommodate changing enrollment.

“I went through and looked for themes,” Wells-Jensen told the Senate.

Some of the suggestions the University is already doing, while “some are areas in which the Accenture committees … and elsewhere have said, ‘Yeah, these are things we need to be doing,” Wells-Jensen said.

These suggestions include finding support for families, attracting students early, attracting international students and transfer students, improving advising, and creating new programs. The full list with more specifics is on the Faculty Senate’s page on bgsu.edu.

Senate member Dave Border, Associate Professor in the Department of Engineering Technologies, presented two curriculum modification requests on behalf of the Committee on Academic Affairs, which he chairs. One is a new specialization for the Applied Health Science degree, allowing registered nurses who have earned an Associate degree to use technical hours as professionals to satisfy specialization requirements.

The second creates a secondary transition certificate program, which, upon completion, allows the student to apply for a State of Ohio Transition-to-Work Endorsement.

“There is going to be a market for this,” Border said.