VandalWeb plays catch-up — Faculty Senate discusses preferred names and next year’s enrollment

A demand for preferred names was not at the forefront of public conversation in the 1990s when Banner, the software behind VandalWeb, was built, said Dan Ewart, vice president of infrastructure at University of Idaho.

Ewart spoke to the UI Faculty Senate regarding attempts to update Banner to include preferred or chosen names when legally permissible, Tuesday.

Ewart said that now that Banner is being updated, there is an opportunity for faculty senate members to become involved in the changes and implementation that are to come. Senate member representing the English department Jodie Nicotra volunteered to work on the issue.

Provost and Executive Vice President John Wiencek spoke about next year’s undergraduate enrollment. Wiencek said that many perspective students have applied but an unusually high amount had not been admitted. After looking into the issue, the university determined it was due to a new application from the state board.

According to Wiencek, the Idaho State board of Education has a single application portal where students can apply to several schools in the state of Idaho with one application. Wiencek said that key questions were left off the application, including a question regarding an applicant’s criminal background. Wiencek said that the question about criminal background was put in the application about five years ago when a student who was already admitted came forward and asked if the university would take issue with his background.

Wiencek said the university will now ask students for criminal background information during the enrollment process after they are admitted. Wiencek said that the number of students who have applied is larger than in years past and he said he is hopeful the university will engage students who wouldn’t normally apply through the state board application.

The new UI branding initiative is set to rollout at the beginning of the 2018 year according to UI Executive Director of Communications and Marketing Stefany Bales. Bales said there was nothing wrong or broken with the previous branding book and plan, but that it was not as visible to people as it should be.

“You have to land on the personality, character and heart and soul of the place before you focus on the words,” Bales said.

The team working on the refresh of the brand asked for the input of students, perspective students, parents, alumni, high school counselors, stake holders and other groups of people Bales said. Bales said it was from the conversations with these people that the university developed its new marketing brand.

The senate approved a bill changing the name of the Exercise Science and Health major to Exercise, Sport, and Health Sciences. The senate also approved a bill which discontinued the minor in manufacturing engineering.

The faculty senate voted to approve another bill which will establish a new bachelor’s of science degree in statistics. Along with establishing the new major, the faculty senate voted to approve both two more bills to discontinue the applied-actuarial science and financial option in math and the applied-statistics option in math.

Elizabeth Marshall can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

 


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