OCTOBER 24, 2005

2:30 – 4:00 p.m.


Present:  James Bennett, Lorraine Brown, Rick Coffinberger, Esther Elstun, Dave Kuebrich, James Sanford, Peter Stearns, Cliff Sutton and Susan Trencher.


Approval of Minutes of Executive Committee Meeting of October 3, 2005:  The minutes were approved.


Revisions to Draft Agenda for Faculty Senate Meeting November 2, 2005:  It was decided to remove the Pilot Course Evaluation Form and Sample Faculty Course Self Evaluation Form as an item of Old Business.  Instead the Chair would remind faculty under Announcements of the November 4, 2005 deadline to submit feedback to Laurie Fathe, who would present the final iteration, after one more meeting of the Ad Hoc Committee on the Teacher/Course Evaluation Pilot Project, to the Faculty Senate for discussion and a vote at our meeting on November 30th.


Update on Freedom of Speech and Assembly:  A committee will be set up to examine policies, which will include a faculty representative.  The current rules regarding procedures at the Johnson Center are unclear; the oft noted “free speech zone” is a legend. The Provost urged the Executive Committee to appoint someone who cares a lot about this issue.  Victoria Rader, advisor to the student arrested, sent an email to Maurice Scherrens asking that the arrest records of the student be expunged.  The request was forwarded to Brian Walther, Acting Counsel. 


Items for the new committee’s discussion would likely include issues such as videotaping of various activities on campus as had occurred at the October rally.  The Provost hopes this practice does not continue.  The chilling effect of observing police videotaping atop buildings remains with  faculty and students.  Many students feel traumatized.


Federal Monitoring of University Email Systems (New York Times front page article 10/23/05):

In a general discussion about the article, Provost Peter Stearns reminded the committee that the legislation has not been passed; we are not under this mandate.  Concerns should be communicated to Joy Hughes.  The Faculty Senate passed a resolution on Privacy in the Use of Computing on March 23, 2005 in which the University community was advised to be aware and to be wary of such developments. 


Revision of the Faculty Handbook Committee:  The four faculty representatives elected by the Senate to the committee plan to meet next week.  The Provost very strongly protested this as a rump session.   It was noted that this meeting was considered an informal one and also assumed that the Provost’s appointees to the committee would also meet informally to prepare for the first meeting .of the full committee.  Rick Coffinberger also noted that goals, procedures, and identification of issues important to the faculty would comprise the topics of the informal meeting.  The Provost also inquired whether open meetings on the Faculty Handbook would be organized.  Two of the three Provost appointees to the committee are instructional faculty.  David Rossell will serve as an ex-officio member; it is possible that a University attorney may also serve as an ex officio member of the committee. 


Executive Committee/ Senator Visits to LAU  Meetings:  Dave Kuebrich and Rei Berroa made a presentation at the Modern and Classical Languages department meeting which was well received.  Esther Elstun noted that department members appreciated the presence of Executive Committee representatives at the meeting.


For the School of Management, it was suggested that it might be better to visit areas within the School as the venues are smaller and scheduling more flexible.  Susan Trencher and Joe Scimecca are scheduled to present at the next Sociology & Anthropology department meeting November 9th.   Psychology will hold a department meeting on December 7th, representatives to the meeting to be determined. 


Faculty Representatives to the BOV Committees:  Much of the work being done by the BOV is accomplished through its committees.  We will request that a report from the faculty representative be included in printed agenda.    President Merten is scheduled to present a plan for the election of the faculty representatives at the Board’s meeting on November 30, 2005.  Maurice Scherrens has suggested that the faculty representative to the Budget and Finance Committee be the same person as the faculty representative to the University Budget Committee’s meetings.  Which categories of faculty will have representation?  Are alternate delegates needed in the event of illness or other unforeseen circumstances?  Would alternate delegates be acceptable to the Board?


GPA Study Draft:  In a general discussion, it was noted that the impact of evaluation forms differs between small and large classes; that the report not be seen as accusatory of the faculty, rather to highlight a  concern of which faculty need to be aware.  The final report of the Faculty Senate Task Force on Academic Standards (November 19, 2003) did not find evidence of grade inflation.  The School of Nursing has very high grades:  students are required to have a minimum 3.0 GPA for admission and must maintain a 3.5 average once here.  The New Century College is not as selective but also had very high grades, to include freshmen.  Differences range among schools.   The School of Management requires faculty submit grades for a published review in which faculty may compare  grades against those given by other faculty. 


Faculty Satisfaction Survey:  In conjunction with the distribution of the Faculty Evaluation of Administrators Survey, the suggestion was made to ask faculty about their working environment. noting that the results of such a survey would be of more immediate interest to many.  How would the results be distributed?  It would serve to educate the administration and the Board of Visitors about the needs and concerns of faculty; noting that there may be a level of disconnect not evident in issues such as the restructuring of CAS and SCS.   University Life also distributes surveys to all faculty and staff. 


Reports of the Senate Standing Committee Chairs:

1.      Academic Policies – Cliff Sutton

Calendar Issue:  Susan Jones is very enthusiastic about the comparative chart posted on the AP Committee website and is eager to explore possibilities.   We are waiting for more input from students.  Cliff thinks it is unreasonable to cut down the number of class days and would prefer to begin the semester earlier or end the semester later.   Some committee members feel the second semester should begin earlier in January as do many other institutions.  Some faculty use the winter break to go to the field.  Shortening the winter break may also affect students who have been dismissed from returning the following semester.  Summer school classes begin the Monday following graduation; it would be a serious mistake to have too much time elapse between graduation and the beginning of summer school.  Then why is it not possible to begin the spring term earlier?  International programs may also be impacted.  Responses received by the committee split about 50/50 on this issue.   Cliff will also ask Linda Schwartzstein to review this issue; he anticipates completion of this item in mid-spring. 


Undergraduate Council Proposal:  Support for the proposal has waned; the AP Committee does not feel it is needed at this time.   Bob Ehrlich initially suggested a Curriculum Committee. Concerns include slowing down of process as well as vagueness in defining the charge of such a council as modeled on the Graduate Council.    The question was raised whether a Graduate Council is also needed.  Cliff responded that once the graduate school was dissolved, a mechanism to deal with new programs was devised.  The colleges provide structure for review of courses within their purview.  A delineation does not exist between what the Graduate Council does across the university vs. the role of the Faculty Senate. Various academic disciplines bring distinct perspectives to bear on similar subject materials.  Bob Ehrlich will discuss with Linda Schwartzstein the final process for approval of programs. 


2.      Budget and Resources – Rick Coffinberger


Retirement Policies:  Last Tuesday Jim Sanford and I met with David Rossell and Linda Harber regarding retirement policies.  Our next meeting is scheduled for November 15th.  Rick is encouraged by the meeting. 


Summer School 2005:  Initial data has been received and will be discussed at the next Budget and Resources Committee meeting November 2nd.


Special Needs Raises:  David Rossell will be working on the report regarding special needs raises.  A discussion of the connotations of the phrase “special needs” implied application to individuals vs. “equity” as implied  application  to a class of people.  The Provost responded that very few allocations are made just for reasons of equity – nor does he wish to suggest that we have classes of people; rather individual determinations are made.  He cited an example of a faculty member whose salary may be markedly behind others with similar time of employment / degree without reason for any disparities.  Money is set aside for a variety of situations: not just for equity or merit alone; and are more likely to combine both.


3.   Faculty Matters – Jim Sanford


Copyright Policy:  Kimberly Moore of the School of Law, an expert on copyright law, has received the work and identified a number of problems.  Upon further revision, it will be sent to Matt Kluger and attorney Barry Stevens.


4.  Nominations – Jim Bennett

Tom Hennessey will contact Dave Kuebrich regarding the formation of a new committee to review policies and procedures arising from the freedom of speech and assembly incidents.   A candidate for the position was universally agreed upon by the Executive Committee; Jim will contact the candidate at the appropriate time to inquire is s/he would be willing to serve on the new committee.


Respectfully submitted,

Meg Caniano

Clerk, Faculty Senate