MINUTES OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
OF THE FACULTY SENATE
Friday, September 28, 2007, Mason Hall, room D1: 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.
Present: Lorraine Brown, Phil Buchanan, Dave Kuebrich, Janette Muir, Suzanne Slayden
I. Approval of Minutes: The minutes of August 24, 2007 were approved as distributed.
III. Reports of Senate Standing Committee Chairs for inclusion in October 10, 2007 Agenda:
A. Academic Policies – Janette Muir – no agenda items.
The AP Committee will hold its first meeting next week. Several issues to be considered; need to ascertain whether best addressed by AP Committee or another committee – one dealing with admissions, another with clemency. It was noted an O&O Committee function to determine where to direct issue.
B. Budget and Resources – Phil Buchanan – no agenda items.
The Budget and Resources Committee will hold its first meeting next week.
C. Faculty Matters Committee – Dave Kuebrich – no agenda items.
D. Nominations Committee – various nominations to be presented.
E. Organization and Operations Committee – Lorraine Brown –no agenda items.
Many issues come first to the attention of the Executive Committee. We need to change the focus of what O&O does. At a recent meeting of the Faculty Handbook Committee (Lorraine and Suzanne are both members of the committee) the need to track what happens to motions and policies after approval by the Faculty Senate was stressed. The Senate Standing Committees need to take minutes to provide institutional memory. A resolution from the Math Dept will be sent to the O&O Committee for consideration.
A. Technology Policy Committee report: Faculty were not informed that Microsoft Office 2007 was installed on student computers and in all electronic classrooms until August 28th (first day of classes). The look and feel of Office 2007 is very different than 2003 version. Another surprise: all overhead projectors were removed from rooms containing document cameras without prior notice. The IT-academic classroom folks do not understand the academic calendar. In some instances new equipment was locked up and inaccessible at class time, other technical glitches do not promote a good first impression for students. Sharon Pitt (Executive Director of the Division of Instructional Technology) sent a letter of apology to the faculty teaching in electronic classrooms (Sept. 11, 2007). In this letter she offered to work with the Technology Policy Committee “…to establish communication procedures between DOIT and Mason faculty. I am hopeful that these procedures will make it clear who we need to consult with and under what circumstances before taking action that impact faculty who teach in Mason’s technology classrooms or utilize other infrastructure supported by this division. I am also hopeful that these new procedures will define clears communication paths to faculty once decisions have been made.”
A former director of the DOIT staff suggested retaining both 2003 and 2007 versions of Microsoft Office, but the recommendation was not followed. Issue of aging technology raised regarding availability of parts for overhead projectors – is it a budget problem to provide light bulbs? An internet search demonstrated a readily available supply at reasonable cost. You can use transparencies with a document camera – timing of communication was the problem. In some classrooms the document cameras are located in far rear corner of room – not conducive to teaching in large classrooms “trapped” in the back; cameras also configured for use by right-handed people. Blackboards have not yet been removed, but often covered by screens. Also need to consult with faculty who are less technologically-savvy; sometimes old technology is best technology as the tools which work for you. Faculty attended pre-semester training sessions in good faith; the trainer did not receive notice of changes either. A long-standing structural problem, Information Technologies does not understand the faculty side of the house. The Technology Policy Committee will meet on October 1st. Stanley Zoltek will provide an executive summary for the agenda and will make a full report to the Senate.
B. Motion to recommend emeritus status for Nobel Laureate Professor Vernon Smith – from the Economics Department – Professor Smith had less than ten years’ service here.
C. Faculty Task Force on Salary Issues – unclear when Task Force expires; current “working until completion of all of these tasks” nebulous. Rick Coffinberger will provide a motion with two-year end point, renewable. The Task Force will issue a report this fall; has done a great deal of work; many meetings with the Provost and others. The Task Force’s reports to the Faculty Senate (including the minutes of two special-called meetings) will be compiled and a new link created on the Senate website for easier reference.
A. Sound Amplification Policy: When published during the last academic year, the policy contained many errors. The errors were identified by a professor of physics who is also an expert on decibel levels. All references to decibel levels were removed from the policy which was also removed from the Johnson Center website. Rose Pascarell, Associate Vice President for University Life, has requested a faculty representative to help with sound policy. Would (Faculty Matters chair) Larry Rockwood go or send a delegate?
B. Vending Sales and Solicitation Policy: Concern expressed that prior authorization needed for leafleting – would the Faculty Matters Committee look over the policy to see if any changes needed? Also a posting policy exists. Policies are located on the Johnson Center website.
C. New Sexual Harassment Policy: The Office of Equity and Diversity Services has promulgated a new Sexual Harassment Policy and has asked that all websites update their links to include the new policy. The new policy replaces the 1994 booklet. The new policy does not mention “inappropriate behavior” between professors and students. The old red brochure was widely distributed and memorized by faculty, who might not know about new changes. All new faculty must undergo Sexual Harassment training – does the new training contain any reading matter on inappropriate behavior?
D. Development of New Policies: Last year the Faculty Matters Committee worked diligently to develop a number of policies – an experienced group, whose work put the policies on the fast track to approval. The Faculty Handbook Committee requests they work on other “Stopped (Tenure) Clock” policies that appear in the Faculty Handbook or Faculty Information Guide beyond the birth/adoption of a child which was passed last year; would need to include military service, among other bits and pieces.
The second request involves second-level tenure review. Second-level tenure review committees need to be active all the time. Loophole exists in the Faculty Handbook in which new tenured faculty hired as result of a search are tenured by the local academic unit without a second-level review.
ICAR developed a pretty good plan, discussed in the Faculty Handbook Committee; the Krasnow Institute has completed work on its by-laws and developed a very similar plan. An email recently received from a faculty member concerned about these units not following procedures word-by-word in the Faculty Handbook regarding Senate election of second-level committee members. Part of the problem is that the two Institutes do not fall exactly into the categories defined by the Handbook. The suggestion was made that Krasnow and ICAR elect their second-level review committees according to their procedures and then let Faculty Senate nominate and elect these same faculty to follow the current Faculty Handbook wording as an interim measure until approval of revised Faculty Handbook..
VI. Discussion of issues of current interest
Nine month instructional faculty who are paid over the course of twelve months may be losing part of their salary. Summing the pay stubs over 24 pay periods does not equal the yearly salary specified in the Provost’s salary letter according to faculty reports. Payroll says the missing money is going into next salary cycle. Data exists from past five salary cycles (Banner records only going back five years.) This adds up to hundreds of dollars over time, more than round to the penny. Issue needs to be laid to rest one way or another. Budget and Resources will contact Morrie Scherrens.
An informal discussion about course-release time for Executive Committee members incorporated suggestions for the future. The discussion will continue at the next Executive Committee meeting.
Questions of interest to faculty members should be submitted several weeks in advance of President Merten’s address to the Senate (November 29, 2007 and April 2, 2008).
Clerk, Faculty Senate