Minutes of the Full Faculty Senate
December 12, 1997
President M.K. Collins called the meeting to order.
I. Minutes of the last full senate meeting of April 16, 1997The minutes were approved without any revisions.
II. Reports Several reports were distributed via campus mail to all senate members prior to the meeting. They are not reproduced as attachments to these minutes. Four reports that were distributed at the meeting are marked with an asterisk (*) and are attached to these minutes. All documents are listed below with the author name in parentheses.
Admissions (J. Freie)
Affirmative Action (S. Behuniak)
ARPP (A. Fischler, chair)
Athletic Advisory Committee (J. Welter, chair)
College Planning Committee (E. Ryan, chair)
College Planning Committee (S. Behuniak)
*Curriculum Committee (B. Blaszak, chair)
Diversity (P. Schmidt)
Elections (Sul-Young Choi)
Finance (J. Glancy, chair)
*Professional Rights & Welfare (T. Clifton, chair)
*PR&W December 4, 1997 Minutes
*Rank & Tenure (N. Ring, chair)
Research & Development (W. Miller, chair)
The questions and discussions about the committee reports centered on the defeat of the ARPP resolution calling for the elimination of the physical education requirement, PR&W’s revision of Section VI of the Faculty Handbook, and the discrepancies between the two College Planning Committee reports and related issues of governance.
Alan Fischler, chair of ARPP, expressed his dissatisfaction over the lack of discussion at the December 10 Executive Board meeting and the subsequent negative vote on the resolution to eliminate the physical education requirement. His understanding of the committee structure is that committees study issues in order to take the burden off the Board and that, while committee-sponsored resolutions are not to be accepted uncritically, clear and compelling reasons should be put forth by the Board before rejecting an issue. He felt there was not a deliberation on December 10 that explained or warranted a defeat of the resolution. Other voices were heard to say that there was discussion, both on December 10 and the prior meeting on November 12 (while a quorum was still present), and that people voiced objections to dropping such a requirement. [The vote taken on December 10 that was nullified for lack of a quorum would have defeated the measure for lack of a majority. IHB, Sec’y]
Professional Rights & Welfare
The AVP repeated his willingness to consider the possibility of academic couples sharing faculty appointments, but only for newly established positions. In his opinion, opening already filled positions to academic couples currently working at the college creates many difficulties regarding tenure, compensation, etc. He wants to look at other ways of addressing the situation. One faculty member pointed out that the proposal on shared appointments is one way ofretaining current faculty, an on-going problem at the college, and asked what was going to be done in the short run to retain faculty while the proposal is being studied. The AVP responded that he would make what accomodations he could, but that he could not guarantee job security.
In response to the PRW committee's proposal for a semi-retirement option in the college retirement plan, the Dean stated that such a program that gradually reduces teaching load while allowing the individual to retain faculty status is in operation now for some faculty. Under this program, faculty do not become adjuncts without benefits; the only change is a salary reduction in line with the reduced teaching load with a parallel reduction in college contributions to TIAA-CREF.
Asked if there were plans to create an early retirement program, the AVP reported that the possibility has been discussed. However, he pointed out that, in the estimation of many professionals, early retirement incentives provide good arguments for abolishing the tenure system because these programs support the notion that colleges must pay senior faculty to leave in order to make room for junior faculty. These programs also devalue senior faculty and their contributions, implying that the college would be better off if they left. If the faculty is interested in such a program, the administration may discuss it further. One faculty member noted that the administration had appointed a committee on early retirement several years ago. There was suspicion about the agenda of the committee; many feared it was part of a plan to force selected faculty into early retirement to raise the student/faculty ratio.
In regard to including benefits in the Faculty Handbook, the AVP repeated what he had told PRW: the college attorney advises that the handbook can contain general descriptions of benefits, but no specifics or formulae for determining benefits (e.g., faculty travel, health insurance). One faculty member said that to remove benefits from the handbook would be a mistake; it would result in a loss of college-wide benefits. The PR&W Committee should be careful in its response. Benefits mandated by law are safe.
One faculty member challenged the assertion by the college attorney that the Faculty Handbook was not legally binding, referring to a legal statement obtained from college attorneys and read into the Senate minutes by AVP Jack Carlson that expresses a different opinion. The Senate was advised to seek its own legal advice.
Update on MAAC and AACSB and Equity Issues
M. Collins announced that no decision has been made on joining the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, as the Board did not meet as planned this week.
The AACSB report has just been completed. Dean Ruwe expressed her optimism that AACSB would accept the report. This optimism is based on the tremendous job college-wide all along the way in hiring faculty that produce good scholarship, on support services available to students, and the liberal arts core.
The resolution of the vetoes of the equity issues is moving forward. The officers have met with the AVP. For the 3/3 course load issue, C. Kelly, S. Ward, D. Smith have agreed to serve on an ad hoc committee together with one more faculty from the business/management area. The teaching load of chairs will be examined by L. Hayes, V. Hevern, B. Robinson, and B. Arogyaswamy.
College Planning Committee and governance issues
M. Collins reported that in an attempt to clear up the communication issue, the chair of Curriculum will now be ex officio on CPC. The Director of New Programs will temporarily observe the Curriculum Committee and perhaps work into an ex officio capacity. A by laws change has been recommended, so that this position could be appointed as an ex officio member of the Curriculum Committee.
Regarding the CPC report submitted by S. Behuniak, President Collins clarified that the three committees for facilities, outcomes, and new programs described as “absorbed” do not exist. There may have been ad hoc faculty committees several years ago, however most of this work is being carried on by faculty committees, such as ARPP and CAPHE. She also clarified that she suggested that college budget and marketing committees be connected, rather than be moved under CPC. Her view is that information among these groups should go back and forth. M. Collins, at a CPC meeting, had used the Faculty Senate Executive Board as an example of how the work of committees feeds into a larger governance body. This apparently left the wrong impression that these committees should report to CPC.
It was clarified that ad hoc committees such as the ones appointed for the equity issues are not subject to approval by the Executive Board.
K. Nash raised the issue of the MAAC and the guestimates used and how it appears to be $1 million now instead of $800,000. These guestimates were questioned at a CPC meeting, yet they remained. J. Glancy reported that there are revised numbers and that in the first three years there are different fees. It appears now to be around $889,000 or 10% above the original estimate. This is not a huge difference, and she recognizes the need to act. Nevertheless, the Finance Chair expressed a desire for accurate numbers by which to act.
E. Ryan objected to the association of the terminology “questionable data” to College Planning Committee meetings. Data were accurate and checked by other offices and agreed upon at CPC meetings. K. Nash pointed out that the budget in the MAAC proposal that came before CPC was listed as a “guestimate” on the document. She added that Dr. Yost and Mr. Rockwell said there are no hard data. Fr. Ryan acknowledged the use of this term elsewhere, but not by CPC. He added that corrections were made after the visit to Loyola (MD). K. Nash pointed out that the people on the CPC did not know of these corrections. M. Collins pointed out that comparative data from other institutions were presented at the second meeting of the CPC.
Lastly, Fr. Ryan mentioned that he was stumped by Prof. Behuniak’s CPC report where it mentions the “reemerging notion among some administrators that by informing or gaining the approval of faculty reps who serve on a committee, the faculty as a whole has been ‘consulted.’” If members of committees do not represent their constituencies, then why have committees? C. Donn stated that there is a difference between college wide committees and Faculty Senate committees. On a college committee, faculty represent themselves and provide their perspective. This was clarified and agreed upon some 14 years ago with Fr. Haig. If this is so, Fr. Ryan would recommend to the President that faculty should not be on these committees. His view is that the advantage of committees is that you have constituencies and you have inquiry and participation in decision making. Bright, eager people willing to participate help shape decisions. If they come as individuals, faculty voice is lacking. C. Donn stated that faculty representation on a committee is not the same thing as consultation, and in fact, the administration in the past objected to the notion that faculty on college wide committees represented the faculty. B. Shefrin stated that there is a difference between faculty perspective and approval. It is only with a process by which these representatives report back that approval could be given. V. Hevern’s recall that language in the Senate by laws supports Prof. Donn’s points was correct. Section II, Article 2, ferreted out by Prof. McMahon, was read aloud by Prof. Vetrano. It was Prof. Nash’s impression all along that she represents her colleagues on the planning committee. Profs. Donnelly and O’Connor expressed concern that faculty input to administrative decision making is “on paper,” not a reality, and subsumed by the CPC.
III. Student voting privilege on Curriculum Committee
M. Collins informed the group that the students will be present at the first Executive Board meeting (February 4), and reminded them that upon their return to campus in January, faculty representatives should find out how their constituents feel about this issue.
B. Blaszak briefly reviewed her committee’s questions on this matter. The discussion brought out the following points against the student voting privilege. They include: 1) judgments on this committee are a question of expertise that require years of preparation. 2) A voice is as good as a vote on this committee since it does not vote that much. Students on the committee have more power than they think. 3) In this present atmosphere, it is not a good thing to grant student committee members a vote. 4) Student terms on committees run from January to January. Thus, student input may last longer than their presence at the College. 5) Curriculum decisions have long term effects. 6) We require that half of this committee be tenured; we should be cautious about granting students, who may lack maturity, a vote. 7) The quality of student representatives is uneven. Faculty have more of an investment. 8) This will lead to other non-faculty voting on other committees.
The arguments in favor include: 1) When this last came up in 1994/95, the vote of the Faculty Senate Executive Board was unanimously in favor. The resolution received a positive vote of something like 55 to 29, but was defeated because of a failure to get a two thirds vote. 2) Students have a small responsibility for curriculum. 3) This is an opportunity to educate beyond the classroom and to mentor students. They can learn to be a good committee members. 4) There may be a way to word the by-laws so this does not affect other committees or other non-faculty personnel. 5) This is not an unreasonable request. If others ask for voting privileges, we can say no. 6) The symbolism of granting this privilege is crucial to a student body that feels disempowered and it costs little to give it to them. 7) Students know more about curriculum than faculty sometimes in a comprehensive, first-hand way. 8) There is no guarantee that all faculty on this committee will be of good quality, so why malign the quality of students?
Inga H. Barnello
January 21, 1998
A: Curriculum Committee Report
B: Professional Rights & Welfare Committee Report
C: Professional Rights & Welfare Minutes of 12/4/97
D: Rank & Tenure Committee Report
[HTML version does not include the four attachments.--IHB]