Faculty Assembly Minutes: September 1, 2006

 

Call to order: Nick Reeder, President of Faculty Senate, called the meeting to order at 11:01 am in Blair Hall.

 

Nick reminded attendees to sign in and pick up a ballot for voting on three proposed amendments to the Assembly Constitution.

 

1. President’s Report*

 

(*PowerPoint slides containing the major areas covered in the President’s Report are attached.)

 

Office Hours Policy: Nick briefly reviewed the key points of the new Office Hours Policy 2.4.4, noting that the total number of hours per week, five, had not changed, but that now the hours could be distributed differently, with a minimum requirement of three days on campus. The five hours can be spread among three, four, or five days in whatever combination the faculty member prefers.  Or, faculty can choose to have up to two non-traditional, virtual office hours per week. Regardless of how faculty choose to arrange their office hours, they are required to list their hours in their syllabi and post them on their office door.

 

Membership Statistics: Nick shared a chart with numbers of tenure-track faculty from each division: LAS 97, ALH 69, BUS 50, FPA 35, ELHS 52, and EGR 52 for a total of 355.  He indicated that these numbers would be updated early fall quarter to reflect retirements, resignations, and new hires.  He also shared a breakdown by rank: Professor 158, Associate 79, Assistant 107, and Instructor 11.

 

Recommendation for Approval of Minutes: Shari Rethman made the following recommendation: “That the Assembly adopt a standing rule authorizing Faculty Senate to approve the minutes of Assembly meetings.”  The motion was seconded and the recommendation was approved by voice vote after brief discussion and assurances that any errors or omissions not caught by Senate could be corrected at future Assembly meetings.

 

Recommendation for Scheduling Assembly Meetings: Amanda Romero made the following recommendation: “That the Assembly adopt a standing rule scheduling Assembly meetings for 3:00 pm on Wednesday in the fifth week of Winter and Spring quarters.”  The motion was seconded and the recommendation was approved by voice vote.  Discussion points included concerns about the need for a “rain” date in the event campus was closed on that day and questions about whether the date would be too early in spring for meaningful reporting from the Faculty Issues Team (FIT). 

 

Proposed Constitutional Amendments: Eric Kraus announced that 174 faculty had signed in, numbers adequate for a quorum but not adequate for the two-thirds required to pass constitutional amendments.  As a result, Nick suggested postponing the vote and opened the floor for comments.  A number of suggestions were offered, ranging from temporarily postponing the meeting so that faculty could call colleagues to try to get them to the meeting for the vote to providing a multi-day voting process and proxies (Nick noted that the latter two ideas were not allowed under the Assembly’s Constitution).  Comments were also made about the possibility of changing the day of future fall Assembly meetings to Fall Conference Day to attract more faculty.  Another suggestion was to link the meeting with our lunch location.  Others felt the issue was larger than scheduling, expressing frustration with the increasing lack of faculty involvement in the governance process and suggesting Senate should form a task force to study the problem.  After an extended discussion, Al Giambrone moved that a special meeting of the Assembly be called for 10:00 am on Tuesday morning, September 5, in Blair Hall, immediately following the keynote address at Fall Conference, in order to vote on one or more of the proposed constitutional amendments.  The motion was seconded and the recommendation was passed by voice vote.   Faculty senators were asked to make an announcement at their division meetings, and the Faculty Senate secretary was charged with sending an email to remind all fulltime faculty of the meeting. 

 

College-Wide Initiatives: Nick mentioned two important college-wide initiatives that will be high on the administration’s agenda.  First, discussions will occur about the possible reorganizing of the Instructional Division.  Based on a meeting between Senate officers and Vice President Grove during the summer, this item is a high priority.  Second, the Board of Trustees has charged President Johnson with ensuring that Sinclair programs are aligned with the needs of the community and that the operating margin of the college fall between 3% - 5% annually.  The Board has given Dr. Johnson 36 months to achieve these goals.

 

Senate Priorities for 2006-2007: Nick presented a list of possible agenda items for Senate to focus on in the coming year.  He indicated he will be sending out an electronic survey to full-time, tenure track faculty so that they can rank these items in order to help Senate establish priorities for the coming year.  The survey will also give faculty an opportunity to add items of concern.  Denise Moore recommended adding an additional item to the survey list about exploring ways to increase faculty involvement with Senate, Assembly, and the governance process in general.  Nick agreed to do that before distributing the survey.

 

Nick introduced officers, division senators, past president, Ohio Faculty Senate rep, and Sinclair Leadership Team rep.

 

New Business

 

Denise Moore initiated a discussion about what she termed the “disgraceful hiring practices” at the college, noting that new hires are often hired late, expected to teach overload, and have little time to learn about the campus and the processes involved with their classes.  She suggested new hires get three hours of reassigned time so that they would have to teach only 12 hours and could, therefore, spend more time being mentored and learning about Sinclair.  Further discussion ensued, with some faculty suggesting the topic be postponed until a future Assembly meeting so that more time could be devoted to it.  Finally, Denise made a recommendation, which was seconded and passed by voice vote, that the Faculty Resource Committee should be charged with looking into full-time faculty hiring practices and should explore the possibility of reassigned time for new hires or any other options that would improve their transition to college teaching.

 

Lori Zakel raised a concern about statistics cited by Dr. Johnson as to Sinclair’s low ratio of administrators to faculty.  She and others wanted clarification as to how these statistics were being compiled to assure fairness in reporting as compared to other colleges (i.e., are chairs classified as faculty or administration?  Are secretarial staff classified as clerical or instructional?).  Senator Mark Echtner agreed to follow up on this issue through Faculty Senate.    

 

The Assembly meeting was adjourned at 12:02 pm.

 

Submitted by James Brooks

 

Approved by Faculty Senate: September 13, 2006