Faculty Senate Minutes

October 25, 2006

 

Officer attending: Nick Reeder, President; Jackie Meyers, Vice President; James Brooks, Secretary

 

Senators attending: Derek Allen, Jennifer Barr, Moez Ben-Azzouz, Mark Echtner, Luis Gonzalez, James Houdeshell, Cindy Schoonover, Thomas Singer, Charles Williams

 

Senators not attending: Mohamed Ali, Eric Kraus, Amanda Romero

 

Others attending: Shari Rethman, Dona Fletcher

 

Nick called the meeting to order at 2:30pm in Rm. 7342.

 

1. Approval of Minutes

 

Minutes for the Faculty Senate meeting of October 11 were approved without corrections.

2. President’s Report

     2.1 Recommendations for Faculty Performance Review Committee

Senate recommended submitting the following names for the Faculty Performance Review Committee: Barb Wallace (ALH), Jim Shimko (BUS), Jim Houdeshell (EGR), Charles Williams (ELHS), Kathleen Cleary (FPA), and Susan Callender (LAS).  In addition, Senate also recommended that the Senate President or Vice President serve as an ex-officio member of the committee.  The recommendation passed after a short discussion, with a few senators questioning the jurisdiction or authority of the group.  Consensus was that any recommendations from this group would have to be sent to Senate as part of the Handbook revision process and that this would serve as a check-and-balance.

     2.2 Recommendations for Program Alignment Cross-Functional Team

Nick shared a list of faculty and chairs who had volunteered to serve on the Program Alignment Cross-Functional Team.  Dr. Grove had requested that Senate submit four to six names for this group.  Some divisions had multiple volunteers; others had none.  Senators agreed to be responsible for selecting one candidate each from their respective divisions.  They also agreed that since the Chairpersons’ Council was being asked to submit several names for participation, the division candidates would be non-chairpersons unless the only volunteer from a division was a chairperson, in which case an exception would be made.

 

 

2.3  Officers’ Meeting (10/18/06) with Dr. Grove and Dr. Schuster

Dr. Grove informed the officers that Provost’s Council had decided to postpone until winter quarter any decisions regarding divisional reorganization. This will allow more time for input from the divisions. Open forum sessions are scheduled for November 6 and 9 to gather feedback about the tentative plan that was presented last spring and to hear other ideas on the topic.

Dr. Grove noted that a FIT (Faculty Issues Team) session is scheduled for Friday, November 3, and that at this session, a consultant from the Hay Group would join the group as it continues looking for a new compensation model.

Dr. Schuster joined the discussion and shared her view on what she had found in the Faculty Handbook that appeared to be inconsistent with state law. First, she stated that the first sentence of Section 1.1 Foreword is not true, for the state of Ohio does not require that “employment be governed by the provisions of employment printed in the Policies and Procedures Manual (Faculty Handbook).”  Second, in Section 2.4.7 (Harassment Policy), the first sentence of paragraph four refers to “offensive conduct,” which is vague and leaves too much room for interpretation. Dr. Schuster indicated that the college policy in the Employee Handbook is being rewritten.  Third, the first sentence of Section 2.11.2 (Textbook Selection) refers to the college’s “purpose,” which should reference Ohio Revised Code Section 3333.20. 

Nick explained that he would recommend striking the sentences referred to in the first and third instances cited above and wait for the revision to the Employee Handbook for the second issue; furthermore, he recommended that any sections in the Faculty Handbook which overlap with sections in the Employee Handbook be removed from the Faculty Handbook.  He provided Senate with a list of overlapping sections for future consideration: Section 2.3.5 Nepotism Policy, 2.3.6 Equal Employment Opportunity/Non-Discrimination, 2.4.2 Conflict of Interest, 2.4.7 Harassment Policy, 2.4.8 Substance Abuse Policy, 2.4.9 Safety Policy, 2.11.13 Emergency Closing Procedure, 3.7.1 Tuition for Faculty/Staff Dependents, 3.7.2 Physical Activities Center.

In the discussion that followed, some senators felt independent research ought to be conducted to verify Dr. Schuster’s findings before taking any action.  A recommendation to strike the first sentence of Section 1.1 was made and will be voted upon at the next meeting.  Another recommendation was made to revise the first sentence of Section 2.11.2 as follows: “Sinclair Community College is a political subdivision of the State of Ohio and a public institution of postsecondary education (O.R.C. 3333.20), with instructional programs in the arts and sciences, technology, and other adult education. Texts are selected for use in instruction on the basis of quality and cost-effectiveness.”  This recommendation will be voted upon at the next meeting.  Consensus on the language in Section 2.4.7 was to wait until the policy is rewritten for the Employee Handbook and then evaluate the revised policy at that time.

At Dr. Grove’s request on behalf of the Collegewide Merit Committee, Nick asked Senate for its interpretation of eligibility for applying for collegewide merit: Section 2.6.12.4 (first paragraph).  Dr. Grove is seeking clarification because last year a retired faculty member applied for collegewide merit based upon his/her reading of the guidelines. The Merit Committee, based upon their understanding of the guidelines, did not allow the faculty member to apply, which resulted in the faculty member’s filing suit against the college. The suit is still pending, but according to Dr. Schuster, there is a good chance the faculty member will win, given that the language in the Handbook is less specific than it could/should be. 

An extended discussion followed, with some senators maintaining that the original intent of the policy was to limit eligibility to active faculty only. Others felt that the point could be made that since the meritorious work had been done, the faculty member, even if retired, ought to be given the opportunity to earn merit for work accomplished when employed fulltime.  Since no agreement could be reached, it was agreed that the discussion would be continued at the next meeting in the hope of reaching consensus on a written interpretation for the Collegewide Merit Committee.

2.4 Calendar for 2007-2008

Nick shared two versions of the 2007-2008 calendar, one holding Fall Conference on August 30-31 and starting fall quarter on September 5, ending November 21; the other holding Fall Conference on September 6-7 and starting fall quarter on September 10, ending December 1.  He had received the versions from Dr. Tom Huguley, who was asking for feedback from Senate by November 1. Given the short turn-around time for comments, Nick agreed to construct a survey, asking faculty to express a preference for Version 1, Version 2, or a third choice—None of the above, with space available for comments. 

   At this point in the meeting, Nick entertained a motion to adjourn, with the understanding that he would continue his report at the next meeting and that other items on the agenda would be carried over as well.

3. Announcements

            Next meeting: November 8, Rm. 7342, 2:30 pm.

 

The meeting adjourned at 4:00 pm.

Submitted by James Brooks

Approved by Senate: November 8, 2006