Faculty Senate Minutes

February 7, 2007


Officers attending: Nick Reeder, President; Jackie Myers, Vice President; James Brooks, Secretary


Senators attending: Jennifer Barr, Mark Echtner, Luis Gonzalez, James Houdeshell, Eric Kraus, Thomas Singer, Charles Williams


Senators not attending: Mohamed Ali, Derek Allen, Moez Ben-Azzouz, Amanda Romero, Cindy Schoonover


Others attending: Laurel Mayer, Mike Sanchez, Dona Fletcher, Shari Rethman


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


1. Approval of Minutes


Minutes for the Faculty Senate meeting of January 24 were approved without corrections.  Minutes for the Assembly meeting of January 31 were approved with minor corrections.

2. President’s Report

      2.1 Math Chairperson Search Process

Nick disclosed that he and Jim Brooks met with Dr. Grove and Dean Dick Jones on January 31 to discuss questions raised at Senate about the process used by the Math Department Chairperson Search Committee.  Dean Jones explained the history of the division’s search process and admitted that unintentional errors had been made that were in violation of the Handbook policy but in keeping with the process followed, by tradition, in the department.  He agreed to realign the search process with the guidelines provided in the Handbook.+   

      2.2 Academic Policies Meeting—January 25

2.2.1  Faculty Handbook 1.1

In response to a Senate recommendation to revise Faculty Handbook Foreward 1.1, the Academic Policies Committee recommended a further revision to the beginning of the section, which Senate approved: “Faculty employment is governed by the provisions of employment printed in the Policies and Procedures Manual (Faculty Handbook).  Sinclair Community College is a political subdivision of the State of Ohio, and a public institution of postsecondary education (Ohio Revised Code 3333.20), with instructional programs in the arts and sciences, technology and other adult education.”  The remainder of the section is unchanged.

            2.2.2  Diversity Audit

Nick asked Senate, at the request of Dr. Mary Gaier, for a volunteer to work with the Diversity Audit Team to design questions for a diversity survey.  Charles Williams, senator from ELHS, volunteered.

     2.3  Elections Committee

Nick told Senate that he had enlisted the following volunteers to serve on the Elections Committee, chaired by Vice President Jackie Myers: Barb Tollinger (BUS), Patti Fernandez (ELHS), Bob Coates (FPA), and Sandra Hutchinson (LAS).  Representatives from Allied Health and Engineering remain to be identified.

     2.4  No Confidence E-Mail

Nick noted that he, along with other faculty and staff, had received an urgent, anonymous e-mail titled “SOS! Save Our Sinclair” addressed to “Fellow Sinclair employees,” presenting a list of “issues and concerns” highlighting the writer’s dissatisfaction with the current college administration and calling for Faculty and Staff Senate to distribute a survey which accompanied the letter.  Several senators expressed concern about the obvious bias of the survey and were disturbed by the way it was being distributed without attribution.  Others felt that Senate had the responsibility to find out whether the concerns raised by the e-mail were shared by a large number of faculty or only a few.  Shari Rethman, representative to the Ohio Faculty Senate, offered to gather information from other members of that body whose schools might have gone through a period of intense change such as Sinclair is facing.  She specifically noted that she was aware that two community colleges had recently gone through a vote–of-no-confidence process, and she believed that one of them, Cincinnati State, “definitely felt it was a mistake.”  However, she did not have enough details to elaborate.  She also indicated that many other community colleges less financially secure than Sinclair had already experienced the stresses we are now only starting to feel. 

Jennifer Barr observed that large organizations in transition typically experience some level of contentiousness and stress during realignment or reorganization.  Other senators were less convinced by this observation, indicating that Sinclair should be different, that faculty constitute a “professoriate” rather than merely a pool of employees.  After an extended discussion, during which comments were made about tenure, continuing contracts, the future direction of Senate, merit, realignment, intimidation tactics, salary structure, academic integrity and quality, and economic pressures, Senate passed the following motion:  “That Senate will endorse the construction of a survey to determine the following—1) the status of change at Sinclair Community College; 2) the academic integrity, given the proposed changes, at the institution; and 3) the role of and future direction of Faculty Senate.”  Senators were asked to send possible survey questions to Charles Williams for discussion at the next Senate meeting, at which time a final version for distribution would be constructed.

     2.5 Program Alignment Cross-Functional Team’s Report

Nick distributed copies of the 79-page report of the Program Alignment Cross-Functional Team’s recommendations to Operations Council, complimenting the team on its excellent work.  He noted that the document was well organized and easy to read, also noting that supporting documents had been posted.  He reminded Senate that the Operations Council would be considering the recommendations, as well as holding open forum sessions to gather additional feedback from faculty and staff, with the goal of making final recommendations by March 1.  Nick urged all senators to read the report thoroughly and provide individual feedback on their areas of interest.  Furthermore, he asked Senate, as a body, what its next step should be with respect to the report.  After a short discussion, senators agreed to hold a special meeting on February 14 to discuss the report’s recommendations and the nature of Senate’s response to the Operations Council.

3. Unfinished Business: Retrenchment Report

Jim Brooks shared a slight revision to the introductory section of the Retrenchment Draft that Moez Ben-Azzouz had suggested in advance of the Senate meeting.  Senate approved, and after a short discussion, senators directed Nick to distribute the document to the faculty for feedback, with the expectation that once comments were received, the document would be finalized and sent forward for Faculty Handbook approval.  Jim noted that Staff Senate was also proceeding with a retrenchment policy and that he would stay in contact with the Staff Senate Retrenchment Subcommittee and with Mike Sanchez, Staff Senate President, as both retrenchment initiatives moved forward.


4. Announcements

            Special Meeting to discuss Realignment Report: February 14, 2007, Rm. 7342, 3:00 pm          

Next Senate meeting: February 21, 2007, Rm. 7342, 2:30 pm. 


The meeting adjourned at 4:00 pm.

Submitted by James Brooks

Approved by Senate: February 21, 2007