Faculty Senate Minutes

February 21, 2007


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


Senators attending: Derek Allen, Jennifer Barr, Mark Echtner, Luis Gonzalez, James Houdeshell, Eric Kraus, Amanda Romero, Cindy Schoonover, Thomas Singer, Charles C. Williams


Senators not attending: Mohammad Ali, Moez Ben-Azzouz


Others attending: Dona Fletcher, Laurel Mayer


Nick called the meeting to order at 2:32 pm in Rm. 7342.


1. Approval of Minutes


    Minutes for the Faculty Senate meeting of February 7 and for the Executive Session at the

    meeting of January 24 were approved without corrections.


2. President’s Report

     2.1 Special Meeting: February 14 

The special meeting that had been scheduled to discuss Senate’s response to the Program Alignment Cross-Functional Team’s Report was cancelled because the campus closed due to inclement weather on February 14.

     2.2  Elections Committee

Nick reported that all positions for the Elections Committee, chaired by Vice President Jackie Meyers, had been filled: Barb Tollinger (BUS), Patti Fernandez (ELHS), Bob Coates (FPA), Sandra Hutchinson (LAS), Georganne Enright (ALH), and Charles Setterfield (ENG).

     2.3  Faculty Issues Team

The team met on February 16, devoting its time to working on a survey about compensation issues/models, which will be ready for distribution to faculty soon. Nick also reminded senators that survey responses from thirty-six colleges that responded to a FIT survey sent out last year had been posted on the Faculty Assembly Angel Discussion Forum, and he urged senators to remind their constituents about this.  Both a summary and the raw data are available on the site.

    2.4  SCC Leadership Team

Nick mentioned that a major topic at the most recent Leadership Team meeting was the upcoming levy.  As with past levies, fund raising would begin internally, with Sinclair employees being asked to contribute.  Payroll deduction will be available.  Internal pledges are important in that external fund-raising is easier if the community sees that Sinclair employees have already made a commitment to the institution.  It is predicted that levy outlay will be approximately $700,000, double what it was the last time, which was about $345,000.  He noted that putting the levy on the May ballot rather than on the November ballot would save a significant amount of money because advertising would cost more in fall because it is a presidential election.

Nick also reported that the Operations Council would be meeting with Dr. Johnson on March 12 to discuss its recommendations regarding Program Alignment.  According to Dr. Grove, the recommendations will be released to the College “some time in March.”

Nick shared that Jeff Boudouris and Mike Barhorst presented preliminary budget information, and they “anticipate difficulty to balance the budget” for the coming year, with expenses rising and state subsidy falling.  Specifically, they said that based on initial assumptions (which will most certainly change as time goes on), the College is faced with a “4.6 million dollar challenge.”


3. Faculty Resource Subcommittee: New Hiring Practices

   Jennifer Barr, chair of the committee, asked for feedback on six recommendations submitted to senators from the Faculty Senate Resource Subcommittee, whose members are Mohammad Ali, Anita Gilkey, Nolan Long, Derek Petry, Mike Smith, and Marsha Wamsley, with Tom Huguley attending as a guest member.  The six recommendations are as follows:

         1) Develop standard divisional and departmental orientation to include survival guides.

2) Faculty Senate participation in the developmental process, as well as the presentation                                                                                                                                         of the New Faculty Academy.

3) Faculty Senate Resource Committee serves as an advisory board for the New Faculty Academy.

4) Develop a standardized mentoring process.

5) Establish a faculty focused teaching and learning center.

6) Examine and improve the hiring practice of full-time tenure-track faculty by working with Human Resources.

An extended discussion ensued, with senators raising concerns about the “New Faculty Academy,” a week-long process that is designed to provide more in-depth orientation for new faculty prior to the start of fall quarter.  There was a concern that extending orientation to a week might overload new faculty with too much information at the start of the quarter. In addition, there were comments made about the mentoring process, the division’s role, the importance of follow-up to any orientation process to provide ongoing just-in-time support for new faculty members, etc.  Dona Fletcher reminded senators that the original charge for the committee had come from the Fall 2006 Faculty Assembly Meeting, and it had three elements: 1) improving hiring practices to help Sinclair remain competitive; 2) increasing Senate engagement with new hires; 3) providing workload relief during a new faculty member’s first quarter.  Finally, senators agreed that the Faculty Senate Resource Committee should act on Recommendations 2 and 3, with Recommendations 1 and 4 to be included as bulleted items, respectively. 


4. Unfinished Business

     4.1 Realignment Cross-Functional Team’s Report

Jennifer Barr shared a comment from one of her constituents in Allied Health that “Faculty Senate should remain neutral” with respect to the recommendations.  Several senators raised the question as to when would it be most appropriate to respond:  immediately or after the Operations Council has come forward with its recommendations?  Concerns were raised about the validity of the data collected and whether or not the Cross-Functional Team had enough time to make in-depth judgments.  Is there an “underlying problem” with the whole process?  Will Senate be viewed as impotent if it does not go on the record with a collective response immediately?  Several senators felt that Senate should respond to areas that had Faculty Handbook implications, but not respond to specific recommendations with respect to departments or programs, leaving that to individuals of those departments and programs.  After an extensive discussion, the following resolution was passed and will be forwarded to Dr. Grove and the Operations Council:


Statement of Resolution:  Faculty Senate agrees with the Cross-Functional Team’s own assessment that it faced a “daunting task” and “a challenging time-frame” in its effort to reach consensus on a set of recommendations to forward to the Operations Council.  Faculty Senate certainly appreciates the hard work done by the team and understands that “the report is offered as recommendations, and recommendations only.”  As an initial response, Senate has concerns about those recommendations that would impact faculty as a whole; for example, issues related to requiring continuing education of all faculty, mandating summer teaching, teaching distance learning or teaching at the learning centers, among others.  Presumably, official recommendations regarding areas such as these from the Operations Council would necessitate follow-up discussions with Faculty Senate, for such recommendations would require changes to the Faculty Handbook.  In the event that any recommendations impacting the Faculty Handbook are forthcoming, Faculty Senate looks forward to working with the Operations Council to assure that proposed changes are in the best interests of the College and the faculty.

      4.2 Retrenchment Draft

Senate agreed to meet on February 28, 3:00 pm, Rm. 7342, to discuss the Retrenchment Draft. 

     4.3  Survey of Faculty Sentiment

This item will be discussed at the next Faculty Senate meeting, March 7.

   5. New Business

       There was no new business.


   6. Announcements

       Special session to discuss Retrenchment: February 28, 2007, Rm. 7342, 3:00 pm. 

    Next meeting: March 7, 2007, Rm. 7342, 2:30 pm. 


The meeting adjourned at 4:00 pm.

Submitted by James Brooks

Approved by Senate: March 7, 2007