Faculty Senate Minutes

March 7, 2007

 

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

 

Senators attending: Derek Allen, Jennifer Barr, Moez Ben-Azzouz, James Houdeshell, Eric Kraus, Amanda Romero, Cindy Schoonover, Thomas Singer

 

Senators not attending: Mohammad Ali, Mark Echtner, Luis Gonzalez, Charles C. Williams

 

Others attending: Shari Rethman

 

Nick called the meeting to order at 2:35 pm in Rm. 7342.

 

1. Approval of Minutes

 

Minutes for the Faculty Senate meeting of February 21 were approved with minor corrections.  Minutes for the special session of Faculty Senate held on February 28 were approved without corrections.

 

 

2. President’s Report

 

    2.1 Officers’ Meeting with Dr. Grove

 

Senate officers met with Dr. Grove on January 28.  Nick shared her response to Senate RsW07-01 asking that the Operations Council work closely with Senate on any potential Faculty Handbook changes that might arise out of the Realignment recommendations.  Dr. Grove assured the officers that any such recommendations would certainly require Senate input and that the Operations Council would not act unilaterally.

 

With respect to the Retrenchment Draft, Dr. Grove mentioned that Senate might want to look at delineating policy from procedure.  This comment led to her mentioning that the same could be said of the Faculty Handbook.  At this point, several senators raised questions as to the possible motivation behind the administration wanting to separate policy from procedure.  Some felt that separating the two would weaken the Handbook and favored leaving things as is.  Others felt that the idea had merit and would allow for more flexibility in making procedural changes during the year rather than just once as it now stands.  The issue of the Handbook serving as a contract came up, and Nick reminded senators that President Johnson agreed with Senate’s opinion that it did.  The discussion concluded with senators agreeing to take the suggestion under advisement but not recommending any action at the present time.

 

   2.2 Faculty Issues Team Meeting

 

Nick reported that the Faculty Issues Team, which had been working primarily on drafting a survey for faculty feedback, will be focusing on the salary package for the coming year.  A brief discussion followed, with Eric Kraus and Tom Singer, members of FIT, noting that the surveys of other community colleges done last year showed other schools did not have a merit-based system but, instead, tended to have a step system or across-the-board raises based on the college’s ability to pay.  Some senators raised concerns about the possibility of Sinclair using a rating-based system tied to the Faculty Performance Review.  Senators who remembered Sinclair’s utilization of such a system many years ago were skeptical about such a model, while others felt that it might be worth considering.  Nick mentioned that Cindy Beckett would be chairing the committee created by the Provost to consider changes to our Faculty Performance Review system/processes.

 

   2.3 On-Line Staffing

 

Nick noted that Kathleen Cleary would be chairing a committee that will be looking at on-line staffing and registration issues.  One area of concern is the new practice of enrolling students into mega-sections and then dividing the students into smaller sections after the fact.  Some students are not happy with this practice because they cannot sign up for a specific teacher, only for a specific course.  Eric Kraus is on the committee and will update Senate on the committee’s progress.

 

   2.4 Math Department Chairperson Search Status

 

Nick indicated that the Math Department Chairperson Search Committee and the Dean of LAS, Richard Jones, had endorsed Tony Ponder for the position.  In response, Dr. Grove had requested that Tony meet for a “conversation” with the Provost Council.  A question was raised by Senate as to the reason for such a request, which appears to be a departure from the process outlined in the Faculty Handbook.  After a short discussion, weighing the pros and cons of further Senate involvement in the process, Senate chose to take no action at this time, but expressed a desire to monitor the situation.  Nick said that he would remain in close contact with Art Ross, the Chair of the Search Committee, and would report back on the outcome.

 

 

4.  Unfinished Business

 

   4.1 Faculty Retrenchment Draft

 

Senators continued the discussion at the bottom of page two where they had stopped at the end of the special meeting held on February 28.  Revisions were offered for pages three and four.  Pages five through seven remain to be discussed.  Senators agreed to continue the discussion at the next meeting on April 4.  In addition, Jim Houdeshell volunteered to work through some test scenarios with other faculty volunteers to review the processes outlined in the draft.    

 

Retrenchment Draft revisions to pages three and four follow:

 

 

2. Retrenchment for Academic Reasons: Conditions and Procedures

 

Conditions

 

Program discontinuance or contraction for academic reasons may lead to termination of faculty.  Academic reasons include, but are not limited to, significant changes in enrollment patterns and in academic goals as established by the President and/or his/her designee.  These changes shall not include cyclical or temporary variations in enrollment but, rather, shall reflect long-range judgments that the educational mission of the College as a whole will be enhanced by the discontinuance or contraction.

 

Procedures

 

The development and implementation of procedures for effective and continuing evaluation of existing and proposed programs are the responsibility of the Senior Vice President/Provost. 

 

The Senior Vice President/Provost may initiate a recommendation for reduction in force for academic reasons. This recommendation must be presented in writing to the member(s) of the program and to Faculty Senate at least one hundred twenty (120) days prior to any recommendation for discontinuance being presented to the Sinclair Community College Board of Trustees.  Recommendations must address program criteria, program standards, student achievement, the impact on divisional staffing and the impact of the change on other areas of the college.  Members of the program, concurrently, may present their own recommendation to Faculty Senate.

 

Within thirty (30) days of receiving the recommendation(s) for retrenchment for academic reasons, the Faculty Senate shall review and submit its opinion to the Senior Vice President/Provost and members of the program in question.  Within thirty (30) days of Faculty Senate submitting its opinion, Faculty Senate and members of the program in question will meet to review the recommendations and, presumably, to reach consensus on a final proposal, which will be forwarded to the President and, upon his approval, sent to the Board. If consensus cannot be reached among the parties, multiple versions will be forwarded for the President’s consideration, and he/she may select one or a combination thereof to present to the Board.  Regardless of the President’s decision, Faculty Senate and members of the program in question will be given an opportunity to discuss the proposal(s) both at the appropriate subcommittee(s) of the Sinclair Community College Board of Trustees and at the Board’s monthly meeting before any final vote is taken by the Board.

 

 

3. Retrenchment for Financial Reasons: Conditions and Procedures

 

Conditions

 

Financial exigency, defined as an imminent financial crisis which threatens the solvency or financial integrity of the institution as a whole, may lead to a termination of faculty.  Such a financial crisis could be due to a decline in state funding, enrollment, college reserves, and/or an increase in costs, among other possible reasons. The President may initiate a recommendation for reduction in force for financial reasons only after he/she has made a concerted effort to seek additional funding sources as well as instituted aggressive but prudent cost-cutting measures, short of terminating full-time, tenure track faculty.  All the efforts at increasing income and decreasing expenses should be readily available as part of a completely transparent communication process.  If the President concludes that conditions are such that the college cannot meet its long-term financial obligations without terminating full-time, tenure track faculty, then the following process will ensue. 

 

Procedures

 

Only the President may initiate a recommendation for retrenchment for financial reasons. This recommendation must be presented in writing to Faculty Senate and the Senior Vice President/Provost at least one hundred twenty (120) days prior to any recommendation for faculty retrenchment being presented to the Board.  The President’s declaration of a financial exigency must include an accounting of all efforts taken to increase revenue and decrease costs with an accompanying explanation as to why these efforts have failed to ameliorate the financial crisis.

 

Within sixty (60) days of receiving the recommendation for retrenchment for financial reasons, the Faculty Senate shall review and, in concert with the Faculty Assembly and the Senior Vice President/Provost, reach consensus on a final proposal to be presented to the President.  Faculty Senate, the Senior Vice President/Provost, and the President will meet to discuss the proposal.  If agreement is reached, the proposal will be sent to the Board.  If agreement cannot be reached, multiple versions will be forwarded for the Board’s consideration.  Representatives from Faculty Senate will have an opportunity to discuss any retrenchment recommendation(s) both at the appropriate subcommittee(s) of the Sinclair Community College Board of Trustees and at the Board’s monthly meeting before any final vote is taken by the Board.

 

 

4. Termination Process and Entitlements

 

In developing this process for termination of full-time faculty, the College’s ability to provide education of high quality will be the first consideration.  Attention also will be paid to maintaining gains which have been made in equal employment opportunity.  

 

Consistent with these considerations, faculty will be separated using a formula* that combines seniority based on date of hire and rank, to be applied in the following order:

 

·        part-time faculty

·        annually contracted faculty

·        full-time tenure track faculty who have not earned tenure (beginning with Instructor)

·        full-time tenure track faculty who have earned tenure (beginning with Assistant Professor)

 

In all cases, the Dean may submit a request to the Senior Vice President/Provost for special consideration to be given to a particular faculty member if the release of the faculty member would result in a serious distortion of the academic program in which he/she is teaching.  To explain, “serious distortion” would apply if a faculty member had expertise relevant to a particular key course or number of key courses in a program or discipline and no other faculty member(s) had such expertise.

 

*Note: Moez Ben-Azzouz agreed to create a formula for insertion in the document.  This formula will be discussed at the next Senate meeting.

 

 

   4.1 Survey of Faculty Sentiment

 

         This item will be discussed at the next Faculty Senate meeting, April 4.

 

 

5. New Business

 

    There was no new business.

 

6. Announcements

 

    Next meeting: April 4, 2007, Rm. 7342, 2:30 pm.

 

 

The meeting adjourned at 3:56 pm.

 

Submitted by James Brooks

 

Approved by Senate: April 4, 2007