Faculty Senate Minutes

May 30, 2007

 

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

 

Senators attending: Derek Allen, Jennifer Barr, Moez Ben-Azzouz, Mark Echtner, Luis Gonzalez, Eric Kraus, Cindy Schoonover, Tom Singer, Charles C. Williams

 

Senators not attending: Mohammad Ali, James. Houdeshell, Amanda Romero

 

Others attending: Laurel Mayer, Georgann Enright, Bill Lejeune, Susan Callender

 

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

 

1. Approval of Minutes

 

Minutes for the Faculty Senate meeting of May 16 and the special session of May 23 were approved with minor corrections.

 

2. New Business

 

Derek Allen shared that his department (Travel & Tourism/Hospitality Management) would be losing an ACF position as of June 30.  Even though the department chair had attempted to convince the dean that the position was critical to the department’s success—since this ACF had particular expertise with a computer system used in the program—the appeal to save the position had been unsuccessful.  Derek posed the question of ACF representation on Senate or as a separate body.  This led to an extended discussion about the role of the ACF and possible options for representation.  The point was made by a former ACF, now a tenure-track faculty, that, by definition, the ACF position has never been guaranteed but was originated as a one-year position to fulfill a need and, therefore, was subject to review annually. 

 

Others recognized the at-risk or at-will status of the position, but also acknowledged that a number of ACF positions had been long-standing at the institution, and that the group should have an organization of its own to represent itself, as the staff does and as the Department Chairs do. The idea of formal representation on Senate would require a bylaw change to the Handbook, but forming a representative body of its own would not.  Senators urged Bill Lejeune, an ACF in attendance at the meeting, to contact other ACF’s about the idea of forming an independent group.  It was suggested that the ACF’s meet during the Fall Faculty Assembly meeting time to discuss this issue and that Bill and/or representatives from the ACF pool report to Senate in the fall with their recommendations.  Senators seemed to feel that it was important for the tenure-track faculty and the ACF’s to work together to represent the interests of faculty and students most effectively.

 

 

 3. President’s Report: Nick Reeder

 

    3.1  Committee Appointments

 

Nick shared the following with respect to committee appointments: to serve two-year terms on the Academic Petitions Committee are Jim Brooks (ELHS), Mo Khani (LAS), and Cheryl Jefferies (ALH); to serve a two-year term on the Curriculum Review Committee is Martha Taylor (BUS).

 

    3.2  Faculty Handbook Changes for 2007-2008

 

All Faculty Handbook changes approved for 2007-2008 will be posted to the Faculty Assembly Angel site.  The posting will occur after the changes have been officially approved at the Sinclair Board of Trustees June meeting.

 

    3.3  Senate Retreat with Administration

 

Nick announced that the annual Senate retreat with the administration would be held August 23 or August 24.  Nick reminded senators that attendance was not mandatory and that no senator was under any obligation to participate.  However, once the date is established, all senators and officers will be invited, at which time they can choose to accept or decline the invitation.

 

    3.4  Fall Conference

 

Nick disclosed that Chief Gift had requested 15 minutes to discuss campus lockdown procedures with the faculty.  Some senators felt that this information should be shared with the campus-wide audience rather than with only the faculty group.  Nick mentioned that Chief Gift was planning a series of meetings with campus groups and that he wanted to meet with smaller groups to facilitate communication.  Senate agreed to allow 15 minutes on its agenda for the presentation. 

 

Nick noted that the Assembly time had been extended, at his request, to 1 hour 45 minutes.  A discussion ensued about how to use the remaining hour-and-a-half.  A motion was made to have Senate President Nick Reeder invite representatives from AAUP (American Association of University Professors) and OFT (Ohio Federation of Teachers) to the meeting.  The motion passed after an extended discussion, which included the following: Given the limited time frame, senators expressed ideas about how best to orchestrate the session for maximum benefit to the faculty.  One idea that appealed to senators was to ask the representatives to highlight three key issues facing higher education today and briefly explain what they are doing to address those issues.  Others felt they should simply tell us who they are, what they do, and explain what we would gain by having them represent us.  Several senators reminded the group that this should be seen as an introductory session only and that feedback could be collected from faculty and one or more follow-up sessions could be scheduled for more in-depth discussion, as needed.

 

Jennifer Barr, chair of the Faculty Resources Committee, mentioned that an expanded version of the New Faculty Orientation would be held the week prior to fall quarter and would not conflict with the Fall Conference events.

 

    3.5  FIT Update

 

Nick reported that the faculty members of the Faculty Issues Team (FIT) initially felt encouraged after the meeting of Friday, May 25.  However, upon reflection, it appears that the administration might be moving toward partial agreement to the proposal. Another meeting is scheduled for Thursday, May 31, at which time a more definitive response is expected, or hoped for, from the administration.  As the quarter draws to a close, time is critical if the faculty at large are to have an opportunity to provide feedback on the compensation package. 

 

To this point, one senator raised the question, “Is Assembly approval required?”  Technically, Assembly approval of the compensation package is not required.  Neither is Senate approval required.  The Board of Trustees has the authority to approve any compensation proposal so long as the proposal is within the College’s budgetary parameters.  However, some senators acknowledged that the administration would much rather present a package that was endorsed by Senate and the Assembly, and that this has always been the preferred process. 

 

Other questions were raised as to FIT’s authority to recommended changes to the merit distribution without Assembly approval.  Comments were made that the faculty has seen a draft of the proposal and that it was distributed prior to the Spring Assembly Meeting.  Although no vote was taken at that meeting, the discussion about the FIT proposal was largely positive.  One senator urged the group, “Don’t collapse under the stress of time.”  He shared a suggestion from a constituent that if we could not reach an agreement in a timely fashion that we should establish November 1 as a new deadline, continue discussions in the fall, and make any increases retroactive to September 1.  This will allow time for further discussion and for the Faculty Assembly to meet in fall to consider the proposal.  The senator added, “This will show the administration that we aren’t going to be intimidated by deadlines.”

 

The following resolution was made, but not voted upon—it was to be tabled and brought up for a vote at a future meeting if circumstances warranted it: “If we cannot get a satisfactory outcome to our original compensation proposal, Senate directs FIT to extend discussions to reach closure by Friday, November 2, with all terms of the agreement retroactive to September 1, 2007.”

 

After agreeing to hold the above resolution in abeyance, a senator asked, “What if the Board unilaterally approves a package presented by the administration, then what?”  All agreed that such an action would create a crisis for the Senate and Assembly.  One senator suggested that the faculty members of FIT should address the President and the Board if it looked as if such a course of action were to occur. 

 

Nick noted again that FIT had another meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 31, and that the Board of Trustees meeting for June had been postponed until June 27 to give the Board more time to evaluate budgetary changes at the state level.  Senators agreed to meet in special session on June 6 to discuss the outcomes of the May 31 FIT meeting.

 

Finally, Tom Singer, a faculty member of FIT, distributed two documents (for internal use only/not for distribution) related to retirement incentives.  This topic continues to be part of the FIT discussions.

 

 

4. Unfinished Business: Survey of Faculty Sentiment

 

    This item was not discussed.

 

 

5. Announcements

 

    Next meeting: June 6, 2007, Rm. 7342, 2:30 pm.

 

 

The meeting adjourned at 4:05 pm.

 

Submitted by James Brooks

 

Approved by Senate officers: June 28, 2007