Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes 2014-01-29

SENATE MEETING 1/29/14

Minutes

[attachment: Notes for Leadership Meeting]

 

The meeting was called to order at 2:07 pm.

There was a motion to approve the minutes, of the last meeting, which was unanimously approved.

The President asked for the agenda for the current meeting to be approved. Marek Slaby made a motion to that effect, which was unanimously approved.

The President acknowledged three new Senators for the spring semester: Dennis Scotti, Patricia Durso, and Brian Olechnowski.

 

The President gave a short talk on the State of the Senate:

-A large number of faculty participated in the final meeting of the previous academic year in May 2013. The Senate needs more people, members and otherwise, to come to regular meetings.

-The Senate now has a seat on the Board of Trustees; the President is a nonvoting, ex officio member.

-The President is concerned that there is only one female on the Executive Committee of the Senate, especially given the large numbers of female faculty in the University as a whole.

-Is the Senate useful in its present form?

-There was an update from President Drucker: there is to be a series of meetings in December and January to streamline the University by reducing costs. Some structural changes are targeted to be done by July 1st. Leaders of the administrative units are to meet with CFO Ferrara, University Provost Capuano, and President Drucker about this in next few months. In reply, she sent an email to the President asking when faculty will be more involved in such matters; the Senate has not yet been asked for input on the new strategic plan.

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

The Handbook Committee report was given by chairman Richard LoPinto:

The Senate requested, and the Board of Trustees agreed, that the Senate President would become an ex-officio member of the Board. The question is how to put this change into the Faculty Handbook. He asked the Senate for approval of a sentence to be inserted into the Handbook somewhere: “The President of the Senate shall be an ex officio non-voting member of the Board of Trustees.” Miriam Singer moved for approval, which was passed unanimously. Senator Singer then asked whether there was a section of the Handbook about the members of the Executive Committee, explaining the nature of their duties. She suggested that the new sentence go there.

 

The FRW report was given by chairman Petros Anastasopoulos. (See Appendix I.)

 

The UPBC report was read by Vice President William Roberts in the absence of the chair and the deputy chair. (See Appendix II.)

 

The APRC report was given by chairman Joel Harmon. (See Appendix III.)

In regard to the new strategic plan framework: the APRC reviewed various versions in December and at a special January meeting. It contains many elements that will have an impact on educational policy at the University, so the APRC is involved. The committee had a positive reaction to aspects of the framework related to insuring the consistency of policies across the University. The committee has concerns over whether the framework goes far enough in articulating what we want the University to be, and for whom. Will the new plan make clear how we can fulfill the global mission? Will there be sufficient inclusion of faculty early enough in the process? Do we have enough data to decide which programs should be cut or changed? and so on. The committee hopes to begin discussions in the Senate today after the Provost’s report, and hopes that we can find consensus among discussions in various committees and groups.

 

PROVOST’S REPORT

 

University Provost Capuano reported that spring enrollment is currently about $1 million better than the budget projection, including both undergraduate and international students. He is cautiously optimistic that we will finish better than anticipated.

He spoke briefly about the recent UPBC budget meetings. The FY15 July budget is conservative, and projects about $6 million less revenue than this year. We’re already priced out of our market, so any tuition increases must be very small; we can’t make up for enrollment declines by raising tuition. So far, next year’s contractual obligations alone will cost about $6.5 million, so we are starting with a budget gap of $12.5 million that has to be balanced by July. We have to find places to make reductions, both to balance the budget and to be able to reallocate resources. He will be restructuring the University Provost’s office to pay for new initiatives.

As an example of new initiatives, the Provost mentioned his planned increase in adjunct salaries. The pay for adjuncts (of which the University employs about 800) and fulltime faculty teaching overloads is not very good. He considers it unacceptable that anyone would get less than $2500 for teaching a three-credit course. The Provost has freed up $300,000 and distributed it to the Deans for adjunct salary adjustments to be made this spring and then annualized. We still need another $225,000 to bring everyone up to $2500; it is up to the Deans to decide how to apportion this new money. The Provost hopes that the increase will be done by the fall, unless budget problems prevent that.

Vancouver is currently giving back $3.5-4 million per year. The Pharmacy School will probably return about $750,000 this year. The Pharmacy School has not had a deficit yet. These are two examples of initiatives that paid off their investment not only financially, but also in regard to the University’s reputation and mission. We need more initiatives like these; we have to grow ourselves out of our predicament, not cut ourselves out.

The Provost next spoke about the new strategic plan framework (which, he hastened to add, is not yet a plan). It evolved from meetings of the Provost, the President, and three members of Board of Trustees. The Board is concerned about the current economic climate, and they intend to be much more involved with the new strategic plan.

The key to the new framework is that it sets parameters. The strategic drivers incorporated into previous plans are too vague and subjective. They are now called imperatives, and the language describing them is much stronger, operations-based, and data-oriented. The Board wants a shorter list of goals. The initiatives listed are suggestions, intended to stimulate thinking. We have to increase non-tuition revenue, ideally to $10 million per year. The final draft of the new plan is to be finished by the end of March.

In regard to the selection of a committee to draft the new strategic plan, the President and Board of Trustees believe that the University Planning and Budget Committee is the appropriate committee. We have never previously had such a committee, which must be University-wide, not campus-based. the drafting committee will consist of the UPBC plus Rick Reiss (Vice-President of Advancement), Jon Wexler (Vice President of Enrollment Management), and the chair and deputy chair of the APRC. The Senate will be able to look at it, but two Senate committees are already represented on this committee. Committee co-chairs will be Chris Capuano and Hania Ferrara.

The Provost handed out copies of comments made by President Drucker at a leadership meeting held the previous day. (See Appendix IV.) As of July 1st, the academic budgets will no longer go through the campus offices; instead they will be under the control of the University Provost. The campus provosts will no longer be called provosts, but campus executive officers, and they will primarily report to the President, and only secondarily to the University Provost -- except for the Vancouver provost, who of necessity has both academic and operational responsibilities.

 

The Provost opened the floor to questions.

Sen. Anastasopoulos: Will the Senate be informed of what’s discussed in these meetings? Provost: Yes. Anastasopoulos: Is there competitive bidding for contractual items on the budget? Provost: Always. Anastasopoulos: Can cost of living increases be incorporated into some of these contracts? Provost: Each contract has different rates and terms.

Senator LoPinto: When Joseph Kiernan was University Provost, he raised the minimum salary for full-time adjuncts to $50,000. What factors go into these decisions? Provost: The new recommendations on adjunct salaries have come out of FRWC, and I have also looked at the data. I am also recommending that adjunct salaries will have same cost of living adjustments as full-time salaries. Sen. Anastasopoulos added that last year FRWC calculated COLA for adjuncts, which had not been done for at least fifteen years.

Sen. Slaby: What other changes are planned to be made by July 1? Provost: I can’t say yet, but the President wants many changes by then. I still need to meet with other budget officers. The contemplated restructuring has nothing to do with performance, only with reducing duplication and encouraging sharing of resources. For example, Global Learning doesn’t need everyone they have right now. The intent is to make changes in non-academic areas as soon as possible. We would need at least another year for any academic changes.

President Middleton: Won’t the restructuring be starting without consulting faculty? Provost: No, probably not. There will be input solicited from faculty and staff.

Sen. Denning: What will be the involvement of the New Jersey campuses in the Vancouver strategic plan, and what will be the involvement of Vancouver in our new strategic plan? Provost: Vancouver has its own strategic plan. As for the new one, they can respond, but it wouldn’t work to have them here. The Vancouver campus is more autonomous than our campuses, so their executive has to be involved in academic affairs. Therefore that position will stay a provost, even though it is not directly involved in faculty status reviews.

Marion McClary: Might the planned restructuring involve moving units to one campus or another? Provost: It depends. All changes are possible. Some might involve more use of ITV to teach on both campuses. More faculty may have to commute from one campus to the other, just as SCB, Education, and Petrocelli faculty do already. We need to start thinking more as one university rather than two separate campuses.

Sen. Singer: We should look at the number of commuter students versus residential students. There is a much larger group of commuters using public transit at Metro. In regard to the suggestion of more ITV teaching, how many ITV setups do we have, and does the University plan to increase them? Provost: We have more than we did previously, and probably will need more. We will never be an online university, but we can make money doing online education. Another possibility is a new campus in a developing country, perhaps Colombia.

Sen. Kovacs: It seems that in the last ten to twelve years FDU has drifted to  an emphasis on more graduate and/or niche programs. Most successful programs have been startup ones using new technology. What do we do with legacy programs to free up resources for new initiatives? Improving quality alone will be difficult, when we are competing with schools that have large endowments. Provost: These are good points that need discussion. We have already started partnerships with community colleges. Mistakes will be made, but we have to take calculated risks in order to succeed.

Sen. Scotti: I am looking at both the strategic plan framework and the notes of the President’s remarks, trying to see the connections between them. Provost: I haven’t looked at the notes in great detail yet, but I do see relevant connections, such as a consideration of the merging and restructuring of academic or administrative units.

Sen. Harmon: I am still missing more basic considerations of who we are and what we want to become in the strategic framework. Ihope they will be featured in the final plan. Also, shouldn’t the new strategic plan committee have been formed in consultation with the Executive Committee of the Senate? Provost: The President created this committee.

 

President Middleton asked about unfinished business. She mentioned that a van had driven three Senators from Madison to Metro today, and that Campus Provost Kiernan is willing to have van from Metro to Madison. She also reported that the Executive Committee has replied to President Drucker on the issue of 12/13 faculty load hours.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 3:59 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Allen Cohen

Acting Recording Secretary

 

 

APPENDICES

 

 

Appendix I: FRWC report

I. The Chair and Deputy Chair of the Committee met with Provost Capuano on December 18, 2013 to discuss the composition of the New Peer Group. The meeting was open to all Committee members. After a lengthy discussion and an exchange of e-mails, the differences of opinion between the FRWC and the Provost have been narrowed down to 4 institutions. Provost Capuano expressed optimism that these differences will be shortly resolved.

II. The Committee also presented Provost Capuano the corrections and suggestions regarding the Anti-Discrimination Policy. Provost Capuano promised to proceed with these recommendations.

III. The FRWC will be making its compensation recommendation to President Dracker as per FH and will be seeking input from the members of the EC and the Senate.

Petros Anastasopoulos

Chairman, FRWC

 

Appendix II: UPBC report

The process has begun on preparing the 2014-2015 FDU Budget. Last week the members of the Senate Planning and Budget Committee met as part of the University Planning and Budget Committee. There were two days of presenting budget requests. The FRW did not present; our understanding is that they presented directly to the University President whatever was requested on behalf of the faculty. The FRW Funding requests are not currently included in the 2014-2015 budget.

What is apparent is that:

-Total projected revenues for next year appear less than this year.

-Total projected expenses are greater next year than this year.

-The new requests for funding and the current fiscal obligations are far in excess of projected revenue.

-The FRW compensation package has not been submitted at this date.

The UPBC has been charged by President S. Drucker to participate in the preparation of the new Strategic Plan. The five Senate members of the PBC will attend an extensive series of weekly meetings starting the first week in February.

Tony Adrignolo,Chair PBC

Sorin Tuluca,Deputy Chair

Allen Cohen,Member PBC

Mary Farrell,Member PBC

Alan Fask,Member PBC

 

Appendix III: APRC report

1.     Proposal to Modify the University CORE:  The APRC met with the four college Deans to further discuss the feedback and next steps regarding the proposal distributed by Jason Scorza. This matter now sits with the Deans Council for further discussion.

2.     Distance-Learning proposal:  The APRC also met with the four college Deans to further discuss the policy proposed by Sandra Selick, from the Center for Teaching and Learning with Technology (CTLT), to establish quality control procedures at FDU for totally online courses. This matter also now sits with the Deans Council for further discussion.

3.     Mid-Term Progress Reporting:  The APRC received a preliminary report from the two APRC leaders of a joint APRC-Provost task force set up to review the program, which was intended to improve student success and retention by providing earlier and clearer feedback on student mid-semester performance. The Senate had approved encouraging faculty to participate on a voluntary basis until the Provost provided more detailed procedures governing the program (e.g., which courses might be legitimately exempt; who will get data and how will it be followed up; how impacts will be assessed). Such procedures have not yet been received by the APRC.

Data from a survey was shared regarding how many students reported receiving mid-term reports and subsequently either dropped courses or improved their performance. The task force is still trying to get better data on program outcomes that would permit more thorough analysis. It was noted that we don’t have good models of what factors indicate when to intervene. A fuller report is expected later in spring 2014, including recommendations on how to improve the assessment process.

4.     Strategic Plan Framework:  The APRC reviewed and discussed versions of the strategic plan framework at its December 2013 meeting and at a special January 2014 meeting held for that specific purpose. Although the framework is still evolving, it clearly contains many elements that will significantly impact educational policy and quality. Thus APRC active involvement is crucial.

Although the APRC’s assessment of the framework is ongoing, there was generally a positive reaction to elements intended to create greater coherence and consistency across colleges and campuses. So too regarding consolidation for impact and efficiency.

At the same time, some serious broad concerns surfaced as to whether the framework goes far enough in strategically articulating who we want to be and for whom (which is, of course, central to articulating a strategy). Does the plan sufficiently articulate paths for institutional transformation and educational distinction, beyond the parity issues of affordability and value? Does the plan sufficiently illuminate how we can truly fulfill our global citizenship mission by creating “productive, responsible citizens,” “caring communities,” and sustainable futures?  Is our plan to become a non-traditional, masters-and-above degree-granting institution, as we seem to be heading?  Should we be moving to three-year undergraduate degree models?  Do we have sufficient data to decide which educational programs are most worthy of big bets?   

Additional concerns were raised about increasing the priority of improving the University’s technical proficiency, strengthening links between FDU’s information technology function and faculty, improving admissions effectiveness, and strengthening alumni connections.

Discussion of the strategy framework is planned between administration and Senate UPBC representatives. We hope that ways can be found to create coherence and synergy among the different conversations that will unfold, including those by the APRC regarding implications for education policy and quality.

 

Appendix IV: President Drucker’s comments at leadership meeting

(see following pages)