Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes 2014-05-07
SENATE MEETING 9/10/14
The meeting was called to order at 2:14 pm by President Middleton.
The minutes of the 3/26 meeting were approved as amended.
Pres. Middleton announced that all minutes for Senate meetings will be posted on Blackboard, and full minutes for the year will be posted on the web by William Kennedy.
The winners of the recent Senate election were announced by Handbook Committee chair Richard LoPinto and deputy chair Chee Ng.
Vice-President: Gary Darden
APRC: Robert Prentky, Gloria Pastorino, Meghan Sacks, Kiron Sharma; At large: Chris Caldiero
Handbook: Alex Casti, Karen Denning, Kathleen Haspel, Robyn Lubisco, Chee Ng, Brian Olechnowski, John Schiemann; At large: Robert Houle
FRW: Petros Anastosopoulos, Aixa Ritz, Jim Salierno, Marek Slaby
UPBC: Tony Adrignolo, Allen Cohen; at large: David Rosen
It was announced further that the IDEA referendum passed with 75 votes yes, 18 no, and 26 abstentions.
First item on the agenda was the selection of chairs and deputy chairs for each Senate committee. Last year no officers were elected at May meeting because of the Becton resolution. Today the Executive Committee voted to consider amending the Bylaws to allow later elections. Today it would be up to each committee whether to vote for chair and deputy chair at this meeting or not. Sen. LoPinto: Some committees have decided that even with a quorum, they want to wait until all members are present. Pres. Middleton asked each committee chair to inform her of that committee’s decision; all elections need to be done before the fall. If a committee wants online elections, Sen. Ng would handle that for FRW and UPBC; Sen. LoPinto for APRC. The Handbook Committee had not yet determined how to handle its election. The Handbook Committee asked for a recommendation on making a change to the Bylaws to determine how the Executive Committee (i.e., all committee chairs and deputy chairs) is chosen.
Pres. Middleton announced that the Strategic Plan Committee has asked for feedback on the current draft of the Plan.
Sen. Harmon asked for a show of hands of Senators who had looked at the Strategic Plan. It seemed to be a majority of the Senate. He said that anyone wishing to leave feedback on the website needed to use the username “FDU” and password “strategic.” We want as much feedback as possible. Provost Capuano will be going to the Becton College meeting on May 14th; SCB will be meeting on May 13th. We want even broader constitutencies, such as the Senate, to examine it.
Sen. Adrignolo: The University College meeting was earlier, so University won’t have a chance for group feedback. Dean Mills: Pres. Drucker came to our April meeting, after the faculty had discussed the Plan outline; he gave opening remarks and answered questions about the Strategic Plan. Sen. Harmon: The outline was very different from the plan in many details. It is a University-level plan, without specifying many college-based tactics.
Comments on the Plan followed from the floor.
Sen. Ultan: Operational Objective 3.2 says the only way to be sure that quality is the same across disciplines is a strategy of outcomes assessment. I would suggest several more ways: more full-time faculty, especially if they are not already working a full load. As for administrators, they should perhaps be reviewed by chairs, deans, and CPRCs. Also, Operational Objective 3.5 puts stronger emphasis on research and scholarship; this sounds good, but putting research-oriented faculty should also apply to liberal arts and humanities, and not only for graduate faculty but for undergraduate. Sen. Cohen: The Strategic Plan does not say that it applies only to scientific or technical areas, or only to graduate faculty.
Sen. Sacks: What was the Strategic Plan modeled on? Why this particular model? Sen. Cohen: It was modeled on the 2011-14 Plan. Sen. Sacks: What about that Plan? New plans should be modeled on previous successful ones.
Sen. Mayans: It would be great to model our Strategic Plan on that of a college that had successfully turned itself around; to just pull this out of the air does not inspire confidence. Many colleges are trying this. For example: FDU used to have three campuses; some things worked, some things did not. Let’s go back to that structure to see what was successful. Pres. Middleton: The proposed health care school is modeled on successful models; the question is how many times can such a model be imitated.
New Sen. Ritz: I just skimmed the Plan, but I saw nothing about the library. That is an important component of a university.
Sen. Singer: From the viewpoint of the Board of Trustees, the issue is the viability and sustainability of the University as a whole. The one thing alluded to but not articulated sufficiently for me is the fact that we need to be student-centric and concerned not just with sustainability but the academics of the university. Education is primary, and student services need to be polished better – advising, scheduling, and so on.
Pres. Middleton: Why is it a three-year plan rather than a five-year plan? Sen. Scotti: The planning horizon is predicated on the dynamism of the environment. The educational environment is very complex; in five years it is going to change considerably; a smaller period gives us time to adapt and change. Sen. Harmon: Many companies and government agencies no longer do three-year plans, but one-year plans; even three-year plans are reviewed every year.
Sen. Anastosopoulos: Recently the University and FRW established a group of peer institutions in which to compare faculty and administration salaries. A recent report recommended that part of the Strategic Plan should move faculty salaries to a higher level of priority. Pres. Middleton: That commitment was in previous Strategic Plans. Sen. Adrignolo: This plan doesn’t get down to the level of details, but we can include comments dealing with them as feedback. Sen. Farrell: I can think of places where such comments can be included.
Sen. Singer: In regard to three- vs. five-year plans, we do revisit plans every year, but just because something is on a Strategic Plan doesn’t mean that we have to accept it when it is scheduled. According to Michael Fullan and Bohlen & Diehl, good change is slow to occur; when change is sudden, then it’s not successful and there is a backlash. Sen. Scotti: But if you go through this document, it would be hard to find strategic objectives that are time-bound. Sen. Singer: But we need to realize that just because they’re in the plan, they’re not going to be made immediately. People need to understand that. Sen. Scotti: Agreed. During the Executive Committee meeting one member said, in re-examining the current draft, that the language appeared much more suggestive rather than injunctive – which was by design. Many things that people considered predetermined have been shifted to make clear that they are being explored or considered rather than definite.
Sen. Mayans: A Strategic Plan that keeps changing and revising is not very good. We can’t move that fast. The Strategic Plan should be designed more as Vancouver was built, with lots of preparation and care. To take six or eight years is more valuable than trying to cram all this into three years.
New Senator Darden: There is both injunctive language (for instance, in regard to the new School of Health Sciences) and suggestive language. I’m concerned with future shared governance. What role will faculty have in the future, if what are now suggestions are turned into injunctions? Sen. Adrignolo: The answer is the Faculty Handbook. The 1988 Handbook specifies academic structures and how issues are resolved. Sen. Harmon: I will go back and see if shared governance is sufficiently stressed in the foundational values of the Strategic Plan.
Sen. Anastosopoulos: Remember that Pres. Adams had made a long-range promise that faculty salaries would be raised to the 60th percentile of our peer group. Such long-range goals should be part of the Strategic Plan, or we should know why they are not.
Sen. Rosen: When we began, as others have said, the language was much more injunctive. Because of pushback, the language of much of the Plan has changed. Ordinarily one would expect a strategic plan to take years to plan and unfold, so that is a drawback of our plan. The Strategic Plan Committee was more about commenting and reacting, rather than drawing it up from scratch. The community-wide discussion, of which this is a part, needs to continue. Central to the plan should be the notion that any structural changes will take place in accordance with the principle of shared governance. Sen. Harmon: This plan has huge implications for changes in academic policy and content; the Board will not be making these decisions. The Handbook is clear that the faculty owns the curriculum and academic standards. I cannot see a situation where the administration will not have to work with the Senate on anything involving changes to academic structure or policies.
Sen. Sharma: How long did the Strategic Plan take to draft in the past? Sen. Harmon: There has never previously been a University plan except those made by stitching together campus plans. Sen. Sharma: Was this a Board of Trustees mandate? Sen. Cohen: Yes. Sen. Harmon: Now it’s up to us to decide what we’re going to do and how. We’ll be having more of the right conversations.
Pres. Middleton spoke of the recent annual meeting of the Executive Committee with the Board of Trustees Executive Committee. Their discussion was mostly about transparency. Last year the Senate President was named an ex-officio member of the Board of Trustees in order to increase transparency, and she was not sure that there had been increased transparency as a result: she mentioned the recently announced New Jersey Speaker series, and some statements on the 2012 990 forms that she found “shocking.” University President Drucker had said that the 990s would be released to the faculty on May 15th, and until then she could not discuss it. They would be available online through the GuideStar website.
Pres. Drucker is to be installed at the annual Board of Trustees picnic on June 3rd. It is to be a brief ceremony involving representatives of the Senate, alumni, staff, and students. Pres. Drucker asked to have the ceremony combined with the picnic so as to add no extra cost, and he asked that the savings go into the scholarship fund. Senate Pres. Middleton will address the Board of Trustees on June 4th (a prepared statement to be vetted by the Executive Committee) about her role on the Board.
The Faculty Rights and Welfare committee report was given by chair Petros Anastosopoulos:
FRW will have to have an answer to the administration in regard to changes in health care by May 12th. There are four options, ranging from a 4.1% to a 5.3% increase in premiums. The insurance provisions will be the same because we are in the middle of a two-year contract with United Health Care. We would get the same benefits, but the amount where the individual stop-loss clause takes effect could rise from $125,000 to $150,000. If we keep the threshold at $125,000, the increase will be 5.3%; if we change it to $150,000, the increase will be 5.1%. What does this mean for our individual premiums? For a single person the yearly amount would rise from $2772 to $2886, and for families it would rise from $6982 to $7268. Options 3 and 4 involve outsourcing the individual stop-loss insurance to another company that accepts a lower percentage. As we increase the threshold, there is a smaller premium but a higher risk. The Executive Committee has differing opinions as to which option is the most desirable. The general consensus is that all options are not extremely different, so there is no clear preference for any one option.
Sen. Rosen: What is the history of the stop-loss provisions? Have we had to invoke the stop-loss insurance in the past? Sen. Anastosopoulos: There has been no clear trend in the last twenty years. It varies from year to year; we know of about four to six years when we did go above the figure. Sen. Adrignolo: The figure once went beyond $1,000,000. Sen. Rosen: In the past ten years we have become a significantly younger faculty, therefore less likely to end up in an intensive care unit, so there would probably be less risk. Sen. Adrignolo: Accidents can happen to everyone. Sen. Anastosopoulos: We were below the estimated risk this year, at least up through April.
He announced further that replacing the parking signs that previously read “Staff Parking” with signs that say “Faculty and Staff Parking” has been approved and will be done by the end of the spring semester. He then spoke about the University anti-discrimination policy. About fifteen years ago FRW drafted the first anti-sexual harassment policy. Last year FRW discovered that the administration had expanded this policy to a general anti-discrimination policy without informing FRW. FRW made one minor editorial recommendation and several bigger ones. Part of the review process should involve an independent officer, not a University employee. Also, the appeals panel consists of six members appointed by the University President’s office; FRW should at least be advised during this process. Yesterday we received a letter from Provost Capuano to the effect that all FRW recommendations on this matter were approved, but FRW still has two problems with the policy: There has been no change in how the review panel is selected, and the adminstration does not believe that a faculty member should be involved in the initial part of process because of confidentiality. FRW has to review these issues and report back. We are also about to collect salary data on our peer group for the past year.
The APRC report was given by chair Joel Harmon:
This year APRC considered the Core, IDEA, and honorary degree approvals; they are still hoping to bring up a new proposal for distance learning approval process. He asked Sandra Selick from Center for Teaching and Learning Technology to speak on this matter.
Selick: The University Provost and APRC asked CTLT to put together a policy of quality assurance for online and blended courses, based on the QA guide for blended courses and on industry standards. The policy and guidelines have now been updated. These documents were designed with a collegial process in mind, based on well-recognized models, such as “Quality Matters” from the University of Maryland. They are not desiged to supersede any course approval process already in place. They are flexible and responsive, and the only set aspects are the legal ones. Each college can create its own guidelines. In case of a time crunch, the Dean can approve course to run even without having gone through the process; if the course creator disagrees with a specific item in guidelines, it can be waived.
Sen. Sinha: Do “course developer” and “course designer” mean the same thing? Selick: Yes. Sen. Farrell: How many faculty have completed the CTLT review course? Selick: Quality Matters has its own certification, and many faculty have gone through that. I know of at least two faculty that are certified. Sen. Singer: about six staff and faculty have been certified. Sen. Farrell: A course designer has three other people that have to be involved, so I am concerned about the length of the training. Selick: The length is optional, although at least two people (the course developer and someone to review it) need to have taken it all. Sen. Farrell: The design for a graduate course can be very different; what is the major priority of the training—is the focus undergraduate or graduate? Selick: There is no specific level. Sen. Singer: The new proposal tries to assure that syllabi include solid objectives, assessments linked to objectives, and so on. It is not so much about instructional strategies as about continuity to desired outcomes and stringency of guidelines. Sen. Farrell: I have no objection to standards or guidelines, but reviewers should be oriented toward specific level objectives. And what about a CEPC? How does that figure into the process? Sen. Harmon: That is up to each CEPC. They can’t approve a course, only decide if an approved course fits into the guidelines for online or blended courses. This does not replace any normal course approval processes. Sen. Singer: The decision would go first to a SEPC, then THE CEPC.
Sen. Slaby called the question.
Sen. Sinha: Clauses 2-G, -H, and -I: What do these really mean? Selick: We don’t have enough people to review at this point, so that process will take about two years. Sen. Sinha: Online courses become dated quickly. Selick: It will take about two years to start, because this is the beginning. Sen. Harmon: It will take some time to look at the entire present inventory of online and blended courses. We estimate that it will take about three years to go through the entire inventory. Sen. Sinha: it should be looked at more often than every five years. Selick: It should be looked at annually. Sen. Harmon: The committee will examine that point.
The vote on the proposal was 15 yes, 3 no, 6 abstain. The motion passed.
There was a short recess for committee caucuses to elect chairs and deputy chairs, if possible. The Senate reconvened at 3:49.
The committee election results were as follows:
UPBC: chair Adrignolo, deputy Tuluca
FRW: will vote electronically
APRC: will vote electronically
Handbook: to be determined
The UPBC report was given by chair Tony Adrignolo:
He thanked the Senate for its support. A one-time bonus payment is supposed to be paid to all faculty and staff on May 15th. The fall enrollments look good. If so, we will hold the administration to its promise to restore COLA to the October budget.
He then raised a special order. He had received a plaque at the conclusion of his term as Senate President, but this had not been done for all presidents since. He asked the Senate to approve a motion to buy an (inexpensive) plaque for each departing Senate President in future (and for all extant previous Presidents). The motion was approved.
New business was raised by Vice-President Roberts:
He wanted to acknowledge two long-standing senators who were leaving the Senate: Robert Mayans and Lloyd Ultan. (Other senators mentioned the names of Vicki Cohen and Lona Whitmarsh.) Finally he thanked outgoing President Middleton.
The meeting was adjourned at 3:56 pm.
Acting Recording Secretary