Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes 2014-09-10

SENATE MEETING 9/10/14

Minutes

 

The meeting was called to order at 2:08 pm by President William Roberts. He made some introductory remarks to the effect that he wants to get to know all Senators. On Sen. Harmon’s suggestion, all Senators present stood up and introduced themselves, one after the other. Roberts noted the name of the Rutherford Room, which recalled to mind the first FDU campus. He said we want to keep focused on the intention of the Senate, to recalibrate the University’s focus on academics.

 

The minutes of the 5/7 meeting were approved as amended.

The agenda for this meeting, with a slight change of order, was approved.

 

The Senate Committee reports followed.

 

The Handbook Committee report was given by Sen. LoPinto:

The Committee brought several items to the Executive Committee, some of which were postponed. There were two important items:

1) faculty authority over educational policy. Several times in recent years, the Senate was not consulted by the administration on academic issues. For instance, after the Senate voted in favor of equalizing contact hour requirements for all faculty, and the faculty as a whole voted overwhelmingly for the proposal, there was no response from the administration. Another recent issue involved a unilateral statement from the Provost’s office on the interpretation of the Handbook language about criteria for faculty tenure and promotion. Sen. Schiemann: Is this something new by the University? LoPinto: The Provost sent an email on “Interpretation of Faculty Status Criteria” to the University College faculty, without first going through the Senate. Schiemann: I understand that the Provost can only intervene if there is a dispute between CPRC and Dean. LoPinto: So to whom were these instructions being sent? Sen. Harmon: Are administrators interpreting the criteria as the faculty believe they should be interpreted? Sen. Rosen: Such differences are inherent in the system. Sen. Singer: Not every department has same criteria for renewal, promotion, or tenure; each department interprets it differently. There was some further discussion. Sen. Anastosopoulos: Even each CPRC may interpret the Handbook slightly differently.

2) The Vancouver campus is unique in that the faculty can’t participate in the Senate because of distance, and also because of some differences with the other campuses over promotion procedures. Several years ago the Committee had a meeting with Provost Capuano on this issue, and he had urged Capuano to give his opinions on this question.

 

The Faculty Rights and Welfare Committee report was given by Sen. Anastosopoulos. He and Sen. Slaby had been reelected as chair and deputy chair.

He went on to mention several recent issues before the Committee. Last year FRW and the administration established a peer group of fifteen colleges or universities as a basis of comparison for both our faculty and administration; in most comparisons, our average faculty salaries are at the bottom of the list. FRW decided that the new Strategic Plan should include raising faculty salaries.

Many parking signs on the Florham campus for faculty and staff had said merely “Staff”; at FRW’s request, these were changed to say “Faculty and Staff.”

There had been discussion of the University’s antidiscrimination and sexual harassment policy. FRW had had input, but there were still some issues remaining; FRW wants more faculty input and participation in the decision.

The primary role of FRW is proposing faculty salaries. Last year the Consumer Price Index went up 1.3%, but the year before it went up 3.5%, a rise which was not reflected in any raise for faculty salaries. Adding together 1.3 and 3.5 puts us behind the rise in the cost of living by almost 5%. Last year FRW had asked for a 2.5% COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment); the bonuses given to faculty in recent years are only for one year each and do not apply to our base salaries. President Drucker had been cautious, and said that we had to wait for the October budget to see if salary increases could be included. FRW asked for $500,000 for salary equalization; out of this, $300,000 is included in the July budget. The administration seems to want the distribution of this money to reflect faculty performance (making it in effect a merit increase). This needs to be discussed. FRW will consult the formula that they had proposed for the last equalization, several years ago, and decide what formula they would recommend.

 

The University Planning and Budget Committee report was given by Sen. Adrignolo:

The University is currently doing better than it was last year at this time, with a large surplus from last year’s budget. Last year the administration deferred COLA until the announcement of the IPEDS results and the final budget in October. We have been assured that this year COLA will be in the budget.

The University endowment is currently about 44 million dollars. By directive of the Board of Trustees, half of every surplus goes to the endowment. Enrollments are up. Surpluses have been around $10 million for a number of years. We are a $250 million venture; because of the convenants for our building bonds, we cannot show a deficit. So every year the administration underestimates income and overestimates expenses, and as a result, COLA always gets deferred. When the year is over and the surplus is announced, it is too late for a salary increase. FDU in currently ranked 79th in Regional Universities of the North category by US News and World Report, which is higher than in previous years.

Speaking from experience as faculty speaker and senate president, Sen. Adrignolo said that we have about 250 tenured or tenure track faculty. If we split into factions, we lose what power we have. In effect, new buildings are being paid by our salaries, because debt service takes priority over salaries. We need donors. We want buildings, but we don’t want more to be built at the expense of the faculty.

Sen. Houle: How many COLAs have there been in the last ten years? How many years did we end with a surplus? Sen. Adrignolo: We have had a surplus for about the last fifteen years. Sen. Tuluca: In the past ten years we have had COLAs seven times. Other Senators disagreed strongly, saying that figure was too high, and we should check. A Senator asked which figure was used for the rise in the Consumer Price Index, and was told that it was the figure for northern New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York. Sen. Adrignolo explained the nature of contractual obligations (with outside entities), and why they are given priority over salaries in the budget.

 

The Academic Policy and Research Committee report was given by Sen. Harmon:

Most APRC business this year will come from last year’s decisions, such as  a new CORE curriculum (APRC needs to see all syllabi for courses proposed for CORE substitutions). He expects also to be dealing with aspects of the new Strategic Plan. The IDEA evaluation system is being rolled out this year. Sen. Behson: The IDEA task force will inform both APRC and FRW of all developments.

In regard to the midterm progress report, a motion was passed in the Senate in February 2011 that APRC would start a task force to develop midterm report procedures; that until they were approved by the Senate, midterm grading is not mandatory, and there would no penalties for faculty not doing midterm grading.

Sen. West: Does this include adjuncts as well? Because adjuncts have been told that they must do midterm progress reports. Guest Matthieu Boyd said that he is currently chair of the Becton CEPC. The Becton faculty are unhappy with the number of progress reports asked for by EOF, FIS, athletics, and so on, and he wonders if these could all be consolidated into a single such report, ideally online. Sen. Singer: EOF has to follow federal guidelines for reports two or three times per semester, and the same goes for NCAA division I athletes (which has nothing to do with midterm reports). Sen. Bronson: I thought the midterm report was simply a midterm grade. Has anyone been penalized for not doing this? Sen. Singer: The greatest consequence so far has been reminders from deans. Sen. Bronson: We have more important things to deal with than this. Sen. Anastosopoulos: Three years ago when this was proposed, there was a great deal of discussion, and the Senate approved a resolution that we would evaluate midterm reports after two years. Sen. Harmon: That was not part of the resolution. Sen. Singer: The data has been collected, and is currently going through the chain of command. Perhaps next time we will have a report.

Sen. Cohen: At least three years ago, I asked APRC to propose a way for faculty to play a greater role in admissions, recruitment, and retention. Many faculty are still unhappy that they spend a great amount of time on recruiting, only to see their initiatives bring no results (or small results) because of lack of coordination and follow-up by Admissions. I am not blaming anyone, but I would like APRC either to come up with some result on this question, or to bring its failure to reach agreement to the Senate. Sen. Harmon: APRC has come to this issue a number of times; last year we were very busy, especially dealing with the new Strategic Plan. We hope to coordinate this issue with aspects of the Strategic Plan this year; if not, we will approach it differently.

Vice-President Darden: We are trying to move toward 120-credit undergraduate degrees; is APRC involved, or is it up to the individual colleges? Also, are we heading toward a University-wide uniform General Education checksheet, and is it being handled by APRC or by the various colleges? Sen. Harmon: Nothing concrete has been proposed yet. Anything involving more than one college should definitely come to APRC.

Finally, Sen. Harmon brought a new APRC proposal to the Senate. An Academic Integrity Policy exists (in regard to plagiarism), which is supposed to be in all syllabi, the product of many years of discussion. Similarly, procedures for disciplining plagiarism were also set, with a checklist of possible sanctions, leaving a great range of discretion. Very few such procedures actually take place, because the disciplinary action is usually settled between the teacher (or the department) and the student. Every now and then, a faculty member has to make a formal report. APRC has approved a proposal, which the Executive Committee approved for Senate action:

“The Administration may create an electronic system for faculty to report student violations of the University's Academic Integrity Policy, so long as such a system also will record the program in which the student is enrolled and the campus or program location where the violation occurred.”

Sen. Bronson: The Executive Committee asked the Senate President to bring all motions at the beginning of a Senate meeting, not during committee reports. Otherwise there is not sufficient time for discussion and a vote. Sen. Harmon: We can put a time limit on discussion, and if it exceeds the time limit, the motion can be tabled. Sen. Adrignolo: I thought the Executive Committee had agreed not to bring this motion today. Sen. Harmon: You were wrong. Sen. Sinha: Can we also have an electronic version of information memos about disability policies? Pres. Roberts: The Executive Committee voted to bring this proposal to a vote. VP Darden: The Executive Committee vote was 6 for, 1 against. So that is the one question to be voted for now. Sen. Cohen called the question. The Senate voted 21-3 on the question of bringing the proposal to a vote. Then it voted on the proposal itself. It passed, 23 to 4, with 1 abstention.

Sen. Harmon: There was another part of the proposal that needs to be further discussed: that the appropriate Dean of Students will be notified of any such disciplinary procedures; that was tabled. He was not sure whether the Deans of Students get such information now, or whether they can request it.

 

Provost Capuano gave his report. He began by introducing the new Dean of Silberman College of Business, Andrew Rosman.

He thanked the Senate for its work on approving IDEA and the new Core curriculum (with 8 or 9 CORE credits rather than 13). He said this change will have a huge impact on retention. As for General Education requirements, EPCs must start the process, then it will go to APRC.

We ended last fiscal year with a surplus. We projected a surplus of 5 to 6 million dollars, but it ended up as $12.4 million. Part of the surplus is built into the budget, as required by the Board, but this will allow us to do some things this year with more confidence. Vancouver did better than expected, and most of the additional money came from underspending of campus budgets. The School of Pharmacy contributed about $750,000, and should do better this year.

One of the things we should be able to do with confidence is an across-the-board salary increase (in November). The July budget had $300,000 earmarked for faculty equalization, which will probably remain (plus $200,000 to staff). Another important change is adding money to college budgets to increase adjunct pay. The minimum is now $2300 everywhere for three credits, and the next step will be to raise it to $2500 across the board for the spring semester.

Next the Provost discussed the enrollment outlook. The new freshman class at Florham is up by almost 200 students. There may be some withdrawals, but fulltime undergraduate enrollment is 335 over budget, and fulltime graduate enrollment is 193 over budget. Part-time graduate enrollment is probably down, but not significantly; part-time undergraduate enrollment will be down about 700 students, which is not a lot of revenue being lost. The revenue projection is about $5.7 million above budget for the fall, or $11 million annualized, about $5 million over the July budget. The bad news is that financial aid was also higher than budgeted, about $7-8 million. But net revenue is still up: there is approximately a $3 million net surplus, plus $1.5 to $2 million from room and board, all in all perhaps $5-6 million for the year over budget. The Provost said that in all but two of last ten years there had been a COLA increase. As promised, Vancouver is helping to improve faculty salaries. He agreed that in terms of average faculty salaries, we are at the bottom of our peer group (except for assistant professors, which are near the bottom); we have a lot of work to do. Sen. Schiemann: Is the peer group the same for both faculty and administration? Capuano: Yes, that’s a change we made.

Then he opened the floor to questions.

Sen. Houle: Wasn’t part of the justification for the Strategic Plan predicated on predictions of lower enrollment? Does this change the tenor of the Strategic Plan? Capuano: No. The strategic plan was very ambitious. The SP Committee considered making it a 5-year plan, and the administration will ask Board to make it a 5-year plan, which won’t change any objectives, but will allow us to create a more precise timetable. Some things will still be done in three years, but some may take longer. Also: the Board of Trustees has argued that there should be no more than four strategic objectives in the plan. So now four operational objectives are now aspirational, meaning that the Board of Trustees wants senior administration to make sure that they happen in a timely manner, with money to be raised externally:

  1. Create a school of health science and health professions;
  2. Revitalize SCB, bring it back to prominence, and give it facilities with an identity;
  3. Position the International School of Hospitality and Management Studies—ranked fourth in the country by bestschools.org—to increase enrollments and expand its and the University’s global reach, using external funds (for example, by creating a physical home with conference center, and perhaps a restaurant and hotel, at the Metro campus; by establishing international locations with a corporate partner; by developing new programming abroad that might create additional Vancouvers in other places, to make FDU truly global rather than just international);
  4. A new capital campaign. FDU is heading toward its 75th anniversary in three years, and we want to raise $75 million, much of it to fund Strategic plan initiatives.

The campus strategic plans now need to support the new University Strategic plan. We need to address retention. Our graduation rates are pathetically low (our 6-year graduation rate is 51%). In the newest US News and World Report rankings (yesterday), we had slipped. We want to be in the top 50 institutions in the North. If we can get our 6-year graduation rate up to 62%, we will be a top 50 institution.

The Strategic Plan has to be fluid, but it hasn’t changed that much. Part of the reason for the full-time graduate increase was new international students; this year’s Metro campus graduate enrollment is a record (as is that of the Florham campus freshman class).

Sen. Harmon: Several colleagues say that because enrollments have grown so much, some of their classes are now twice as large. Capuano: Enrollment predictions are not an exact science. We had to add $800,000 to the Computer Science budget to deal with new students. The programs that have grown that much will have to cut down the number of offers we make, to get a smaller class, which means that we will be more selective.

Sen. Anastosopoulos: FRW had made an informal recommendation at the Board of Trustees meeting that faculty salaries (and raising our position within the peer group) become part of strategic planning. Capuano: the Board of Trustees hasn’t discussed that yet. Increases could be strategic. The way you close the gaps between our salaries and those of other universities is not through COLA, but through equalization. My focus is to put more money into equalization in the future.

Sen. Anastosopoulos: Do you anticipate that the Hospitality program will become an independent school within the University? Capuano: I would like to see a fourth or fifth college in the coming years. To have some semi-autonomous schools would help to elevate the University’s profile and help marketing and fund-raising. Most universities have free-standing schools; we’re the exception. They have to be linked to a college to satisfy personnel review requirements; but if things go well, we may see that happen. It is a strong possibility with the Hospitality School.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 4:09 pm.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

Allen Cohen

Acting Recording Secretary