Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes 2014-11-19

SENATE MEETING 11/19/14

Rutherford Room, Ferguson Center, Florham Campus

Minutes

 

The meeting was called to order at 2:08 pm by President William Roberts.

 

The minutes of the October meeting and the agenda for this meeting were approved.

 

The Faculty Handbook Committee report was given by Senator Lo Pinto.

On recommendation of the Executive Committee at their previous meeting, the FHC took up two items. Both were considered by the FHC and a recommendation was made. At today’s meeting, however, the Executive Committee had decided that neither item should move forward.

 

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

Retiring Senate Presidents used to get a commemorative plaque. The last President to get one was Helen Brudner. I have been working with the Provost’s Office to get a purchase order for four plaques. Now I’ve asked for five to include current Pres. Roberts, which I assume will come in the near future. A cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will appear in our next paychecks. Enrollments at Florham are looking very good, at Teaneck not quite as good. Graduate programs are down, but they depend on a number of factors such as corporate backing and so on. There is no guarantee that tuition will continue to come in at the same amount. I was here when total enrollment was 20,000, but then there was no Ramapo College and no community colleges. There is a limit to how much tuition can go up. Higher education is undergoing a paradigm shift—Stockton is buying a casino in Atlantic City. Apparently they plan to use the hotel rooms for dormitory rooms.

 

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

1. The new IDEA evaluation system is rolling out. We are getting regular updates from Scott Behson. So far it seems to be going well. It is important to tell students how important it is to do it—for faculty development, course development feedback, and so forth. The old Endeavor questions are being added to IDEA, for those who need continuity during their status review process. It takes about twelve to fifteen minutes to complete a student evaluation. Sen. Bronson: It needs to be stated that faculty don’t see the results until the next semester, because students may be afraid that their teacher will see the results before the final grades are in. Sen. Singer: I’ve told my students that I have no access to their responses or way of knowing which ones have responded. Sen. Cohen: I’ve heard that the results will come back much sooner than Endeavor, maybe even before the end of semester; that the response rates for IDEA are about 67 percent, as opposed to 83 percent for Endeavor; and there are other concerns. Pharmacy Dean Avaltroni: Students need to know that their movements are not being recorded. Harmon: I’ve heard the results won’t come in until the next semester. It is very important to stress the confidentiality issue to students. Despite the online format, no instructor will know which specific students responded and what their responses were.

2. In the new Strategic Plan there is an initiative to establish consistency across colleges for General Education requirements. The Plan said there would be an intercollegiate task force to discuss this. APRC put this as a priority on our agenda. We’ve been getting documents about different Gen Ed requirements in different colleges. We found out via email a few days ago that Provost Capuano has started a task force with two to three members of APRC, each representing one of the three colleges with Gen Ed requirements, and the three Deans to be co-chairs. Silberman College is not mentioned because they follow the other colleges’ guidelines (Becton on the Florham campus, University College on the Metro campus). APRC and the Executive Committee are not comfortable that this task force is being driven by the Provost without official consultation with the Senate. We will invite the Provost to come to the Executive Committee to find a mutually satisfactory way to proceed. The task force can’t make decisions; according to the Handbook, the Senate has to decide. VP Darden: Becton doesn’t have separate B.A. and B.S. Gen Ed requirements, but University College does. This is a concern. There is also a concern in the Executive Committee about the process. Each College has a CEPC, and there is a feeling that the chair of each CEPC and the full APRC should be core members of this task force. There is also concern that this is supposed to be done by end of 2016. Sen. Kovacs: This initiative is not just about University and Becton Colleges. And this is not just campus-based, but across all campuses and the University. Darden: The emails say that this task force is directive, not suggestive.

3. The status of the midterm progress reports. In 2011 the Senate approved that all undergraduate students, not just freshmen and special populations, should get them. There were no clear guidelines or procedures about which courses should be exempted—internships, study abroad, special courses with shorter terms, and so on—or how the data was to be used. Subsequently the Senate passed an amendment, to the effect that faculty should be encouraged, but not required, to participate in midterm progress reports, until satisfactory procedural clarity was achieved. A joint task force was put together by the Provost and APRC to develop guidelines and criteria, and to assess the impact of the reports; it was expected that it would not take the time it has, which is more than three years. There is a report from that task force that addresses these issues, with some data on its implementation. A link will be sent to Senate so that all Senators can read this report. We encourage every Senator to read it; to decide if procedures and exemptions have been satisfactorily addressed; and to think about it. We should take a look at the past three years of evidence and decide whether expansion to all undergraduates was a good idea. We should discuss this at next meeting or early next semester.

Sen. Bronson: It is not relevant whether or not it’s effective. We’re an institution of learning; we owe it to our students to give them feedback. Our mission is to provide students with feedback. Sen. Singer: These are not grades, they are progress reports. Harmon: Let’s discuss this further after everyone has read the document.

 

The Faculty Rights and Welfare Committee report was given by Sen. Anastosopoulos.

FRW had a meeting two days ago on several issues.

The first is the issue of faculty participation in the Advisory Panel to the University President for cases of allegations of discrimination or harassment. Pres. Drucker asked the Senate President for the names of two faculty from each campus to participate in the panel. The Executive Committee discussed this, and decided that FRW should explore the faculty members’ responsibilities and implications. We asked Pres. Drucker whether we are to advise, to vote, or both, and what are the issues of liability? He replied by email: Decisions will be based on consensus. We asked Will the names of the participating faculty be known or confidential? He replied: The names will not be publicized but will be preserved for future consultations. On the question of liability, he said that the panel would act as agents of the University, so they will not be personally liable unless they act recklessly or in a malicious manner. FRW wants to be involved, but wants additional clarification; we wanted to be involved at earlier phases of such allegations rather than only in final stage. This request was not approved. Questions remain: Who will make the selection of the participating faculty from those who volunteer? Should all such faculty be tenured, or tenure-track, and so on? We decided to ask the Senate to discuss and vote on the selection process. Sen. Rosen: How does this committee stand in relation to the University Review Committee? In the past, decisions on punitive action came through URC. Is this new committee to initiate such an action? Sen. Anastosopoulos: We discussed this, and decided that harassment procedures should be incorporated into the Faculty Handbook, to resolve questions about overlapping tasks. FRW developed a sexual harassment policy about fifteen years ago. More recently, the state of New Jersey asked the University to provide a policy. Rosen: But we already have a policy. Why do we need a new process? As outlined in the Handbook, cases first went to the Grievance Committee as a recommending body, then went to the University Review Committee. Is this an end run around the Senate? Sen. Bronson: As I understand it, there are new federal requirements, and our requirements have to be consistent with federal and state law. The administration was told to come up with a University policy. The University wants to establish a new committee, representing not just faculty but the entire University. Sen. Harmon: It’s my understanding that this must be a stand-alone process for any corporate institution. But Sen. Rosen’s point is that this must be reconciled with the process in the Handbook in some way. Sen. Anastosopoulos: It’s a good point, and we will continue to keep you informed. We were told by the administration that they had to do this to satisfy the government.

FRW’s most important issue is currently salary equalization. This is a progress report. Keep in mind that previous equalizations took six or seven months. We hope to complete our process in a few weeks.

As a general principle, we have taken the previous (2008) equalization formula as a model. But we have made some changes, hopefully improvements. We are trying to be as inclusive as possible. We will apply this formula after 3.5% COLA, not before. We have agreed not to include lecturers, who should be addressed with additional funds; the $300K was for faculty as traditionally represented. The previous equalization had upper and lower limits; we decided that the lower limit of service should remain 3 years of service, since newer faculty salaries will be closer to market rates. We have not yet decided about an upper limit; the previous one was Professors who make more than $110,000 or Associates who make more than $105,000. We may use the older limits and simply add on the COLAS since then. We have voted to include years of service and years in rank, that seniority is important.

 

Sen. Bronson: Here is some background. I was on FRW for years, for the last three equalizations. I stepped away from the committee, but two years Sen. Anastosopoulos asked me to return. FRW is trying to consider the whole University, not just faculty salaries. In the past three components have been considered, all quantifiable and objective: time in service, time in rank, and academic discipline. In the 1980s and 1990s, there were no raises at all; the University was at the point of bankruptcy; Shelley Drucker and Ken Vehrkens helped keep the University afloat. In the last twelve years we have set salary minima. About eight years ago Pres. Adams and the FRW established a goal for faculty salaries of the 60th percentile of our peer group. (Here he handed out a 2006-07 document regarding equalization.) Last fall FRW met with Pres. Drucker and Provost Capuano. Pres. Drucker said that if they are to give us a raise, the Board of Trustees insists that merit be included as a factor. I said let’s start with a COLA, then we can talk about merit requirements in regard to additional money. In 2005 the administration gave the first raise in years. The stipulation was that this would only be given if discipline was included as a factor in determining the raise. FRW voted that discipline would not included, and refused to accept this. Finally we agreed that if the administration would pay COLA and postpone consideration of discipline for a year, FRW would accept it. CUPA was the only factor given, but anything less than 1 was raised to 1. Any arbitrary cutoff salary means some inequities for those just over the cutoff figure. Pres. Drucker and Provost Capuano are clever: They gave us $300,000 with no limits, but withheld an $100,000 to use merit as the primary factor. I hope to get the merit consideration postponed another year and get the whole $400,000 for equalization. FRW decided to come with targets for everyone, then will add factors for service and years in rank. It would take the University three million dollars to get all faculty up to the 60th percentile. So we’re looking at about 10% of the needed equalization for this year. There will be a cap on total equalization for any one professor.

Sen. Cohen: We should add that Joe Kiernan, when he was Interim University Provost, set the salary minima about four or five years ago. Bronson: That’s true. Cohen: We should add also that eight years ago, Assistant Professors were furthest behind their peers, but now Associates and full Professors are farther behind. The longer you serve, the farther you fall behind theoretical market rates.

Sen. Slaby: I did research on “value-based” equalization, based strictly on the peer group; students don’t care how long you’ve been in service. The majority of the committee disagreed with me, and wanted to factor in years of service. We are trying to match our peers of the same rank, but obviously if you’ve been in rank a shorter time, then your peer salary would be less. $300,000 would take us 12.15% of the way toward matching our peers, but without basis of years of service. VP Darden: Can we compare salaries of specific disciplines in peer institutions? Slaby: In some institutions they don’t publish, because they have too few people. If an average is missing, I can go to older salary information, or national information, or CUPA factor, and estimate up. Sen. Cohen: Will FRW do any mitigation of the CUPA factor, as was done last time? Slaby: We will put some limits above and below, cap targets and use a sliding scale. Bronson: Last time the CUPA factor was multiplied against everything (time in service and in rank), but not this time; it starts as a discipline-based target.

Sen. Adrignolo: With 250 tenured and tenure-track faculty, this equalization money comes to an average of $1200 per faculty member, which is not a lot of money. Merit is very different. We have to figure out how we’re going to handle that in the future.

Sen. Bronson: FRW voted on and accepted a target based on the discipline factor mentioned, then added factors of time in University and time in rank. We want feedback from Senate.

Sen. Anastosopoulos: We are trying to distribute as much money to as many people as possible. Provost Capuano wants a recommendation from FRW as soon as possible. Sen. Slaby: Some faculty are way above their target and will get zero. Currently the formula has three pieces; the first and biggest is the average salary of peers; the second is years in rank; the third is years in service.

 

Sen. Cohen: Last time, because living in northern New Jersey is so expensive, we were also trying to raise the lowest salaries; CUPA was mitigated by making 1 the lowest factor, raising those of us with the lowest CUPAs. Sen. Slaby: If you use a sliding scale, caps will only affect people making the most, not the people making the least. Sen. Anastosopoulos: If you have any comments, please send us individual emails. Sen. Ng: Can we vote after we see a model? Sen. Bronson: Can we proceed with this model, or do we need to go back to drawing board and change the direction? Sen. Kovacs: I like where you’re going. It’s important to get there earlier rather than later, because it affects the base. Pres. Roberts: The sense of the Senate is to bring this back at next meeting.

 

The meeting was adjourned at 4:03 pm.

 

 

Respectfully submitted,

Allen Cohen

Acting Recording Secretary