Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes 2015-03-25

SENATE MEETING 3/25/15

Rutherford Room, Recreation Center, Florham Campus

Minutes

 

The meeting was called to order at 2:14 pm by President William Roberts.

The minutes were approved as read.

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

The UPBC is currently going a through a list of desiderata from each office of the University, and deciding which items are truly contractual (such as utility fees and so on) and which are not. Faculty salaries are not contractual. In regard to our health care plan: Last year we got a rebate because our costs were down—we are self-funded, so the healthier we stay, the lower our costs. At this point, next year’s budget is only a forecast. The cost of living has been a smaller issue recently; we should focus on compensation equalization.

He added (as a member of the Facilities Master Plan Committee): We need facilities, but we should get outside funding to support them; we don’t need another round of bonds. We are rated better than at any time I can remember (BBB+), but every time you fund something, your rating goes down, and you owe the money. The Committee will probably push for one or two key projects.

The Handbook Committee report was given by Sen. LoPinto and Sen. Ng.

The nominations process for the next Senate is complete. The list of nominees is as follows.

For Vice-President: Scott Behson, Karen Denning

For APRC (Metro): Jaime Buenahora, Vicki Cohen, Miriam Singer, Zhenbin Sun, Hong Zhao

For Faculty Rights and Welfare Committee: Caroline Munoz, Neelu Sinha

For FRW at large: Jeff Hsu, Bill Roberts, Riad Nasser

For FRW one-semester replacement (spring 2016): Patricia Melloy, Sandeep Vansal

For Planning and Budget Committee (Metro): Mary Farrell

For PBC (Florham): Sorin Tuluca

For PBC at large one-year replacement: Bruce Peabody

For PBC one-semester replacement spring 2016: Matthieu Boyd

For Handbook Committee: Stacie Lents

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

First was an update on FRW’s proposal for compensation. This year FRW is asking for a 2% Cost of Living Adjustment; this year’s inflation rate was close to .5%, the 2% would cover that and also the gap left over from the absence of salary increases in the previous five or six years. In addition, FRW is asking for $400,000 in equalization. We would like to see standardization of salaries for overloads and adjunct classes; we had been promised a report from the University Provost on whether these salaries would be comparable to those of our peers.

Sen. A. Cohen: If we get equalization next year, would it be applied with the same formula as last year? Sen. Anastosopoulos: I think so, but if the Senate disagrees or the FRW Committee changes, we might vote again.

He added that he had a scheduled meeting with President Drucker on April 1st to discuss salaries and other issues, and there would be a meeting with Rose d’Ambrosio to discuss health care.

There is also the question of $100,000 set aside for performance-based salary increases. Provost Capuano will release guidelines within the next week. Capuano: These increases will be retroactive to November 16th 2014. Cohen: Once the guidelines are released, what happens then? Anastosopoulos: According to principles of joint governance, we will give a response and discuss the guidelines with Provost Capuano. Capuano: These guidelines are being developed by me with the Deans’ Council.

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

The Core curriculum has been revised from one Freshman Seminar plus four courses, to four University courses with the new prefix UNIV: two Freshman Seminars of one credit each, and two “Core” courses. A pilot of the second Freshman Seminar is going on now, and it will be reviewed at the end of the semester. We have an implementation guideline and timelines; the new curriculum will start with next year’s freshmen. In addition, the 128 credits needed for graduation in University College and Becton College have been reduced to 120.

In regard to the midterm progress reports, a referendum will be going to the full faculty within the next two weeks.

In regard to distance learning: A year ago APRC addressed the issue of examining distance learning classes, to see if they were on a par with traditional “brick-and-mortar” courses. They are supposed to go through an assessment procedure. So far, no new distance learning courses within the past year have been proposed for assessment, but we are dealing with how to examine all the previous distance-learning courses.

Sen. Harmon: In regard to the Core curriculum, a policy is in place, but it’s not being implemented. So we invited the Deans and Cathy Kelley to come to APRC, to find out why it’s not working. We are trying to get word out to everyone that every Core substitute has to go through APRC to be approved. Sen. Singer: The purpose of the second Freshman Seminar is to help retention, by getting students to look at career options for their majors.

Sen. Cohen: In regard to the “midterm progress reports,” whatever you call them here, students think they are grades. If you don’t want students to think of them as grades, you need to change the way they appear on WebAdvisor.

Singer: Saul Kleinman says they can only provide a link. Provost Capuano: I was under the impression that they are only numbers. Singer and Cohen: No, they are letter grades. Capuano: This is a problem; we will look into this.

Pres. Roberts: It is time to extend the debate about progress reports. We have had debates in the Senate, the Executive Committee, and throughout the University, as to which student groups should be included.

At this point he read aloud the proposed referendum, and there ensued a discussion of the language; some changes were proposed and made. See the Appendix for the final version.

Provost Capuano asked why option A did not cover some courses that run for less than a full semester. In the ensuing discussion there was a consensus among the APRC and other Senators that many courses are too short, or at unusual dates, to fit the paradigm, and that WebAdvisor was not set up to deal with those courses. Sen. Denning: In order to vote, we should see something about the exemption policies. Pres. Roberts: There was a consensus in the Executive Committee that, once we see results of the referendum, we will then decide on exemptions. Singer: We have posted online both a report that came out of the task force and a link to an exemption policy form, which we think should go out with the referendum. Capuano: B and C state exemptions, so maybe there should be a footnote about exemptions. Sen. Singer: That’s why I have the three links. Capuano: There should be a notation about them on the referendum. Harmon: If we insert the link, will that satisfy you?

Matthieu Boyd (chair of Becton CEPC): I thought I should tell you, because we thought you might do something about this, that we feel a one-size-fits-all policy is not appropriate for all courses. A motion has been made that to the extent there is a University-mandated progress report that is run through WebAdvisor, it would be good if there was a single consolidated form for all required reporting for special population students. If midterm progress reports were required across the board, we are worried that this would place more obligations on the faculty, and reduce the perception that students need to do something about their academic performance.

Sen. Adrignolo: I think we should specify what punishments there are for failures to comply with midterm progress reports.

Sen. Singer (replying to Boyd): The task force looked at special populations interventions, and what is required. Every special population is supposed to have an advisor, to advise students on what they need to do. It’s up to the student to do something about it, but in my opinion we do need to give them wake-up calls. It might be good to discuss why option B has been added. Capuano: I had suggested this a few weeks ago. I have looked at data from peer institutions, and they consistently they require something like this for all freshmen and sophomores. The focus is on retention. The better we know how students are doing before a course ends, the more likely we are to be able to help them and improve our graduation rates, and thus our institutional ranking—because the six-year graduation rate is one of the most important factors taken into consideration by US News and World Report in its rankings. This is one of several initiatives I think we need to engage in. Students are less likely to transfer out once they are juniors and seniors. Pres. Roberts: Because this is an involved issue, Provost Capuano met with VP Darden and me, and suggested the B option as a compromise. We brought it to the Executive Committee, and it was discussed and brought to APRC. Darden: There were two extreme positions on the issue (options A and B), which kept it in gridlock for four years. And to address the method question, we wanted a way to pick a winner even if there was no clear majority vote.

Sen. Cohen: I have upperclass students who take 1000 and 2000-level courses, and lowerclass students who take 3000-level courses. Instead of applying a rule according to course level, why can’t option B simply address freshmen and sophomores? Darden, Capuano, and Sen. Harmon all replied that this cannot be done using the WebAdvisor system. It has to be applied by classes, not by populations.

Sen. Sinha: I already spend much of my time advising students; I don’t know why we have to add more requirements. Singer: When we in the School of Education are advising students, we simply have them log into WebAdvisor and they have to show us their midterm grades.

Harmon: The referendum needs to go out in next few days, or it will be too late in the semester for a vote. If you can send a preface about how to advise special populations, we can include it. Sen. Anastosopoulos: Regardless of this discussion, the language in WebAdvisor has to be fixed. It’s embarrassing and disconcerting for faculty to have to tell the students that they disagree with WebAdvisor. Capuano: You’re right. It should be a cumulative numeric average based on what the student has turned in so far.

A motion to accept the language of the referendum was made and seconded. The question was moved and approved by a vote of 23 for, 1 against, and 2 abstaining.

The motion to approve the amended language was approved by a vote of 24 for, 1 against, and 1 abstaining.

Next came a special order of business, a short presentation by two representatives from the architectural firm Perkins Eastman, David Levo and Keith Binnie, on essentials of the Facilities Master Plan. A short question-and-answer session followed. At the conclusion the presenters asked for comments and feedback. The e-mail address for comments is: fmp-feedback@fdu.edu

At this point Sen. Adrignolo continued a process begun months ago, of presenting a plaque to previous Senate presidents to thank them for their service. The plaque was given to Paulette Laubsch.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 pm.

 

Respectfully submitted,

Allen Cohen

Acting Recording Secretary

 

APPENDIX: FACULTY REFERENDUM

 

PLEASE RANK ALL THREE OPTIONS BELOW FROM 1 TO 3, where 1 is your most preferred choice:

 (A) Be it resolved that Mid-Term Progress Reporting be required only for previously recognized special populations (e.g. EOF, EFE, FIS, student athletes) in all undergraduate-level, full-semester courses at FDU.

 (B) Be it resolved that Mid-Term Progress Reporting be required for all 1000 & 2000-level, full-semester courses plus special populations (e.g., EOF, FIS, EFE, FIS, Div 1 athletes) at FDU, with the exception of exempted programs and courses.1

 (C) Be it resolved that Mid-Term Progress Reporting be required for all undergraduate-level, full-semester courses at FDU, with the exception of exempted programs and courses.1

1The Implementation Guidelines concerning exemption policy from the Mid-Term Task Force Report can be accessed at http://www.fdu.edu/faculty/150311-mid-term-progress-reporting/guidelines.pdf ). For a full copy of the Task Force’s report see: http://www.fdu.edu/faculty/150311-mid-term-progress-reporting/task-force-report.pdf

Note:  The winning option will be determined using the Condorcet method. In case this method does not produce a winner, the Hare method will be used.