Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes 2015-04-22
SENATE MEETING 4/22/15
Rutherford Room, Student Union, Metro Campus
The meeting was called to order at 2:11 pm by President Roberts.
The minutes were approved as read, as was the agenda.
Pres. Roberts began by referring to one of the results of the recent election: the election for Vice-President had resulted in a tie between Scott Behson and Karen Denning.
Sen. LoPinto announced the other election results for the Handbook Committee.
To Academic Policies and Research Committee: Miriam Singer
To Faculty Rights and Welfare Committee: Caroline Munoz
To FRW (sabbatical replacement for spring 2016): Patricia Melloy
To FRW at large: Riad Nasser
To University Planning and Budget Committee: Mary Farrell
To UPBC: Sorin Tuluca
To UPBC at large: Bruce Peabody (one year sabbatical replacement)
To UPBC (sabbatical replacement for spring 2016): Matthieu Boyd
To Handbook Committee: Stacie Lents
The next announcement was in regard to the referendum on whether midterm progress reports should be required for: A) athletics and special populations only (as required by Federal mandates); B) all 1000 and 2000-level courses; or C) all undergraduate courses. Option A (A-B-C) won. There were 85 valid ballots, of which 39 voted for; there were 24 for the second choice C. Sen. Singer: What mandates those special populations? Provost Capuano: The athletes are mandated by the NCAA; it is not a law, but we have to comply in order to participate. The same is true for EOF. EFE and FIS are not regular admits, but we feel that they also need special consideration, and also the Regional Center students and the Compass program (students with Asperger’s). I will provide a complete list. Senator Adrignolo: This is a tricky problem; students not in those categories could sue the University for not being included. Capuano: We are not required to provide special provisions, unless a group mandates those provisions. Regular admitted students have no provisions required for them. Sen. Farrell: Students at risk are in special categories. Vice-President Darden: This discussion was motivated by concerns about retention. Senator Kovacs: We went originally with either all or none because we were getting many requests for progress reports and we tried to make it a simpler system; the programming people said that they could not do it. Senator Behson: We had a referendum and there was a decision; I don’t know why we are debating it. Capuano: I am surprised by the outcome. I thought that the Senate had reached a compromise. I was hoping to protect the freshmen, which is the most vulnerable group. We will never move the University to where we want it to be unless we increase retention. The Provost’s office will continue to recommend that all students be covered. Sen. Anastosopoulos: Most faculty were providing this anyway. The issue was not that faculty would not do it; the issue was the requirement. Tuluca: We don’t like to be imposed on. Let us do our job. We are going to do it; just don’t tell us that we have to do it.
Pres. Roberts: As I mentioned, the vote for Vice-President was a tie. We have three options on how to proceed.
1. We can draw from a hat. The idea of drawing for choice comes from the old structure; originally the candidate with the most votes for president choice became president, and the runner-up became vice-president.)
2. The Senate can vote on the two candidates.
3. We can take another vote of the entire faculty.
Sen. Denning: Sen. Behson and I have discussed this, and we would like to suggest that we be co-Vice-Presidents and then co-Presidents. Sen. Adrignolo: That violates the bylaws. Sen. Behson: Here is a second idea: let us set aside the requirement that the position of President has to alternate from one campus to the other each time. Roberts: that would take a change of the bylaws. Sen. Cohen: I think that the proper procedure is for another vote of the entire faulty. VP Darden: It’s late in the year, the faculty is split, so it is not inappropriate for this to be decided by a vote of the Senate. Sen. Adrignolo: It would not be a huge logistical problem to do another faculty vote, and it should be voted by the same body that voted on it originally. Sen. Adrignolo then made a motion to the same effect. Sen. Singer: The Vice-President vote totalled 126 votes out of 246 eligible faculty, so this is about 50% participation. Sen. Anastosopoulos: I agree that the full faculty should vote again. Sen. Adrignolo’s motion was seconded. The vote was 14 yes, 2 no, 3 abstaining. So the choice will go to the full faculty for a vote.
Senator Harmon: What about making this an electronic ballot via SurveyMonkey? Sen. Ng: SurveyMonkey cannot provide 100% anonymity. Singer: Not true; it only delivers a total vote. A discussion ensued about the viability of SurveyMonkey. Dean Avaltroni: SurveyMonkey works well, and every eligible email address gets a unique and anonymous link. Sen. Adrignolo: Maybe we should at least finish off this vote with the same modality we began with. Singer: I move to instruct the Handbook Committee that the runoff election be conducted electronically, for reasons of expedience and saving paper for Earth Day. Sen. Anastosopoulos: This should be a decision of the Handbook Committee. Roberts: Sen. Anastosopoulos is right. This is a recommendation to the HBC. Singer: Nothing in the Handbook requires paper ballots. Provost Capuano: Public Mind has run surveys using SurveyMonkey for two years, and they do this with students all the time; students are guaranteed anonymity. Sen. LoPinto: There’s nothing in the Handbook that says that the Handbook Committee has to make this decision. Pres. Roberts called for a vote on Sen. Singer’s motion. The vote was: 17 yes, 2 no, 1 abstention.
The Planning and Budget Committee report was given by Sen. Adrignolo.
UPBC has approved the July budget, with the understanding that there will be a minimum 1% COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) if the October budget permits. Bonds from 2004 have been refinanced, from a rate higher than 5% to a new rate of 2.5%. Our covenants require that the budget remain balanced. If things go better and we have more money in October, we can do more in the priority areas.
Sen. Kovacs: Can we get a budget document that shows totals of income and expenses for each college? Provost Capuano: In an aggregated format we might be able to do that. I’ll speak to Hania Ferrara. Sen. Adrignolo: You can also see the IRS 990s (after about a year and a half) online.
The Handbook Committee report had already been given in the voting results.
The Faculty Rights and Welfare Committee report was given by Sen. Anastosopoulos, on the following matters.
1. FRW representatives (Sen. Anastosopoulos, Sen. Slaby, Sen. Bronson) met with President Drucker and Provost Capuano to discuss compensation for next year; the Senate has already seen the proposal for COLA, equalization, and adjunct pay. The Committee has been asking about undertaking a study on how other universities handle adjunct pay. Pres. Drucker was noncommittal; if there is money in the October budget, he will try to accommodate our proposal, which he called modest. We asked him if he could prioritize our recommendations. He said that equalization is first, then COLA. Capuano: Now that we have a real peer group, we now have a minimum of $2500 adjunct pay for three credits. The average minimum at most peer institutions was $2500. We’re already there; ideally we want to go higher.
2. The question of adequate parking, in lots such as the one next to Dickinson Hall on the Metro Campus. Most of the spaces are designated for individual administrators, and half of these are usually empty. We suggested that these spaces be shared. So far the President is not willing to share these spaces.
3. We had a meeting with Rose d’Ambrosio about health care costs. The University expects an 8.1% increase in premiums, with no change in the plan. There is great concern about heavy penalties the government plans to impose on any institution having a “Cadillac plan” in 2017. Rose expects the threshold for the “Cadillac plan” to remain the same in the next two years, and wants gradually to reduce the quality of our health care plan. Sen. Slaby: This estimate of premium increase was based on February claims. Sen. Anastosopoulos: Yes, the March claims were higher, but we don’t yet know whether this will affect the rise in costs.
4. We have a subcommittee looking at the IDEA results for this semester. We hope within a month to let you know how IDEA evaluations will be evaluated by CPRCs. Sen. Behson: We have new and different information that appears on these reports. Academic bodies have free rein to look at these reports, but there has been discussion about which results are most relevant to the review process. We want to be sure that this is a faculty-led process.
5. The issue of 12/13 credit loads (relating to classes with laboratory sections). So far it has been very difficult to obtain information from other Universities as to how they handle laboratory classes.
6. Two or three years ago we had a discussion of how to replace short-term absences from Senate position. We believe that the best way is to have elections. But sometimes the time is too short (for one-semester replacements and so on). The Bylaws say that the Executive Committee may appoint replacements. We believe that the other members of the relevant Senate committee should also take part in the discussions, along with the Executive Committee.
7. Provost Capuano handed us the guidelines for performance-based salary increases. We had lengthy discussions about these guidelines, and we have come up with some recommendations. I have sent them in a letter to the Provost. We think that faculty must be included in any discussion of guidelines. The applications for these increases are to go from department to Dean to Provost. It is a mysterious process; we would like to have some degree of transparency. We will send details to the full Senate.
Sen. LoPinto: Merit is based on teaching, research, and service. The faculty has expertise on teaching and research, so faculty should be consulted. Sen. Behson: In human resource management classes, I teach about when merit-based pay is appropriate and when it is not. It is not appropriate here: it is difficult to apply objective standards; there is no clear correlation between the criteria and the financial objectives of the organization; and there are other reasons as well. Cohen: What is the timetable for these increases? By end of this academic year? Sen. Anastosopoulos: Provost Capuano asked for us to give him a reply by April 15. We did our best; we provided a preliminary recommendation to him, and recommended that the process be postponed till the fall.
Sen. Singer: Awards are given to distinguished faculty for each category. I think merit pay will cause divisions among faculty, and some faculty voting on others may have their own biases (the relative merits of research as compared to teaching, and so on). Sen. Adrignolo: In 1971 I chaired Industrial Engineering. The Dean came and gave me a pot of money I was to decide how to distribute. It’s a beautiful concept, but there are many problems in how to implement it. Sen. Slaby: There are many problems in how to do it. The majority of FRW agree that it needs longer discussion; the $100,000 for this year should be put back into equalization for this year. Sen. LoPinto: Any FRW recommendations need to pass thru Senate first. Sen. Denning: I was at another university when there was some merit pay available; the faculty voted to rotate it from one faculty member to another, from year to year. Sen. Harmon: FRW does not speak for the faculty; they advise the Executive Committee and Senate. I’m pretty sure that so far there have been no experts involved in this process.
Sen. Sinha: I have asked this before. What about FRW addressing the issue of SAT for BYOD (security awareness training for faculty using mobile devices)? There was no direct answer.
The Academic Policy and Research Committee report was given by Sen. Harmon. [see email and hard copy]
1. IDEA implementation. The APRC determined at its March meeting that the Faculty Rights and Welfare (FRW) Committee should work with the IDEA Task Force on developing and approving recommended guidelines on how various personnel review committees should use IDEA information as part of the faculty review process, and what information faculty should provide to reviewing bodies. At its April meeting, the APRC determined that this task is best left in the jurisdiction of the FRW, and leaves it to them to work with the IDEA Task Force however they see fit (for example, creating a sub-group, or any variety of working structures). The APRC simply would like to be kept in the loop, but the decision-making is in the hands of the FRW. It was also noted that guidelines need to be in place in time for the next cycle of faculty review in the Fall. Given the materials already shared with FRW (which include those from IDEA and those developed by Task Force members), this task should not be particularly onerous. We are far from having worked out how that information should be used.
2. The General Education task force is now in place.
Becton College: Gary Darden (ad hoc), Gloria Pastorino (Humanities), James Salierno (Mathematics and Sciences), Lona Whitmarsh (Social and Behavioral Science)
University College: Janet Boyd (School of Humanities), Ron Dumont (School of Psychology), Mark Farag (School of Engineering and Computer Sciences), Miriam Singer (School of Education)
Petrocelli College: Tony Adrignolo (Engineering), William Roberts (Public Administration Institute)
Silberman College of Business: Caroline Munoz (Dept. of Marketing & Entrepreneurial Sciences), Bog Wang (Dept. of Information Systems and Decision Sciences)
With the composition of the task force in place, the APRC held a short discussion on broad issues and considerations we wanted to emphasize as it begins its work. Suggestions included:
•Coordinating with Middle-States working group, which is close to completing its work.
•Understanding that about half of FDU graduates don’t enroll at FDU as first time freshmen. We have many transfer and non-traditional students, and checksheets need to better reflect this reality. We need to think beyond a “traditional” undergraduate student body.
•Considering instances in which equivalent courses on our two campuses have different credits (3 vs. 4), and inconsistencies between lower-level and upper-level requirements, as well as which content areas fall into which category of distribution requirements.
•Addressing financial literacy among all students, as well as other transferable life and career skills.
•Recognizing and being smart about the differences in philosophy between programs and colleges, the variations in accreditation issues across colleges, and the differences between a BA and a BS.
3. In spring 2014, the APRC approved a procedure by which faculty developing on-line and distance learning courses would work with Educational Technology and others to ensure that on-line courses met criteria for quality in both content and delivery. Since that time, only a handful of courses have gone through this process. The committee focused on assessing policy implementation issues and the role the APRC can play in improving the situation. The discussion wound up encompassing larger University issues concerning implementation at the college level, the lack of university personnel and technology resources, and the lack of a strategic plan regarding the expansion and delivery of on-line learning.
In short, FDU is not in a good position, is behind most other universities, and is resource-poor when it comes to on-line education. Assuring the quality of FDU’s expansion of on-line education is a critical, resource-intensive process, more about faculty development than course development. The extent to which leadership understands the strategic implications of these programs is unclear.
The APRC views this issue as one of its priorities. It and the Faculty Senate can and must play a key role going forward. As faculty, we play a vital role in assuring quality academic programming at FDU, including on-line offerings, and need to advocate with FDU leadership for a clear strategy and needed resources and support.
Sen. Sinha: Since there are all sorts of open-source apps we can use for online teaching, why are we paying Blackboard so much money to use their system? Sen. Behson: We are considering all of these issues. Harmon: Educational Technology has lost two people, and are still consumed by the Middle States accreditation process. One of the Deans pointed out that if we can develop faculty who learn how to create these courses, we can use them as resources to diffuse this knowledge among other faculty. Provost Capuano: The reason why we developed the policy was to look at existing online and hybrid courses. We have much to do to go forward into online education. It’s not just about designing courses; it’s also about developing faculty who can design the courses. Harmon: My impression was that it was focusing on new courses. Sen. Singer: It was focusing first on new courses, then on existing courses. People aren’t getting their syllabi ready to present to us, so we can’t evaluate them. Harmon: We need to start having strategic conversations on this in each college.
4. We are still waiting to hear from the CORE committee.
Provost Capuano made his report.
1. The July budget for FY 2016. UPBC recommended that the first priority in the October budget would be an across-the-board salary increase for faculty and staff to be not less than 1%. It all depends on how we do in the fall. Virtually everyone got a salary increase and equalization this year, including non-tenure-track faculty, which I made arrangements to include. Our new peer group includes the right criteria for comparison, even though our salaries are now even farther behind faculty at these institutions.
2. Enrollments. We just completed Admitted Student days, which went extremely well on both campuses. (We were lucky to have good weather on both Sundays.) May 1st is the date by which students are supposed to deposit or risk losing their slots; we haven’t done forfeited any deposits, but we may start soon, especially at Florham. Deposits are on track at Metro and up 10% at Florham. Transfers also seem to be going well. We won’t know about graduate students until the summer.
3. IDEA. I know we want to take our time on this, and I agree, but we need some closure on this, because faculty status reviews depend on teaching evaluations—previously from Endeavor, and now we have to find a replacement from IDEA. This is not an issue for probationary faculty, because for the time being Endeavor questions are included. We have some new criteria that might be included. We need to develop benchmarks in each department, school, and college.
4. The Gen Ed task force. We hope to have our first meeting before Commencement, so that I can charge them and give them my ideas and a timeline.
5. Guidelines for performance-based increases. I encourage the Senate to read them and respond accordingly. I am open to recommendations. I am familiar with the body of literature that Sen. Behson referred to, although I don’t agree that this can’t be implemented. I agree that faculty should be involved. I had committed that when we implemented these increases, it would be retroactive to November 2014. That can become problematic next year, but I will discuss this with Hania Ferrara. As mentioned, faculty must apply for an increase. I haven’t yet seen FRW’s email, but I will certainly respond.
6. Faculty buyouts will be offered again this year. We offered them in the previous two years. Primary criterion on eligibility is about 30 years of service to the University. Once you’re offered a buyout, if you don’t accept, there is a five-year wait period. You may get another offer in less than five years, but it will be for less.
7. Concerning CORE and reducing undergraduate programs to 120 credits. APRC should look at this, but they need to do it quickly. We need to establish policies on this. For the students who have just finished their first year, my sense is that if they want to use substitute courses (and not necessarily from the approved list), we allow them. New students next year should all be at 120 credits; continuing students should be continued on the old credit system. Deans are already being asked about the continuing student question, so we should deal with this as soon as possible. I would like to establish a policy. Sen. Harmon: APRC will be meeting in two weeks.
Sen. Anastosopoulos: I forgot one other FRW item: FDU’s anti-discrimination policy. We expect a new policy that will address our committee’s concerns.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:05.