Minutes for February 24, Metro Campus
Donations from senators in memory of Peggy Zenner (wife of Board of Trustees Chairman Pat Zenner) for the Myositis Association: there was participation from many senators including gifts of $100 from 3 senators. Gary Darden received a thank you from Pat Zenner articulating how moved he was.
Darden introduced new senators.
Spring elections: Riad Nasser will resign his At-Large position on Faculty Rights and Welfare at the end of AY 2015-2016. His replacement can come from either campus, any department, for a 3-year term. We will need to adjust the date of spring elections.
Sorin Tuluca: update on Provost/SVPAA search. The committee currently has a list of 8 candidates, with some ethnic and gender diversity; however, there is no Latino candidate. Everyone will ultimately have the opportunity of seeing several candidates on campus.
Karen Denning: update on Middle States site visit. Visitors will be arriving next week and coming to both NJ campuses; they have already been to Vancouver. Our objective is not to “squabble over issues we have in-house” but to satisfy the accreditors.
APRC. Scott Behson presents.
Behson: The APRC has approved a proposed Global Options Initiative.
Programs (e.g. study abroad, classes) have been approved at the programmatic level.
Individual instances will need to go through college EPCs.
The APRC will continue to review the program make sure that resources are provided to faculty and students.
At our March meeting, we will discuss the second year of Core and the work of the Gen Ed task force.
The APRC is revisiting IDEA. Most frequently cited concerns with IDEA: long, lots of work for students, information overload.
Most universities don’t evaluate every course every semester.
We may have the option of alternative IDEA surveys that are shorter and focus on particular things for particular types of classes.
We will seek feedback from Faculty Rights and Welfare and others. Tenure-track faculty will have to administer the full-length survey; tenured faculty might have shorter forms, and for a specific purpose. “We’re going to be much more intentional about the courses that we choose and more judicious about what we’re asking faculty, students, and review bodies to do.” Expect a new plan by fall.
Stacie Lents: What about the resolution of technical issues?
Behson: IDEA’s subcontractor has not been great; we’ll be stuck with some technical issues for the short term. The tech side is offering a one-size-fits-all solution rather than sensitivity to the needs of different clients at different universities.
Joel Harmon: Any update on admissions?
Behson: The APRC is trying to get proactive on a couple of issues; one is admissions. This has been on the agenda for a while. We want to get Traci Banks to an APRC meeting to start a dialogue.
Behson: The Office of Educational Technology, now Instructional Design, has been reorganized. Hired Instructional Designer. APRC welcomes this development; that office still “unbelievably under-resourced.” Online courses need to ensure compliance with copyright law, data security; some don’t even have syllabi.
Harmon: Not enough time is spent developing faculty in terms of how best to run courses online; this is an individualized and time-consuming process.
Behson: Similar size universities would have an instructional designer for each college. We strongly advocated for this at the Board of Trustees educational subcommittee last month, leading with liability issues for Board of Trustees, rather than issues of quality.
Riad Nasser: Please share your metholodology for evaluation of courses with Faculty Rights and Welfare.
Behson makes a motion on midterm progress reporting: That the APRC recommends that midterm progress reporting be done for all freshman students, and we call for a Yes/No vote coincidental with the Spring 2016 senate elections.
Harmon: New technology makes it possible to identify and isolate freshmen along with EOF or athletes.
Behson: Last year there were three options: special populations, all undergrads, etc. Now we want a yes/no vote for clarity.
Marek Slaby: Are we sure we can identify all freshmen? What about transfer students who show up as freshmen?
Harmon and Darden: That’s determined by the number of credits on a student’s record.
Behson: That’s a valid concern and I’ll investigate.
Miriam Singer: Transfer students may show up as freshmen until they have a semester of FDU credits. It’s a quirk. It wouldn’t be tragic for first-semester transfer students to get midterm grades.
Will the option remain to give midterm grades?
Behson: Yes, you’ll be able to do it for all your students.
Tony Adrignolo: That does open the door to the fact that on a roster on Webadvisor you have 10% freshmen, they get feedback, the other students don’t. Specialized treatment?
Miriam: Some midterm grades will be mandatory, some will be optional.
Adrignolo: I didn’t get an answer.
Behson and Darden: There is no answer.
Singer: It’s a potential.
Harmon: Part-time faculty are required to give midterm grades by contract.
Geoff Weinman: I urge strongly other faculty to do that as well, and they do it because they’re strong faculty, not weak faculty. They’re not obligated to do so but we have an excellent response rate.
Jim Hutton: Encourage, don’t require. It’s not appropriate for all situations. We may be teaching students bad habits, diminishing their emotional IQ.
Darden: Should we say all 1000 & 2000-level classes? The EC discussed this. Princeton and NYU require midterm grades for all freshmen and sophomores. Does this enhance retention? Yes, it does. In any case, I, as a faculty member, am going to pull low-performing students into my office and deal with them directly.
Nasser: Is there an infrastructure in place that intervenes and tries to help students, or are we doing midterm grades for the sake of doing them?
Darden: What mechanisms are in place for students who have red-flag midterm grades?
Patti Mills: The receipt of the grade is in itself an intervention. Ideally accompanied by an invitation from the professor to talk about it. Those are the strongest interventions.
Nasser: If students choose not to come to office hours, why is the burden placed on us as faculty, instead of having a supportive system at the university to send letters to the students, sit with them, etc. Don’t put the burden on faculty that it’s my job to reach out to the students.
Darden: I think Patti’s point is that the midterm grade, if it’s coming in at the D or F range—that in itself is a signal. If we get to the stage of a referendum, we’ll vote on freshmen. I’m opposed to creating a mandatory intervention structure for all students at all undergraduate levels.
Singer: We tell students that “now it’s up to you as an ‘adult’ to take the next step.” It’s not up to us to force them to go to interventions, except for special populations. Students are informed that they’re at risk.
Darden: The referendum as proposed doesn’t require you to do more than give the midterm grades.
Nasser: If the issue is retention, reporting in itself doesn’t do the magic we are hoping and dreaming to see. Some students are very happy with a C-.
Lents: If this passed, what would happen if people didn’t do it?
Lents: We have continuing technical issues with Webadvisor as well. Grades are submitted and don’t always go through.
Harmon [returning to why the APRC made this motion]: The feeling was that the last process was sufficiently messy that we want a single focused question to put the issue to bed.
Nasser: If we have midterm exams every semester before we report the midterm progress, why do we need to report midterm grades on Webadvisor?
Lents moves to call the question. Passes 17-1-2 (for-against-abstaining).
Vote on motion. Passes 19-3-1.
HANDBOOK COMMITTEE. Kathleen Haspel presents.
Haspel: This committee facilitates nominations and elections. We are discussing the feasibility of using SurveyMonkey for elections: to add it as an option, not to replace paper ballotting. Due to the webmail migration, we will run the spring election with paper ballots. That will give us time to investigate, verify that everyone has voted, ensure 1 person 1 vote, anonymity, etc. We addressed these issues in the late fall election. We want to make sure the Handbook and bylaws will be updated to reflect the possibility of electronic voting.
Mills: Faculty researchers tell me that they are very satisfied with the security and privacy of SurveyMonkey and that it’s acceptable to our institutional review board.
Harmon: We should be using the university’s system to administer the survey.
Rich LoPinto: Nominations will soon close: midnight tonight for replacement positions from Metro, midnight on Friday March 4 for positions from Florham.
Harmon: Wasn’t there some talk of extending the deadline because of the new opening (on FRW)?
LoPinto: Nomination and balloting are two different processes. All candidates will be on the spring ballot. This must be complete by April 15.
Haspel: There is a two-week window to get nominations in (by midnight Friday March 11) for FRW. This is an At-Large position, so the nominees can be from either campus.
Adrignolo: I find it completely unacceptable that the nominations don’t close at the same time on the different campuses.
Nasser: It’s a different time zone.
LoPinto: The proposal should be made, the faculty should vote on it, and we’ll put it in the bylaws.
Darden: Tony’s point is not a bad one; the Handbook Committee should investigate it.
PLANNING AND BUDGET COMMITTEE. Tony Adrignolo presents.
Adrignolo: We’re just starting on the 16-17 budget. Right now the requests for next year are 12 million plus more than we have. These are items that are contractual.
We cannot keep going to the faculty asking them to sacrifice and then at the end of it up pops this surplus. And expenses are going up, which is going to squeeze the faculty compensation. We have to be taken care of as a faculty first, before we put money into buildings. I serve on the Strategic Facilities Planning Committee: one of the items in there is a 50-60 million structure here in Teaneck. I do not want the budget being squeezed every year to produce these surpluses to pay debt service on the buildings.
Harmon: Is that your committee’s position or your position?
Adrignolo: all my committee’s reporting is that we’re twelve million upside-down.
Adrignolo: Money’s committed to faculty positions, we don’t fill them, that’s how we get a surplus.
Tuluca: We’ve increased our discount to such a level that it’s not sustainable anymore. In Madison it’s 60%, here it’s 53%; we’ve reached the limit of the discount, and there we’ve plateaued. Going forward, that’s what should scare us. If, God forbid, we go under, what happens to the pension fund and all our benefits? There’s probably going to be a little bit of surplus this year, but going forward what’s going to happen?
Nasser: Why should we believe you?
Adrignolo: Freshman enrollment: Madison did well, Teaneck is way down. What you’re dealing with is the base is shrinking. Teaneck has problems in recruiting. Graduate and professional schools are fine. Enrollment figures include 2,600 high school students. We’re dealing with a population of 7,000.
Hutton: I just want to say, Soren is right. One of the most beautiful campuses in the United States, and you’re offering a 60% discount rate. You cannot operate a university like a business, where tuition equals sales.
Singer: We haven’t gotten a raise in umpteen years, tuition is down, and the Board of Trustees has a bee in its bonnet, spending $231 million in renovations. Whre’s the money coming from?
Darden: It’s why we’re starting a $75 million campaign as we speak.
Singer: Out of our salaries?
Mary Farrell: We’re hoping to catch it earlier this year to make a case for a one-time payment to faculty.
Andy Rosman: We talk about a lot of reasons not to do things like midterm grade reports. If you look at different reasons for doing things like that, the point is retention. The better we are at retaining the students who are here, the better off we’ll be.
Adrignolo: Montclair has 5 new buildings, which [because it’s a state school] we’re all paying for; Rutgers is doing this; and we have to self-fund. We can’t go to the state, we have to raise it. All I’m saying is don’t squeeze the faculty, we have to fundraise.
Darden: Without the facilities, it’s undermining the recruitment and retention. We’re a poor comparison to other schools students might be looking at.
FACULTY RIGHTS AND WELFARE. Marek Slaby presents.
Darden: This committee has taken a bunch of votes that have been dealt with in the EC. The EC has decided to forward them to Chris Capuano. We want you to hear the decisions the committee has rendered.
Slaby: Our compensation recommendation for nexy AY, 2016-17 is as follows. This is a preliminary recommendation; the final recommendation will be in April. We asked for 2% COLA increase, even though the actual cost of living went up 1.1%. 2% is consistent with average faculty salary increases in recent years as reported in CUPA surveys.
[Documentation presented, showing a comparison to peers.] We’re still at the bottom of our new peer group, except for assistant professors. Provost Capuano made a remark that if you look at the total compensation we don’t look so bad. On charts not just for base salary but for total compensation, FDU full professors are near the bottom, associates maybe one or two from the bottom. We are asking once again for a $500K pool for equalization.
Rates for summer teaching: the rate doesn’t have to be the same for us as for adjuncts. We ask that this be increased to $1,000 per credit. Capuano doesn’t seem to want to increase to $1,000 right away.
Faculty manual review: Jason Scorza sent us this manual, which he’s in charge of reviewing. We do a new edition every two years. They came up with one addendum missing from previous eds. since 1993 (Appendix D: Faculty Credit Policy). If someone is under load, it carries over. Chris Capuano wants committee to review whole manual. Recommendation on faculty credit policy: if you don’t have a full load, they may ask you to teach on another campus. Recommendation: make it clear that this is only the New Jersey campuses, and expenses (mileage) should be covered. Manual includes links to policies; it’s becoming a huge document.
Harmon: In the spirit that we get to review important things that happen to faculty, do you want to talk about this new review system [Interfolio] and this new email system that’s screwing some of the faculty?
Slaby: We discussed Interfolio. We’re also discussing the legal status of the Faculty Manual, with John Codd.
Joel: Transition to Office 365 occurred with a process that did not include faculty at all. There are lots of implications in this process for your ability to work.
Adrignolo: A little bit of history that’s appropriate. Before the Faculty Handbook, you were hired under the Faculty Manual, and continued to be under the Faculty Manual from the year you applied. We also used to have annual contracts, specifying your condition, your rank… Then they stopped, when David Flory stopped being the person to generate them. Not since 2000. Look into reintroducing the contracts so everyone knows what they’re contractually required to do.
Slaby: We came up with a formula that we’ve forwarded to Chris Capuano. First thing: eligibility for equalization. In the past, this was 3 years of service. We’re recommending that the requirement be 3 years in tenure track (this makes 5 people ineligible). We have 253 TT faculty, including Vancouver. Last year the administration found separate money for Vancouver, this year they want to combine their 9 faculty with the rest. 206 are eligible for equalization according to the conditions defined. The number getting raises according to the formula: 111.
How it works:
- We define a target salary (peer average salary, rank-specific).
- We multiply those averages by nationwide CUPA factors (giving an adjusted discipline-specific average).
- All CUPA factors below 1 will be raised to 1.
- In past equalizations we calculated raises as a fixed percentage of the gap between the target salary and the current salary. Now we look at the ratio of current salary to target: those above a certain minimum salary to target ratio don’t get a raise. The ratio is set so that raises would total $500,000. It came out to 78%.
- Official FDU minimums are too low. We propose new minimums: $63K for assistant professors (vs. $61,420 now); $70K for associate professors (vs. $67,004 now); $89K for full professors (vs. $83,755 now).
- We take the greater of the new minimum or 78% of target salary, and subtract current salary to show the initial raise.
- There is a $7,000 individual cap.
Darden: Last year, the cap was $3,500.
Slaby: 111 faculty will get raises: 54 full professors, 43 associate, 14 assistant.
Kiron Sharma: Time in position was not considered?
Slaby: When the AAUP salary report comes out, I compare to make sure CUPA factors are reasonable.
Slaby: Average raises will be: $5.4K for professors, $4K for associate professors, $2.4K for assistant professors (for a total of $292K spent on professors, $175K on associates, $33K on assistants).
Lents: Do you have the average raises by discipline?
Slaby: We try to avoid making this a disciplinary fight.
Darden: CUPA to 1 addresses what would be your concern.
Hutton: Last fall we only had last year’s numbers. Business and engineering have the highest-paid people but also the most underpaid. The people most underpaid are the old professional field people and the younger non-professional people—relative to their market rate. The picture has changed recently: it’s no longer only the business people who are most underpaid. This will still leave 30 people $30-40K/year below their target. From the beginning everybody agreed to raise the cap from last year; you had to raise to $6K just to stay even; the $7K is an improvement compared to that. No one is going to defend this in total; it’s a mish-mash of methodologies; it’s good enough to forward to Chris. Chris and Shelly have authority over this; if you’re unhappy in the end you can carp at Chris.
Darden: Where things stood at the meeting today, we did not formally ratify FRW’s decision. Whatever we say here, Chris Capuano can accept, reject, or modify. Then he will have a dialogue with the EC. This is an FRW recommendation, often by 1- or 2-vote margins.
Trish Melloy: The committee was split and some of us did support a different version of equalization where you try to give something to all the faculty eligible for equalization. Right now, only 111 out of 206 will get any money at all. I wasn’t totally comfortable with that result. I just wanted to get that out there; of course the committee ultimately voted.
Nasser: I have three issues: The cost of living in New Jersey. Internal inequalities in faculty salaries. Inequalities with peer institutions. 45 faculty (15 of each rank) are paid the lowest salaries on campus. If bringing everyone to the same level, like 80% of their target salary, involves giving the $500,000 to 5 people, I’m happy with that. We want to bring everybody to the same level and eliminate internal inequalities. It’s not about 110 receiving or 250 receiving.
Sharma: I know your committee worked on equalization last year. Who couldn’t you use the same model as last year?
Slaby: The committee membership changed. The majority decision came about through a series of compromise votes.
Darden: On the EC, there were those who raised the issue that last year’s methodology was better.
Sharma: Were there holes in that model that you wanted to reject it?
Hutton: It’s not true that everyone was happy with last year’s model. Some people were very very unhappy.
Nasser: We’re teaching our students to criticize whatever worked in the past, and that’s what happened here with the new members.
Behson: In corporate America, when they’re doing equalization it’s for gender disparities.
Darden: In a corporate context, any executive or manager is determining compensation by fiat. We do not run on the corporate model. We can’t say we want a corporate model here.
Harmon: Corporations do extensive analysis. It’s appropriate that we review this anew every year.
Tuluca: We tried to equalize by gender in the past and we were sued by a male Becton faculty member we had to compensate.
Hutton: The beauty of equalization, if you do it right, is that it takes care of all forms of discrimination. This is the way staff did equalization: what’s your position, how many years have you been here. This is a simple and much better way to do equalization.
Darden: I’m trying to avoid seeming to play politics with equalization. We’ll know more by our April meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:01.
Minutes compiled by Matthieu Boyd. Attributed remarks are a close paraphrase of actual remarks, condensed and edited for clarity.