Minutes for April 27, Metro Campus

Meeting begins 2:15


Minutes from March 30 were approved on the assurance that requested corrections will be made.

Motion by Lents to change the format of minutes: instead of transcript-like minutes naming speakers, include only votes and action items and anonymously summarize the points made in discussion. The motion was initially seconded but no vote was taken. Avaltroni confirms that according to Robert’s Rules, minutes should specify names of speakers. Harmon adds that the Faculty Handbook guarantees no retaliation for comments made at Senate meetings.

The format of past minutes from this semester is based on minutes taken in the past by Cohen. The Senate is invited to consider the below alternatives – Transcript-Style Minutes, followed by Summary-Style Minutes – and say which they prefer.



Provost Search Committee

Darden: [Recognizes Robert Houle and Sorin Tuluca for their service on the Provost Search Committee.] Any of the four candidates could do the job. This was a very positive search, the search firm was effective, etc.

Houle: I think we can officially say that Martha Potvin withdrew her name from consideration. I also think I can say that the search committee in general expected that a decision would be made by now. We haven’t been told anything about the process in general at this point. I think I can say that the search committee was happy with all four candidates, thought they were strong candidates. Personally, I would be disappointed if for whatever reason we didn’t come out of this process with one of the four.

Tuluca: That’s about right, but I think Chris sent an unofficial message to Parviz [Ansari] that he was not our first choice.

Darden: We had an hour with the EC to interview the candidates. The EC discussed pros and cons. Sorin recused himself because his voice was reflected on the search committee. I sent an email to CC last weekend to say the faculty thought this was a positive search. He replied that there should be a decision by the end of the week. I think we have two candidates we should both be happy to see on July 1. [The decision was announced on May 3: Gillian Small will be the new provost.]


Faculty Handbook Committee

Haspel: The elections are underway by paper ballot. This process has proven to me that an electronic system would be more efficient. Due by Friday (Florham) or Monday (Metro). Rich LoPinto and Kathleen Haspel will be counting the ballots Tuesday and should have the results by Wednesday. Setting up the ballots and having the ballots and labels printed was a matter of 12 days, which is ridiculous. For next year, I will be campaigning to move to electronic ballotting because it will make the process so much more expedient.

Darden: Hear, hear.

Haspel: Make sure you check your mail, and that you send your ballots to the campus provost’s office.

Darden: If you didn’t get a ballot at home, contact your campus provost’s office and email Karen Denning and myself.

Haspel: Those of you who represent disciplines, departments, etc., go back and remind your colleagues about the election.

Darden: Kathleen’s done a great job.

Haspel: I’ve identified priorities: online process, and synchronizing the look of the ballot and the election periods across campuses.

Singer: I have a complaint: the ballots were sent out, and somebody then announced their candidacy.

Haspel: There could be a write-in, but no names were added to the ballot.

Singer: Would you be kind enough to see what percentage of faculty on each campus voted? With the UC committees in the fall we had over 71% returned. I’d be interested to see how much faster they come in and how many more.

Darden: That should be easy to do. We have between 245 and 150 TT faculty.

Adrignolo: It might be 251 now.

LoPinto: This would be easy to do.

Haspel: We will send that information out at the time we publish the election results.

Haspel: We need to have representatives of each college on the Handbook Committee counting the ballots. E.g. a Silberman respresentative for Florham.

LoPinto: We’ll request that, but there’s no requirement. We’ll do the best we can.

Haspel: I am formally making the request of the Faculty Handbook Committee. If necessary I will send out a message to the Senate as a whole requesting help to count ballots on Tuesday evening.


Proposed Gen Ed for the BA degree across the university

Darden: There were 12 faculty members on the Gen Ed task force, plus the four New Jersey deans serving ex officio without voting rights.

Behson: We will have some leaders of the Gen Ed task force present aspects of the proposal. Then discussion to handle any last minute issues, to prepare for a vote at our May 11 meeting.

The task force has worked for over a year, brought a proposal to the APRC last month, which was unanimously approved by the APRC, and overwhelmingly (supermajority) approved by the task force itself. The question of a second required math was a split vote of the task force and was resolved 8-1 by the APRC. In discussion with the EC we determined not to bring it for an up-down vote today, but for discussion.

Harmon: All along, the committee has been working with their constituencies in their colleges and getting feedback, and the deans have been getting feedback from the administration.

Behson: We should enter into this discussion with respect for the enormous work done by the Gen Ed task force. We hoped that people would take the initiative to involve themselves early instead of bringing up a thousand issues at a late stage. Ask for clarification instead of yelling about anything in the proposal.

Harmon: The proposal includes examples of courses, but the official list of specific courses that qualify for each category will be vetted by the CEPCs of each college.

Singer: In conjunction with the respective departments.

Mills: Could I suggest one change? On the very last page – not the grid, the explanation document – item 10, Speech/Professional Communication: the paragraph below it: “some differences still exist” between the two campuses. It says “for instance, Becton College has,” etc. I would suggest that that parenthetical be stricken. We have theater and creative writing classes on this campus [Metro], even though we don’t have a major.

Darden: The core of our discussion is this template [not the explanatory verbiage]: it’s what the students will see in Admissions and Advising. Peter Woolley pointed out that it should say Metro and Florham – the two campuses – not UC and Becton.

Singer: You have a Bachelor of Individualized Studies here too.

Kovacs: Can we stop saying “two campuses”? Because we have a whole bunch of students in Vancouver.

Singer: The whole idea is to bring the campuses together, so we should say: FDU.

Darden: This campus (Metro) has a pronounced STEM presence; my campus has an arts and sciences presence. We want to respect the strengths of each campus. So, yeah, we’re one university, but we’re still two campuses and the students still see it as such.

Harmon: There was a recognition that ethics had been dropped on one campus, and oral communication on another campus, and finally the committees were looking for ways to restrict the number of credits that students had to take for Gen Ed. There was an expectation that many students would be able to satisfy Gen Ed with courses for their major.

Haspel: I want to follow up on Dean Mills’s comment on the final paragraph. I question whether we even need it.

Pastorino: This document was the result of what we were talking about on the Gen Ed task force, amplified for the benefit of the APRC. This document is not a pre-nup. We can still tweak it.

Haspel: If the purpose of this paragraph is primarily what’s stated in the last sentence, to allow students some flexibility so that they have less difficulty transferring credits, make a statement like that and put it up front.

Pastorino: Most categories are exactly the same on both campuses. There are three where the number of credits varies, or the naming of the categories. That’s what I was referring to when I said there were still some differences, but the flexibility is there.

Haspel: I think it’s a valid statement to make as an objective.

Singer: If we put the last sentence “The proposed Gen Ed grid allows for flexibility…” up front.

Pastorino: OK, I’m taking notes.

Denning: I’m asking for clarification: when I’m looking at the grid on the back of page 1, I see quantitative analysis, and on the last page of the document I see the university learning goals, one of which is technology literacy. It seems like a student could march through the Gen Ed curriculum and not take a computer science course. Is that true?

Pastorino: Yes. It’s always been true.

Lents: The only category that’s not elucidated right now is the Speech/Professional Communication, and maybe because that’s because there was no one from my department on the committee…

Pastorino: There’s Communication.

Lents: Yes, but can we give examples of those courses?

Haspel: [Lists specific courses offered in Communication.]

Lents: Since we’re redoing the Gen Ed, we should review which courses would satisfy this requirement.

Haspel: I agree with that, that we should send a list of suggestions.

Lents: One of the problems that happened when Oral Communication was removed from the Gen Ed in Becton, individual departments did things to meet that University learning outcome, and we should review what they did.

Adrignolo: Computer literacy. I can’t imagine any student graduating from any university without a course in computer literacy. Computer literacy should be required of every student who graduates from university. Give it some thought.

Sharma: How are we going to show that the students are getting all of these skills? Do we have an assessment plan that goes with this? Because we will have to prove that the students are learning.

Kovacs: There really has to be a way to assess the student learning outcomes on these dimensions, including the new Core, so that we can provide evidence for student learning. I asked people to look at what Middle States said to us, the assessment plan needs to be intimately built in to the programs of Gen Ed, because it’s missing. Cathy Kelley has not been in the loop on this.

Behson: In our conversation in the APRC, we said that this task force was made to initiate the new program. We want this task force or another task force to continue work on the program.

Darden: We looked at all the regional community colleges to see what students would want to transfer in; we looked at our peer group of colleges. We clocked over 20 hours of face-to-face time discussing this issue.

Kovacs: We need to make sure this is built in and built in fast, because we had trouble with this area when the visiting team came from Middle States.

Singer: We were handed a mandate and some parameters of the total number of credits we were permitted to include, which had to include the Core. It could not be more than 50% of the total 120 credits for the degree. We asked what every FDU student should be able to do when they graduate.

Denning: What I’m hearing as the charge to this committee was the same as the charge to the provost’s committee on the University learning outcomes six years ago.

Singer: Not all the university learning goals can be handled by the Gen Ed curriculum.

Darden: If we found ourselves in a logjam, we went to best practices: what are our peer institutions doing?

Mills: If you think back to the discussion on the revision of Core, the Core is supposed to be one of the chief locations for the assessment of global understanding, cultural understanding.

[Multiple responses to the effect that the university learning outcomes apply to the whole undergraduate experience, and students often finish their Core requirement halfway through, thus Core is not a sufficient locus for assessment.]

Avaltroni: There could be hundreds of students that potentially miss the technological literacy box. Presumably nothing in the major would cover that. The regional accrediting bodies are going to want to see students’ curricula mapped to university learning outcomes. Students will be saying “we got eight of the nine.” That to me is the only area where people would have an empty box on the grid.

Darden: Regarding the second math (quantitative analysis) class: we discussed whether that should be a computer science/technology class. There wasn’t a majority vote to support that.

Pastorino: Looking at the peer institutions, and what Middle States requires us to do—

Kovacs: Middle States doesn’t tell us what to do, they just make sure we’re serving the learning outcomes that we defined.

Harmon: The approval language of the APRC tasked the VPAA with assessment issues. We suggested in our language of approval that it would be wise to form a follow-up implementation task force. – When we decided to map the major learning outcomes to the Core, I’m not sure how that’s going to work when most students finish the course in their sophomore year.

Singer: But they won’t.

Sharma: The 2000-level Core courses are designed to be taken in the sophomore year.

Harmon: We’ll be assessing based on Core in the sophomore year, and student progress toward university outcomes may not be complete at that point.

Slaby: How would interdisciplinary courses fit into this? I can imagine a math class for social and behavioral sciences students…

Pastorino: It couldn’t be counted twice for Gen Ed, but it could count for Gen Ed and a major/minor.

Darden: An example would be John Schiemann’s intensely quantitative ‘Game Theory’ class, approved by the math faculty, would qualify for the Political Science major and for Gen Ed quantitative analysis.

Melloy: We [the Science faculty at Becton] looked at that course too, and signed off.

Tan: I’m looking at the second course for quantitative reasoning: “philosophy” should be “logic.” At Florham they don’t have much technology, here we have lots of technology: engineering technology, information technology. You have to list a series of disciplines. The CEPC should decide.

Darden: I would suggest that if you and Kiron could come up with language that sounds good to you in that regard, send it to Gloria and Scott and we will include it for the vote in May.

Tan: Page 7. Statistics offered by departments other then math. It should say: “Statistics offered by math and other departments.”

Pastorino: Math is already there.

Darden: Write it how you would like it and send it to Gloria.

Tan: I understand that different departments might have quantitative and statistics courses, but I want to point out the danger of other departments stepping on the toes of the departments that are specialized in the subject matter. If I, as an engineering professor, decided to offer history of science and technology, to count for the humanities requirement, I think that would be too much.

Sharma: And I think it’s only happening in this category.

Darden: It could also happen with ethics – like bioethics, scientific ethics – and global and comparative. Anyway, we acknowledge that student skills can be served by courses in different departments. Our Math department reviewed John Scheimann’s ‘Game Theory’ course in my department. We defer to the CEPCs to determine what fits.

Farag: I urge the APRC to consider, in all areas where courses are not yet specified, to think about a level that is appropriate for college students to come out with in any of those areas. We could have required less math if we were requiring real college-level math courses. Some of our math courses are really high-school level. Perhaps you could even have a statement specifying the level of courses, as it does for languages.

Melloy: The three that came up are pre-calculus, math methods, or contemporary math: those are considered remedial.

Singer: We have a limited number of faculty and a tremendous number of adjuncts. You will not get your very best mathematicians teaching the intro classes. The same thing goes for other departments. The intro classes are taught by good people but perhaps not outstanding people. They are getting essentially the same material that they should have mastered by eleventh grade to get out of high school. Let’s face it: are they going to come out with more than they went in with?

Pastorino: The level of our intro math is the same as the level at 12 of our 15 peer institutions.

Harmon: Remedial writing courses count towards graduation.

Pastorino and Singer: That’s true of remedial math.

Pastorino: The 1100-level of writing was designed to combine two remedial courses and is thorough enough that it should carry credit.

Kovacs: For adult returning students, the foreign language requirement could be a serious impediment for them to select Fairleigh Dickinson. Have you looked at adult programs and the learning outcomes associated with them? [This was taken as a rhetorical question.]

Darden: To clarify, this proposal is for the Bachelor of Arts only. The Gen Ed task force is starting on the Bachelor of Science. This has nothing to do with the Bachelor of Science.

Farag: I’d like to add my voice to those who say that we should consider technology as a separate requirement. If we have to consider Core again, maybe we have to consider Core again. It might not be in the purview of the task force. The task force voted on whether we agreed with the current Core requirement and it was voted down. – There was a proposal to have American Sign Language count as a language. What happened?

Pastorino: We tabled that.

Tan: I really believe undergraduates should take two math courses and technology should be a separate thing. Core overlaps with Arts and Culture and Global and Comparative Studies. Those kinds of courses could be reduced by three credits to make room for a new technology course. Imagine, we’re graduating students from the BA program with only one math course: they can hardly do anything!

Darden: This was discussed at length. None of our peer institutions are requiring two distinct math courses and an additional technology.

Tan: I don’t believe that if we require two math courses that students will not come. Perhaps you could reconsider.

Pastorino: The level of Gen Ed courses is low by design, it’s like “welcome to the discipline.” Only Widener University requires two maths.

Sacks: As one of those active in recruitment, two maths and a technology would hurt us.

Hutton: Why was ASL nixed?

Singer and Pastorino: It wasn’t nixed, it was tabled.

Denning: If there could be a sentence or two in here about how you imagine ESL students fitting in? I have graduating finance students who fail exams because they can’t read the questions.

Darden: Re: math and technology, I have to step back from my own discipline and look at the bigger picture, one shared by multiple disciplines. Of course I would love to see a required history but it shares the Humanities category with literature and philosophy –– each of them focused on more advanced reading and writing skills.

Lents: That’s true not just at peer but at aspirational universities (in response to Tan).

Behson: We are not reopening fundamental questions, but we will bring a revised document to you soon to vote on.

Harmon: If any constituency here were to desgin the Gen Ed they thought we should have and try to sell it to the majority, we would be starting from scratch over and over again.

Singer: You have to look at the thing as a gestalt and choose the best of all possible options.

Behson: The APRC approved the syllabus templates for the UNIV 2001 and 2002, the second-year courses in the Core. They will be rolled out next year.


Faculty Rights and Welfare

Slaby: Seven items. I’ll go quickly. First, in February we learned that there would be a $9 million surplus for this academic year. We sent Pres. Drucker a final request, suggesting that if we had a surplus, perhaps the faculty could get a bonus. Response: no bonus [because equalization was given in the same year].

We drafted a proposal to reward faculty for independent study, which is not compensated unless it’s more than 6 credits. [This was discussed in more detail at the March meeting.] Hopefully the proposal will be finalized by next meeting. We suggest the pool of money set aside for merit pay could be used for this.

Equalization is done, some of us should get some increases. Some corrections were proposed to the CIP codes, discipline codes. Hopefully if there is a future equalization there can be a formal review of this aspect.

The WISP – Written Information Security Policy – that came out in January and was formulated to protect data. The penalties it prescribed did not mention the Faculty Handbook. Jim mentioned this to Neil Sturm and he said he made the change to the policy. Jim proposed that we have faculty representatives who will participate when decisions like this are taken. It would be a good idea to have one on each campus. We need one for Metro—not necessarily a computer expert, but someone who will advocate for the faculty.

Behson: Re: IDEA, there is a working group that includes members of FRW, APRC, and Michael Avaltroni, to determine how we’re going to deploy course evaluations going forward.

Slaby: There is a policy on prohibited discrimination, harassment, and other misconduct. It became effective July 1. There was training provided. FRW never reviewed this document, that was written based on new law. We’re still looking at it. Maybe by next meeting we’ll have suggestions about how faculty should be participating in the response team, which currently doesn’t mention faculty representation.

Interfolio “By Committee” system pilot. After next year we’ll make a decision to go on with it or not. Those hired in 2015 or later will be in the pilot. Other faculty will be grandfathered in. Chris Capuano objects to grandfathering: he wants all faculty to do this, or not.

Darden: If you’ve been here for several years, you or your admin should not have to scan a phone book. Incoming faculty are a different matter.

Pastorino: On independent studies. One reason they’re grossly underpaid is because students were supposed to work independently and meet with faculty once or twice a semester. Now these are like real classes.

Slaby: It’s pretty obvious to us that we should be rewarding independent studies. But the other things, internships and honors theses…

Hutton: We think there’s a window of opportunity to deal with this. There are inconsistencies across departments, an issue of basic fairness. The student pays tuition, the university gets revenue, the faculty get nothing. Please tell us your stories and your situations, because we have no formal way of gathering that information.

Lents: It would help a lot if adjuncts could take on independent studies. We could expand their role, expand their presence on campus, use their particular skills.

Hutton: Some departments are forcing adjuncts to teach required courses as independent studies. That’s just abusive.

Tan: What about years of service or years in rank for equalization?

Slaby: That was proposed and was voted down by a majority of committee members.

Darden: Equalization, like Gen Ed, was not a perfect process, but we did go through the process and it was reviewed by FRW.



Adrignolo: We’re holding the UPBC report for our next meeting.


New business

Boyd: Stacie Lents and I [lents@fdu.edu, mwboyd@fdu.edu] would like to hear from any faculty who are members of Phi Beta Kappa. It would be a distinction for FDU to have a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. The organization technically authorizes the university’s faculty, not the university itself, to form a chapter, so the faculty is supposed to be at least 10% Phi Beta Kappa members, and in no case less than 10 individuals, if we are going to apply.

Mills: That’s great, and we should also establish a faculty member office that simply advises and helps students with applications for the most prestigious scholarship and fellowships, like the Rhodes scholarship. I can’t tell you how many opportunities we’ve missed with some our student-athletes. There are impressive students on both campuses. We should have an office or individual or group to mentor students through these onerous application processes.

Houle: There is a relatively informal process through Jason Scorza’s office for the Fulbright.


Adjourned 4:01.


Minutes compiled by Matthieu Boyd. Attributed remarks are a close paraphrase of actual remarks, condensed and edited for clarity.