Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes 2016-11-16


Metro Club, Metro Campus


The meeting was called to order at 2:01 pm by President Karen Denning.

She introduced Neal Sturm, Vice President and Chief Information Officer. He spoke briefly about recent changes in Information Technology, including more transparency of IT decisions, and more frequent meetings with SGA, the Senate, and the college faculties. Another change is the proposed new IT governance structure, consisting of three committees: the Academic Technology committee, which will focus purely on academic needs; the Administrative Applications Committee, which will focus on Datatel and all business applications; and the Executive Governance Committee, which Sturm will chair, and will deal with matters costing more than $25,000, or requiring more than 40 work hours, or involving three or more departments. This year it will include Sturm, the University President, the Chief Academic Officer, the Chief Financial Officer, The Vice-President for Facilities, the Associate Vice-President for Enrollment Management, and the Campus Provosts. The committee will “score” large projects based on how many students and faculty will benefit. He addressed recent concerns expressed over the statement on the new University laptops about the expectation of privacy, saying that IT is doing nothing different, just disclosing; if someone with a laptop leaves the University, we’re disclosing that if you’re concerned about what you’ve stored on your laptop, don’t put it on laptop. Originally every University employee was required to take WISP (Written Information Security Program) training once a year, but then that was changed to every three years. We’re still discussing it. About 600 faculty and staff have taken the training; Human Resources will be sending out a reminder.

Pres. Denning: Can you discuss the purpose of the training? Sturm: Large numbers of people still fall for phishing schemes every year. We take a lot of precautions by putting antivirus apps on your machine, and we just started using Malware Bites, to prevent malware from encrypting your hard drive. But users are the first line of defense. Sen. Singer: We get notices about updates; it would be helpful if you sent out notices that it’s OK to install a certain update. Also, during the last laptop exchange, there was a survey about what we want to see on our laptops, but not this time, and now my CD drive is gone. Sturm: It is not possible to tell you each time an update is coming. If you have a question, call the UTAC help desk and ask. Microsoft updates usually come out every Tuesday; Symantec similarly. At one point we were going to have the updates come directly to us, but it become much harder for individuals to get the updates, so we cancelled that. As for laptop exchanges: For budget reasons, we almost didn’t do one this year. Last spring Pres. Capuano and V.P. Ferrara and I were in discussions about cancelling the laptop exchange entirely, and just having everyone bring their own device to school. Finally we decided to do the exchange, but as a result of the timing, we did not send out a survey. Instead, we tried to choose the laptop best suited to most people. CD-ROM drives are now dead; Apple stopped using them, and everyone else has followed suit. Sen. LoPinto: What kind of care should we exercise when visiting an unknown website? Sturm: I wish I could tell you. These people are getting so good, it’s very difficult. If you get an email about visiting a website, I would think about whether it’s one you’re expecting. If someone sends you an email that says “Go to this URL,” and you weren’t expecting it, I would err on the side of caution and wait.

Sen. Slaby: Faculty Rights and Welfare discussed some of your proposals for the new IT governance structure. Regarding the Academic Technology Committee— Sturm: We have already changed our minds about that, so that it will have two representatives from each college instead of one, plus one from the Senate at large. Slaby: We recommend that there be two faculty representatives on the IT Executive Committee. Sturm: I disagree. This committee is looking at questions on the highest level. The Chief Academic Officer represents academics. I haven’t seen any other structure at any university I’ve looked at. Slaby: We would like your comments about not looking at private information on our laptops, except in legal situations, to be put in writing. Sturm: There is language in the Acceptable Use Policy to that effect. If we need to fine-tune the writing, we can do that. Sen. Adrignolo: The only person authorized to speak for the Senate is the President, so if Senate members belong to your body, they do not speak for the Senate. Sturm: I’ve asked Pres. Denning to appoint someone. Dean Rosman: I thought the laptop exchange was done incredibly well. Sturm: Thank you. Sen. Farag: Why wouldn’t you want faculty members on the Executive Governance Committee? Sturm: Why not also a student representative and so on? That will be the highest-level committee to decide questions on big-ticket items. Sen. Kovacs: Consider a rethink. Sturm: I will. I know this is going to change; it typically takes three to five years to get it in the right shape. Kovacs: Consider adding a faculty member. Farag: On the issue of putting in writing when laptop information may or may not be accessed, your Acceptable Use Policy says it may be accessed. Sturm: But there’s another section that limits when it may be accessed. Last spring, we sent it to the Senate President before we finished revising it; and I have no problem coming to APRC and reworking it. Farag: Faculty members have intellectual property on their laptops, and they’re concerned about this. Sturm: In this situation, we’ve always required the University Counsel and the department chair to inform the faculty member what we’re doing and why.

Sen. Farrell: What will the other two IT committees deal with? Sturm: The other committees are working committees and will meet more often throughout the year. Anything that comes to these committees and costs a lot will probably go to the Executive Committee. Sen. Swartz: How does this relate to Cathy Kelley’s committee? Sturm: Her responsibilities have separated. Manish Wadhwa used to work for Cathy, but now he works directly for me. Cathy deals with pedagogy and assessment; Manish, with Blackboard. Denning: Will the big items go before the University Planning and Budget Committee? Sturm: If they have not been funded, yes; if they are, no. If your department has $50,000 budgeted for this item, in the old days you would just tell me. Now this committee will look at these requests and make sure that everything can be done. Denning: If we implement x, servicing x will then go forward annually from there. And if SBC, Vancouver and Wroxton all decide that y will be good, then your committee will decide that? Sturm: One question we will ask is whether there are operating costs built into the proposal and going forward. If the committee decides there is no money for that, it has to go back to UPBC for funding.

Pres. Denning then discussed several things accomplished by the Senate so far this year: We got formal approval for giving our current and subsequent Vice-Presidents a position on The Board of Trustees; we have initiated work with the Board of Trustees Advancement Committee, so we are working directly with them; we have gotten the new Gen Ed requirements for the B.S. in Natural Sciences in University College and Becton formalized and approved; we have discussed the health care plan with Rose d’Ambrosio—we are going to have an increase, but the refund we got in September was more than the premium increase will be; and we have heard Sen. Slaby’s update on the TIAA-CREF oversight process.

Pres. Denning then reminded the Senate about the upcoming capital campaign and the anonymous matching grant. She encouraged all Senators to go back to their departments and get more faculty to contribute.

Next Pres. Denning turned to the minutes of the September 28th and October 16th Senate meetings. Some corrections were still to be made. She asked members to identify and inform the recording secretary of any further needed corrections. Both sets of minutes were approved, with the understanding that there would be further minor changes.

The Planning and Budget Committee report was given by Sen. Adrignolo. UPBC had received Pres. Capuano’s list of budget priorities for the fiscal year 2017-18. Some of them are in line with the Strategic Plan. Money for new buildings is to come from outside sources; there will be a modest tuition raise; there will be no increase in compensation for this year, unless things change suddenly. Equalization may be in the budget, and possibly a cost-of-living adjustment, and there is still the question of merit pay. In future, more funding will go to the academic units that produce academic and fiscal results. Contractual obligations will be taken care of first—utilities and so on. Also revenue generators: programs that will generate more money than what they cost, they will get priority for funding. But in the past this has been used as a gimmick, and revenue generators are sometimes revenue losers. It’s always been a problem identifying which are which.

Sen. Casti: Will performance measures for programs be coming from the Provost’s office? Provost Small: This is meant to look at what it costs to run a program and what is involved. It doesn’t mean we do something about it; we just need to know. Some programs (such as sciences or doctoral programs) are more expensive. It’s good to know. The first step is just to gather data. An expensive program with few students, or duplication on another campus, needs to be looked at. Sen. Darden: Another example is faculty who have few major students, but teach a heavy load of service courses for Gen Ed and so on. Small: Everything has to be seen in context. Denning: This does come out of the Middle States report: We matriculate more graduate students than undergrads. Sen. Qin: If some programs don’t have enough students, those programs may be cut. But faculty have no control over resources for marketing and promotion of their program.

Sen. Adrignolo: The Board of Trustees do provide direction and maintain resources. We are allowed at parts of their meetings, but they also meet in Executive session without us. UPBC doesn’t have authority. We can recommend, but they don’t have to listen to us. The administration has the authority. LoPinto: In some departments, the faculty has played a major part in recruiting, and sometimes Admissions objected to it. Small: It’s critical that faculty get involved, especially in graduate admissions. The University has taken on a new Admissions consultant. They’re generating data that University hasn’t had before. We are looking at the number of students in last few years that are admitted, and that are enrolled. Faculty can get involved to help get students to enroll. Sen. Cohen: There is often a serious disconnect between faculty and Admissions, even when faculty want to get involved. My department has often had this problem, where faculty work hard to bring in students and then Admissions fails to follow up or listen to us. Small: We will work to eliminate this disconnect; also, this year offers with financial aid will go out earlier. Sen. Singer: We are often contacted by Admissions people asking for “product update.” They want to know what we want. They want to know about waivers of requirements. For the most part they want to know. Cohen: That may be true for your school, but not for my college. Admissions often fails to return calls and follow up with prospective students.

The Faculty Rights and Welfare report was given by Sen. Slaby:

FRW has been discussing the issue of the target salaries used for determining equalization. We discussed this in September but didn’t have a quorum, so we discussed it again this month. In choosing target salaries, we agree that they should be what our peers who have the same rank and discipline are getting. Three years ago we changed the University peer group; we used to aim for the 60th percentile, but with the new group we simply aim for the average. But we don’t know the average salary for many disciplines. CUPA tables are supposed to show average figures for each discipline and rank, but many lines are blank, because CUPA follows “safe harbor” antitrust laws about not revealing too much information, especially for disciplines with few faculty or few institutions. So we never used the salaries as given, but estimated them, by multiplying the CUPA factors by the nationwide averages; we assumed that the discrepancies for our peer would be roughly same as those nationwide. This turns out not to be true; salaries in some disciplines were overestimated by as much as 15%, some underestimated by that much. That kind of error creates serious unfairness. We would like to fix this; ideally we would like to have actual peer salaries, to get actual numbers from CUPA (or maybe they can suggest better estimates). Or if we can’t them from CUPA, perhaps Pres. Capuano can contact his peers at these institutions and offer to exchange data. If impossible, we will have to work out better ways of estimating.

Sen. Melloy: Can you reiterate the minima for various ranks? Sen. Salierno: Currently they are $65,000 for assistant professors, $72,000 for associate professors, and $89,000 for full professors. [NOTE: Two of these figures are not correct. The correct figures are: $64,000 for assistant professors, and $86,000 for full professors.] Denning: The Executive Committee doesn’t anticipate getting any equalization this year, but if anyone has suggestions for improving methodology, let FRW know. Sen. Hutton: I don’t know why we’re talking about this; these numbers are part of a database, and we only have 15 peer schools. 80% of the cells are empty. You can’t use it. Sen. Tuluca: You are rejecting a national average based on thousands of numbers for one based on fourteen institutions. Hutton: A few years ago FRW adopted 15 institutions for the peer group. We used to have 118 in the previous peer group, but the Administration sandbagged that group, because many of them were in rural areas, or not in our category. But you need at least 125 institutions; with smaller ones, CUPA will not provide the data. Let’s come back when it’s relevant. We voted to give a subcommittee authority to work on this; let’s let it die until it comes up in two or three years. Sen. Cohen: But it is possible that equalization may come this year, and in any case we need to be prepared.

The Handbook Committee report was given by Sen. Ng.

Ng: On November 1st, Sen. LoPinto and I met with Provost Small to discuss the first year personnel review, and the question of Provost’s having a vote in then Senate. Then HBC deliberated on the two questions. An overwhelming majority agreed to eliminate the first-year review, and to let the Provost be non-voting member of the Senate. This involves changing the Handbook, which requires a referendum.

Sen. Singer: We all agree that a first-year review for a faculty member coming into their first semester is crazy. But to completely obviate a first-year review is also not such a good idea. What about reviewing first-year faculty in the early spring? Sen. Darden: If we’re discussing amending the Handbook, can’t it be amended by a two-thirds Senate vote? Ng: No. Sen. Tuluca: The Senate decides if it should go to referendum or not. I think it should be. We have a long process of hiring new faculty. What more will we find out in the first few weeks of their first semester? And I agree that if the Provost doesn’t want to vote, because it’s a conflict of interest, I say why not? V.P. Rosen: Anyone who’s served on CPRC or DPRC would probably agree to eliminate this for new faculty for whom this is their first job. The more complicated side is for faculty members who have been given prior service. My viewpoint is that if you arrive here with three years’ service, you have very little time until your fifth year review. Even though the first-year review is a burden on these faculty, it’s a better guarantee of their knowing what they need for tenure than waiting for another year. Provost Small: I have no problem with that. Darden: If we’re going to start recruiting faculty out of school, we’ve already vetted them. This is so logical that there is no need to wait for a spring election, when turnout is usually lower. Sen. Salierno: I’ve served on DPRCs for people with prior service, and they are reviewed with a third-year review, not a first-year. Ng: The Handbook says they have until their third semester to decide on prior service. Tuluca: So let’s change that language. Let them decide in their first semester.

Denning: What about the second point? Sen. Adrignolo: When the Senate came along, and I helped write the Bylaws, President Adams didn’t feel it was appropriate for him to be here. But the University Provost is an academic position. The Provost could cast a deciding vote if vote is split. This was done for a reason. Let’s give this some thought.

Sen. Janet Boyd: Let’s also think about the lecturer review; it’s a tedious process that should be changed. Pres. Denning: We are also way above the 20% ratio of lecturers to tenure-track faculty specified in the Handbook, and that would be a way to keep an eye on this. Boyd: It’s really the proportion of adjuncts over which we should keep control. In my department this year we looked at the difference between ranks of Lecturer and Senior Lecturer. The Handbook mentions them, but doesn’t specify the difference. We thought that maybe after people are promoted to Senior Lecturers, they would only get reviewed every two or three years. It would be good if the criteria would be specified in the Handbook. One way to address this problem would be to make at least Senior Lecturers not have to be reviewed each year. Sen. Tuluca: We don’t understand the Lecturer position. According to the Handbook, it’s for a term of six months to a year. To talk about promotion for them is wrong. The Handbook is very clear; Lecturers are hired for a specific assignment, and the nature of an assignment should determine whether it is as a Lecturer or a Senior Lecturer. We have transformed Lecturer into a more secure position than tenure-track faculty. Also, who hires lecturers? Department chairs, and maybe the DPRC. If a specific department hires lecturers, let them review lecturers, not the CPRC. Sen. Adrignolo: That is entirely correct. V.P. Rosen: I generally agree with this perspective; when I first came here, lecturers were not reviewed by CPRC, but hired and fired by chairs or directors. There is a provision in the Handbook that they need to be reviewed annually, but we don’t evaluate them on the same criteria as tenure-track faculty. They have a utilitarian purpose for each college. Tuluca: The Handbook says to review them as any other faculty, which means at least minimum service, minimum scholarship. Rosen: Yes, there are some contradictions here. Tuluca: I think we have lecturers in University College who are doing all sorts of other jobs, and we are not evaluating them. Sen. Swartz: I would welcome this being clarified. I see our SCB lecturers being put upon in a big way; we require them to publish (not necessarily in peer-reviewed publications). There’s as murky world that’s evolved here, and there are dangers when the rules aren’t clear. Tuluca: The rules are clear, we just don’t apply them logically. Swartz: It would be helpful both for us and for them to have this clarified. They are our colleagues, and we owe them some respect. Many come with incredible qualifications, and our students benefit from contact with them. If the Handbook Committee could clarify this, it would be good. Sen. Singer: This year I’ve headed the SPRC for the School of Education. We review for teaching, for service, and scholarly efforts, whatever they may be. We were told, I believe by the Dean, that we must word the final sentence: “The SPRC recommends renewal of x for the academic year contingent upon staffing needs.” Darden: We all have Senior Lecturers doing valuable work for us. If there are reasonable ways we can reduce that, like eliminating first-year review and only reviewing lecturers every two or three years, the sky won’t fall. And most schools I know have only three or four personnel reviews for tenure, not six. Sen. Salierno: Becton has 60 to 65 lecturers and 15 to 20 tenure-track faculty for the CPRC to review. Tuluca: The CPRC should simply have to say “We concur with the department chair and the DPRC.”

Pres. Denning noted that Provost Small had had to leave. Denning: We don’t want to lose her vote. We’re dealing with important issues. Sen. LoPinto: Whether or not she votes, she may express an opinion that we want to hear. Sen. Adrignolo: We don’t want her to absent herself and add another layer between us and the Board of Trustees. Sen. Ng: And if she doesn’t want to vote, we can invoke the “in camera” provision. V.P. Rosen: “In camera” excludes anyone who is not a member. The Provost is a member of the Senate, whether with voting power or not. This can be a test as to whether she sees herself as a member of faculty or not. Sen. Swartz: University Provosts come and go, and making this change would fundamentally change our relationship with the Provost’s office. Denning: We’re running short on time, so we won’t vote on these questions today.

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

The Handbook says that the issue of external review is in the purview of APRC; but I think that is entirely FRW, not APRC. Provost Small came to us for an hour, and discussed her vision of the faculty and research. We created a study group from all four colleges to start a conversation about faculty research. The Gen Ed guidelines for Hotel and Tourism need a few changes, and those will hopefully come at our next meeting; the same with Math. We have a meeting on Dec. 14th. Once the guidelines clear the committee, we will let you know. In the spring, we want to discuss how faculty can promote recruitment and retention. Faculty is key for both.

Sen. Janet Boyd: There was supposed to be an implementation committee for Gen Ed, esp. with the B.A. degree. It was the CEPC’s job to review courses that people wanted to qualify for Gen Ed. Darden: The Gen Ed Task Force discussed this: the various schools and departments will decide which courses qualify; APRC doesn’t need to police each course. If there are discrepancies or problems, it can be brought back to the APRC.

Sen. Boyd: The University College CEPC is already working on this. Darden: Becton is also working on this for fall 2017. Sen. Mathieu Boyd: Two weeks ago Associate Dean Betty Feeley called me, and asked who will tell her which courses qualify? Darden: That’s a college matter, and chairs have already gone over this. Boyd: Will there be an implementation committee? Darden: That’s the APRC, and if there’s a problem, anyone can contact us.

Sen. Cohen: I think the idea of strengthening and supporting more faculty research is fine, but this would require all sorts of changes in tenure and promotion policies. Darden: This was half our discussion with Provost Small. Some faculty can’t publish without access to resources, and so on. Tenure and promotion is under the aegis of FRW. Sen. Farag: We brought this up in FRW. Are the requirements going to change for junior faculty? The Provost said that people who were brought in under one set of standards should stay under those throughout their academic career. New faculty would be under new standards. Sen. Swartz: For current faculty, that is an important point, not only in terms of research but teaching standards, esp. in regard to online and blended courses.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 pm.



Respectfully submitted,

Allen Cohen

Recording Secretary