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CCSU Faculty Senate

Minutes—November 14, 2011

VAC 105   3:05 PM

Present:

Abadiano, H., Abdollahzadeh, F., Alewitz. M., Anderson, C., Ayalon, A., Baratta, C., Barr, B., Barrington, C., Bigelow, L., Bunce, P., Calvert, J., Cappella, D., Christensen, S., Cohen, S., Corbitt, T., Delventhal, T., Diamond, C. , Durant, M., Farhat, J., Fothergill, W., Garcia-Bowen, M., Godway, E., Greenfield, B., Hoopengardner, B., Horan, M., Hou, X., Iglesias, E., Jarmoszko, A., Johnson, B., Johnson, M., Jones, C., Kean, K., Kershner, B., Latour, F. , Lisi, P., Menoche, C., Mione, T., Morales, A., Morano, P., Mulcahy, C., Mulrooney, J., O'Connor, J., Osoba, B., Pancsofar, E., Pesino, S, Poirier, K., Ratansi, S., Reasco, A., Saha, K., Sanders, D., Sarisley, E., Thornton, E., Vogeler, R., White, C., Wood, R.

Ex-Officio: Kremens, Z., Lemma, P., Miller, J., Pease, S., Sakofs, M.



Parliamentarian: Dimmick, C.



Guests: Adair, S., Bergenn, E., Jones, J., Tordenti, L.

 

1. Approval of Minutes, October 24, 2011

Passed Unanimously

2. Announcements

a. AAUP President (J. Jones)

Jason Jones provided an update on the status of psychology department’s complaint about restrictions on internships.

The department filed an academic freedom complaint, which has moved through the university level and is now moving to the system level. He offered the attached correspondence from the National AAUP as part of the evidence dossier.

Response from National AAUP

b. SUOAF-AFSCME President (K. Poirer for E. Hicks)

    • SUOAF will have a short business meeting followed by a social At 3:00 on Nov 17th
    • There will be training for new stewards on 12/16
    • Pursuant to grievances filed at the Center for Small Business Development there will be a professional development program with a consultant
    • The search for a new registrar is underway.
    • We would like to thank the Senate Leadership and the elections committee for its careful and respectful deliberation regarding membership and voting for the Board of Regents Faculty Advisory Committee. We appreciate the hard work that ensured that this committee will be consistent with legislative intent, congruent with our sister institutions and respectful of administrative faculty’s full participation in shared governance. SUOAF will be requesting a non teaching faculty committee which will, we hope include, non teaching members of AAUP and the technical professionals at the system office. We will keep the senate informed of our progress.

c. SGA President (E. Bergenn)

Eric Bergenn reiterated the need for consulting students on a variety of governance issues and reminded the senate of his previous statement requesting student membership on the faculty senate. He requested assurance from the faculty senate that the issue would be addressed. He is still awaiting a response from the Constitution and Bylaws committee.

He indicated that the change in the Grade Appeals policy (on the agenda for today) –is an issue that affects students, and students should be consulted on matters such as this.

d. President of the Senate (C. Barrington)

On Thursday, 8 December, 3:05-4:20, the Faculty Senate Ad Hoc Committee for General Education will hold another campus-wide meeting to discuss its ideas for the revision of General Education. The meeting will be held in 231 Copernicus Hall from 3:05 until 4:20 pm. Faculty, students and staff are all welcome.

Please share this meeting time with your constituencies and encourage your colleagues to attend the forum. For more information, visit the blog at http://you.ccsu.edu where suggestions and ideas regarding General Education are posted, or contact Robert Wolff.

President Miller and the Faculty Senate will host the term’s second forum, on Wednesday, 30 November, at 3:05, in the Connecticut Dining Room.

 

At the last Senate meeting, I announced that we would be soliciting nominations and conducting an election for CCSU’s representative to the Faculty Advisory Committee to the new Board of Regents. As of noon today, the nominations were closed. Five teaching-faculty members have been nominated. So that the Elections Committee can ensure all nominations were correctly received, a mock ballot will be available until noon, tomorrow, 15 November. Soon after that, notice will be sent that the balloting is open and will remain open until noon, next Monday, 21 November.

 

While the nature of the committee requires that we limit the nominees to full-time teaching faculty, the Senate Steering Committee decided to open the election to ALL teaching faculty, administrative faculty, coaches, counselors, and librarians. As usual, please share this information with your constituencies. In addition, the Elections Committee and I have an additional favor to ask of you: please scout around and make certain that everyone in your constituency receives an email notification of the balloting. If someone is inadvertently left out, please let Jim Mulrooney know as soon as possible.

 

As you probably realize, the caucus for teaching faculty scheduled for 31 October was cancelled because of the power outage. Rather than immediately reschedule it, the Steering Committee and I have spent considerable time discussing the best way to implement these caucuses in the upcoming spring term. We have developed several ideas. Before we implement any of them, however, we’d like to have your feedback. Please consider our ideas, develop some of your own, and send feedback to any member of the steering committee: me, Burl Barr, Jim Mulrooney, Cara Mulcahy, Joe Farhat, and Kathy Poirier.

 

Some of our ideas:

    • Use the first and third Mondays of each month—that is, non-Senate meeting Mondays—for two caucuses, one for teaching faculty, another for administrative faculty.
    • These will be primarily for Senate members, but non-Senators may attend.
    • They will be an opportunity for Senators to ask questions about developing issues and to communicate concerns that are not readily addressed through our system of Senate committees.
    • Once a term—probably at the beginning of the term—both caucuses will meet together.
    • Ideally, these caucuses would be feeders to the steering committee.
    • The first term of caucuses would be something akin to a pilot. If we like the general set-up, then we can ask the Constitution and By-Laws Committee to incorporate them officially into the Senate’s routine.

I’d like to see these caucuses help us take advantage of the unique opportunity our Faculty Senate affords us. By bringing together teaching faculty, administrative faculty, coaches, counselors, and librarians, our Senate provides a wonderful forum for working together for common goals, which include developing ways to improve student learning and to make CCSU a wonderful place to work and learn.

 

In light of the complications to our schedules caused by the long power outage, President Barrington would like Academic Standars to take up two issues: how do we handle assignments in the midst of major reschedulings, and what is our policy for making assignments during breaks. Also, does Academic Standards think we should make mid-term grades mandatory for any or all students.

3. Reports

a. President Miller on Tenure Track Faculty (J. Miller)

President Miller stated that we should recognize that at the university we have had and always will have temporary positions (also referred to here as emergency hires). The presence of temporary positions is nothing new, and they serve a useful purpose. But it is true that we do have more temporary positions now than we historically have.

Miller stated that he thought a good number would be between 30 and 40 emergency hires at the university per year. There are several reasons for these. Quick short-term changes in demographics and student needs; tenured or tenure eligible faculty sometimes leave their positions unexpectedly with little notice—leaving insufficient time to conduct a serious national search; tenured or tenure eligible faculty may unexpectedly take a leave of absence; searches for tenure-track positions sometimes fail, leaving an unfilled line.

The current problem (and he stated that this is a problem) is the fact that over the last couple of years, the number of emergency hires at CCSU has increased, and we now have approximately 60.

There is a stated university goal to increase the number of Faculty members, but the goal makes no distinction between the emergency hires and FTEs.

Over the last couple of years we have hired fewer tenure-track positions and more emergency hires than before.

The reason for this shift, was because President Miller did not believe we were in a financial position to commit CCSU to FTEs—and he does see FTEs as a commitment. He does not think that they should be offered and then possibly cancelled. Miller believes this is a short-term issue; it is unclear exactly how long it will take us to recover financially, but we are on the path to recovery.

In order to measure the ratio of FTEs to emergency hires and track it over time in any meaningful way, we have to have date-to-date comparisons—a fixed point of comparison. We take this picture on Nov. 1 because that is the reporting date for reports to the federal government.

Miller reminded the senate that we have a budget planning cycle. We do not approve new searches day by day. We can make accommodations for emergency situtations, but in general we plan for the full-time positions. Departments should be communicating needs to their deans very soon, because the deans report their recommendations and requests to the provost in December.

Categorization of full-time hires can be difficult. Should the position be an emergency hire or an FTE? Depending on the pool of requests and the changing needs of the university, a position may be categorized one way in a given year, but not the same way the next.

At present we are filling 23 searches. All represent searches (all but one) involve a position in which there is an incumbent emergency hire. For certain 22 or 23 positions will be converted to FTEs. Miller anticipates about 6 more FTEs on top of these, and hopes that in this budget cycle we can move ahead even further. He cautions though that we are not out of the woods. We don’t have the resources this year that we did last year, and next year we will also have less. In Feb/March we will be through the next budget planning cycle and will know then how many FTEs we can commit to.

In the budget planning process, we want to avoid unintended consequences. We don’t want to fix one problem and exacerbate another. For example, we don’t want to reduce emergency hires and as a result find ourselves in a situation in which we must hire more part-time faculty.

We remain well below the 20% contractual threshold of load credits for part-time faculty. Over the last 3 years that percentages has been 13, 16, 15 percent.

Q: Do we know the ratio between full-time faculty and students. Has this changed?

A: I doubt it has changed; but there has been no study. We haven’t had a huge change in student enrollments. Short-term fluctuations in enrollment changes may have to be solved with emergency hires.

Q: Would it be possible to make available student faculty ratios by schools, by program, and by major. Could that information be published?

A: Yes. But I hope that such information would not initiate a lot of fingerpointing among different schools and programs.

Q: Going back to 2001, we routinely hired 25 FTEs. Now we are hiring 23. So the current numbers seem like treading water and not recovery.

A. I believe we are getting better. Next Nov. 1 we will see and will proceed from there.

Q. In 2007, 2008 we hired 28 FTEs each year. So it still seems like we are treading water.

A. At that time, we were adding net new positions; and we added quite a few. We were expanding the size of the permanent faculty. That is not the case now. So the comparison to past years does not indicate that we are just treading water.

Q. Considedrations of financial planning and short term shifts in demand are not contractually listed as reasons for emergency hires.

A: Ever since the faculty senate voted the resolution on emergency hires, we’ve never offered these positions without the department approval. We could just not offer them, but are being consultative.

Q. Can you clarify the process by which the status of the position changes. Sometimes—if an FTE search doesn’t work—the position is not necessarily an FTE the next year, but has to be redecided again. Why is this?

A. Most of the times the status doesn’t change. But we do look at all requests each year together, and propose a spending plan based on the total picture.

Q: What is the decision-making process on where tenure-track jobs will be allocated? We hear a lot about STEM, and many liberal arts department have lost faculty to retirement and are still waiting for replacements. Is there a shift from liberal art to STEM?

A: This year there won’t be any new positions—So there is not a shift.

Follow up:

Some of the data requested is on the IR website under reports .

Jason Jones pointed out that IPEDS (Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System) data excludes faculty on sabbatical (so the numbers look a little better).

Miller: I do not want to make a promise to someone that we can’t keep. There is no desire not to disseminate data. We can work with IR to generate the kind of data you want. Should we include coaches, librarians, etc? We will continue to give you information. We can also have a discussion about the interpretation of those terms and if we disagree, then we can move ahead. I don’t know if the department or program level is where we want to aggregate data. But we can do it.

We put up all position requests and approvals on the web. SUOAF has taken most of the cuts. Academic Affairs has not.


Reports from IR:

Student-Faculty Ratios

Student Credit Hours, Headcount, and Faculty by Department

b. Academic Standards Committee (F. Latour) FS 11.12.006B

Sometimes students submit an appeal that is incomplete. Currently, if a student does that, he or she may not be informed of that case. The committee wanted a provision so that a student could be told that the file is incomplete. This way everyone who gets to look at the appeal can look at the same documents (and a complete set). This gives the student a chance to fix or complete a file at the beginning of the process. These changes also allow a little more time for the appeals process.

                        Summary Changes

                        Appeals for Grade Changes Policy

                        Department Chairperson's Form

                        Dean's Form

                         

Eric Bergenn (SGA) had no objection to these changes, but indicated this was the kind of policy change that should be looked at by students. When asked about the student membership (2 seats) on the Academic Standards committee, he stated that those seats had not yet been filled.

President Barrington suggested that policy matters of importance to students may be sent to the SGA before coming before the senate.

Senator Cohen stated that the faculty senate addresses needs of many constituencies (AAUP, SUOAF, all departments and colleges, and students) and did not see a need to give any constituency preferential treatment.

Passed Unanimously

4. Unfinished Business

a. Committee on Committees—Community Engagement bylaws (F. Latour)  FS 11.12.007B

Senator Latour presented a revision to the bylaws for this new proposed committee. The senate discussed a previous version of these bylaws earlier in the semester and three issues came up: what is Community Engagement; how would the committee interact with the Curriculum Committee; how do we address the issue of having non-teaching faculty and students on a committee that makes curricular decisions. These concerns have been addressed.

Some questions were raised about what constitutes a quorum. These were resolve with minor changes on the floor to the bylaws. One parenthetical comment was stricken and the phrase added: “of the membership eligible to vote on the issue at hand.” This amendment passed unanimously

Senator Menoche remained concerned that the percentage for a quorum was low (20%). He suggested that such a low threshold can be a problem. Should this percentage be raised?

Senator Latour indicated that because the committee can be quite large, and because it has an open membership policy, they set the percentage lower than it is on most committees. The Community Engagement committee resembles the Diversity committee in this regard.

Passed with 2 against, 1 abstention, all others in favor

b. Senate Bylaws (F. Latour) FS 11.12.008B

A simple change to acknowledge the existence of the new Community Engagement committee.

Passed Unanimously

5. Adjournment at 4:40


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