Minutes of the Academic Senate, October 25, 2007
1. The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Carla Bossard at 3:00 p.m. on October 25, 2007. Roll was called and the following Senators were present: Chair Carla Bossard, Vice Chair Brother Charles Hilken, Past Chair Ted Tsukahara, David Alvarez, David Bowen, Zach Flanagin, Barbara Grant, Charles Hamaker, Deane Lamont, Lidia Luquet, Phil Perry, Martin Rokeach, Ed Tywoniak, and Parliamentarian Valerie Burke.
Also present were: Jerry Brunetti, Dean Tom Carter, Jim Hawley, Annalee Lamoreaux, Barbara McGraw, Steve Miller, Dean Frank Murray, Provost Sally Stampp, Vice Provost Frances Sweeney, and Dean Steve Woolpert.
2. Minutes of the October 4, 2007 meeting were unanimously approved by voice vote.
3. Chairperson's Report :
Consent Agenda - items approved by the Educational Policies Board and accepted on the Senate's Consent Agenda:
- Motion to Eliminate the Cohort Program
- Motion to Make an Exception to EPB Membership
Chair Bossard reported on the following:
- Select faculty groups will meet with WASC during their visit on October 29 â€“31, 2007.
- AAEC is developing the survey to be used to evaluate Vice Provost Sweeney. The survey will be sent to faculty the first week of November.
- Michael Beseda and Mark Figueroa will appear at the November Senate meeting for a follow-up report on freshmen attrition.
4. Vice Chair's Report â€“ Brother Charles reported that the Provost Search Committee selected four finalists for the on campus interviews. The Search Committee will meet on Monday, October 29th to formulate its recommendations to the President. The Search Committee will meet with Brother Ronald on Thursday, November 1st. It is then up to the President.
An additional faculty forum is scheduled for November 28th. It may be dedicated to discussion of the new advising structure in light of the cancellation of the cohort advising program.
5. Report on the Meeting of the Board of Trustees â€“ Past Chair Tsukahara submitted a written report (attached).
6. Educational Policies Board â€“ Steve Miller reported that the EPB met on October 15, 2007. Two items were approved:
- Motion to Make an Exception to EPB Membership
The motion creates one additional voting membership on the EPB for Annalee Lamoreaux for 2007-08. She is also the Chair of the AARC.
- Motion to Eliminate the Cohort Advising Program
The committees of the UPC and AARC along with Vice Provost Frances Sweeney, Russ Tiberii, Frank Murray, and Past Chair Tsukahara continue to meet to discuss a new advising structure for first year students. The next meeting is scheduled for November 5, 2007 from 3-5 p.m. in Hagerty Lounge.
Chair Miller reported that the Undergraduate Policies Committee (UPC) approved two items: name change for the Department of English and a course number change for Psychology 103 to become Psychology 105.
The Program Review Committee (PRC) completed its review of the Environmental Science Program, and will begin the review of the English Department.
The Graduate Policies Committee (GPC) has reviewed the MS in Financial Analysis and Investment Management Program. Due to scheduling conflicts, the item will come before the EPB in November.
The Admissions and Academic Regulations Committee (AARC) continues with the assessment of Turnitin.com and Community Time.
Senator Lamont questioned the discussions surrounding the cancellation of the cohort advising program and what possible model may replace it. Steve Miller said the conversation and reason for the cancellation of the cohort program is the issue of fewer ranked faculty participating in the Greek Thought seminar program. The alarming rate of freshmen attrition was discussed; but in terms of advising structure they discussed several models: mandatory My SMC class for all freshmen, calling for volunteer faculty, or equally distribution to all faculty across campus.
Senator Alvarez said the more the issue is discussed as an advising problem, the more the burden will be brought in on faculty. Perhaps we should be in an information gathering stage rather than a policy making stage. Chair Bossard said the cohort advising has been an ongoing issue, whether or not it weighs in on retention has not been proven. She is appreciative that the issue has been brought to faculty for discussion.
Senator Rokeach said every college deals with advising, how many models are there and how much discussion is needed to create a new model for advising?
Dean Murray answered that there is more than first year advising involved in the advising process. One of the problems involved in advising is faculty workload. How involved will faculty be across four years with all students, what is fair and equitable? Currently, the majority of first year students are advised by adjunct faculty. There are many models: entirely professional staff for first year students, ranked faculty advise all first year students, faculty carry full load for advising or share with staff, and there is any combination of the above. He explained that they are looking for a short term solution for next year, to address the advising process fully for the long term.
Vice Provost Sweeney explained that the cohort program was initially suggested to address the retention rate. Without blaming the cohort advising program for the large number of freshmen leaving the College, the cohort program has not helped the retention numbers as was hoped.
Barbara McGraw said that the main reason for eliminating the cohort program had to do with the fact that the time taken up for advising was hurting the Greek Thought course. The action taken was to fix Greek Thought while a new advising model is created. The urgency was related to Seminar and the goal to attract more ranked faculty to teach Greek Thought.
Senator Luquet said that the freshmen cohort advisor has the students for the first semester, however, the advisors had no hand in the selection of courses for the first semester. The problem may begin with the summer advising for incoming freshmen.
Past Chair Tsukahara said the issue of faculty workload is linked to the advising structure. The Trustees will not support a theory that faculty workload is strictly time spent in the classroom. He encouraged faculty not to lose sight of their professional responsibility to the students.
Annalee Lamoreaux said the subject of faculty workload has come up in the advising discussions. Advising used to be a separate item as far as rank and tenure, but it is now seen as service. Whether it should be reconsidered as part of rank and tenure is being considered.
Chair Bossard reported that Michael Beseda will report at the next Senate meeting regarding the attrition rate.
7. Tenure to Program or Department â€“ Chair Bossard introduced the continued discussion of tenure to the college or tenure to program or department. A second faculty forum was held October 24th regarding the issue of tenure to the college. Vice Chair Brother Charles reported that the Senate is in the process of building an informed opinion on the part of the faculty. There was discussion at the forum about how to shape a proposal that will report the faculty's consensus on the question of tenure to the college. The conversation also continues about the proposed Handbook language to address treatment of faculty should they be displaced.
Brother Charles asked Provost Stampp about the context of how the subject was generated, what is behind the question? Provost said it is from the closing of SEED and the absorption of 10 faculty members, and the unexpected difficulty with the willingness of departments to receive displaced colleagues. Provost Stampp said that tenure policies seem to vary; there isn't a set standard.
Senator Rokeach was the lone voice in favor of changing tenure to programs/departments. Citing the sake of quality teaching, he said that reassigned faculty would not necessarily be the masters in the classroom. Senator Rokeach's statement began a conversation regarding the possibility of training or retraining faculty for reassignment. Many responded about the importance for the present system, and tenure in general, as it relates to academic freedom.
Dean Woolpert expressed concerns about what is possible for graduate and professional programs in the future. Prior to the closure of SEED, graduate and professional programs contributed between 25-30% of the revenue to the college budget. Since the closure of SEED, the revenue is down to 19%. The College is open to new ventures. Every idea for a new entrepreneurial program has come from faculty. The faculty are excited to offer valuable programs and enrich what SMC does. When the programs are being considered, the question of staffing is difficult; will the programs be staffed by adjuncts and lecturers exclusively, or what is the prospect of having some tenured faculty associated with the programs? He supports tenure to a department or program, but recognizes that there are trade-offs.
Jim Hawley said revenue is a growth sum, but net contribution is a far more significant factor. Programs are to be evaluated on mission and educational merit.
Senator Luquet said that ending tenure as it is now is not the only way to open graduate programs.
Senator Flanagin said the faculty survey showed that the faculty are overwhelmingly against changing tenure. The question is now what do we do? Br. Charles confirmed that 74% of ranked faculty indicated they did not wish to see a change in tenure.
Past Chair Tsukahara urged faculty to read the BOSS report carefully. Dean Woolpert's position on graduate programs is consistent with one of the recommendations of the BOSS report. Dean Woolpert said the ideas for the graduate programs come from faculty, ideas based on educational, not fiscal concerns. The AAUP documents on closure of programs makes strong emphasis that the closing of programs should not be based on fiscal grounds, but rather that the educational needs for a program has disappeared.
Past Chair Tsukahara stated that SEED was started as a financial decision; not an educational decision. At the time, undergraduate enrollments were not covering expectations; there were empty classrooms and idle faculty. However, the end result was a good program that served a need. WASC required tenure track status of some SEED faculty. If we view ourselves as a college, the way we behave toward one another is one way, but if we are considered a university, the behavior is slightly modified. Are the fundamental loyalties to the disciplines or to the mission or the college? Past Chair Tsukahara's position was not to change tenure, but change the conversation about how decisions are made.
Jerry Brunetti said from his experience on the budget committee he is aware that finances are not just the responsibility of the Provost. It is incumbent on faculty leaders to keep budgetary issues in mind when making decisions.
Annalee Lamoreaus said when SEED was established the College was experiencing financial difficulties. There was a real need in the community for working adult students and it was also seen as being consistent with the mission of the College. Once again, the College is experiencing financial difficulty and it is looking to adult and graduate programs for revenue. The campus is at its capacity, and this is seen as the source for potential revenue. The term referred to for this situation in the world of adult education is the "cash cow program."
8. Faculty Handbook Language for Program or Department Closures - Chair Bossard introduced the Faculty Handbook Language for Program or Department Closures. This item is related to the discussion of tenure to the college. Past Chair Tsukahara introduced the following document drafted by Mindy Thomas, Andy Williams, and Ted Tsukahara.
220.127.116.11 Discontinuance of an Academic Program or Department not Mandated by General Financial Exigency
(1) Decisions to discontinue an academic program or a department with administrative responsibility for tenured or tenure-track faculty that are not covered by a state of financial exigency under FH 18.104.22.168, shall be based either on unattained program or departmental financial performance and/or educational considerations.
Proposals to discontinue an academic program or department will originate from the Dean of the School where the program or department resides after consultation with the Provost. The appropriate Educational Policy sub-committee of the Academic Senate (FH 1.7.4 x in development) shall examine the evidence presented by the Dean within sixty working days of receipt of the proposal and shall recommend action to be taken by the Academic Senate. Upon receipt of a recommended action, the Academic Senate will place this item on the Agenda for their next General Meeting. The program or department may not be discontinued until such a recommendation is reviewed and voted on by the Academic Senate and accepted by the Provost according to established procedures as outlined in FH 22.214.171.124.
(2) If a tenured or tenure-track, faculty member will be displaced by the discontinuance of a program or department, the College has the obligation to reassign the individual to another position for which he/she is academically qualified and which is not occupied by another tenured or tenure-track faculty member. Such reassignments shall be made within sixty working days of the decision date for discontinuance of a program or department and after consultation with the faculty member, the Chair of the department for the proposed reassignment, the Dean of the School for the proposed reassignment and the Provost. The reassigned faculty member will continue to provide academic and administrative services to the discontinued program or department as required so that all students impacted by a closure decision will have an opportunity to complete their course of study.
(3) If the College fails to reassign the faculty member within sixty working days as stated in Section (2) above, or the faculty member objects to the reassignment, the faculty member may file a grievance as set forth in the Faculty Handbook, and as outlined in FH 2.16.4. The grievance must be filed by the faculty member within twenty working days of the date the College should have made the reassignment, or within twenty working days of the date of assignment to which the faculty member objects.
(4) In lieu of assignment to another program or department, the displaced tenured or tenure-track faculty member may make a request to the Provost for severance from the College. Such a request for severance may be made by the faculty member at any time after the decision date for discontinuance of a program or department, but in no case may a request for severance be made more than twenty working days after the date at which the College ought to have made, or actually made, an assignment as stated in Section (2).
(5) If the faculty member requests severance as stated above in this section (4), the President shall immediately appoint an Ad Hoc Severance Committee comprised of the Provost, Chief Financial Officer, Chair of the Faculty Welfare Committee, and Chair of the Academic Senate to review the request and to make a recommendation to the President for a severance package. The Ad Hoc Severance Committee shall develop its severance recommendation in consultation with the affected faculty member. The Ad Hoc Committee's recommendation shall be made to the President within thirty working days of the Committee's appointment. Thereafter, the President has thirty working days to present the College severance proposal to the faculty member. The faculty member has thirty working days to accept or to reject the severance proposal after receiving it from the President. If the faculty member rejects the College severance proposal, then at the time he/she notifies the College of his/her decision, the faculty member must present a counter proposal. The faculty member and the College agree to have the Ad Hoc Severance Committee review the counter proposal and make a final recommendation for a severance package within thirty working days.
(6) If the College fails to provide a severance proposal to the faculty member as
outlined by the procedures in section (5), then the faculty member can file a grievance within twenty working days of the date the College should have made the severance proposal. This grievance is covered by the process outlined in FH 2.16.4.
(7) If during a three-year period, the department, program, or substantially equivalent organization is reopened, the reassigned tenured or tenure-track faculty members, in order of their College employment seniority, will have the option of assuming their former positions during the first year of revived operation of the former department, program or substantially equivalent organization.
Authored by: Sara Stampp,Provost, Mindy Thomas, Professor of Politics, Ted Tsukahara, Tutor, Integral Program, and Andrew Williams, Professor, Graduate Business Programs
Jim Hawley suggested the following amendments to the proposal:
Three suggested amendments:
#1--126.96.36.199 (1), para 2. I suggest (third line from bottom) replacing "â€¦voted onâ€¦" with "â€¦passedâ€¦"
The point is not the voting, but an affirmative decision.
#2-(2), second line from top. I suggest deleting â€˜â€¦has the obligation toâ€¦" and substituting "â€¦willâ€¦"
A stronger, clearer statement. Obligation does not necessarily require results.
#3-(5) Add, after last sentence: "If mutual agreement between the College and the faculty member cannot be reached on a severance package, the College will reassign the faculty member, as provide in section (2)."
This change is critical since if the faculty member is not reassigned and does not agree to a severance package, the College is effectively eliminating this faculty members' tenure. It is a backdoor elimination of tenure, under certain conditions, and in my view put a faculty member at significant risk should his/her program be eliminated.
Some suggestions regarding policy:
#1-(3), regarding first sentence. Its not clear to me that a possible failure of the College to re-assign should not be seen as a breech of contract, which could of course be grieved as a first (and necessary) step. But such failure would directly violate the proposed amendment of my #2, above.
2-(5). I think this section could be more specific. For example, calculating the past salary and length of service and the likely retirement age should the faculty member stayed the length of his/her tenure. Then one would calculate the value (net present value?) of those years of future service. This would provide a monetary framework to begin negotiations.
#3-(5). This document should develop some parameters for valuing tenure of an individual faculty member, thereby providing a good basis for establishing and negotiating a proposed severance package. I think this section could be more specific. For example, calculating the past salary and length of service and the likely retirement age should the faculty member stayed the length of his/her tenure. Then one would calculate the value (net present value?) of those years of future service. This would provide a monetary framework to begin negotiations.
Past Chair Tsukahara explained that he sent Jim Hawley's suggested amendments to Mindy Thomas and Andy Williams. He is waiting for their reply prior to commenting.
The following questions, suggestions and/or comments were made relative to the proposal:
- Senator Grant said that she was interested in the discussion about program closure criteria being unattained program or departmental financial performance rather than simply educational considerations.
- Past Chair Tsukahara answered that the current language in Section 188.8.131.52. only identifies educational considerations. Sally preferred the language "financial and/or educational".
- Senator Luquet said she received an email from Jim Sauerberg pointing out the fact that the EPB and Senate approved a proposed procedure for termination of programs in 2004. This is an outstanding Senate Action. The new language only offers help for faculty displaced. There is still a need for a procedure for the closure of a department/program. Chair Bossard announced that the Termination of Programs or Departments document approved by the Senate in 2004 will be on the agenda of the November Senate meeting.
- Chair Bossard said she would like to see that "both educational value and financial reality are considered", rather than and/or. A graduate program needs educational value and consistency with mission but it is reasonable to expect it to at least break even.
- Dean Woolpert referred to the second paragraph and asked who determines whether a person is academically qualified? The department is the most qualified to make that determination. If the department determines that the person is not qualified, does that mean there is not a position for that faculty member?
- Senator Bowen asked what "unattained program or departmental financial performance" means in paragraph one? If a program will be held to their projections, will that be the criteria used? Provost Stampp responded that for new programs, projections are made and the performance is calculated based on the projections.
- Senator Grant said that when a position is vacated the department must advocate strongly to create a new position. Provost Stampp clarified that each tenure track position is to the individual, not the department.
- Jim Hawley said the administration should investigate and consider the question of retraining.
Chair Bossard suggested that a small task force volunteer to create a resolution regarding tenure to the college for the November Senate meeting. Provost Stampp, Zach Flanagin, Carla Bossard, and Deane Lamont will draft a resolution.
Past Chair Tsukahara will confer with the other drafters of the Program Closure document regarding the suggested revisions, the amended document to be considered at the November meeting.
Provost Stampp clarified that the resolution regarding the faculty's position on tenure to the college must be reported to the President before she leaves the Provost position. The Program Closure document must be provided to the new Provost by May 2008.
9. Faculty Handbook language Section 1.6.1, Shared Governance â€“ Past Chair Tsukahara explained that the following document was drafted over the summer by Provost Stampp, Carole Swain, Br. Donald Mansir, and Ted Tsukahara.
The ideal process for decision-making at the College relies on the foundational principles of Catholic Social Teaching that base all actions on a shared respect for all persons and a mutual commitment to the Common Good. Whenever possible, governance decisions will be the result of appropriate consultation achieving consensus or reasoned compromise. The Board of Trustees has the final authority to approve or disapprove in a timely manner all proposed changes to the Faculty Handbook as provided in FH Section 1.8. Within the context of this authority, faculty and administrators acknowledge that governance of the College is both the expression and the actual practice of shared decision making in all matters affecting academic quality at the College. These practices will be informed by a mutual commitment to the Principle of Subsidiarity. Faculty and administrators therefore recognize that even where faculty roles in the decision making process is advisory, that the practice of good government requires the following:
1. Timely and appropriate consultation of the faculty within the Committee system set forth in Faculty Handbook, especially sections xxxxx;
2. Timely and appropriate administrative response to faculty recommendations;
3. Timely and appropriate access to faculty of all non-confidential records and documents relevant to permit the faculty to carry its responsibilities to give advice on matters under consideration, and
4. Appropriate representation selected by the faculty on all significant ad hoc committees and taskforces whose charges involve matters pertaining to academic quality at the College, including curriculum, budget and budget priorities as they relate to academic quality, workload and working conditions to deliver the curriculum, and academic calendaring.
Alleged breaches of any policy or procedure related to shared governance at the College are expressly within the grievable issues covered under FH Section 2.16.1.
Past Chair Tsukahara said that existing language does not provide principles for guiding the conversation. Provost Stampp agreed to meet with a small group to establish principles to guide both faculty and administration on issues important to the faculty. The drafting committee consisted of: Provost Sara Stampp, VP for Mission and Faculty Development Carole Swain, Director Cummins Institute and Director of Saint Mary's College Community Br. Donald Mansir, and Past Chair Ted Tsukahara.
The object is to have language in place so that when the new Provost arrives, it is clear what the faculty would like to have in terms of working guidelines. If things were followed clearly along the guidelines established under Catholic management practices, subsidiary is an important concept, which means it respects the delegation of decisions at the level responsible, rather than micromanaging from the top. A MOTION was made by Senator Tywoniak and SECONDED by Senator Bowen to discuss the proposed Handbook language.
There was discussion of the wording in the last sentence of #4, "â€¦and working conditions to deliver the curriculum, â€¦" why is it limited to delivering the curriculum, and whose working conditions are being referred to?
Vice Provost Sweeney asked if the concerns of faculty regarding shared governance are related to academic quality or shared decision making? Are the past concerns addressed by the document?
Chair Bossard will clarify the meaning of the statement with Provost Stampp and report at the next Senate meeting.
10. The meeting was adjourned at 5:10 p.m.
Faculty Governance Coordinator
October 12, 2007
To: Academic Senate
From: Ted Tsukahara
Re: Board of Trustee Meetings, October 11-12, 2007
This is a written summary of the topics I addressed in my report to the BOT during General Session on October 12, 2007:
â€¢ Work continues for the Core Curriculum Task Force (CCTF). Last spring the charge to the CCTF was expanded beyond a review of the general education requirements to include the core educational experience for students. A discussion paper on learning objectives is being posted to the campus today. The CCTF will host a community time (12:40-2:10pm) discussion of this paper on Wed. Oct. 17th. Trustees are invited to join us! The learning objectives will be revised based on this meeting. The next phase of our work will investigate the alignment of the current general education requirements with the proposed learning objectives. The working goal is to have a report prepared for community discussion in the late spring. A copy of the CCTF proposal posted to the website this morning was distributed to the Trustees present at the meeting.
â€¢ The Academic Senate has arranged for three general meetings of the faculty this semester to prepare responses to the request for faculty positions on the following issues raised in the BOS report:
Change in the tenure system from tenure to the College to tenure to Programs and departments. BOS 3.3.
Assessment of undergraduate academic advising. BOS 1.5
Analysis and effectiveness of the current faculty committee structure. BOS. 6.2
These meetings are the natural evolution of the faculty governance changes adopted by the Academic Senate last spring.
â€¢ The Academic Senate is discussing new language for the Faculty Handbook (FH to address the procedures for reassignment of faculty who are currently with a department or program that will be closed for either financial or educational reasons. This document should be ready for the Provost by the end of the fall semester.
â€¢ A small ad hoc committee has been working with the Provost to draft a new statement about shared governance for the FH Sec 1.6.1. This statement has recently been sent to the Academic Senate to be scheduled for faculty discussion.
â€¢ The Faculty Welfare Committee has organized its activities to staff the Faculty Salary Review Task Force to address both the current mandate in the FH as well as the charge given to it in BOS 3.5.
Here is a brief summary of the topics reported out during General Session:
â€¢ The Executive Committee devoted much of its time to a discussion of the larger than expected departure of freshmen last year. Also, they deliberated with the aid of a consultant the strategy for a capital campaign.
â€¢ The Advancement Committee highlighted the increase in both the number of donors and the dollar amount of contributions in AY 06-07 over AY 05-06. They are very encouraged by this "trend".
â€¢ The Finance Committee reported that the $71 million bond refinance project was completed on very favorable terms and will provide about $25 million to finance the renovations required for Oliver Hall and the residence halls. A deal has been negotiated with T Mobile that should improve cell phone service on campus. The current year budget update is favorable, primarily due to lower financial aid costs.
â€¢ The Audit Committee was meeting later today to complete their work. Initial indications are that the change in audit firms will be very beneficial to the College.
â€¢ The Enrollment and Student Life Committee gave a good news/bad news report. Enrollments this year hit the target in the budget with 611 freshmen and 159 transfers. The target of 25% Pell grant aided was just missed (24.5%). They are concerned about student attrition rates from last year.
â€¢ Investment Committee reported strong results i.e. above expectations. They are still looking for additional private equity opportunities to round out the portfolio.
â€¢ Academic Affairs Committee made mention of the upcoming WASC visit later this month, commented on the progress of the CCTF, and announced a scheduled to topics for future meetings related to charges to the academic area from the BOS report.
â€¢ In his closing remarks, BOT Chair Quandt commented about the value of the dinner with the Academic Senate on October 12th.
Comments on the Academic Affairs Committee meeting on Thursday, October 11, 2007:
â€¢ Carole Swain gave an update on the Provost search and was optimistic that someone will emerge from the process. However, if no one does or if the selected individual declines the offer, then Paul Gallagher will continue the search activities. Br. Ron will appoint an "acting" Provost to take the position at the start of 2008 and serve until the search process yields a permanent successor.
â€¢ The attrition data was also discussed by this group. Frances Sweeney provided some context to the data. She also indicated that a proposal was going to the EPB to discontinue the cohort advising program.
â€¢ Several trustees commented on slow pace of faculty work on important issues such as core curriculum, especially from their corporate perspectives. These comments provided me with an "educational" moment.