Minutes of the Academic Senate, September 13, 2007
1. The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Carla Bossard at 3:00 p.m. on September 13, 2007. Roll was called and the following Senators were present: Chair Bossard, Vice Chair Brother Charles Hilken, Past Chair Ted Tsukahara, David Alvarez, Zach Flanagin, Barbara Grant, Charles Hamaker, Deane Lamont, Lidia Luquet, Phil Perry, Martin Rokeach, Ed Tywoniak, and Parliamentarian Valerie Burke. Absent was David Bowen.
Also present were: Dean Roy Allen, Vice President of Enrollment Michael Beseda, CTO Ed Biglin, Jerry Brunetti, Robert Bulman, Gerry Capriulo, Dean Tom Carter, Cynthia Ganote, Dean Brian Jersky, Christa Kell, Jessica Kintner, Douglas Long, Hilda Ma, Mary McCall, Barbara McGraw, Steve Miller, Shobhana Murali, Dean Frank Murray, Ron Olowin, Tom Poundstone, Ellen Rigsby, Kathy Roper, Jim Sauerberg, Chris Sindt, Provost Sally Stampp, Carole Swain, Roy Wensley, and Dean Steve Woolpert.
2. Minutes of the August 21, 2007 Senate meeting were unanimously approved as submitted by voice vote.
3. Chairperson's Report - Chair Bossard reported on the following items:
The committee restructuring proposal has received partial approval from the Faculty Handbook Committee: the Senate to meet every three weeks, agendas to be set by the chair, vice chair and past chair, and a slightly reduced membership of the Senate. The remaining items from the proposal will be considered by the Faculty Handbook Committee at its October meeting: elimination of the EPB elected memberships to the EPB subcommittees. It is anticipated that all Faculty Handbook items related to the restructuring will be approved prior to the spring faculty elections.
WASC team members will be on campus October 29, 30, and 31, 2007. Chair Bossard, EPB Chair Steve Miller, and CCTF faculty representative Roy Wensley will meet with a WASC team member regarding general education and general education faculty.
Academic Administrators Evaluation Committee (AAEC) Chair Suneel Udpa is formalizing AAEC membership. An evaluation of the Academic Vice Provost will be conducted this fall.
Three faculty members have volunteered to join Chair Bossard on the Communications Task Force: Tomas Gomez, Hisham Ahmed, and Ed Tywoniak.
Molly Metherd was appointed as a faculty representative to the Faculty Salary Task Force.
The Conflict of Interest policy is still under consideration by administration. The staff version and Senate version have not been reconciled. The Provost has requested that a faculty representative work with administration on the document; Chair Bossard appointed Jim Sauerberg.
The Provost's will present her yearly response to Senate Actions at the October 4th Senate meeting.
On October 10th during community time, a consultant will make a presentation on engaged campuses.
During community time on October 17th the Core Curriculum Task Force will make a presentation to the community.
The Board of Trustees has invited the Senators to a dinner and reception on October 11th.
4. Vice Chair's Report â€“ Brother Charles reported on the Provost search. The job description and announcement were finalized and distributed June 1, 2007. The search committee reviewed applications on August 22, 2007: 36 applications were received, seven semi-finalist were chosen. The semi-finalist will be interviewed in San Francisco on September 29 and 30th. The finalists will be brought to campus for interviews on October 3, 4, 5, 8 and 9th. Recommendations for hiring will be forwarded from the search committee to the President. The Provost job is to commence on January 1, 2008, or open until filled.
Brother Charles reported that Provost Stampp has charged the Senate with the following as stated in the Strategic Plan:
Section 3.3: By July 1, 2007, the president will charge the provost, in consultation with the Academic Senate, to review attaching tenure to departments or programs. The provost will report to the president by December 1, 2007.
Section 6.2: By July 1, 2007, the provost will charge the Academic Senate with providing, by May 1, 2008, an analysis of the efficiency and effectiveness of its current committee structure. The provost will provide adequate resources to enable the Senate to study faculty governance structures in other colleges and universities.
Brother Charles announced that an open forum will be held on Thursday, September 27th from 3-5 p.m. for faculty to discuss and respond to the issue of attaching tenure to the department or program.
Wednesday, October 24th during community time and Wednesday, November 28th during community time have also been arranged for an open forum for the continuing discussion on tenure and also the discussion of the efficiency and effectiveness of the current committee structure. The Committee on Committees will spearhead this work.
Chair Bossard added that the CoC will not redo the work of the CoC last year regarding the committee restructuring of the Senate and EPB, but will concentrate on the vast number of committees on campus.
5. Report on Technology Advisory Committee (TAC) â€“ Senator Tywoniak reported as a faculty representative on the TAC. The two large issues considered last year were the technology strategic plan and the implementation of a campus-wide survey to address a variety of issues. The vetting of the survey data will be addressed by the committee this year. The TAC's key focus is the technology vision statement: "an integrated learning environment for all its students through the incorporation of appropriate technology and teaching, learning and research" as well as the faculty concern for the utilization of technology for teaching, learning and scholarship, and how technology supports the curriculum.
A report issued regarding resource utilization by students indicated that 40% of students first go to course readings, followed by library web resources at 23%, thirdly 13% use external search engines, and 12% go to the professor. Senator Tywoniak said this indicates a recent shift in how students are approaching their research. TAC meetings are scheduled for September 20th and October 8th and they are open to all.
6. Educational Policies Board (EPB) - Steve Miller reported on the issues currently being considered by the subcommittees:
Undergraduate Policies Committee (UPC)
- Proposal for an ethnic studies major,
- renaming of Department of English and Drama
- double major for finance and marketing
Graduate Policies Committee (GPC)
- formal approval of the MS in Financial Analysis and Investment Management. - - several graduate fast track approval requests
Program Review Committee (PRC)
- finalized the calendar for programs to be reviewed this year and contacted all
Admissions and Academic Regulations Committee (AARC)
- continue assessment of community time and Turnitin.com continues.
- working with Russ Tiberii and Vice Provost Sweeney on Sections 1.3 and 1.5 of the BOS strategic plan regarding academic advising.
7. Issue of SMC decision to withdraw from participation in the peer assessment survey portion of the U.S. News & World Report â€“ Chair Bossard explained that a number of faculty and senators requested further discussion of the announcement that SMC had withdrawn from participation in the peer assessment portion of the U.S. News & World Report.
Senator Luquet asked who has the authority to make that decision and how is it made. Has there been consultation? Michael Beseda said it is ultimately the decision of the President. He explained that a survey is received by administrators of the College which asks them to rank a list of 250 colleges. SMC has considered the decision not to participate in the rankings over the last 4-5 years. This is part of a much larger national movement with many other institutions also agreeing not to participate in the peer review. National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities is proposing an alternative to the US News rankings. This year only 51% of the people involved returned the survey form. The criticism is beyond the assessment, but that the overall U.S. News & World Report mechanism fails to get educational richness of the individual institution and recognizing that the primary question the students should be asking is about the educational experience. Michael Beseda provided documents from the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU), The Education Conservancy, and The Chronicle of Higher Education Review (on file).
Senator Tywoniak invited conversation about areas other than recruitment that can be affected by this decision; e.g., retention, fund raising, how does it change the faculty's internal perception of SMC's worth, how will faculty rank itself against their peers? There are other areas of faculty life that can be affected.
Senator Flanagin said this is a large issue that affects everyone on campus. He expressed concern that there was not more consultation and communication about the decision. Michael Beseda said he does not think the decision will impact SMC's ranking. The conversation is not only about rankings, but also about the value of education and what education means. SMC has a mission which is counter-cultural; Liberal Arts, LaSallian, and Catholic will not win votes in the mainstream election, that is the recruitment challenge. This is an opportunity to take a leadership role in a national movement.
Gerry Capriulo said he agrees with Michael Beseda in respect to the various ways we look at ourselves. However, external rulers and standards matter and affect the quality of our degrees and our students. Self-rating is fine, except the college is only using it's ruler. The world has to believe one's self-rating. Professor Capriulo said he does not like the U.S. News and World Report ratings system, but the mid level institutions can't change it without the participation of the top level institutions. SMC needs to have its best foot forward whether it likes it or not. As an alternative, SMC can continue to try to create a new system. Until then, it impacts tremendously what we do and it changes the quality of the student body. Being Catholic and Lasallian does not place SMC in a negative light, but it raises the bar. As a college, we have academic standards to uphold, and we are responsible to our students. SMC does many great things because it is important to us to be a Lasallian and Catholic institution. SMC needs to look forward to what it wants to look like 10-15 years in the future.
Michael Beseda said that Br. Ronald's decision will likely have no impact on the SMC ranking next year. The actual data from the portion of the survey that SMC has opted not to participate in would not offer what is educationally important about the experience at SMC. It would offer information on resources but not to the heart of what SMC does. The rankings began in 1985, it is a 22 year old phenomenon. The leaders in higher education went along with it from the beginning, and now it is part of the culture.
Roy Wensley said Br. Ronald should be addressing the faculty on this issue prior to making this decision. He suggested that the Senate make a statement that the decision was made without discussion. This may not be an isolated decision on the subject, and the Senate should record their concern. Senator Luquet agreed to draft a motion for the next meeting.
8. Closing faculty email list to eliminate spam - CTO Ed Biglin reported that the faculty email list is an open list, which means that anyone with knowledge of the email address can post a message to the whole list. If the list is closed, only members of the list can post a message to the whole list. CTO Biglin said that originally, many faculty worked from an alternate ISP when they worked at home. If the list is closed, it will prevent faculty from posting to the list while working from their home email address. The availability of modern webmail programs eliminates the problem. Faculty can log into the SMCnet from any email address and access their SMC account. Closing the list would almost totally eliminate the spam sent to the faculty list. The following MOTION was made by Senator Tywoniak and SECONDED by Past Chair Tsukahara:
"For reasons stated in the memo from CTO Biglin dated September 11, 2007, be it moved that the faculty list serve be a closed system restricted only to SMC faculty and specified college staff."
The motion was approved unanimously by voice vote. CTO Biglin agreed to take the issue to the Technology Advisory Committee for approval.
9. Tenure to Program or Department â€“ Provost Stampp opened the conversation of tenure to the college versus tenure to a department or program. She reminded faculty that a special faculty forum will be held on the issue on September 27th. She submitted and reviewed the following list of questions and statements to be considered.
Notes on Tenure to the College: Some Things to Consider.
AS THINGS ARE NOW:
1) SMC is a tuition driven college. Thus, all of our program operations are "paid for" by our students. Some endowment income helps, but we have a very, very, very modest endowment.
All of our faculty salaries (benefits, etc) depend (in large part) upon tuition (with very few exceptions = exceptions: those involving endowed chairs.)
When programs close (FOR ANY REASON), obviously there are no more paying program students, no program revenue, no $$ available to support the program's faculty salaries. Indeed, there are no classes in the program to teach!!!! There is no program!!!
2) When there is a tenure-to-the-college policy, as we have at SMC, this means:
Faculty from the closed program will continue to receive salary
Faculty from a closed program need to find courses to teach in continuing programs
where there are paying students â€“ revenue.
3) This means:
The faculty from the closed programs need to have classes to teach â€“ ones they are qualified to teach.
Generally, save Jan Term and Seminar, our courses are offered through departments and faculty who teach those courses "belong" to those departments.
At SMC all tenured faculty have a "home department" (program) and a home school.
And this means:
Faculty from closed programs would need to be invited to join (or assigned to) a department different from the one that they were hired to teach in.
The continuing department's faculty will be joined by a new colleague â€“ one who has not been selected by the department through our "normal" hiring process.
4) Role of Seminar and Jan Term programs
Generally, ranked faculty are expected to participate in these programs. The participating faculty are from all departments (probably especially TUG faculty, though not always.)
There are no faculty "assigned" to the Collegiate Seminar Program nor to the Jan Term Program. Two faculty members act as directors, but still have home departments and schools. (I believe that present policy restricts seminar participation to 2 courses per year and Jan term to one course per Jan term.)
If tenured faculty from the closed programs are invited to participate in Seminar and January Term, three courses of their 7 (6) course teaching load could be accounted for. However, if, for example, there are 10 faculty from a "closed" program this would mean that 10 Jan term courses and 20 Collegiate Seminar courses would then be staffed by an identified group, before other staffing decisions are made. Question: what would the current faculty assigned to the 10 Jan term and 20 Seminar courses teach? Would there be courses available? How many faculty members "depend" upon Seminar and Jan Term courses to complete their required course assignments.
Some other considerations:
1) Each of the 10 faculty members (my example) still needs to "find" 3 courses = 30 more total to teach.
2) Currently, for budgetary (and other) reasons, average class size has been set at approximately 20. And number of course offerings per department set. Again mainly for budgetary reasons. Adding courses, lowering class size are all expenses. Thus, accommodating faculty from closed programs by adding courses to other programs would add further expense, with no new revenue.
3) Student body size: TUG size limited to 3,000 max. Realistically, we are challenged to maintain a TUG size of 2,500. Thus, no new revenue from increasing student numbers to support issue identified in #2 above.
4) Possible graduate program growth? It is possible, though these are generally programs that are very specialized and require faculty from very specialized academic backgrounds. MFA, Counseling, Financial Management, etc. Not likely to help for placement of faculty from a closed program, unless the academic backgrounds match.
5) We are no longer trying to increase our number of tenure track faculty in order to "back fill" for the workload rebalance decision. The closure of SEED and the placement of those tenure track faculty has allowed us to reach the identified goal (?17?).
6) We do not recruit TUG students by major or area of interest. We have little "control" over what majors students will elect. Areas of study become popular, then not, then perhaps again, etc. We do have control over what courses are "required" of students. Thus, some projected staffing needs are safe assumptions.
7) Graduate or professional programs are probably more at risk in terms of accurate enrollment modeling. Economy, job opportunities, changes in state certification requirements, etc. not in our control. Thus probably more at risk of potential program enrollment changes, demands, interests, etc. (I won't argue this point â€“ it is a supposition based upon enrollment observations I have made over the past 8+ years).
Possible options to address the "financial" risks inherent in a tenure-to-the-college policy:
1) Return to tenure to the program policy we had in place pre 2000.*
2) Decrease, over time, the number of tenure positions per department. Increase number of non ranked faculty. (Do not replace retiring/departing TT faculty??).
3) Some specialized, higher risk programs' faculty are tenured to program, other faculty tenure to the College policy.
4) Hire faculty with appointments to several departments.
5) Hire faculty based on breadth of qualified teaching areas. For example: can teach statistics for math, psych, soc, business etc. Or can teach courses in psychology, sociology, education, etc.
6) Keep things as they are. Share across all employees the consequences of loss of revenue due to program closure. (salary and benefits, most likely.)
7) NOTE: Currently FH has language that asks members of R&T Committee, Provost and President to assess the needs of the department and College before awarding tenure. Look at this through a different lens????
8) I am sure there are othersâ€¦â€¦
* It was determined the day after the meeting that this statement was inaccurate, tenure to the program has not existed in prior years.
Provost Stampp said there are many reasons to keep things as they are, tenured to the college. The previous statements and questions are posed for discussion. She said the Senate will consider the issue and make a recommendation to her. Ultimately the issue will be brought to the Board of Trustees.
If we were to institute tenure to a program and the program should be closed, what is fair treatment for the faculty? What would we do with faculty separated from the College? Provost Stampp said that a separate conversation has already begun about what is right for faculty, including the possibility of severance.
The graduate professional programs are more vulnerable because of the things we have no control over; the economy, or credential requirements.
The question rises from the closure of SEED and the suspension of enrollment for Graduate Liberal Studies.
Possibility of tenure to schools rather than departments/programs?
If tenure to the college has been granted, can it be taken away?
Can new people be tenured differently than existing faculty?
Concerned that faculty will have no real input into the decision.
The conversation will be continued at the open faculty forum to be held on September 27th from 3-5 p.m. Provost Stampp will be present.
10. INTRODUCTIONS OF NEW FACULTY
Dean Steve Woolpert introduced the following new faculty in the School of Liberal Arts:
Peter Freund, Art and Art History Department
Hilda Ma, Department of English
Cynthia Ganote, Department of Sociology
Dean Roy Allen introduced the following new faculty in the School of Economics and Business Administration:
Shyam Kamath, Graduate Business
Hugh McAllister, Economics (from SEED)
Dick Courtney, Economics (from SEED)
Dean Brian Jersky introduced the following new faculty in the School of Science:
Debjani Bhaduri (Chemistry - Lecturer)
Vidya Chandrasekaran (Biology - Adjunct)
Melissa Chatham (Psychology - Lecturer)
Emily Hause (Psychology - Tenure Track)
Kate Isaacson (Psychology - Lecturer)
Douglas Long (Biology - Tenure Track)
Carole McKindley-Alvarez (Psychology - Lecturer)
Sharon Minsuk (Biology - Lecturer)
Shobhana Murali (Math/CS - Lecturer)
Pedro Olaya (Math/CS - Lecturer)
Todd Savoian (Biology - Adjunct)
Galina Volkova (Math/CS - Lecturer)
11. The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.
Faculty Governance Coordinator