FACULTY SENATE MINUTES

Nov. 28, 2001

Officers attending: Russ Marcks, President; Pam Chambers, Vice President,
Fred Thomas, Secretary

Senators attending: Cindy Beckett, Frank Clay, Roxann DeLaet, George Hageman, Rick Jurus, Kenneth Melendez, Bob Reas, Ellen Rosengarten, Mike Smith, Karen Winston

Not attending: Susan Callender, Forrest Cope

Others attending: Karen Blake, Laurel Mayer, Ken Moore, Gary Tucker

Russ called the meeting to order at 2:35 in room 9207

1.      Minutes from Nov. 14, 2001

Frank moved to approve the minutes as distributed. The motion passed unanimously.

2.      Vanguard

Pam gave a brief report on her perception of Vanguard, emphasizing the importance of sharing best practices that have a direct impact on learning and the importance of networking with other community colleges. Russ asked about ways in which Senate can coordinate its work more effectively with Vanguard, and Pam replied that we need to address issues using the Vanguard framework, especially asking the fundamental questions, “How does this improve or expand student learning?” and “How do we know?”
Laurel, Frank, Karen Blake and others expressed appreciation for the Vanguard dialogs and for the positive efforts, but also expressed frustration that the College may not be making enough progress on key issues that directly affect students and faculty. Examples discussed included the fact that grade sheets distributed under the new R16 system may be less useful than earlier sheets since they omit “W’ grades and the revised student enrollment process seems to be experiencing significant difficulties. There was concern that Vanguard may be similar to the Sinclair Quality Initiative (SQI) effort in that it may have little lasting benefit.
Cindy strongly supported the Vanguard emphasis on student learning, and asked a bottom line question, “Does this group want to be known as an advocate for student learning or solely as an advocate for faculty?” Russ and others agreed that issues perceived to affect faculty only will not be high priorities for the College, but felt that many “faculty” issues (such as intellectual property) do have a substantial impact on student learning.

3.      Monitoring Task Force

Russ reported that intellectual property was the only major topic discussed at the most recent meeting of Monitoring Task Force (MTF). Some members of the administration seem to view this as a concern that is focused primarily on money and which affects only a small number of faculty. In the MTF meeting, he and Pam emphasized that they see it as a policy for the future and as one that will affect all faculty and students. For many faculty, the issue is not so much about money as it is about quality control. They may be concerned, for example, that other faculty might misuse materials they have developed.
MTF has created a committee consisting of Russ, Pam, Jim Houdeshell, and Jeanne Jacobs that will meet to define more clearly how the proposed intellectual property policy is different from the current policy and why the changes are needed. Gary Honnert, Al Giambrone, and Charlie Giles will serve as resources for the committee.
Another topic mentioned briefly at the MTF meeting was ACF faculty, and Russ has requested that a future MTF meeting focus on this. The topic of distance education and virtual office hours also came up in connection with intellectual property, and will probably need to be addressed later this year.

4.      KPI regarding part-time and full-time faculty ratios

Deferred to next meeting.

5.      Handbook Changes (This item was deferred until later in the meeting, but is included here to be consistent with the agenda)

5.1.           Change to instructions for FAPR
This is still under discussion in the Academic Policies Committee, and will be addressed later.
5.2.           Distance education pay
Russ presented Faculty Senate Recommendation #RCF0104, defining a sliding pay scale based on course credit. The recommendation was intended to correct the handbook to reflect current policy, not to change policy. Frank, Roxanne and Cindy expressed concern that the pay structure was controversial and had been introduced only as a pilot. Since the results of the pilot have not been evaluated, they felt it was inappropriate to make this change in the handbook. Frank moved to reject the resolution, and Roxanne seconded. The motion to reject passed.
5.3.           Grievance committee information sheet
Russ presented Faculty Senate Recommendation #RCF0105, modifying the Grievance Committee Information Sheet on which the Department Chairperson, Division Dean and the Vice President for Instruction state their determinations regarding a grievance. Cindy moved to approve the recommendation, and Rick seconded. The motion passed.
5.4.           Retirement incentive
Russ presented Faculty Senate Recommendation #RCF0106, incorporating two alternative statements for Senate's decision. One alternative was to delete section 2.9.3.1 from the handbook. The second alternative was to modify that section to read that "No retirement incentive exists at this time. A retirement incentive may be introduced in the future dependent upon discussions between the Faculty Issues Team (FITs) and Administration." Cindy moved to approve the second alternative and Roxanne seconded. The motion passed.

6.      Email policy

Russ welcomed Ken Moore to the meeting, and reminded everyone of the list of questions regarding the email policy that Senators had submitted regarding the proposed email policy. Ken Moore noted that his division had received a large number of questions and comments regarding the proposed policy and was trying to respond as fully as possible. He invited the Senate to ask about what it felt were the most important issues.
Russ asked about the statement in the policy that Sinclair owns all email. Ken Moore replied that the intent of that statement was to inform everyone that email is not private and is not secure. Ken Melendez agreed that the security could not be perfect, but asked why the policy does not emphasize instead that the College will do its best to maintain privacy. Ken Moore suggested that there might be ways to improve the wording, but that the policy does need to emphasize that the College owns the email. Russ asked how this applied to email that includes material copyrighted by someone else. Ken Moore agreed that copyright laws take precedence, but also said there are pending court cases which claim that material put onto the web is available for free use.
In response to possible concerns about the administration routinely monitoring faculty email, Ken Moore said that he knew of only one case in which the administration had looked at email, and that was done at the direction of the President in a serious case.
Frank asked about the timing of the proposed policy’s submission and why Senate was not informed about the proposal further before the planned implementation date. Ken Moore replied that the planned implementation date was flexible, and the group who developed the policy wanted to provide a well-thought-out draft before sending it out for comment. In particular, he wanted to have the draft approved by the College lawyer and the Provost before it was submitted to faculty and others.
Russ asked why the proposed email policy does not simply refer to other related policies such as the College’s sexual harassment policy rather than addressing them anew. Ken Moore replied that the existing policies generally do not refer to email, and the intent was to be sure that it was covered.
Cindy noted that many faculty in Allied Health are concerned that the proposed policy may not be strong enough in the consequences it specifies for people who violate the policy. Ken Moore directed the Senate’s attention to Section 5 of the proposed policy that specifies that the consequences will be determined under other existing policies.
Russ asked about how the policy addresses issues of “spam” and bandwidth, and Ken Moore replied that these are not the most important concerns of the policy. The intent is to address many of these issues by developing more specific lists, rather than by imposing more restrictions. Opening email to all students will expand these concerns and require additional policies.
There was additional discussion about whether or not supervisors should have access to faculty email, for example to communications with students.
Russ and Ken Melendez asked about the portion of the proposed policy that prohibits encryption. Ken Moore replied that it was impractical and ineffective for the College to support encryption, but he was unsure why the policy prohibits faculty from using their own encryption software. He promised to get an answer.
Fred expressed concern that ACF, special adjunct and part-time faculty can be “terminated without cause.” Unlike tenure-track faculty, they might be terminated because of something found in their email without even knowing that they have been monitored. He suggested the policy include specifications as to who can collect information about email and assure that the person monitored will also be informed of the results.
Fred distributed a copy of the email policy at Washtenaw Community College in Michigan as a possible alternative model, and asked about the next steps at Sinclair. Ken Moore replied that the policy would be revised in light of the comments received, and resubmitted for additional comments.

7.      Assessment

Russ charged the Senators to find out what their constituents are saying about the proposed Assessment Policy and to be prepared for further discussion.

8.      Personnel Committee update

Russ distributed a written report from Shari Rethman, Chair of the Personnel Committee, reporting on the committee's progress. The Committee is consolidating and refining the list of issues related to Senate representation of ACF, but is finding this to be a very complex task. One problem is that the Faculty Handbook is inconsistent in its language, often using the terms "faculty," staff" or "full-time faculty" without clarifying to which group of employees the article actually pertains.

9.      Open Forum

There was brief discussion about the possible KPI on part-time and full-time faculty ratios (agenda item 4) and the need to link this topic with Vanguard.

The meeting adjourned at 4:11.

Submitted by Fred Thomas, Jan. 15, 2002

Approved by Senate, Jan. 16, 2002