Oct. 16, 2002

Officers attending: Pam Chambers, President; Fred Thomas, Secretary

Senators attending: Jim Brooks, Frank Clay, Roxann DeLaet, Kenneth Melendez, Jackie Myers, Nick Reeder, Shari Rethman, Vann Rogers, Ellen Rosengarten, Art Ross (for Susan Callender), Marsha Wamsley

Not attending: Cindy Beckett (out of town), Susan Callender, Rick Jurus

Others attending: David Bodary, Forrest Cope, Laurel Mayer

Pam called the meeting to order at 2:30 in room 6142.

1.      Minutes from Oct. 9th

Ellen moved to approve the minutes for Oct. 9, 2002. The motion passed.

2.      General Education and Honor Code (added agenda item, David Bodary)

Pam introduced David Bodary, who distributed the current draft for the Sinclair Honor Code (attachment FSMA20021016-2a). David explained that the Honor Code Task Force will hold a campus-wide vote November 4-9, 2002. Voting will be conducted online by logging on to a website at http://dynamic.sinclair.edu/honorcode. Faculty, staff and students will log on using their Tartan card numbers, and will then vote anonymously. If the outcome of the vote is positive, the Task Force will continue to move forward with further implementation of the Honor Code.
David explained that the Honor Code is an ideal, intended to serve as a starting point for discussions and actions. Examples of additional steps to be taken if the vote is positive are creating a Sinclair Honor Council; incorporating the Honor Code into handbooks for faculty, staff and students; and possibly recognizing honorable individuals and acts.

3.      Status of FITS

Pam reported that Ned Young will have the results of the faculty survey ready by Friday, Oct. 18th. The faculty members of the FITs team will meet the following week, and then Pam and Ned will meet with Dr. Jacobs.

4.      Discussion on Pros and Cons of Effective Date for Approved Handbook Changes

Pam reminded Senate that changes approved for the Faculty Handbook can now become effective only on September 1, except for changes required by local, state or federal law. Almost all Handbook changes therefore become effective at the start of the new contract year for faculty.

Frank pointed out that most collective bargaining agreements include a provision for implementing changes during the term of the contract. Fred said that Sinclair has a system of individual contracts, and that Senate probably does not have the authority to authorize changes to the annual contracts between individual faculty members and the College.

Nick said that for many years faculty did sign an annual contract but they are no longer required to do so. Pam replied that the College interprets faculty members' acceptance of the contract letters to imply that they will fulfill the terms of the agreement.

Jim said that increased flexibility would be a significant advantage of changing the current once-a-year implementation date but the flexibility would also be a disadvantage. Some changes would have budget implications, for example, and there would need to be safeguards to insure that the implementation can be carried out effectively.

Frank said that the current 12-month cycle of Handbook changes is too slow for the current culture of change. In effect, each new Senate has just two quarters to prepare changes in time for Board approval.

Forrest felt that the annual implementation was appropriate and that Senate ought to be able to approve changes in a timely manner for September implementation. Pam added that procedural changes put into place last year are helping to insure that Senate and the administration adhere to the necessary timeline.

Shari expressed concern that mid-contract changes might require approval by all faculty. Distance Learning policies could be example of changes to which some individuals might object, even if the majority of faculty approved the change. Pam noted that it has been difficult in the past to have a quorum of faculty at Assembly meetings.

Roxann asked about the administration's position on this question. Pam replied that Dr. Jacobs in particular is concerned with finding ways to implement mutually beneficial changes more quickly.

Ellen, Ken, Vann, Pam and others emphasized that it is important for both Senate and the administration to act in a timely manner to see that Handbook changes are not delayed unnecessarily. At Ellen's suggestion, Senate agreed to continue with a brief discussion at the next meeting and then to vote on changing the policy to allow alternative implementation dates.

5.      Membership and Tasks for the Faculty Senate Personnel Committee

Pam summarized a question that has been raised about Handbook section 2.9.4 which says that faculty on supplemental retirement cannot teach more than 21 payload hours per year (15 hours at one-fourth the final base salary and 6 hours at the overload rate). This is described as "the limit prescribed in State Teachers Retirement System (STRS) rules," but the STRS rules have now changed to allow increased teaching at the overload rate.

Nick and Ellen said that the Handbook should be aligned with the current STRS rules. Jim and Ellen also pointed out that a change of this sort could have significant implications for other faculty, including both part-time and full-time faculty.

Ellen moved to refer the matter to the Personnel Committee. Roxann seconded the motion, and the motion passed.

Ellen moved to ask the Personnel Committee to provide a recommendation to Senate in time for action at the first meeting in January. Roxann seconded the motion and the motion passed.

6.      Schedule for Fall Quarter Faculty Senate Meetings

Pam reviewed the schedule of upcoming meetings. On Oct. 23rd, Peggy Falkenstein will meet with Senate to discuss the Distance Learning policy. On Oct. 30th, Anna Mays will meet with Senate to discuss changes in policies regarding late registration. On Nov. 13th, Ken Moore will meet with Senate to discuss the Information Technology Strategic Plan.

7.      College-Wide Learning Day

Frank, Ellen, Jackie, Jim, Shari, David, Laurel, Pam and others expressed their support for the goal of shared faculty development experiences. The opportunity for faculty to spend time working together on significant tasks is particularly valuable.

Several Senators also expressed their concern that the current schedule and structure for CWLD need to be reconsidered. David said that some courses meeting in high schools are actually missing three weeks of class, because CWLD, Veteran's Day and some high school closings all come on Monday. Frank said that the strict time requirements for some externally monitored training programs have sometimes required them to meet even when the campus is officially closed.

Jackie and Art said that the departmental and divisional activities might better be scheduled outside of the regular quarter, while other Senators felt that it was not appropriate to schedule required faculty development activities during summer or breaks.

Shari said that other colleges and universities deal with the issue in a variety of ways, such as running "Monday" classes on a Tuesday. She also said there seemed to be a strong feeling among faculty that the current model of departmental and divisional activities was better than the earlier pattern of college-wide activities.

Pam suggested that CWLD should be discussed further with Department Chairs' Council.

8.      Open Forum

8.1.           Jim shared a question from a faculty member, asking if Senators are aware of any cases in which chairs are evaluated with anonymous input from faculty. Perhaps chair evaluations should include a process similar to that used when students evaluate their instructors.

In response to the questions, there was a spirited discussion that included concern about the right of chairs to "know their accusers" and concern about the possibility of "retaliation" against faculty who voice criticism.

8.2.           Vann asked about Senate procedures to follow up on issues raised in Open Forum. Pam replied that the general procedure was to place items needing further consideration onto the agenda for a future Senate meeting.

8.3.           Forrest asked about the status of three issues he had raised earlier in Open Forum: Training and Development policy, a faculty memorial, and a newsletter for retirees. Pam replied that the issues remained under consideration.

8.4.           Fred reported that he and Steve Jonas were both very concerned about potential changes in STRS policies regarding health care for retirees. He distributed copies of an article from the Ohio State University faculty/staff newsletter (attachment FSMA20021016-08a), and said that changes under consideration may make it much more difficult for retirees to qualify for subsidized health insurance, that subsidies may be substantially reduced for those who qualify, and that coverage for retirees' dependants may be eliminated entirely. He suggested an informational meeting to better educate faculty about these potential changes.

8.5.           Pam asked for suggestions about ways to answer questions regarding the new Intellectual Property policy. Several Senators indicated that most questions could be answered by referring faculty to Jim Houdeshell or Russ Marcks, rather than holding a special meeting.

8.6.           Pam asked Senators to identify volunteers interested in working with Tanya Grant to plan Sinclair's summer get together.

8.7.           Vann asked about College policies on faculty responsibilities for advising. Pam replied that the Handbook says faculty can be expected to provide up to 12 hours of advising per quarter, unless their division has a plan to provide advising in a different way.

8.8.           Vann asked about a case in which a signed Personal Service Agreement was changed without the faculty member's knowledge. The change was apparently made to correct an error, but several members of Senate felt such changes should not be made without the faculty member's explicit consent.

8.9.           Vann shared a concern about overcrowding in parking lot E.

8.10.       Pam reported that Cindy has followed up on an earlier Open Forum item by contacting Charlie Giles about smoking in the areas immediately outside the doors of campus buildings. Cindy is continuing to follow up on the matter.

The meeting adjourned at 4:20.

Submitted by Fred Thomas

Approved by Faculty Senate, Oct. 23, 2002