Oct. 23, 2002

Officers attending: Pam Chambers, President; Cindy Beckett, Vice President; Fred Thomas, Secretary

Senators attending: Jim Brooks, Frank Clay, Roxann DeLaet, Kenneth Melendez, Jackie Myers, Nick Reeder, Shari Rethman, Ellen Rosengarten, Susan Callender, Marsha Wamsley

Senators not attending: Rick Jurus, Vann Rogers

Others attending: Peggy Falkenstein, Laurel Mayer

Pam called the meeting to order at 2:34 in room 6142.

1.      Minutes from Oct. 16th

Ellen moved to approve the minutes for Oct. 16, 2002. The motion passed.

2.      Distance Learning Course Development and Facilitation Policy

Pam introduced Peggy Falkenstein to lead a discussion about the DL Course Development and Facilitation Policy. Peggy explained that the Policy has been modified since Senate last reviewed the document, and she distributed the revised document (attachment FSMA021023-02A). The revisions have also been reviewed by the DL Advisory Committee, Deans Council, Dr. Jacobs, and Dr. Johnson.
One change in the proposed policy is a new introduction that explains the rationale more clearly. Peggy explained that the intent is not to police anyone but rather to provide clear guidelines for chairs and faculty. Distance Learning at Sinclair has grown enormously over the last twenty years, and it is no longer practical to manage it without clear, written guidelines.
Several of the changes involve restructuring the proposed policy statement to make it clearer. There is also a change in wording from "Course Facilitation Requirements for Faculty" to "Course Facilitation Responsibilities for Faculty." Several parenthetic statements have also been added to specify how Distance Learning will provide assistance to faculty in carrying out these responsibilities. Faculty are responsible, for example, to "Provide for course assessment by students on a quarterly basis." The proposed policy now includes the additional statement, "A course assessment model will be developed by the Distance Learning Faculty Advisory Committee and made available to all faculties teaching distance-learning courses."
Peggy described the discussions that have taken place regarding the expectation that distance learning faculty will "attempt to answer all student e-mails and telephone calls within three working days." The deans in particular believe that the policy needs to be specific, rather that substituting a term such as "in a timely manner." The currently proposed policy continues to say "three working days," but adds more details about how to deal with cases such as illness or travel by the faculty. Similar changes are included with regard to faculty making initial contact with students.
Peggy emphasized that faculty do need to accept responsibility for improving retention in Distance Learning courses and expressed her confidence that the great majority of faculty want to do so. She also emphasized that the final change to the proposed policy is a new section that specifies the responsibilities of the Distance Learning and IT divisions to provide support for faculty in that effort.
Ellen asked if Sinclair's retention rates are similar to those at other colleges, and Peggy replied that they are.
Ken suggested that there might be a need to investigate why students drop DL courses during the first two weeks. Peggy agreed that there is a good deal of uncertainly about why students drop, and she agreed that some should probably not have been enrolled in the first place. DL has already implemented a more strict policy against students enrolling late. Starting with Winter Quarter 2003, no students will be enrolled after late registration.
Jackie, Nick and Frank asked about the accuracy of course rosters that faculty use to contact students during the first two weeks of a course, and Peggy replied that she is working with Ken Moore to improve the accuracy of that database.
Susan, Cindy and others expressed their appreciation for the changes to the proposal, particularly in the introduction.
Fred asked if the policy was intended to become part of the Faculty Handbook or to serve as a less formal set of guidelines. Peggy said she assumed it would become part of the Handbook. She also said that the policy was intended to apply to all faculty who teach distance learning courses (including part-time and ACFs as well as tenure-track faculty), but it was not intended to apply to non-DL courses.
Peggy also distributed a draft of the Revisions to the DL Compensation Policy (attachment FSMA021023-02B). Senate will consider that policy at a later meeting.
Cindy moved to accept the proposed Distance Learning Course Development and Facilitation Policy, and Ken seconded. Discussion on the motion included continuing concern about the "3-day" expectation, concern that faculty teaching DL courses are being held to a different standard, and concern that the document does not specify student responsibilities. Other Senators felt that student responsibilities should be specified in another document, not in the Faculty Handbook. Some Senators expressed the view that the current proposal represents the best compromise possible at this time.
Cindy moved to call the question and Susan seconded. The motion to call the question passed. The original motion to accept the policy also passed.
Ken, Pam, Cindy, Marsha and Ellen suggested that there be continued attention to ways of developing and disseminating guidelines regarding student responsibilities.

3.      Effective Date for Approved Handbook Changes

Roxann asked if the officers had obtained any additional information about the potential legal issue of making changes during the contract year. Pam replied that it would be a topic when she and Cindy next met with Dr. Jacobs.
Nick reported that he had contacted faculty in his division for their opinions on this question. The two faculty who responded were strongly opposed to making changes during the contract year.
Cindy suggested that Handbook changes approved by Senate could be implemented as guidelines, prior to their official implementation on Sept. 1, and she said she would draft a resolution to change the Forward to the Handbook to that effect.

4.      Confidentiality of Issues Brought to Senate

Pam and Cindy said that some faculty had expressed concern about the possibility of being identified as individuals if they ask their Senators to bring potentially controversial issues before Senate.
Frank reminded Senate that particularly sensitive issues can be discussed in closed executive sessions. Pam agreed, but emphasized that it was also important to keep the great majority of discussions open.
Pam, Cindy and Fred suggested that Senators can help maintain anonymity for faculty in their divisions by submitting issues in advance either for inclusion on the agenda or for presentation by one of the officers during Open Forum. Fred also asked Senators to tell him informally and to be careful in their review of the draft minutes to help assure that no faculty member is identified when she or he does not want to be.

5.      Open Forum

5.1.           Cindy reported that she had followed up on the earlier Open Forum question about reimbursement for photocopying mistakenly charged against a faculty member's Tartan Card. Jeane Lasko told her that it is possible to obtain a record of the charge, and this could be submitted to the department chair for possible reimbursement through petty cash or a check request. Juanndulene Jordan is the contact person for obtaining the record, although the system is not set up to provide receipts on a routine basis. Departments also have the option of obtaining one departmental Tartan Card, so faculty are not required to use their individual cards. Central duplicating also provides a much less expensive alternative. Fred expressed his concern that the stated policy says very strongly charges “cannot be reimbursed,” while a procedure for obtaining reimbursements is known to some faculty.

5.2.           Cindy reported that she had talked with Julie Orenstein regarding Ellen's question on the 16-week rule for retaining student materials. The policy is considered a statewide best practice, but it is not law. The policy does apply to art projects and other large student materials as well as to tests, and faculty are required to keep the materials even after they have made an unsuccessful attempt to return them. Faculty should make sure they have a system in place to actually return materials by the end of the quarter.

5.3.           Ellen asked about the Faculty Ratio Committee and its current work in looking at departments in which faculty teach a large quantity of overload. Cindy and Pam said that Workload as a Quality Issue is on the matrix as an issue for action by faculty and administration. The Faculty Ratio Committee is preparing a report for the Provost Work Group. A benefit of looking at the question may be to provide better justification for hiring more full-time faculty. Shari said that the current practice of counting overload by full-time faculty as helping to meet the 60% target for full-time teaching may cause future problems if these faculty cut back on their teaching. She and Laurel are working on a draft for Department Chairperson’s Council about the related issue of eliminating Special Adjunct positions. Laurel asked that the question be put on the agenda for the next Senate meeting.

5.4.           Shari expressed concern about the draft list of qualifications distributed by the Presidential Search Committee. Pam encouraged all faculty to share their thoughts about the list with faculty members of the Committee—Pam, Cindy, Al Giambrone and Steve Cornelius.

5.5.           Pam and Laurel reported that issues considered by President’s Council included possible conversion of Special Adjunct positions, progress on the United Way campaign, budget, and the Health Insurance and Benefits Committee.

5.6.           Pam reported that Kathy Rowell has expressed her willingness to join the Health Care Committee. Cindy moved to endorse Kathy as a member of the Health Insurance and Benefits Committee. Ellen seconded the motion, and the motion passed.

The meeting adjourned at 4:20.

Submitted by Fred Thomas

Approved by Senate, Oct. 30, 2002