Nov. 13, 2002

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

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

Senators not attending: Rick Jurus, Jackie Myers

Others attending: Mary Dudash-White, Bill Hoover, Steve Jonas, Laurel Mayer, David McCormick, Ken Moore, Ned Young

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

1.      Minutes from Oct. 30th

Ken moved to approve the minutes for Oct. 30, 2002. The motion passed.

2.      FITs Update

Pam welcomed Ned Young who distributed copies of the faculty survey (attachment FSMA021113-02a) and a summary of the results (attachment FSMA021113-02b). He explained that the questionnaire was similar to that of the previous year, but included an additional question about merit and used a 7-item Lickert scale rather than 5 items. The questionnaire was distributed much earlier than last year, and the coordination with Fall Conference resulted in a much higher return rate. The FITs Committee anticipates using the same process annually.

Notable changes from the previous year’s survey include a decrease in the importance faculty place on linking Sinclair salaries to national averages. Importance ratings for overload and summer pay increased. Faculty ratings of their satisfaction with salary, multi-year contracts, the use of national averages and institutional merit all increased. Faculty satisfaction with overload and summer pay decreased still further from its already low level. The FITs Committee is continuing to look at how to interpret the changes, some of which may reflect greater faculty understanding of issues such as institutional merit.

In response to questions by Roxann and Shari, Ned offered to provide Senate with additional details, including a summary of the written comments (attachment FSMA021113-02c) and rankings of importance and satisfaction broken out by rank  (attachment FSMA021113-02d). As an example of the variations by rank, Ned said that tenure-track faculty overall reported an average satisfaction score for salary of 4.22 out of a possible 7, while ACFs reported a score of 3.65, Instructors reported 5.67, Assistant Professors reported 3.89, Associate Professors reported 4.37, and Professors reported 4.28. The total number of Instructors is small, and only 3 Instructors responded to the survey.

There was extensive discussion about possible alternative strategies for future salary discussions. Using averages by rank (rather than linking the overall tenure-track average to a national or regional benchmark) might have advantages in making us more competitive as we hire new faculty and in providing the College with a financial incentive to encourage early retirements. Possible changes to the system of individual and institutional merit were also discussed.

The discussion was tabled until the next Senate meeting. Meanwhile, Pam encouraged Senators to send their comments to her and Ned.

3.      Health Care Committee Report

Pam welcomed Mary Dudash-White, Bill Hoover, David McCormick and Steve Jonas to discuss changes in health care for 2003. Steve referred to the packet distributed by mail and email to all employees and summarized some of the key changes. Dental care will now be provided by Superior Dental Care, which will provide the same coverage as that provided by Delta Dental but at an annual savings of $38,000. Medical coverage will now be provided under a single plan that is very similar to “Plan 2” of the current coverage. The change in medical coverage will hold the overall increase in cost to 7.9%, compared to the 19.5% increase required to maintain both plans.

Susan asked for a summary of the major impact on faculty, and Steve replied that the one-third of Sinclair faculty who are now in the more expensive “Plan 1” will see the most change. Their insurance premiums will decrease significantly, but their out-of-pocket expenses will go up. He recommended that they consider using the Flexible Spending Account to cover some of those increased costs with tax-sheltered dollars, but warned that unused FSA contributions are not refundable. Premiums for faculty in the “Plan 2” family program will increase more than those for faculty in the single program.

Ken Melendez expressed his concern about the need for long-term planning with regard to health care costs and about the impact on faculty of continuing increases in out-of-pocket costs. Bill emphasized that there is still an annual out-of-pocket limit of $1500 (single) and $3000 (family). Steve also emphasized that Sinclair’s health care costs continue to be significantly less than the state and national averages. Dave, Marsha and Ellen said that future costs are difficult to predict, but that the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better.

Shari, Cindy, Marsha and others expressed their appreciation to the Health Care Committee in negotiating an agreement that compares very favorably with those available elsewhere. The Health Care Committee strongly encouraged faculty to read the information distributed, to participate in the health care information sessions, and to email questions to healthcare@sinclair.edu.

4.      Special Adjunct White Paper

Laurel and Shari distributed a draft White Paper on Special Adjuncts (attachment FSMA021113-04a) that is under review by Department Chairpersons’ Council. The White Paper includes suggestions for three alternative plans that might be used to address the process of eliminating special adjunct positions. The first plan would convert a number of ACF positions to tenure-track and a number of Special Adjunct positions to ACF positions. (This does not imply automatic conversion of individual faculty. The usual hiring procedures would be used to fill both types of positions. Special Adjuncts not becoming ACFs would revert to part-time status.)  The second alternative plan would convert the Special Adjunct positions to ACF positions, but without a corresponding conversion of ACF positions to tenure-track. The third suggested alternative is to keep the Special Adjunct positions, but to pay these faculty at a higher rate more commensurate with their duties.

5.      Committee Reports

Pam reported that the Board of Trustee has approved the Distance Learning Development policy and the Presidential Profile. Cindy and Pam were both pleased that the Presidential search process has been very responsive to the concerns of faculty.

6.      Strategic Plan for Information Technology

Pam welcomed Ken Moore, who explained that he has been meeting with various groups about the current strategic planning document for Information Technology. The plan will be updated each year, and includes information about the current environment as well as plans for the future. He particularly wanted input from Senate that would help in preparing for the next budget cycle.

Cindy and Laurel asked about possible improvements to the ways that faculty and chairs can search and use the Sinclair intranet. Ken replied that some of this capability will be implemented after the Sinclair portal is more fully integrated. The College is also moving towards more data warehousing, that will integrate internal and external information to allow more “what if” analysis.

Ken Melendez asked about the possibility of Sinclair providing high-speed internet access to distance learning faculty at home. Ken Moore answered that Sinclair has been trying to negotiate discounts for broadband access for Roadrunner service, but has had little success. It is likely that faculty will soon have access to their networked “H:” drives from home.

Shari expressed concern about the difficulty in getting budget approval to keep instructional software up to date. Ken Moore agreed that failure to update instruction software caused College-wide problems, since the College may not be able to upgrade its operating system while departments are using obsolete versions of instructional programs.

Ellen asked about moving from Zip drives to rewriteable CD drives and Ken Moore said the College is moving in that direction as it buys new computers.

Cindy reminded Senators that all of media services are now within Ken Moore’s Information Technology area, and expressed concern that many overhead projectors and other items of non-computer equipment are badly in need of repair or replacement. Ken agreed that there have been problems in part because equipment of this sort has only recently been included in a system for regular replacement.

Fred asked if it is correct to assume that the current IT plan is emphasizing operational improvements, rather than major new initiatives on a scale similar to that of the Teleports or the CIL. Ken indicated that there could be a few major IT expenditures ahead, but the growth rate in the IT budget during the years ahead will not match that of past years.

Shari and Ellen said that many faculty want an option to have Macs or laptops as their office computers, rather than the standard desktops. Ken expressed hope that there will be improvements in making Macs more compatible with the current system, but Macs and laptops are significantly more expensive for similar capabilities.

7.      Purpose of Open Forum / Process for Open Forum Items


8.      Open Forum


The meeting adjourned at 4:30.

Submitted by Fred Thomas

Approved by Senate Nov. 20, 2002