FACULTY SENATE MINUTES

Oct.  8th, 2003

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

Senators attending: Jim Brooks, Susan Callender, Frank Clay, Myra Grinner, Kenneth Melendez, Jackie Myers, Nick Reeder, Shari Rethman, Marti Shapiro, Marsha Wamsley

Senators not attending: Ellen Rosengarten, Charles Williams

Others attending: Bill LeJeune, Laurel Mayer

Pam called the meeting to order at 2:32 in Room 6142.

1.      Announcements

1.1.           Pam and Cindy described preparations for Conversation Day, to be held Oct. 13th. The meeting will be historic in bringing together an unprecedented number of Sinclair people to work on shared concerns.

1.2.           Cindy announced that Joe Tobias and Jeanne Lasko will participate in the Senate meeting on Nov. 19th to discuss issues related to textbooks. Steve Jonas and other members of the Health Care Committee will participate in the Senate meeting of Oct. 22nd to discuss health care.

2.      Minutes from Sept. 24th, 2003

Marsha moved to approve the minutes with minor changes as suggested by Jim. The motion passed. Fred distributed a CD to each Senator and Senate Officer, and explained that it included the Faculty Handbook in Word format as well as the minutes of the Senate meetings during 2001-02 and 2002-03. All the information is also on the Senate web site, but the format of the CD should make it easier for Senators to find and use the materials.

3.      Proposal to Change Handbook Section 2.4.5

Shari reviewed the reasons for her proposal, designated as Senate Recommendation RCFA03-01. Item “10 e” in Handbook Section 2.4.5 now includes Special Adjuncts in the hierarchy of preference to be used if necessary in preparing faculty schedules. Since the category of Special Adjuncts is being phased out and since the position is intended only for use when courses cannot be staffed with part-time faculty, Special Adjuncts should not be listed as having priority over part-time faculty. The proposal would delete the reference to Special Adjuncts. Shari reported that she had discussed the proposal with the Executive Committee of Department Chairperson’s Council (DCC). The Executive Committee supported the change and saw no need to take it before the full DCC.

Jim, Susan, Nick and others spoke in favor of the proposal. Fred also supported the proposal, but asked Senators to remember that the hierarchy in item 10 e is only intended for use as a reference in exceptional situations, not as a primary guideline.

Cindy made a motion to approve the recommendation and Susan seconded. The motion passed.

4.      Changes to Handbook Section 2.10.1 (Faculty Grievance Procedure) and Section 2.3.6 (Equal Opportunity Policy)

Cindy distributed the changes to Handbook Section 2.10.1 (Attachment FSMA20031008-04A) and Section 2.3.6 (Attachment FSMA20031008-04B). Cindy explained that in May 2003 representatives of Title 6 and Title 9 programs made a site visit to Sinclair and identified problems with the current Sinclair statements regarding equal opportunity. In accordance with their instructions, Sinclair’s Board of Trustees added a statement to Handbook Section 2.10.1, specifying the alternative procedures available when a grievance involves issues related to equal opportunity. The Board also revised Section 2.3.6, making changes that included the required identification of a specific person who is responsible for implementing the equal opportunity policy at Sinclair. Since the changes were mandated by law, they can be implemented immediately without following the normal timing requirements for Handbook changes.

After discussion, Frank made a motion, “We accept the changes to Sections 2.10.1 and 2.3.6; however, we are concerned about the lack of consultation prior to Board action. We therefore direct the Senate officers to discuss this consultation process with the administration.” Ken seconded the motion. After further discussion, the motion passed.

5.      Committee Memberships

Pam expressed her thanks to faculty members who have stated their interest in representing Senate on Committees that do not require the Senate President’s personal participation. The workload of the Senate President is extremely heavy, in part because the person in that office is currently asked to serve as faculty representative on a very large number of committees. The workload is heavy enough that burnout has become a real concern both for past Presidents and for the current President.

Many Senators expressed their agreement that the committee workload needs to be distributed more broadly. Susan, Shari and others expressed the view that the Senate representatives do not always have to be Senators themselves, provided they report regularly to Senate and obtain input from Senate. Marti expressed confidence that faculty would be willing to participate in this role and asked that any call for volunteers be as specific as possible regarding the responsibilities.

Pam and Cindy will consult with the heads of the committees involved and identify those on which another faculty representative could replace the Senate President.

Pam suggested that Senate also consider expanding the work of its Personnel Committee and consider reestablishing the Resource Committee. One important issue these committees might consider is the College calendar. Several Senators agreed that faculty need to provide more input to the calendar and felt that this is an appropriate time to consider significant changes, both to the calendar itself and to the process by which the annual calendar is set.

Pam noted that Forrest Cope has stepped down as Chair of the Personnel Committee. As President, it is Pam’s responsibility to appoint a new Chair and she asked for suggestions from the Senate. She also suggested that the Resource Committee might be blended at least temporarily with the Personnel Committee so more faculty could be engaged in the work of reconsidering the calendar. The Resource Committee has not been active in recent years, and Senate will need to solicit new members for that group.

Susan made a motion that the Personnel and Resource Committees be blended and charged to look at the calendar. Cindy seconded the motion. The motion passed.

6.      Diversity Committee Report

Deferred until Oct. 22.

7.      Discussion of the Retreat, held Sept. 26th

At the retreat, Faculty Senators met as group during the morning, had lunch with Staff Senate and administrators, and worked with administrators during the afternoon. Pam reported that Staff Senate had expressed interest in meeting more extensively with Faculty Senate to discuss shared concerns, and several Faculty Senators supported that idea.

There was an extensive discussion about the value of the retreat and about ways in which Senate can work more effectively to move forward in cooperation with other groups. (See also the list of "Rock" issues considered at the retreat, attachment FSMA20031008-07A.)

8.      Open Forum

8.1.           Frank asked that oatmeal cookies be provided at all future Senate meetings.

8.2.           Pam and Cindy asked that Senators identify specific “rocks” that might be Senate priorities for action.

8.3.           Cindy distributed copies of Handbook Section 2.8.3, Professor Emeritus, and copies of the “Professor Emeritus Guidelines” that are currently on the intranet. She pointed out that the two documents are nearly identical but are different in some ways. The intranet guidelines specify that the criteria to be selected as Professor Emeritus include ten or more years of service to the College that “will be completed in an instructional capacity.” The Handbook has an additional phrase, “except in unusual circumstances.” Instructional Council has asked Senate for guidance as to how the criteria should be interpreted or perhaps changed. In particular, there are some Deans and other administrators who retain their faculty status after becoming administrators. For example, it is not clear if someone who retires as an administrator but holding faculty status is eligible.

The meeting adjourned at 4:03.

Submitted by Fred Thomas

Approved by Senate, Oct. 22, 2003