Oct. 22, 2003

Officers attending: Pam Chambers, President; Cindy Beckett, Vice President

Senators attending: Jim Brooks, Frank Clay, Myra Grinner, Kenneth Melendez, Jackie Myers, Nick Reeder, Shari Rethman, Ellen Rosengarten, Marti Shapiro, Charles Williams

Senators/Officers not attending: Susan Callender, Fred Thomas, Marsha Wamsley

Others attending: Mary Dudash-White, Bill Hoover, Steve Jonas, Janet Jones, Bill LeJeune, Laurel Mayer, Jeff Miller, Kathy Rowell

Pam called the meeting to order at 2:35 in Room 6142.

1.      Health Care Committee Report

Steve Jonas, chair, accompanied by five members of the Sinclair Health Care Committee (Mary Dudash-White, Bill Hoover, Janet Jones, Jeff Miller, and Kathy Rowell), provided a brief history/overview of Sinclair health care costs/contribution rates/cost comparisons as a way to frame the issues for Senate.  Discussions continue, but final decisions for this year’s plan will be made soon as the open enrollment period begins November 12.  Key points of the presentation included the following: rising health care costs are a national issue, far outpacing inflation.  While Sinclair has controlled costs better than many other colleges, the reality of the marketplace will require changes in plan design and/or cost structure.  One critical factor is the college’s current “loss ratio” of 113% (arrived at by dividing paid claims by premiums paid); a more desirable ratio would be 85% - 89%.

When faced with rising costs and heavy utilization, possible alternatives might include any or all of the following: caps in certain areas, more emphasis on prevention and early diagnosis, reduced benefits for reduced costs, increased use of flexible spending account or a personal benefits account (new IRS program option), “best use” of services provided (i.e., generic drugs vs. brand name, Urgent Care vs. ER), etc. Steve noted that it would be important for the committee to gather information from Sinclair employees either through surveys or focus groups to find out preferences with regard to impending changes in the college’s health care program.  He and other members of the committee stressed that they are trying their best to minimize the impact of increased costs or disruption of service as they work to iron out the details of this year’s package (note: no changes are expected in dental or life insurance coverages).  One positive development has been the emergence of a viable third health care provider in the Dayton area (Anthem, Humana, and United Health Care), which should result in increased competition and better options in the future.  Nevertheless, unless some major changes occur at the national level to address the “big picture” issues of rising health care costs, it looks as if the reality at Sinclair will parallel the reality at other colleges and in business and industry: employees will likely be paying somewhat more for somewhat less when it comes to health care.

Committee members urged Senators to get more involved with STRS and the political process with respect to health care issues and to urge all Sinclair employees to make their voices heard in hopes of effecting positive changes at both state and national levels.  Senators were also reminded that there is a wealth of good information at the myuhc.com web site.

After Steve’s presentation, a short question-and-answer period followed, with issues raised such as, “Why don’t/won’t the insurance companies support or provide incentives for prevention education or classes that promote healthy lifestyles?” and “Is the Sinclair plan serving the mental health needs of our Sinclair employees?” or “What do we do if we have had a negative experience with Superior Dental or UHC?”  To the latter question, feedback/concerns should be directed to Lois Raches in Human Resources.  Furthermore, questions about Sinclair’s health care plan and/or planning process can be directed to any member of the Health Care Committee (in addition to the members in attendance at the Senate meeting, Jeff Boudouris, Donna Chadwick, Lee Day, Dee Delaney, and Lois Raches sit on the committee).  

2.      Announcements

2.1.           Pam noted that she and Cindy would be meeting with Dr. Jacobs to discuss the matrix and other issues.

2.2.           Pam thanked Myra Grinner, who attended a meeting of the Catalog Committee on her behalf.

2.3.           Pam reminded senators to seek interested faculty for the newly combined Resource and Personnel Committees, whose initial charge will be to focus on the issue of the academic calendar.

2.4.           Pam mentioned that Senate Recommendation RCFA03-01, which had been passed at the October 8 meeting, had been forwarded to Dr. Jacobs.

3.      Minutes from October 8, 2003

Minutes were approved as submitted.

4.      Diversity Committee Report

Deferred until November 5.

5.      Professor Emeritus

In response to a request from Instructional Council for clarification on the guidelines for eligibility, Cindy, Frank, Ken, Charlie, Shari, et al focused on the question, “What’s the intent of the award?”  The conclusion reached was that emphasis is clearly on recognizing outstanding faculty for outstanding teaching.  In particular, Cindy suggested that faculty who have met all the criteria but who have changed positions and then retired as administrators should still be eligible for nomination.  She also suggested that the wording of the Professor Emeritus Guidelines on the intranet and in the Handbook be aligned to avoid any ambiguity.

6.      Senate Priorities

Deferred until November 5.

7.      Conversation Day

Deferred until November 5.

8.      Open Forum

8.1.           Cindy distributed two minor revisions to the Faculty Handbook, one to Section 1.7 (attachment FSMA20031022-08A) and the other to Section 2.10 (attachment FSMA20031022-08B).  After brief discussion, both revisions were approved.

8.2.           Pam suggested that the issue of Sinclair “SPAM” raised by Ken be put on the agenda of the November 5 meeting, and she urged senators to get feedback from their divisional faculty on the issue.

8.3.           Pam disclosed that Ned Young had compiled results from the FITS survey distributed at Fall Conference.  Senators agreed that Ned should be invited to the next meeting to share the results.

8.4.           Pam and Cindy said that Dr. Jacobs welcomed the idea of attending a Senate and Assembly meeting in order to answer questions/concerns of the faculty.

8.5.           Questions were raised about the impact of the 66-hour cap and 22-hour quarterly target for faculty load.  Pam and Cindy noted that the process was being monitored as part of the FITS agreement. 

The meeting adjourned at 4:05.

Submitted by Jim Brooks

Approved by Senate, Nov. 5, 2003