Nov. 19, 2003

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

Senators attending: Jim Brooks, Susan Callender, Myra Grinner, Kenneth Melendez, Jackie Myers, Nick Reeder, Shari Rethman, Ellen Rosengarten, Marsha Wamsley, Charles Williams

Senators/Officers not attending: Frank Clay, Marti Shapiro

Others attending: Jeanne Lasko, Bill LeJeune, Laurel Mayer, Joe Tobias

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

1.      Announcements


2.      Minutes from Nov. 5, 2003

Ken moved to approve the minutes with minor amendments. The motion passed.

3.      Bookstore (Jeanne Lasko and Joe Tobias)

Pam welcomed Jeanne and Joe, who explained that they wanted to share ideas about how to keep textbook and other bookstore costs for students as low as possible. They distributed a brochure, “Why Do My Textbooks Cost So Much?!” (attachment FSMA20031119-03A) and used a Power Point presentation (attachment FSMA20030119-03B) to help guide the discussion.

Jeanne and Joe explained that the Sinclair Bookstore is owned by Sinclair Community College, which sets the general policies for its operation. Any excess revenues from the Bookstore are returned to the College, particularly for use in support of other ancillary services, such as parking and the cafeteria. Sinclair is among the top 25% of college bookstores nationally in sales. Web sales are growing rapidly, and the bookstore ships materials worldwide. The bookstore has 13 full-time employees and 60 years of collective experience in the management team. In answer to a question from Ken, Joe explained that the Bookstore pays the College for space, housekeeping and other services.

With regard to the rising cost of texts, Joe and Jeanne said that Sinclair’s Bookstore tries to have a 20% margin, well below the national standard of 25%. The Bookstore’s margin has been stable since 1998, while the margin for textbook producers has gone up. Sinclair’s prices are competitive with and often lower than the prices charged by other on-line suppliers.

Joe and Jeanne emphasized that used texts are generally the best value for students. In some areas, such as DEV, many of the texts are used as workbooks and cannot be resold, but these cases are the exception. The Bookstore generally buys texts back from students at 50% of the initial cost if the book will be reused the next quarter at Sinclair and at 10 to 15% of the initial cost if the book cannot be resold at Sinclair.

Jeanne and Joe recommended that faculty play an active role in helping to keep the cost of texts low. When selecting course materials, faculty should ask publishers’ representatives about the end cost to students and consider that in their selection. Alternative formats (such as black-and-white illustrations rather than color and books published in sections) can sometimes lower the end cost significantly. Custom publishing of the book sections that are actually used in a course can also reduce the cost of some texts. When considering package deals, faculty should consider whether all the supplements are really required. In some cases it may be better to sell the supplements separately rather than as part of a package, particularly since separately sold items such as computer software can also be provided with used textbooks.

Marsha noted that publishers sometimes seem to force faculty to adopt a new edition sooner than necessary and asked about the possibility of continuing to use older editions. Jeanne replied that it is often possible to continue using the older edition. Sinclair is a large enough buyer that it is possible to “hold the publishers’ feet to the fire” and push for the best arrangements. Jody Yarnall in the Bookstore is particularly good at locating sufficient copies of older editions.

Fred said that a disadvantage of staying with an older edition might be that it is more difficult for students to sell their texts, and Jeanne agreed. Jeanne also pointed out that departments who are late in submitting their text adoptions to the bookstore also make it more difficult for students to sell back their texts, since the buy back rate is at the 10 to 15% rate until the book is actually readopted.

Jim asked about the possibility of a student-run book exchange. Jeanne replied that the Bookstore has cooperated in efforts to establish a book exchange, but it has been very difficult to sustain a program of this sort.

Susan asked about ways to get more information to students about textbooks and textbook costs, and Jeanne replied that the Bookstore expects to upgrade its computer system and to begin providing hot links that will let students identify the text requirements by clicking next to the course.

Joe and Jeanne invited faculty to contact them or Jody Yarnall with additional questions.

4.      Academic Policy Handbook Recommended Changes

Cindy referred to the recommendations from the Academic Policies Committee distributed earlier in the week by email, including recommended changes to the payload form (attachment FSMA20031119-04A) and the memo sent by the Vice President for Instruction’s office to faculty regarding the banking of payload hours (attachment FSMA20031119-04B).

Cindy began by responding to Jackie’s question from the previous Senate meeting (Nov. 5, 2003) regarding uncertainties among faculty about the process for banking payload hours. She explained that there has been no substantial change to the process, except that the VPI is now seeking systematic input from chairpersons before approving or not approving requests to bank hours.

After an initial discussion on the banking of hours, Senator expressed support for the recommendations of the Academic Policies Committee on changes to the memo and the payload form.  Senate recommended an additional change to the memo, making it clear that CWW and other hours not included in the 66-hour limit can still be banked if the faculty member has opted to include those as part of her or his payload. Pam asked Cindy to forward the Senate’s suggestions to Marcena Smith.

Pam referred to the changes recommended by the Academic Policies Committee for Faculty Handbook section 2.4.5 on workload (attachment FSMA20031119-04C). Nick, Cindy, Shari, Jackie, Susan, Ellen, Charles and others contributed to an extensive discussion related to banking of hours and the new limits on total teaching by full-time faculty.

One issue considered was the extent to which banking hours is a request or a choice. It is possible, for example, that a faculty member would accept a 22-hour teaching assignment in Fall Quarter expecting to bank some of those hours and then learn in mid quarter that the banking would not be allowed. If that person then declined to teach more than a total of 48 hours for the year, he or she might be teaching less than 15 hours in Spring. Pam said that the VPI has always interpreted banking as a request that requires approval.

A second concern was that the new process requires faculty to specify the quarter in which they plan to use banked hours at the time they request the banking. Another concern was that banking hours might damage faculty relationships within small departments, particularly if other tenure-track faculty feel pressured to pick up the extra load.

Cindy moved to amend the recommendation of the Academic Policies Committee by replacing “choose” with “request” in item 6, Section 2.4.5, to reflect the fact that banking of hours is subject to approval. Susan seconded, and the motion passed.

Cindy moved to amend Academic Policies Committee’s recommendation in item 6, Section 2.4.5 to replace “fourth week” with “eighth week” as the latest time in a quarter when a faculty member could change her or his request to bank hours. This amendment would restore the deadline to its current value. Marsha seconded and the motion passed.

Cindy moved and Susan seconded to approve the recommendation as amended. The motion passed. Pam will take the recommendation to Instructional Council.

Cindy distributed a recommendation (attachment FSMA20031119-04D) to modify references to the Provost in seven different sections of the Faculty Handbook. The proposal either adds “if applicable” after references to the Provost or substitutes “President of the College (or his/her designee).” The language is intended to serve both the current situation in which the College does not have a Provost and future situations when there may again be a Provost, without the need for future Handbook changes. The recommendation will be considered at the next Senate meeting, Jan. 14, 2004.

5.      Faculty Forum

There was a brief discussion about ways to make the Faculty Forum more effective. Faculty are encouraged to contact Jim Brooks with ideas for articles.

6.      Open Forum

6.1.           The inauguration of President Johnson will be on May 14th, from 1:00 to 3:00 in the Great Hall. Pam and Cindy are on the Inauguration Planning Committee.

6.2.           Pam asked Senators to provide input on the best time and date for the Winter Faculty Assembly meeting. The time will be set at the Senate meeting, Jan. 14th.

6.3.           Cindy reported that she and Mary Morrow are working on ways to make the 2004-05 Faculty Handbook available for review early in the summer of 2004.

6.4.           Ken noted that faculty governance issues were important faculty concerns among the College’s earlier list of “rocks,” but that these did not seem to be prominent among the draft list of 28 Priority Action Issues now being circulated. Pam encouraged Senators and faculty to provide input to the Delta Team regarding the Priority Action Issues.



The meeting adjourned at 4:15.

Submitted by Fred Thomas

Approved by Senate, Jan. 14, 2004