FACULTY SENATE MINUTES

April 10, 2002

Officers attending: Russ Marcks, President; Pam Chambers, Vice President; Fred Thomas, Secretary

Senators attending: Cindy Beckett, Susan Callender, Forrest Cope, Roxann DeLaet, George Hageman, Rick Jurus, Kenneth Melendez, Bob Reas, Ellen Rosengarten, Vann Rogers, Mike Smith

Not attending: Frank Clay

Others attending: Karen Blake, Barry Grady, Steven Johnson, William LeJeune, Gary Tucker

Russ called the meeting to order at 2:31 in room 6142.

1.      Minutes from March 20, 2002

Russ noted an error in the estimated savings to the College of increasing average class size. The minutes were approved with that error corrected.

2.      Next Steps Regarding the Opinion Poll

Russ reviewed the outcomes of the Opinion Poll, and reminded Senators about the summary of themes identified from the written comments, distributed at the previous Senate meeting. Bob, Forrest, Russ and others expressed their opinion that Cindy had accurately captured the essence of the comments.

Forrest suggested as a next step that Senate meet as a whole with the Provost and VPI, to help insure that they understand the seriousness of the issues expressed in the Poll. Russ agreed, noting that a decision to amend the Assembly Constitution would have to be made by the Assembly itself, but that the administration needed to participate in any decision to create a new organization that represents ACFs and/or Special Adjuncts. He suggested that the possible nature of that organization might be a committee modeled after the part-time faculty committee, a full-blown organization with its own Constitution, or anything in between.

Cindy suggested that Senate deal first with amending the Assembly Constitution, and proposed that Senate move forward immediately with an amendment that clearly limits Assembly membership to tenure-track faculty. Fred said that the Opinion Poll results did not show a clear two-thirds majority for either of the currently proposed Constitutional changes, and suggested that Senate should instead consider a compromise amendment. The compromise might formally grant ACFs alternative status within the Assembly. Cindy expressed her belief that such alternatives should not be put before the Assembly unless the initial proposal fails to pass. Bob, Forrest, Ellen and others joined in expressing their belief that Senate should move forward immediately to propose a Constitutional amendment similar to the one drafted early by Cindy.

Cindy agreed to send Senators a draft amendment and draft ballot materials prior to the Senate meeting of April 17. The tentative schedule for the process (in accordance with Constitution, Article IX, Section 1) is to distribute the proposal by April 24th, to hold an Assembly meeting for discussion of the proposal on Thursday, May 30th, with walk-in voting to be held June 3rd and 4th. Tenure-track faculty only will vote in a "double-blind" process, submitting a signed outer envelope that contains an unmarked envelope and the ballot. Faculty not voting on June 3rd or 4th will be contacted individually. Voting must be completed within 30 days after the Assembly meeting of May 30th. The ballot will include as separate issues the definition of Assembly membership and a set of less controversial changes.

Addressing the issue of representation for ACFs, Cindy made the following motion and Mike seconded:

Senate recommends that a separate organization be created for the purpose of representing ACFs and that Faculty Senate provide assistance as needed, and that the organization be invited to send a non-voting representative to Faculty Senate meeting.

Discussion on the motion included a statement by Russ about the importance of tenure-track faculty working cooperatively with ACFs on areas of common interest. Susan emphasized the need for Faculty Senate to initiate collaboration with the new organization, rather than waiting for them to approach Senate. Barry said that as many as 90% of the issues facing ACFs may be common concerns with tenure-track faculty, and he welcomed the motion as a way of achieving a better voice for ACFs and a way of improving communications. Bill supported the concept of a separate ACF organization similar to Faculty Senate and also supported having close communications with Faculty Senate.

The motion passed unanimously. Russ said that he would invite the Provost and VPI to the next Senate meeting for further discussion on the issue.

3.      Academic Policies

Deferred.

4.      Recommendation Regarding a KPI on Faculty Ratios

Russ reviewed earlier discussion about faculty ratios and distributed a revised draft resolution on Adoption of Full-Time to Part-Time Faculty Ratios as a KPI. The new draft differed from the earlier one in that it leaves the specific ratios open for further discussion but still attempts to raise them to the status or a carefully monitored KPI.

Cindy noted that ranking of College departments with regard to current faculty ratios does seem to be an important consideration in deciding which ones are most in need of additional tenure-track faculty.

5.      Discussion with the Provost (added agenda item)

Pam returned to the meeting with Dr. Johnson. She reported that in checking his schedule she learned that he would be unavailable to attend the next week's meeting but that he had agreed to clear his schedule and meet with Senate immediately. Russ welcomed Dr. Johnson, who expressed his eagerness to hear what Senate had to say.

Cindy gave Dr. Johnson a copy of the summary of themes from the opinion poll, and briefly explained those results. She emphasized the expressed opinion of tenure-track faculty that the College needs more tenure-track faculty and the expressed opinion of ACFs that they need more respect. She also said the underlying issue in both cases may be workload.

Forrest emphasized that Sinclair is a great institution, which means that people have to get along well. When ACFs come to Sinclair, they anticipate being treated more like full faculty than they are. Forrest also said he was pleased at the extent to which tenure-track faculty verbalized their concern for ACFs, and expressed his hope that the College would not view them as "cheap labor.

Cindy said that at a recent NISOD (National Institute for Staff and Organization Development) meeting, there was a great deal of discussion about problems related to part-time faculty, and that much of the discussion seemed similar to the discussion at Sinclair regarding ACFs and adjuncts. A partial solution used by some schools is an ombudsman, who responds to their concerns.

Fred read the motion just passed by Senate, and Bob commented that we may not yet have seen the full benefits of the recent change from regular adjuncts to ACFs. He agreed with Cindy that workload is a key underlying issue, since it may lead to some misuses of ACFs.

Bill said that many ACFs feel they need to do many things that go beyond their job description in order to make themselves more valuable and more competitive.

Fred expressed his uncertainty about the likely structure and authority of the new ACF organization, including whether or not the current Faculty Handbook would still govern ACFs.

Dr. Johnson expressed his views, based upon his experiences at several community colleges. He said most community colleges only have full time and part time faculty and that the model Sinclair uses for ranking faculty is more of a university model. The designation "ACF" is distinct to Sinclair. Dr. Johnson further presented the realities of our budget. We receive approximately half of our monies from the State (for which have been greatly cut), one quarter from the levy (that comes up again in 2008), and one quarter from tuition. We cannot simply convert ACF positions to something else without knowing where the check would come from. To balance the Sinclair budget we are now using our savings account. The savings account will not be consumed this year or next year, but it will be eventually unless we get more monies from the State, we raise tuition steeply, or we raise the levy considerably. Presently, Sinclair is not considering any of these ideas.

Dr. Johnson also noted that early retirement incentives do not work to gain us money in our budget so long as the average salary is linked to the AAUP average plus 15%. He also noted that faculty usually get a 3-4% raise which amounts to roughly $2 million per year. Our average class size has decreased from an all-time high of 22 to around 17.4. The budget for next year includes a projected increase in average class size to 18. The tentative budget also calls for adding 10 additional tenure-track faculty in addition to replacing the 15 expected retirees. There is no plan to increase administrative personnel costs.

Sinclair has 70 - 75% of its budget devoted to people; and we cannot cut much without dealing with people. A 60/40 ratio of full-time to part-time faculty is typical for community colleges. Achieving that ratio at Sinclair may involve replacing some ACF positions with tenure-track position, but it is likely that other ACF and Special Adjunct positions will be converted to part-time

6.      Identifying Future Senate Priorities.

Deferred.

7.      Open Forum

No items

The meeting adjourned at 4:02.

Submitted by Fred Thomas

Approved by Senate, April 17, 2002