April 24, 2002

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

Senators attending: Cindy Beckett, Forrest Cope, Roxann DeLaet, Rick Jurus, Kenneth Melendez, Bob Reas, Ellen Rosengarten, Mike Smith

Not attending: Susan Callender, Frank Clay, George Hageman, Vann Rogers

Others attending: Barry Grady, Laurel Mayer, Gary Tucker

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

1.      Minutes from April 17, 2002

Ellen moved to approve the minutes. The motion passed.

2.      Handbook Changes

Pam distributed material from chapter 3307 of the Ohio Revised Code regarding the State Teachers Retirement System. [Information about employment of STRS retirees is in section 3307.35.]She explained that the Faculty Handbook now limits faculty on supplemental retirement to 21 payload hours per year (15 at the contract rate and 6 overload) "under STRS rules." The STRS rules have now been changed to eliminate the 21-hour restriction, and Senate may wish to recommend a change to the Sinclair policy. Discussion included questions as to whether the supplemental retirement can be reassigned time.

Pam distributed copies of the Assembly Constitution and Bylaws with hand-written suggestions for grammatical changes made by the Academic Policies Committee. Since the Constitution and Bylaws can only be changed by a two-thirds vote of the full Assembly, Senate cannot recommend these changes in the same way it recommended other grammatical changes to the Handbook. Cindy moved that the Assembly Constitution and Bylaws be removed from the Faculty Handbook, and Ken seconded the motion. The documents are to remain in force, but will not be part of the Handbook. The motion passed. Fred asked if this change could be implemented without review by the other groups that normally approve Handbook changes. Pam replied that the administration has regarded the Constitution and Bylaws as being under the control of Faculty Assembly, but that they would check on the procedure.

Pam referred to the grammatical changes to Handbook Section 3 as proposed by the Academic Policies Committee and distributed to Senators by email. She explained that the Committee will continue to work next year to make the Handbook more user friendly and to make other improvements. Ellen moved to recommend approval of the changes to Section 3, and Mike seconded. The motion passed.

3.      Proposed Resolution for Honor Code Days

Pam distributed a draft Faculty Senate Resolution, # RSSP0201 , that May 13th and 14th be dedicated as "Honor Code Days." Cindy asked if approving the resolution will set a precedent for other groups wanting official recognition for campus events. Ken (a member of the Honor Code Task Force) replied that it might set a precedent, but an appropriate one since this is an important, college-wide event.

In response to a question from Cindy, Pam and Ken explained that the Honor Code has not been approved. The Honor Code Days are intended to provide the last major opportunity for faculty, staff and students to discuss and provide input on the proposed Code before it is submitted for approval. One of the major discussion points is whether or not an Honor Code is appropriate for an open-enrollment college such as Sinclair. Many of the colleges now using honor codes have selective admissions. Ellen noted that the Honor Code applies to faculty and staff as well as students.

Cindy moved to approve the motion and Russ seconded. The motion passed.

4.      FITs Report

Pam reported that FITs will meet Monday, April 29th, and said she expected to have additional information to distribute at the Senate meeting of May 1st.

Russ commented on the fact that Sinclair's average salary is now above the average salary at Lorain Community College, even though Lorain's salaries for each rank remain above Sinclair's rank-by-rank salaries. He explained that the structure of the two faculties is very different. Over 50% of Sinclair's tenure-track faculty are professors, compared to about 16% at Lorain. At Sinclair fewer than 3% of faculty are instructors, while nearly 40% of Lorain's faculty hold that rank. Lorain also has a quota system for promotion to full professor. Ken added that Sinclair also has a large number of ACFs who are not included in the calculation of average salary.

In response to a question from Laurel, Russ confirmed that the primary FITs goal has been to achieve 99% of 115% (i.e., 113.85%) of the national AAUP average salary for Category III and IV schools. Sinclair's competitive position within Ohio is a secondary benchmark.

Russ and Pam explained that the college budget for next year is built on a projected increase of 4.4% in student FTE. Fred expressed concern that the planned addition of 10 tenure-track faculty is an increase of just over 3%. Russ said that the budget also assumes an increase in average class size. Ken said that Sinclair's apparent failure to achieve the 115% target indicates a flaw in the projection methods with regard to improvements at other schools.

Mike asked about the discussion of Health Care in the FITs meetings. Russ replied that it is clear health care costs are continuing to rise significantly and will result in an eventual reconsideration of the split between college and individual contributions to those costs. There is also a need to look at increasing the coordination between Senate and the Health Care Team, perhaps by including a Senator on that team. Fred said that Sinclair's contribution to fringe benefits as a whole is relatively low in comparison with other Ohio schools.

5.      Faculty Ratio Committee Report

Pam reported that the Faculty Ratio Committee, chaired by Dick Jones, has met and is beginning by addressing the planned transition to eliminate the use of Special Adjunct faculty. Russ said that Sinclair as a whole is now close to the goal of 40% instruction by part-time faculty, when special adjuncts are counted as "part-time." It is not clear at this time how much of the 60% instruction by tenure-track faculty and ACFs is overload, rather than inload. It is clear that the question of faculty ratios is closely related to the question of average class size.

Laurel pointed out that many individual departments are well above 40% target of instruction by Part-time and Special Adjunct faculty.

Barry asked if the increased use of computer and other labs with smaller capacities has helped to cause the reduction in average class size. Pam replied that physical capacity of rooms is a part of the problem.

Forrest, Cindy, Ken, Ellen and Pam all expressed concern that an excessive emphasis on increasing average class size could have a serious adverse impact on student FTE, on the implementation of important innovations, and on the overall quality of instruction. Russ reported that he had been shown research on instructional quality which indicates that it does not decline unless classes are larger than about 40, According to this research, the optimal class size may be between 30 and 40 students.

Cindy and Gary reported that department chairs have been discussing a change to move late registration back to before classes start. The change could allow departments to manage class size more effectively, but would require some accommodation for special cases.

6.      Collegewide Learning Days

Russ reported that the three collegewide learning days will be conducted next year, following the same model as this year. Although some faculty were dissatisfied with various aspects of the model, the overall evaluations supported its continuation. Several Senators suggested that it may be possible to reduce the funds devoted to these days, perhaps by eliminating one or more of them.

7.      Elections

Elections will be held soon for Divisional Senators, Vice President and Secretary. Pam reported that she has been visiting the College divisions, encouraging faculty to run for election. She asked Senators to join in encouraging faculty to seek these offices.

8.      Vanguard

Pam reported briefly that Vanguard is approaching the end of its initial three-year period, but that it will continue.

9.      Open Forum

Pam identified the development of a strategic plan as one of the priorities for next year's Senate. She also plans to engage the Senate committees more actively in working with and reporting to Senate.

Pam and Russ reported that the retreat for Senators and administrators has not yet been scheduled but it will take place by May 31st.

The meeting adjourned at 3:59, making way for another meeting scheduled to use the room.

Submitted by Fred Thomas

Approved by Senate, May 1, 2002