FACULTY SENATE MINUTES

April 14, 2004

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

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

Senators not attending: Susan Callender, Ellen Rosengarten, Marti Shapiro, Marsha Wamsley

Others attending: Jeanne Jacobs, Nancy Thibeault

 

Pam called the meeting to order at 2:37 in Room 6142

1.      Dr. Jacobs

Pam welcomed Dr. Jacobs, who distributed an outline (attachment FSMA20040414-01A) of the topics she planned to address. She explained that she wanted to provide feedback on the issues suggested by Senate the previous week and also to provide an update about priorities and challenges for instruction at Sinclair.

1.1.           Budget Update

Dr. Jacobs reminded Senate that state funding for higher education remains uncertain and that a tuition increase will be effective this summer. The College projects a 6% increase in revenues for 2004-05. The Board of Trustees is insistent that expenditures not exceed revenues.

With new limits on overload, new programs and other factors, there is a clear need for new full-time faculty. The current budget request is for about 20 new tenure-track faculty and one additional ACF. There will be an additional eight or nine tenure-track positions that need to be filled because of retirements and other reasons. There is also a clear need for additional full-time staff positions. The needed staff positions include several in Distance Learning where people have been working as web facilitators or in other faculty-support roles through grant funding. These staff positions need to be moved to the regular budget. There are also new College initiatives (for example, transfer) which require new staff resources. It is unlikely that all of the current requests will be funded. The College will maintain the number of ACFs at about 80.

The College’s budget for capital equipment has averaged about $440,000 per year, not including year-end buys and supplemental grants. The level for 2004-05 will probably be about the same. The Tech equipment grant will probably be available again this year, but it is likely to be delayed until January.

The total amount of reassigned time is expected to remain about the same as last year. New programs and College-wide initiatives that require funding include the Delta connection for the aviation program, new teacher preparation programs, transfer, increased support for part-time faculty and increased participation by department chairs in the chair academy.

1.2.           Delta Team

The Delta Team is continuing to look at “rocks” as areas for needed institutional change. Important rocks now being addressed include internal communications and efforts to make Sinclair’s committee structure more efficient. The Delta Team is also overseeing the AQIP reaccredidation process. Accreditation has traditionally been a responsibility of the Vice President for Administration but is now under direction of the Instructional Division.

One of the three AQIP projects is high school linkages. Sinclair is working to expand on the successful Tech Prep model in which students receive improved academics as part of their preparation for technical programs at Sinclair. Examples include Project Lead the Way as a pre-engineering program and a possible collaboration with Dayton Public Schools. At a meeting on regional development, Chancellor Chu commented that it is good to look at other areas to serve but that it is also important to “look deep.” Improved connections with high schools would be a good example of Sinclair’s looking deep into its central community. There is also a push at the state level for improved transfer of students from two-year technical programs to four-year universities.

Charlie asked about the budget impact of new high school linkages. Dr. Jacobs replied that they would have an impact but it is too early to give specific figures. At this point, there have been very serious discussions but no commitment.

The Delta Team plays a key role in managing a variety of other College-wide initiatives, and Dr. Jacobs distributed a list of those initiatives (attachment FSMA20040414-01B).

1.3.           Faculty Ratio

Dr. Jacobs noted that Sinclair has taken on a major task in trying to cap overload and phase out the use of Special Adjuncts while also maintaining the 60:40 and 80:20 faculty ratios for instruction. The Faculty Ratios Team has taken the lead and Sinclair has made important progress. The number of Special Adjunct positions, for example, decreased from 38 in Winter 2003 to 26 in Winter 2004. There has been an increase in average class size, new faculty have been hired, and the College is now carefully monitoring overload. Data for Spring overload is not yet available, but Dr. Jacobs reported there have been only a few exceptions for faculty who exceeded the yearly cap by two to four payhours. Fifty-three faculty exceed the 22-hour limit in Winter of 2004, but that does not mean they are beyond the annual cap of 66 hours. Sinclair had 341 tenure-track faculty and 81 ACFs in the Fall of 2003. The College continues to project increases in enrollment, and Dr. Jacobs is continuing to push for additional full-time faculty.

Jim said that some faculty are asking whether there will be flexibility in the overload cap during summer. Dr. Jacobs replied that there may be a few exceptions judged case-by-case but that she intends to hold to the limit of 22 hours.

Dr. Jacobs noted that many people believe the cap on overload has been good for the College, particularly with regard to instructional quality, but she also noted that there are still questions. She asked Senators about the opinion of faculty.

Cindy said that the cap seemed to have been effective in decreasing the large amount of overload taught by some faculty. Even with the increase in overload pay, however, faculty who previously taught little or no overload still seem to be passing up that opportunity. She also said that the increased part-time pay rate does not seem to have attracted a sufficient number of qualified part-time faculty.

Charlie said that it continues to be a struggle in DEV to staff day courses in particular since part-time faculty are generally not available at that time. Frank said that the Engineering Division is generally very supportive of the cap because of the benefits regarding quality. Ken said that Business Division faculty generally accepted the policy once they understood that the cap was at 66 hours for the year not at 22 hours for each quarter; however, chairs have more concerns because of the difficulties they face in staffing.

Dr. Jacobs emphasized that the College implemented the cap believing that it was the right thing to do. There may have to be some exceptions because of unexpected consequences, but she plans to hold the line. At this point, the policy does not seem to have had a substantial adverse impact on over-all enrollment. She suggested that Senators might want to invite Dr. Jones, head of the Faculty Ratios Team, to talk with them further about those issues.

1.4.           Priorities for Instruction

Dr. Jacobs briefly summarized progress on the development of an Instructional Master Plan. There are twelve priorities for the plan, with the top three being a revised process for program review, assessment (including AQIP) and the College’s transfer mission.

The Instructional Division is also engaged in discussions about possible reorganization of the College’s administrative structure, some driven by the fact that the Vice President for Administration is retiring. President Johnson has said that we are managing Sinclair as if we still had 10,000 students and there need to be changes to reflect the College’s current size and the changing environment.

If Sinclair decides to open major off-campus centers, there will be important impacts on the Instruction Division. There are questions being considered about the social, economic, political and other impacts of this possible move. The Board of Trustees is likely to make a decision in June.

Dr. Jacobs also noted that the Ohio Attorney General’s office is becoming more actively involved in working with Sinclair. The change reflects a shift in state policies and also reflects President Johnson’s desire for a better relationship with that office. Saundra Schuster is the Senior Assistant Attorney General assigned to Sinclair and she has already done an outstanding job, for example, in advising the Board of Trustees with regard to regional development. The Attorney General’s office has also requested copies of Sinclair policy documents, including the Faculty Handbook. Their review may help to guide important Handbook revisions.

Dr. Jacobs said that College-wide merit has been added to the matrix of faculty-administration issues. A small group is being assembled to look at the issue, although the group has not yet met. There was an initial goal of developing a recommendation that could be implemented in 2004-05, but that optimistic schedule will probably be changed. Shari said there is concern by some faculty that a shift to make merit decisions at the division level might mean that merit slots are allocated to divisions in proportion to their number of faculty, and this could be a disadvantage for divisions that have traditionally done better than average in the College-wide process. Dr. Jacobs agreed that the question should be addressed by the team as it works to develop a proposal.

Dr. Jacobs also mentioned the faculty evaluation process as another area in which changes are likely. She favors a more comprehensive approach that might include student evaluations, peer reviews or other factors, not just the current FAPR. She emphasized that the evaluation process must be formative, aimed at helping faculty. Fred asked if she expected the new evaluation process to apply only to tenure-track faculty. Dr. Jacobs replied that she expected the changes to impact all full-time faculty, including both tenure-track and ACF. Part-time faculty might also be included in a more limited way.

2.      Distance Learning Compensation

Pam welcomed Nancy Thibeault, who distributed a response to Senate’s questions from its meeting on April 7th (attachment FSMA20040414-02A). Nancy emphasized that the intent of the recommended changes in Distance Learning Compensation was to make the system simpler and fairer while also integrating Distance Learning more effectively into the College’s general procedures.

Nancy explained that the Distance Learning Compensation Committee wanted to keep the statement about discrete remote sections as it was in their original proposal. Under both the current and the proposed compensation policies, it is a departmental administrative decision whether to count remote interactive sections as discrete sections or as individual students. Nancy distributed two documents summarizing live interactive enrollments from Fall 2003 through Spring 2004 (attachments FSMA20040414-02B and FSMA20040414-02C). She noted an example from Fall 2003 in which COM 206 served 100 students simultaneously and was treated for pay purposes as being 4 separate sections.

Shari, Jackie, Cindy and others contributed to an active discussion which focused on resolving details in what Senate continues to feel is an excellent proposal. One continuing concern was that the proposal might make it impossible for departments to combine low-enrollment in-house and distance sections to form a single section with a viable class size and full pay for the instructor. An in-house section with 7 students and a remote site with 7 students might all be paid at the independent study rate, for example, and this could leave the instructor 0.2 payhours short of a full load. Senators felt it should be possible to count this as one section for purposes of both pay and average class size. Nancy agreed to draft a proposal that would make it possible to combine two or more small sections at different locations to create a single larger section. She will share that draft with the Distance Learning Compensation Committee and report back to Senate.

Cindy noted that in its response to Senate’s questions the Committee now suggests that there not be a rubric for determining compensation for course development or revision. The Committee feels that there are a number of courses in need of substantial revision and that the current limit of 2.5 payhours for revisions does not always provide adequate compensation. The Committee’s revised proposal says that faculty can receive up to 5 payhours of compensation for either development or revision of distance courses with the number of credits of reassigned time to be “agreed upon by the faculty member, chair of the department, and a representative from Distance Learning.” The payhours are to be proportional to the amount of content that must be developed or adapted by the faculty member.

3.      Minutes from April 7

Ken moved to approve the minutes from April 7th, incorporating changes suggested by Ellen and Jim. The motion passed.

4.      Open Forum

4.1.           Pam reported that office hour policy is likely to be a topic for an upcoming Senate meeting.

 

The meeting adjourned at 4:18.

Submitted by Fred Thomas

Approved by Senate, April 21, 2004