FACULTY SENATE MINUTES

Jan. 23, 2002

Officers attending: Russ Marcks, President; Fred Thomas, Secretary

Senators attending: Cindy Beckett, Susan Callender, Frank Clay, Forrest Cope, Roxann DeLaet, George Hageman, Rick Jurus, Kenneth Melendez, Bob Reas, Mike Smith,

Not attending: Pam Chambers (attending Provost's Work Group), Ellen Rosengarten, Karen Winston

Others attending: Karen Blake, Tanya Grant, Laurel Mayer, Shari Rethman, Gary Tucker

Russ called the meeting to order at 2:32 in room 6142

1.      Minutes from Jan. 16, 2002

Roxann moved to approve the minutes as distributed. The motion passed unanimously.

2.      Faculty Gifts (Tanya Grant)

Russ introduced Tanya Grant, who is head of the Employee Recognition Dinner. Tanya summarized the current program, particularly the gifts that are given to employees on five-year anniversaries of their employment. Current gifts are a monogrammed bag (5 years), pen and pencil set (10 years), Sinclair print (15 years), mantel clock (20 years), chair (25 years), vase (30 years) and a watch (35 years). There is also a Tartan plaque presented to retirees, regardless of the number of years of service. Tanya sought input from Senators about possible changes to the gift program, including possible options for honorees to select from a group of alternative gifts. A disadvantage of allowing more choices is that the gifts would probably not be as distinctly linked to Sinclair.

Several Senators indicated that faculty especially appreciate the monogrammed bag and the chair, while the pen and pencil set, the print and the vase are less popular. Several Senators expressed the belief that the gifts should continue to maintain a distinctive Sinclair designation. Suggested alternatives to the retirement plaque included an engraved brick or other remembrance to be kept on display at Sinclair. Tanya will share the Senate's ideas with the other members of the Employee Recognition team.

6.      Personnel Committee report (This item was #6 on the original agenda, but was moved to this position in the meeting.)

Russ introduced Shari Rethman, Chair of Senate's Personnel Committee, and reminded Senate that the Committee had been charged to prepare a list of items that need to be considered in relation to possible Senate representation of ACFs.

Shari distributed a written report from the Committee, Issues with ACF Representation by Faculty Senate (attachment fsm20020123-a1). She explained that the Committee had found its task to be very difficult. The new Intranet version of the Faculty Handbook is much improved; however, there are still areas of confusion about what sections apply to whom. The Committee suggested that there might need to be a separate page in the Handbook, clearly defining how the terminology applies to each group of faculty. Whatever decisions are made about Senate representation of ACFs, the Committee feels the Handbook needs to be clarified. Shari also noted that one member of the Senate Personnel Committee, Sue Raffee, is an ACF.

Shari emphasized that the Committee was not taking a position on Senate representation of ACFs, but instead providing a clarification of the issues. She elaborated briefly on the discussions within the Committee regarding some of the "general issues" presented in the report. One point of discussion in the Committee was that ACF and tenure-track faculty might have different interests on important questions, such as whether ACF positions should be converted to tenure track after a specific number of years. Another point of discussion was that blurring the line between ACF and tenure-track faculty might actually increase the confusion about rights, privileges and responsibilities of the two groups.

There was extensive discussion about the report and about future steps. Russ stated that two characteristics distinguishing ACFs from tenure-track faculty are that ACFs are "temporary" and they are not required to accept leadership responsibilities, and Gary noted there are also important distinctions among the various ranks of tenure-track faculty.

Regarding procedures to settle the questions identified by the Committee, Russ suggested that there might need to be an item-by-item vote, determining first if Senate represents ACFs and then deciding precisely how and where ACFs are included in the Handbook. Cindy noted that the issue is pressing, in part because Academic Policies Committee is being delayed by lack of a Senate decision on how to define "full-time faculty."

Regarding the history of the ACF positions, Shari said that they are generally hired through searches, but the searches are often more local than tenure-track searches. Faculty hired as ACF may not have the same qualifications as those hired for tenure-track positions. Fred noted that there is also a group of ACFs who were converted from Special Adjunct status based on longevity, without new searches. Gary and Cindy described the previous system (eliminated while Karen Wells was VPI) in which ACFs were required to reapply for their positions after three years with a maximum term of six years. Fred described Handbook section 2.9.1 and the AAUP guidelines to which it refers as saying that full-time faculty cannot serve for more than seven years without being tenured.

Forest, Cindy, and Russ discussed the possibility of a "new start," which might redefine the ACF job description and might require all current ACFs to reapply. Fred contended that the new start still amounted to a "caste system" if it provided major distinctions in faculty rights and opportunities for advancement but made little or no distinction in the actual work responsibilities. Russ, Cindy and Shari said that the practice of making temporary employees ineligible for pay increases was widespread in industry, but much of the problem at Sinclair comes from the fact that many ACFs are not really temporary. ACFs could have left Sinclair after a year or two, but many choose to stay longer at Sinclair for a variety of reasons.

Shari reiterated a suggestion from the Personnel Committee that ACFs may need a separate handbook. Frank was concerned that there may already be too many different categories of faculty, and Russ said that the administration generally wants to simplify the system not make it more complex. Russ pointed out that any decisions that go beyond the question of Senate representation of ACFs would require administration approval. The administration is, however, willing to discuss significant changes in the system.

Mike asked about the concerns expressed by ACFs themselves, and suggested that focus groups might be a useful way of getting additional information from them. Shari responded that a perceived lack of reward for extra efforts seemed to be the concern. Laurel asked about the ACF survey conducted last year, and Cindy reported that pay increases were also the primary concern in those responses. Cindy suggested a two-pronged effort with both focus groups and a resolution to recommend merit-based increases for ACF and part-time faculty. One concern is that pay increases for ACF and part-time faculty might come at the expense of tenure-track faculty. Ken asserted that we must be careful to avoid letting this become a zero-sum game. Discussion continued on specifics of how ACFs and perhaps Special Adjuncts might actually be represented.

Russ charged the Personnel Committee to proceed with developing a list of pros and cons of Senate representing or not representing ACFs, and the Senate thanked the Committee for its work on this difficult task. The topic was tabled until the next Senate meeting.

3.      KPI regarding part-time and full-time faculty ratios (deferred from Nov. 28, 2001)

Russ distributed a modified draft of Faculty Senate Recommendation, #RCF0103, on the "Adoption of Full-Time to Part-Time faculty ratios as a KPI" (attachment fsm20020123-a02). He explained that the "60/40" split of full-time to part-time and "80/20" split of tenure track to ACF faculty as currently discussed by the administration are based on the number of sections taught, not on number of faculty or on FTE. The revised draft proposes that the ratios be based instead on student FTE.

Fred argued that the shift to counting student FTE rather than faculty sections was more consistent with Board of Regents guidelines and with the desired emphasis on student learning. Faculty ratios may seem too much like job quotas. It may be more appropriate to set a goal that when a student signs up for a class in any division he or she will have at least a 60% chance that the class will be conducted by a full-time faculty member.

Laurel and Cindy suggested that it would be better to set the goals as applying to individual departments, rather than to divisions or to the entire College. There may need to be some special accommodation for small departments.

Frank asked about the current ratios, and Fred responded by citing a study by Denise Moore which found, based on instructional pay hours, that about 30% of Sinclair's instruction is now provided by part-time faculty, 20% by full-time adjuncts or ACFs, and about 50% by tenure track faculty. Fred also expressed his opposition to the 60/40 and 80/20 ratios. Since "60% of 80% is 48%," these ratios would make tenure-track faculty a minority at Sinclair.

The topic was tabled until the next Senate meeting.

4.      Email policy

Deferred to Nov. 30.

5.      Virtual Office Hour

Deferred to Nov. 30.

7.      Open Forum

No additional issues were discussed.

The meeting adjourned at 4:00.

Submitted by Fred Thomas

Approved by Senate, Jan. 30, 2002