Feb. 20, 2002

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

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

Not attending: Forrest Cope,

Others attending: Karen Blake, William LeJeune, Laurel Mayer, Gary Tucker

Russ called the meeting to order at 2:34 in room 6142.

1.      Minutes from Feb. 13, 2002

The minutes from Feb. 13 were approved as distributed.

Announcements (added agenda item)

a.   Russ distributed copies of a commentary by Jerry Tatar, Chairman of Sinclair's Board of Trustees, discussing issues related to tuition costs and the funding of higher education.

  1. Russ explained that Ned Young has collected and summarized data from the FITs Faculty Issues Survey. Russ distributed two graphs summarizing the responses. One graph includes all 189 respondents and the other shows the responses from the 163 tenure-track respondents. Faculty responded to each of the 13 issues on the survey by ranking its importance and their satisfaction from 1 to 5.

Russ noted that only one issue, "Reimbursement for faculty training and development," received an average satisfaction rating above 3. Faculty gave the highest importance rating to "Average salary increase." The issue of "Salary based on 115% of national 2-year college averages" was also ranked as very important. The issues of "Overload pay" and "Summer pay," were notable in having very high ratings for importance and very low ratings for satisfaction.

Russ commented that it is difficult to interpret faculty responses regarding their satisfaction on the 115% target and on institutional merit, since we will not know if we have reached the 115% target until March and we will not know the results of institutional merit until summer. He also noted that in his experience the College has never reached a goal established by a salary agreement. The FITs team is currently discussing the possibility of seeking a one-year agreement, rather than another multi-year agreement.

Russ also distributed two graphs showing the history of faculty percent pay increases since 1985. The figures are based on the average tenure-track faculty salary, not including merit. The graphs compare pay increases with two measures of the consumer price index (CPI), and show that the average tenure-track faculty salary at Sinclair has consistently outpaced inflation on a percentage basis.

Cindy asked that a more complete summary of the Faculty Issues Survey results, broken out by specific ranks, be attached to the minutes.

2.      Proposed Constitutional Amendments

Russ moved to enter executive session, and Cindy seconded. The motion passed, and Senate went into executive session at 3:00.

Senate reconvened at 3:18.

Russ reported that there was a question, "Is there a way to allow ACF faculty to vote in the upcoming election on whether or not they should be represented by Senate and be members of the Assembly?" He reported that the answer stipulated by Roberts Rules and the Assembly Constitution is "no." Senate will develop a ballot that will in spirit decide, yes or no, will ACFs be represented by Senate. Depending upon that decision, the Constitution will be revised to reflect the outcome of the vote. The ballot will be distributed in writing, at least 30 days prior to an Assembly meeting at which the issue will be discussed. The vote will be conducted within 30 days after that meeting.

Fred expressed his strong opposition to the decision, contending that Article III, Section 4 of the Assembly Constitution does provide a way to settle the question of whether or not ACF faculty can vote in the decision. Russ disagreed based on the fact that any such action requires a quorum.

Cindy and Ellen volunteered to work with Russ to prepare the ballot.

Fred asked that the ballot be prepared in a way that carefully protects the right of a one-third minority of Assembly members to say "no" to any proposed Constitutional amendment.

3.      Open Forum

3.1.           Russ reviewed the issue of the Virtual Office Hour. The proposal was for Tom Singer to head a group looking at technical issues, and Russ to head a group looking at more general policy issues. Senate decided not to pursue this course of action at this time.

3.2.           Cindy asked that Senate seek to identify specific priorities for Senate action during the remainder of the academic year. In particular, she felt Senate should consider ways of achieving a consensus with the administration regarding priorities. Pam identified curriculum and assessment as two of the major areas which are very important to the Learning College initiative and which might be appropriate areas for increased attention from Senate.

Cindy mentioned support for part-time faculty or staff development generally as possible examples of areas in which Senate could become more proactive and provide leadership on issues that extend beyond the specific concerns of full-time faculty. Susan agreed and said that her colleagues are concerned about a broad range of issues not just salary and compensation. Gary suggested that follow-up to the Frank Barresi report from three years ago might be another area for potential Senate leadership.

Roxann and Cindy suggested preparing a guidebook to help new Senators and Officers come up to speed more quickly. Pam shared her intention to have one or more informal meetings over the summer to help orient new and returning Senators.

Bob noted that Pam had previously asked Senators to consult faculty in their divisions and identify the top three items on which they would like to see closure before the end of the academic year. He handed his list to Pam.

3.3.           Fred reported that he had talked recently with Gordon Cowperthwaite about the Faculty Forum, and learned that it had not been published yet this year because there have not been enough articles submitted. He shared Gordon's invitation to all Senators and other faculty to submit articles.

3.4.           Fred distributed a resolution from the Sinclair AAUP chapter asking that the FITs team establish a time-line and provide substantive reports at least monthly to Senate during the academic year, so that all faculty can say informed about the status of topics under consideration. Several Senators and others present joined in discussing the pros and cons of widely disseminating information about the FITs discussions. Russ, Pam, Ken, and others spoke in favor of establishing a clearer time-line. Cindy, Ellen, Ken, and Pam emphasized the need for faculty to stand behind the FITs negotiators.

3.5.           Roxann asked about the process by which Pam is collecting comments on the grammatical changes to the Handbook being proposed by Academic Policies Committee. Pam confirmed that she wanted each Senator to reply with comments via email. The changes will up for formal Senate action at a later date.

3.6.           Laurel asked that all Senators encourage faculty in their divisions to participate in the upcoming Faculty Assembly meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 4:07.

Submitted by Fred Thomas

Approved by Senate, Feb. 27, 2002