Jan. 22, 2003

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

Senators attending: Jim Brooks, Susan Callender, Frank Clay, Roxann DeLaet, Kenneth Melendez, Nick Reeder, Shari Rethman, Vann Rogers, Ellen Rosengarten

Senators not attending: Rick Jurus, Jackie Myers, Marsha Wamsley

Others attending: Laurel Mayer

Pam called the meeting to order at 2:30 in room 6142.

1.      Minutes from Jan. 15th

Frank moved to approve the minutes for Jan. 15, 2003. The motion passed.

2.      FITs Report

Pam reported that Dr. Jonas has provided Ned Young with the report of 2002-2003 Sinclair faculty salaries (attachment FSMA030122-02A) as reported to AAUP and a summary of Sinclair salaries by rank (attachment FSMA030122-02B). Faculty members of the FITs team will be meeting soon to discuss the data and to plan for discussions with the full FITs team.

Laurel asked if a retirement incentive program was included among the items under consideration by FITs. Pam answered that this was on the table for discussion, but that it is not currently a top priority. Overload and summer pay were ranked as top concerns on the faculty survey.

3.      OBOR Report

Pam reported that Mike Smith and Jim Johnson would be attending a meeting of the OBOR faculty advisory group on Jan. 24th. They received an extensive package of data about institutions of higher education in Ohio to aid in preparing for the meeting, and the materials have also been distributed to Senators. It includes data about the comparative “sticker price” for tuition at each of the public institutions in Ohio (attachment FSMA030122-03A). Pam asked Senators to contact Mike and Jim Johnson if they have suggestions or questions regarding the meeting. Laurel suggested that it would be helpful for Senate to receive a report about the outcome of the meeting.

Fred said that he understood the OBOR data as showing that Sinclair’s annual tuition was almost $500 lower than the second least expensive institution in Ohio, and asked about the likelihood that Sinclair would implement a tuition increase. Pam and Cindy indicated that Sinclair’s Board of Trustees seems very reluctant to support a tuition increase.

Susan asked about the role of OBOR in lobbying at the state level, and Pam replied that Chancellor Chu in particular has been very active in advocating for higher education.

4.      STRS Recommendation

Forrest Cope was unable to attend the Senate meeting, and Pam asked Senators to provide her with questions to forward to the Personnel Committee regarding supplemental retirement. She also noted that the deadline is approaching for faculty retiring this summer to submit applications for supplemental retirement. There was a brief discussion that focused on pros and cons of the Personnel Committee’s suggestion that faculty be allowed to apply for supplemental retirement after they have retired.

5.      Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Sick Leave

Pam described cases of adoption and of bereavement related to step parents in which faculty may not be considered eligible for leave. She also noted that some faculty would like the option of donating sick leave to other Sinclair faculty or staff who need it. A recent  accident involving a first-year faculty member led to a divisional campaign that raised about $7000 to help defray expenses during rehabilitation. AK Steel may match the contribution.

Shari and Ellen expressed concern that current College policies for personal and family medical leave can place a substantial hardship on parents, particularly in cases such as international adoptions. Frank described the pattern common in fire and police departments where it is the norm for employees to donate leave to those who need it. Cindy and others noted that extended sick leave at Sinclair generally does not have a job-related cause, and that excessive use of donated sick leave could delay the replacement of faculty or place other hardships on departments.

Shari asked about the policy that prohibits taking personal days immediately before or after holidays. Several Senators indicated that the procedures for charging sick leave and personal days seem to be interpreted very differently in different departments. In many departments, the leave is handled through informal arrangements without full accounting; in other departments, the policies are followed much more formally. Another cause of concern is that leave must be counted as “full days” whether it involves missing just an office hour or twelve hours of teaching.

Ken asked about the procedure for recommending changes to policies of this sort. These are generally Human Resources policies that apply to all Sinclair employees, not just to faculty.

Senate agreed to charge the Personnel Committee with investigating policies at other institutions regarding FMLA policies. The Personnel Committee was asked to report back to Senate by April 9th.

6.      Open Forum Criteria and Process


7.      Open Forum

7.1.           Pam said that there is an inconsistency in the application materials distributed for promotion, in that bullets 3 and 4 of the instructions describe different orders for the materials that applicants are to submit. The order described in bullet 3 has been the standard in the past, and faculty are advised to follow that order. Cindy will consult with Instructional Council to insure that faculty applying for promotion are not disadvantaged by the inconsistency.

7.2.           After discussion with Senate, Pam set the date for the Winter Faculty Assembly meeting as Wednesday, Feb. 26th, from 3:00 to 4:00 pm. Agenda items will include FITs, FMLA and STRS supplemental retirement. Cindy recommended that Senate distribute a summary sheet with information on each of the topics to help keep all faculty informed even if they cannot attend the Assembly meeting.

7.3.           Vann distributed materials about the Black Women’s Think Tank, Saturday, Feb. 8th (attachment FSMA030123-07A) and about the Sinclair observance of African-American History Month (attachment FSMA030123-07B).

7.4.           Cindy suggested that Senate review Sinclair’s last NCA accreditation report to identify issues that have not yet been addressed. She also suggested that Senate consider items that need to be included in the upcoming budget.

7.5.           Jim shared a question from a faculty member about whether there is any change occurring with regard to the 57-hour limit on teaching. Pam replied that workload is on the matrix and is under study by the task force led by Dick Jones. A report from the task force was submitted to the Board of Trustees in preparation for its January Retreat, and the report may be available for Senate’s review.

7.6.           Shari noted that smoking near building exits is now more common, and asked if there have been any developments with regard to providing an alternative location for smokers.

The meeting adjourned at 4:02.

Submitted by Fred Thomas

Approved by Senate Jan. 29, 2003