FACULTY SENATE MINUTES

Feb. 19th, 2003

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

Senators attending: Jim Brooks, Frank Clay, Roxann DeLaet, Kenneth Melendez, Jackie Myers, Nick Reeder, Shari Rethman, Vann Rogers, Marsha Wamsley

Senators not attending: Susan Callender, Rick Jurus, Ellen Rosengarten

Others attending: William LeJeune, Laurel Mayer, Lois Raches, Janet Jones

Pam called the meeting to order at 2:33 in room 9207.

1.      Minutes from Feb. 12th

Roxann moved to approve the minutes for Feb. 12th, 2003. The motion passed.

2.      Announcements

2.1.           Pam reminded Senators that the Winter Faculty Assembly meeting would be Wednesday, Feb. 26th, during the normal time for Senate meetings.

2.2.           Cindy reported that the LRC consultants will be presenting their report during the first week of March and would like to meet with Senate again at the March 5th meeting.

2.3.           Pam reported that she had met with Ned Young and provided him with the recommendations regarding FITs that were developed during the previous Senate meeting. The faculty FITs members are collecting benchmark data regarding summer and overload pay at other institutions. The full FITs team will meet Friday, Feb. 21st.

2.4.           Pam shared a question about personal leave that was scheduled in advance for Monday, Feb. 17th. The leave was apparently still charged, even though the campus was closed that day because of severe weather. There may have been a substitute already arranged, but situations such as this could discourage employees from arranging personal leave in advance.

3.      Faculty Assembly Update

Pam reported that Ned Young would report to the Faculty Assembly on FITs at the Assembly meeting, Feb. 26th. Since a meeting of faculty and administrative FITs members was scheduled for Feb 21st, Pam promised to provide Senators with an update prior to the Assembly meeting. Pam said that the Assembly meeting will also include reports on the STRS supplemental retirement policy and on the plans for the LRC renovation.

4.      Process for Recommending Handbook Changes

Fred expressed concern about a change to the Faculty Handbook being proposed by the Academic Policies committee, as described in the minutes of their meeting of Feb. 13th (attachment FSMA030219-04a). The proposed change (attachment FSMA030219-04b) to Handbook section 2.6.1 is related to the timing of performance reviews for first-year, tenure-track faculty who begin work in Winter or Spring quarters, rather than starting in September as usual. Fred said he was concerned that the proposed change may be inconsistent with other Handbook sections, and he was also concerned that the proposal was being sent forward to Instructional Council without first being reviewed by Senate. Shari suggested that the proposed change is consistent with other policies, if the initial contract for a faculty member starting in January or April continues through for four or five quarters rather than the usual three. Jim and Pam noted that Senate normally would have an additional opportunity to review all Handbook changes before they are sent to the Trustees for final approval.

5.      Human Resources Discussion

Pam welcomed Janet Jones, Director of Human Resources, and Lois Raches, Benefits Coordinator. Cindy explained that Senate had invited them to come to the meeting to help answer questions about a possible sick leave bank and to help establish a closer working relationship in general.

Janet reviewed possible systems for a sick-leave bank. Some institutions allow ongoing donations to a general bank, while others allow employees to make specific donations of sick leave when a specific need arises. Sinclair currently has neither system, and some employees who wanted to donate a part of their leave time for an injured ACF faculty member were not able to do so. Janet emphasized that a policy of this sort needs to look beyond any one specific case, and it needs to include safeguards to avoid potential problems such as discrimination or inappropriate use of sick leave. Ohio law provides guidelines about how sick-leave banks should operate, but the state does not require such systems. Another issue is that benefits for Sinclair’s ACFs and grant-funded employees do not include the short-term disability insurance that is provided for tenure-track faculty. Both short-term and long-term disability insurance provide 60% of the employee’s pay.

Marsha asked whether the employee’s job is protected while on disability, and Lois explained that the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) guarantees covered employees the right to return to their job after a leave of up to 12 weeks. FMLA does not require employers to provide paid leave. Janet and Lois emphasized that additional information about this and other policies is available on the Human Resources website at http://ourold.sinclair.edu/sites/hr/Intranet/Policies/policies.html

Bill asked for further clarification regarding ACFs, and Janet explained that they do receive long-term disability insurance, they are covered by FMLA after an initial period of employment, and they earn sick leave at the same rate as tenure-track faculty but with limited carryover from one year to the next. Shari asked if ACFs could be allowed to purchase short-term disability coverage, and Janet agreed to investigate that possibility.

Jim noted that Staff Senate had worked on this issue earlier and helped to shape the current policies. He asked about the general process by which Faculty Senate might help to initiate new policies in areas such as this. Janet replied that new policy ideas could be initiated in a variety of ways that might involve both Faculty and Staff Senates, the Provost Workgroup and other campus organizations. Policy changes would all need to be approved by the Trustees. Janet described bereavement leave as one of the areas in which she is currently working for change.

Cindy pointed out that some policies apply very differently for faculty and staff. Faculty, for example, have 9-month contracts and no vacation leave. One issue is that faculty who serve on juries during summer quarter may still be required to give that pay to Sinclair. Another concern is that there seem to be significant variations in how departments apply policies regarding sick leave and personal days for faculty. Shari expressed concern that current policies may not allow faculty enough flexibility, for example in caring for a sick child. Lois replied that a child’s minor illnesses are not an appropriate use for faculty sick leave, but that more serious illnesses or emergencies are appropriate if approved by the VPI. Some institutions have a general category for “paid time off” so that it is not necessary to distinguish between sick and personal leave, but those institutions generally do not allow the time to accumulate from year to year.

Roxann asked about policies regarding overload while a faculty member is on sick leave. Janet answered that policies of that sort are handled by the Vice President for Instruction, not by Human Resources. Fred asked how disability leave is related to summer teaching, and Lois explained that the calculations for paying disability are based on the number of days in a normal 9-month contract.

Janet explained that she and Steve Jonas meet regularly with the officers of Staff Senate. She will talk with Dr. Jonas about possible ways of involving faculty more extensively in discussions about Human Resources policies. She also agreed to get back to the Senate with additional information about jury duty, a possible sick-leave bank and bereavement policies.

6.      Open Forum

No items.

The meeting adjourned at 4:40.

Submitted by Fred Thomas

Approved by Senate, March 5, 2003