March 12th, 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, Jackie Myers, Nick Reeder, Shari Rethman, Ellen Rosengarten, Vann Rogers, Marsha Wamsley

Senators not attending: Rick Jurus

Others attending: Laurel Mayer

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

1.      Minutes from March 5th

Ken moved to approve the minutes from March 5th. The motion passed.

2.      Announcements

2.1.           Pam reminded Senators that the retreat with Sinclair’s Provost and Vice Presidents would be held Wednesday, April 23rd.

2.2.           Pam reported that the Presidential Search Committee would meet next on Friday, March 14th. Pam explained that (contrary to a newspaper report) the entire committee would participate in the initial screening of the applicants.

2.3.           Pam reported that the full FITs team would meet during Spring Break on Monday, March 25th.

2.4.           Pam reported that she had represented Senate and met with the external evaluator for the AIM Center.

3.      Spring Faculty Senate Schedule

After brief discussion, Senate agreed to meet as a full group on alternate Wednesdays during Spring Quarter. Meetings will be held April 9th, April 23rd, May 7th, May 21st and June 4th.

4.      Spring Assembly Date

Pam reminded Senators that elections will be held during Spring Quarter, including selection of one new Senator from each division, Secretary, and Vice President. The person elected as Vice President will serve one year in that office and then become President for the next 2 years. She asked Senators to talk with faculty and encourage them to consider running for office.

5.      Process for Election of Officers and Voting on the Compensation Agreement

Pam noted that timing of the election of Senate offices can be difficult. The bylaws say the Assembly-wide elections should be held in the three weeks after divisional elections, but some divisions traditionally meet very near the end of the year. Also, this is the final year of a three-year compensation agreement, and faculty will need to vote on the new agreement achieved through the FITs discussion.

Shari, Frank, Pam and others noted that an open-balloting process (similar to that used last year regarding proposed amendments to the Constitution) could be a more effective way of achieving greater faculty participation.

6.      Input for Agenda for the Senate/Administration Retreat

The discussion emphasized trust and communications as important issues identified in the initial retreat. Several Senators also indicated their desire to address the question of how faculty input is incorporated into the College’s decision-making process.

7.      Academic Policies Recommendations for Evaluation of ACF and Tenure-Track Faculty

The Academic Policies Committee has recommended an alternative schedule for the initial performance evaluations of new full-time faculty who start in Winter or Spring quarters. Pam reported that the administration has not yet provided an answer to Fred’s question about how the proposed changes would impact the timing of pay increases, institutional merit, applications for tenure and other decisions which depend upon the annual evaluations. Cindy and Pam suggested that a solution typical outside of academia would be to have all events occur on each faculty members’ anniversary, regardless of when their employment began.

8.      Clarification of Handbook section 2.4.5 (Items 5 and 6)

At least one tenure-track faculty member has expressed concern about priorities for teaching assignments and asked about the priorities given in Handbook section 2.4.5. One concern is that tenure-track faculty “crossing over” to another department are listed in item 5b and item 6e as having a lower priority than ACFs in that department. An extensive discussion included the points that these are “guidelines,” that departments are responsible for scheduling decisions and that the actual procedures are different in different departments. Several Senators expressed doubt that the current Handbook policies grant priority rights in the way that some tenure-track faculty may want. Concerned tenure-track faculty could use the grievance procedure to test the policy or they could propose a Handbook change for Senate to consider.

9.      Process for Review of Faculty Handbook by Faculty Senate.

Pam summarized the widely held view that Senate is the “gatekeeper” for changes to the Faculty Handbook, although that role is not clearly specified in the Handbook or elsewhere. There are other groups, particularly the Academic Policies Committee, which also do important work in revising the Handbook, and there are other manuals that contain policies important to faculty. It seems likely that the Faculty Handbook will continue to be a “repository” for some policies and items of information that might not really need to be there. Pam, Jim, Cindy, Ken, Shari and others noted that the Handbook still needs significant revision and that it is a difficult task to carry out. Fred expressed a desire to insure that all proposed Handbook changes (even very minor ones) be made available for faculty to review before Senate votes on them.

After discussion, Senate agreed that the Vice President should be responsible for managing the process of revising the Handbook, including coordination between Academic Policies and Senate.

10. Open Forum

10.1.       Laurel asked about the report that the Board of Trustees had approved the academic calendars for the next two years. Suggestions to end Fall quarter before Thanksgiving and to move College-Wide Learning Day away from a Monday were not incorporated into the new calendars. Several Senators expressed a desire to obtain more information about how and why decisions such as this were made. Pam suggested that the upcoming retreat would be an appropriate opportunity to discuss communication processes and this is a possible case study.

10.2.       Laurel asked about the availability of data mentioned at the Trustees’ meeting on the largest 45 courses at Sinclair. Shari replied that the information is available on the Sinclair intranet as part of the 03-04 budget materials. She recommended that others investigate the budget materials as a source for very valuable information.

10.3.       Pam reported that the Trustees are indicating that Sinclair’s tuition may be increased for Summer 2003, and perhaps again during the 03-04 academic year. One unknown is whether the state will impose a tuition cap.

10.4.       Pam reported that Vanguard funding is coming to an end, but the Vanguard journey will continue.

10.5.       Cindy noted that the Trustees and others are very concerned about retention. Every quarter, Sinclair replaces about one-third of all our students. She suggested that it may be necessary to consider mandating both assessment and placement in appropriate prerequisite courses before students are allowed to take courses such as the “largest 45.” Ellen, Laurel, Frank, Jim, Vann, Jackie and others joined in an extensive discussion about the need to balance FTE demands with the desire to enforce additional prerequisites and to carry out other curriculum changes.

10.6.       Shari expressed a concern raised in her division that a change in criteria for academic standing may allow some students who have been dismissed three times to come back. Colleague is apparently unable to handle both the old and the new criteria. Pam replied that the issue has been raised elsewhere and that the information about previous dismissals will still be available in Colleague even though counselors will have to make some additional effort to view it. There will be a meeting with Datatel to further discuss the problem.

10.7.       Pam asked Senators and faculty to provide input regarding Fall Faculty Professional Day to Crystal Echols.

10.8.       Cindy reported that a two-page report from the library consults would be available soon, and asked Senators and faculty to provide feedback.

10.9.       Pam noted that the Faculty of the Year selections will be made during Spring quarter and asked Senators to encourage nominations from each division.

The meeting adjourned at 4:00.

Submitted by Fred Thomas

Approved by Senate, April 9, 2003