Jan. 14, 2004

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

Senators attending: Jim Brooks, Susan Callender, Kenneth Melendez, Jackie Myers, Nick Reeder, Shari Rethman, Ellen Rosengarten, Marsha Wamsley, Charles Williams

Senators absent: Frank Clay, Myra Grinner, Marti Shapiro

Others attending: Bill LeJeune, Laurel Mayer, Ned Sifferlen

Pam called the meeting to order at 2:30 in the Building 15 Conference Room.

1.      Minutes from Nov. 19th

Shari moved to approve the minutes as distributed. The motion passed.

2.      Announcements

2.1.           Pam announced that President’s Council has been renamed the President’s Leadership Council.

2.2.           Pam said that she would be representing Faculty Senate at the Peace March on Jan. 19th. Buses will be available to take participants from Sinclair to the starting point. All faculty are encouraged to participate.

2.3.           Cindy announced that the Faculty Senate meeting on Jan. 28th would include a presentation by Teresa Prosser of the Assessment Committee and a presentation by Helen Grove on the Instructional Plan.

2.4.           Jim announced that there will be a Winter Quarter issue of the Faculty Forum. He asked Senators and other faculty to contact him if they have additional ideas for articles. He is willing to work with faculty in the development of articles.

3.      Changing Lives (Dr. Sifferlen)

Pam welcomed Dr. Sifferlen to the meeting and noted that he is still extremely busy even during retirement. Dr. Sifferlen distributed an information sheet and invitation (attachment FSMA20040114-03A) about Changing Lives and provided an overview and update on the program. Public funding for higher education is becoming less available, and the Board of Trustees established this major initiative to raise $12 million in private donations. The money will not be used for buildings, but rather to increase the number of people who attend Sinclair.

Contributions from Sinclair employees are a key component of the program, in part because they demonstrate to other potential donors that Changing Lives has strong internal support. The program has a goal of raising $500,000 from Sinclair employees over five years, and has already received pledges of $372,000. Changing Lives has raised a total of $3.6 million, including very generous gifts from John Taylor and Jerry Tatar. So far, 34% of all Sinclair employees and 29% of the Sinclair faculty have donated. Dr. Sifferlen asked for help in getting additional faculty and other employees to participate in the Changing Lives breakfasts. He praised Sinclair faculty and other employees for the way they have continued to support United Way while also supporting the Changing Lives program.

Dr. Sifferlen provided information packets to Senators for distribution to faculty in their divisions. He will report back to Faculty Senate about the continuing progress of the campaign. He emphasized, “It’s all about students.”

Pam, Cindy, Shari, Laurel, Susan and other Senators voiced their support for the program, and Pam thanked Dr. Sifferlen for his on-going work.

4.      Handbook changes

Cindy referred to the Faculty Senate Resolution distributed at the meeting of Nov. 19th (attachment FSMA20040114-04A) regarding the role of the Provost as described in the Faculty Handbook. Since Sinclair does not now have a Provost, there is a need to change the Handbook. The Resolution seeks to change the wording so that it is appropriate whether the Provost position is currently filled or not. At many places within the Handbook, the Resolution adds the phrase “(if applicable)” after references to the Provost/COO or replaces the reference to the Provost with “the President (or his designee).” Cindy moved to approve the Resolution, and Charlie seconded. The motion passed.

Cindy reminded Senators about the changes to Handbook section 2.4.5 on faculty workload (attachment FSMA20040114-04B) that have been proposed by Instructional Council. The proposed changes include language to implement the 66-hour limit on classroom teaching.

Charlie expressed strong concern about how or if the 66-hour limit would be revisited. Pam and Cindy replied that there is now a set policy for both transition to the limit and the continuing implementation. FITS or Senate could decide to reconsider that policy, but at this time Senate intends to hold to the limit. They emphasized that any Senator or any tenure-track faculty member has the right to propose changes.

Several Senators noted that the limit on teaching hours has important implications for the hiring of new tenure-track faculty. Laurel said DCC is pressing the point that the 60:40 and 80:20 ratios for faculty are minimums for each department, not maximums or targets for the College as a whole.

Senate agreed that Pam should continue discussions with Dr. Collins and Instructional Council about the proposed Handbook changes. All Handbook changes will come back to Faculty Senate for final approval.

5.      Winter Assembly date discussion

Pam noted that the report from the combined Personnel and Resource Committee will be available by early February; therefore, the Faculty Assembly meeting can include information about supplemental retirement and Sinclair’s calendar, as well as a report from FITS. Dr. Jacobs would also like an opportunity to speak with the Assembly. Senate agreed that the date for the Assembly meeting would be either Feb. 18th or 25th, depending on the availability of Dr. Jacobs and others.

6.      Engineering exit interviews

Nick reminded Senators about his memo in which he shared an exit interview (attachment FSMA20040114-06A) recently introduced as a tool for program evaluation in the Division of Engineering and Industrial Technologies. Some faculty have expressed concern that the exit interview may go too far in asking for feedback about specific faculty members. He asked for the opinion of Senators on the issue.

Marsha and Cindy said that Allied Health departments use exit interviews to learn about the strengths and weaknesses of programs but do not seek data about specific faculty members. Susan, Charlie, Shari, Jim and Marsha expressed support for the Division’s effort to improve program evaluation but also expressed concern about the request for information about individual faculty and about the open-ended nature of some questions. Since the interviews are collected by Department Chairs, it may be very difficult to keep the interview answers from unduly influencing judgments about individual faculty performance.

Charlie recommended that the exit interview be reviewed by Sinclair’s Office of Institutional Planning and Research or by the Assessment Committee. He also suggested that it may be appropriate to have it reviewed by Sinclair’s legal council. Several other Senators voiced their support for this recommendation and also suggested that the Engineering Technology accrediting bodies should be able to provide additional guidance.

Fred noted that the interviews might provide chairs with information about specific faculty in other divisions (including him) who regularly teach engineering technology students, and he recommended that there be a clear procedure for disclosing that information to the faculty member involved. He also suggested that it might be more appropriate to have the interviews conducted by someone other than the chair, since that person is also a faculty member within the program.

Cindy and others expressed their willingness to provide additional help in the division’s continuing improvement of this assessment instrument.

7.      Monitoring Task Force

Pam reported that Monitoring Task Force (Pam, Cindy, Dr. Jacobs and President Johnson) had met. ACFs, faculty ratios, parity and workload remain as major concerns on the matrix. Cindy and Pam have been charged to address additional ways of providing recognition to ACF faculty. Funds to hire a consultant to look at parity need to be incorporated into the College budget.

Pam also reported that there has been progress with distance learning compensation. The Distance Learning Compensation Committee has delivered a white paper to the FITS team and will report soon to Senate.

Cindy also shared information about a wide-ranging discussion in MTF of “big picture” questions. This seems to be the right time to consider the possibility of major changes, such as integrating ACF and Instructor positions; revising faculty performance evaluations; revisiting the promotion, tenure and merit system; perhaps changing tenure itself or shifting to renewable contracts; and perhaps replacing faculty chairs with non-faculty administrators.

8.      Open Forum

8.1.           Jim asked about the policy and practice in other departments regarding office hours on days when faculty do not teach or when teaching distance learning/web courses. The Faculty Handbook specifies that faculty are expected to schedule, post and maintain a minimum of one office hour for each of five days per week. Several Senators indicated that the actual practice varies greatly among departments.


The meeting adjourned at 4:19.

Submitted by Fred Thomas

Approved by Senate, Feb. 11, 2004