March 10, 2004

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

Senators attending: Jim Brooks, Susan Callender, Frank Clay, Myra Grinner, Kenneth Melendez, Jackie Myers, Nick Reeder, Shari Rethman, Ellen Rosengarten, Marti Shapiro, Marsha Wamsley, Charles Williams

Senators not attending:

Others attending: Derek Allen, Laurel Mayer

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

1.      Announcements

1.1.           Pam and Cindy reported that they had attended the previous meeting of Sinclair’s Board of Trustees where one of the major topics was possible expansion of Sinclair’s activities to serve Warren County.

1.2.           Pam reported that the planned meeting with Dr. Jacobs to prepare for the next Monitoring Task Force meeting was delayed until March 17th.

2.      Minutes from Feb. 25

Fred apologized that the draft minutes for February 25th were not ready for consideration. Consideration of those minutes was deferred until April 7th.

3.      Proposed changes to Handbook sections 2.6.1 and

Pam reminded Senate about the discussion begun at the previous meeting regarding the makeup of Division Merit Committees as described in Handbook section 2.6.1. One question is whether a chairperson can serve as both the chair’s representative and as the faculty representative from his or her department. Another question is whether each program should have a separate faculty representative, even when multiple programs are led by a single chairperson. The general consensus was that past precedence and the Handbook indicate there should be a single faculty representative per chair, even if that chair heads multiple programs.

Pam reported that Cindy and Jackie will be serving as Faculty Senate representatives on a task force to reexamine College-wide merit. The intention is to review the system and particularly to consider ways in which the system might be decentralized. The task force will also include additional faculty representatives as well as representatives of the administration.

Charlie and Ellen described the process in 1982 through which Sinclair moved from a more decentralized merit system to the current system. They said the change was motivated in large part by a desire to shift away from what many thought was an overly personal “old-boy network” and to let the application material stand on its own merit. The change at the time was driven primarily by faculty and was implemented after a vote of approval by the Faculty Assembly.

Charlie, Ellen and Frank said there would need to be similar vote of the Assembly before the system is changed again. Pam and Cindy agreed that there needs to be substantial input from faculty and asked Senators to seek input from their divisions. Jim said that it is difficult to obtain faculty input until there is specific information to share, and he asked about the process and time line for the merit task force. Pam replied that the goal is for the group to move quickly and to submit a revised system for Board approval in June 2004. College-wide merit has already been added as a new item on the matrix for Monitoring Task Force.

Pam and Cindy said that reasons for reexamining the merit system include a desire to manage workload more efficiently for administrators and others who participate in the process. There is also concern that some merit applications may not be entirely accurate in what they report and it may be easier for people at the division level to verify the accuracy of the applications.

Cindy noted that there are additional issues related to merit, including questions about how faculty could achieve closure if the merit system changes. She also pointed out that merit awards are now linked to average salary. Under the current system, if retirements lower the average salary, merit awards would also decrease.

Charlie said that under the original merit agreement merit was not to detract from the general pay increase. Cindy, Charlie and Pam pointed to internal parity as another related issue but said the parity issues cannot be solved by manipulating the merit system.

Returning to the discussion of Handbook section on division merit committees, Jackie asked for clarification about the currently proposed Handbook change. The proposal only specifies that the 10% limit on the number of awards per division is based upon the number of tenure-track employed in the division as of September 1. Authorized but vacant positions, for example, are not to be used in the calculation.

Pam reported that she has not yet received answers to the questions Senators raised about the proposed changes to Handbook section 2.6.1 on the timing of the FAPR process for faculty whose start date is not September 1.

4.      AQIP

Cindy reported that Sinclair’s application to participate in the AQIP reaccreditation process has been accepted. The College’s current accreditation has therefore been extended automatically to 2010. Cindy participated with Jennifer Day, Gloria Goldman, Laura Mercer, Sue Merrell, Ned Young, Dave Siefert, Ethel Washington, Jeanne Jacobs and Steve Johnson in an AQIP work session in Chicago. Four other schools also participated in the same work session. Much of the current activity is centered on preparing for a mini self-study report in 4 years. At that time, Sinclair will report on its progress with regard to specific projects. Based on the Constellation survey and other input, the Delta Team selected the academic advising process, high school linkages, quality of instruction and workforce development as Sinclair’s four project areas. In May, Sinclair will submit 3 refined project plans. Workforce development was not extensively discussed in Chicago, and it will not be part of the May report.

Cindy said that Sinclair was by far the largest of the five institutions in the work session. She said that Sinclair is ahead of some of the others in data collection and other aspects of the process but indicated that some of the others seemed ahead of Sinclair in the extent to which they had actively engaged faculty in making the key decisions. She emphasized the importance of serious participation by faculty as the process continues. “Get involved,” she said. “It’s going to be exciting.”

Marsha, Charlie, Jim, Ellen and others noted the advantages of the AQIP process over the previous one. AQIP should be less disruptive to other activities at the College and does not even include a site visit, unless Sinclair requests and pays for one. Under the old system it sometimes seemed that the College devoted an enormous effort to producing a report that might then be largely ignored until it was time for the next reaccreditation. The continuous improvement emphasis of AQIP seems much more likely to produce positive, long-term benefits.

5.      Open Forum

5.1.           Pam reported that she was continuing to keep Dr. Jacobs informed about issues raised in Senate. She will meet again with Dr. Jacobs before the end of Winter Quarter.

5.2.           Jim asked about the Sinclair Policies and Procedures statement that is now distributed as part of every syllabus. He questioned whether it really needed to be attached to every syllabus. Ken said that for web courses it was sufficient to post the statement as a link. Cindy said that the statement did need to be distributed in as many ways as possible to ensure that all students have the information.

5.3.           Marsha and Marti said that a faculty member in their division was concerned by a statement in the Senate minutes of Feb. 4th which seemed to suggest that College-Wide Learning Day (CWLD) might be eliminated. The faculty member is anxious that CWLD be maintained as a productive experience in line with the original vision. Pam replied that CWLD is very unlikely to be eliminated in the near future, but possible changes in the timing and format for the day are under consideration.

5.4.           Pam reported that the problems discussed in Senate regarding the pick up of tests in Building 11 seem to have been resolved.


The meeting adjourned at 4:22.

Submitted by Fred Thomas

Approved by Faculty Senate, April 7, 2004