Minutes for Faculty Senate meeting
3 PM Friday, October 3, 2008
Board Room, David Student Union

Senators present:  Wheeler, Carlson, Rahim, Guajardo, Duskin, French, Lambert, Brash, Filetti, McMahon, Mollick, Frucot, Xu (arrives at 3:57), Underwood (leaves at 5:26), Brunke (leaves at 5:40)
Senators absent: none
  1. President Wheeler calls the meeting to order at 3:00.
  2. Invitation of Guests, Keston Fulcher, Director of Assessment, and Kelly Cartwright, Associate Provost
  3. Approval of minutes of Faculty Senate meetings
    1. Acknowledge electronic approval of minutes for September meeting
  4. HERI Survey Results Report, Keston Fulcher, Director of Assessment, and Kelly Cartwright, Associate Provost

    Keston Fulcher and Kelly Cartwright presented their executive summary of the results of the Higher Education Research Institute (HERI) survey that was given in Spring 2008. The purpose of this survey is to see how CNU faculty feels about their job compared to other faculty nationwide. There was a 54% response rate from CNU faculty (that's a good response rate). In the survey, 2/3 of the female respondents were instructors or assistant professors, and 2/3 of the male respondents were associate or full professors. That corresponds well to the demographics of the faculty at CNU. This document has been vetted through the provost's advisory staff and the senate executive committee, who looked at the raw data as well. Faculty who would like to see the 33 pages of raw spreadsheet results may make an appointment to view those with Dr. Fulcher. Senators wondered what would happen with the report. Dr. Fulcher indicated that there is no immediate plan for further dissemination or analysis.

  5. President's report
    1. The SEC will be meeting with all freshman/sophomore/junior/senior class presidents.

    2. The Academic Advising Committee would like handbook clarification of the meaning of the word 'discipline' in the liberal learning core. This issue will go to the UCC and LLC.

    3. The SEC has met with president and provost on current budget ideas, and has some ideas to share (President Wheeler shared further approaches to the budget under VIIID, Curriculum Review Task Force).

  6. Committee Reports
    1. BAC (Underwood):

      Senator Underwood reported that the BAC plans (5%, 10% and 15%) recommended no termination of permanent faculty, but that instructional budgets would likely need to be reduced under each of these scenarios. She also indicated that the BAC took the recommendations of the Faculty Senate very seriously in their deliberations and resulting plans. Plans for the current fiscal year will be released by the governor’s office in the next week or so, and cuts for the 2010 fiscal year will be released later this year (probably after the General Assembly session). In regard to the 25% cut in departmental operating budgets and the adjustments to the Spring 2009 schedule, Underwood indicated that the BAC had asked the provost and deans to undertake immediate initiatives for cost savings, but that the discretion as to the nature and scope of these savings were left to their discretion. 

      Discussion: Senators asked about a 25% cut in discretionary spending across departments has been implemented that did not come from BAC. This budget cut includes many cancelled courses for Spring 2009. Senators did not know who made that decision. There was confusion about budget decisions in general. Senators requested clarification. Note: After the meeting, the governor announced a 5% cut for CNU for this fiscal year.

    2. University Eval-4 Committee (Wheeler)

      The Eval-4 committee is now discussing what products should be used for evaluating scholarship, teaching and service. There are 4 categories under teaching, several under scholarship. The report will give examples of how to assess each category. There will be recommendations for assistant to associate, associate to full and post-tenure review.

    3. Committee for Objective 1: Hiring and Retention (Brash): The committee discussed what the administration's and senate's priorities and motivation should be for improving hiring and retaining faculty given the tight budget situation. The committee felt that improving the institution's case for PBK was important. As we bring in new faculty with strong research programs already, we don't want them to use CNU as a springboard to some other university.  Michelle Moody has calculated how much it costs to recruit more faculty. We can get data on current retention from Vice-Provost Schwarze.

      Thus, the committee decided to focus on:

      1. Onsite Child Care: There are many issues to explore, including finding space and examining possible MAT involvement);
      2. Tuition Remission/Compensation: Virginia code prohibits giving away tuition; ODU has handled this with tuition remission scholarship money. Lamont Williams has said we will need $25,000 in that account to start it. Regardless of how this will be implemented, the first hurdle is probably administrative buy-in;
      3. Faculty Meal Plans (not a PBK best practice, but profitable or revenue neutral): This would make money for the university or be cost neutral and would encourage faculty-student interaction. The committee will report back in December.
    4. Committee for Objective 2: Teaching, Scholarship and Service (Mollick)

      Their report is here. One general strategy is that even if we want to do things that cost money, we could make proposals so that the administration knows what we think is important. Suggestions that do not cost money include: Sponsor workshops on blackboard. Study the impact of ULLC courses on departments. Ask for help in sponsored programs. Even though this costs money initially, it may earn more money than it costs. To spread the service load, ask the deans to identify people.  Examine course caps. Is it better to teach an extra section, or have the sections be larger?
    5. Committee for Objective 3: Monitor and Enhance Standards and Practices for effective ad productive lives of faculty and students (Carlson):

      The subcommittee met and assigned responsibility for specific issues that they will be working with: Jean Filetti will be working with the question of students retaking courses for new grades. Pete will be working with the objective to develop a meal plan for faculty members. Veronique will take on the issue of improvements to new faculty orientation. Joan will be working with tuition remission and reciprocity.

      Discussion: The committee suggested developing a student and faculty survey to ask how effective reading day is. Questions on the faculty survey should also ask whether faculty (1) believe students should be allowed to walk at graduation if they are missing a small number of credits, and (2) would like to be able to purchase meal plans. This subcommittee examined some of the same issues that objective 1 examined (meal plan and tuition remission and enrollment reciprocity). The two subcommittees to look at this issue will decide which committee should examine each.

    6. Liaison reports:
      1. Senator Xu visited the music department on September 22. They had 4 questions: (1) Given travel budget cuts, will expectations for professional activity be modified to reflect the inability of faculty to perform and present at conferences? (2) How will our teaching loads and programs be protected? If we go to 4-3, will we be able to maintain all programs? (3) How will college resources be shared by 3 colleges? (4) With fewer resources, it is not possible to maintain expectations for performances. Will the evaluation process take this into account?
      2. Senator Lambert visited the theater department on September 26. They were interested in the effects of the budget cuts, the new three college model, and suggested that the faculty be pro-active in suggesting ways to streamline the dossier. In addition, the department would like the university to provide resources to redress problems that come up on the eval-8.
    7. Board of Visitor Reports

      1. Lambert, Finance: A budget reduction report has been submitted. It is expected that the cuts will be large (Note: Since this meeting, Governor Kaine has announced that the cut to CNU is 5%). A senator asked about a midyear tuition increase. President Trible was reluctant to add to our students' tuition burden in the middle of the year. He also had noted at this meeting that a 1% tuition increase results in $180,000 for the year (so 1/2 of that, $90,000 for one semester).
      2. Guajardo, Student Life: Chief Brown talked about safety and security procedures, including the new telephones in all rooms. Senators were eager to know when they would be trained and when all rooms will have locks (e.g., Gosnold 101 has a hole, but no lock). Senator Guajardo also reported that each classroom will have plaques with safety procedures.
      3. Duskin, Development: The Development office is looking for a 20% increase from 1200 donors to 3200 donors. No data on this year's giving will be available until December. The committee recommended all BOV members contribute $2000 for service learning.
      4. French, Academic Affairs: CNU will be hosting a governor's school for the arts from Richmond each summer. Faculty must live on campus. Vice Provost Schwarze talked about the successful day of service, which will be repeated next year with all freshmen. The food drive will also be repeated, but moved back a few weeks to give student organizations time to organize.  The provost discussed budget cuts, and stated that no faculty would be cut. He also said that it is not  the right time now to hire an additional dean. CNU's recent ranking in US News and Word Report was also highlighted. 
      5. Wheeler, entire board: Much of the subcommittee reports were discussed. Nothing additional was added.
  7. Old business

    No Old business will be brought before the senate

  8. New business
    1. Motion to grant Susan St. Onge emerita status.Underwood/Filetti call the question. Vote: all in favor. Motion passes.
    2. Disposition of new concerns
      1. The supervisors for paid student work (grant and non-grant related) must have Internet access in order for students to be paid. This can be a problem for faculty who travel in the summer, but have students continuing to work. Senator Lambert will investigate this and report back.
      2. Disruptive Student Checklist. A department last year requested a checklist for what to do if a student becomes disruptive. The subcommittee for objective 3, standards and practices, will look into this, and report back in December.
    3. Handbook Change This handbook change recommends the establishment of a new committee, the Council on Health Professions Preparation (CHPP). Underwood/Carlson move to approve. Vote: all in favor. Motion passes.
    4. Curriculum Review Task Force.

      President's Report: The SEC met with the provost and president who suggested a task force to examine the CNU curriculum to find efficiencies. President Wheeler met with Provost Padilla after that meeting. President Wheeler made this summary of that meeting. She also stated that provost will respect all contracts through May '09, including restricted faculty. He also wants to continue relationships with long term restricted faculty.

      The provost has requested approval of the task force, and a list of names for this committee. The committee would take a provost-provided list of suggested curriculum changes, then revise these and submit them to the provost who will submit them through the course approval process involving UCC, LLC, and Faculty Senate).

      The provost would give the committee a list of possible curricular economies as a way to begin the exploration. The committee would then, in broad consultation with faculty, chairs, deans and administration, develop its own list of curricular efficiencies. The committee would then submit their recommendations to the Provost who will take them under advisement. The provost will then build his set of recommendations and submit them through the normal curricular channels, involving the UCC, LLC, and faculty senate, etc., as specified by the handbook.

      Discussion: The senate had a vigorous discussion about what should happen. Some senators felt that the university should not go to a 4-3 load if it means increasing class sizes. Some felt that this change should be temporary, not permanent, but the SEC agreed that the provost feels that many of these changes will be permanent. Some senators requested that the committee be provided a list of dollar amounts for all provost suggested curricular modifications. Others pointed out that there is more to this than just dollars. CNU must first provide students with an excellent education. For example, if we eliminate the Engl123 requirement, what kind of students would be graduated? How would increasing class size affect retention if students start to feel that they are "just a number" because of large classes? Would it even be possible to teach larger classes in current classroom buildings? President Wheeler said that the provost is trying to facilitate long-term, coherent careers throughout the  faculty’s lives, including a stable course load, and resources for faculty development, including travel, summer funding and sabbaticals. Some senators felt that larger class sizes precluded the kind of faculty lives required for PBK status. Other senators felt that the revenue side should be examined more closely: for example, admitting more students (even if with a lower overall GPA) and increasing tuition. Senators felt that it is important to ask each department about how they would make their courses more efficient.

      Senators then suggested broadening the task force in three ways: first, make it a senate subcommittee which will report to the provost instead of a provost's task force. Second, allow the committee to look at university revenue and expenses broadly, not just in the curriculum. Third, make the committee operate in the sunshine to allow maximum ideas and feedback from faculty and from departments. Senators also wanted the task force to report guiding principles with a dollar amount attached to each change they put forth.

      With these changes, Duskin/Carlson move to establish a senate academic task force to examine how to respond to the budget crisis. Vote: All in favor. Motion passes.

  9. Other

Meeting adjourned at 6:26.