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Faculty Senate Minutes 5-4-11 (Draft)

ROGER WILLIAMS UNIVERSITY

FACULTY SENATE

MINUTES – DRAFT

 

May 4, 2011

 

Library Seminar Room

Meeting Called to Order at 2:05 p.m.

 

Attendance: Peter Alfieri, Dorisa Boggs, Susan Bosco, Jim Brunnhoeffer, Robert Dermody, Kelly Donnell, Gail Fenske, Diane Harvey, France Hunter, Hasan-Uddin Khan, Rebecca Leuchak, John Madritch, David Melchar, David Moskowitz, Cliff Murphy, Nancy Nester, ,  Joseph Roberts, Scott Rutherford, Mark Sawoski, John Schlinke, Ferd Schroth, Tom Sorger, June Speakman, Josh Stein, Michael Swanson, Minoo Tehrani, Cliff Timpson, Laura Turner, Paul Webb, Min Zhou

 

Absent: Kathleen Dunn, Anthony Hollingsworth (does not meet attendance standards), Lou Procaccini, Rom Woodruff(leave)

 

Guests: President Champagne. Provost de Abruna, Associate Provost Koritz, Vice President Williams

 

Presentation of University Budget – Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Jerry Williams

 

President Bosco:  Welcome Vice President Williams to our last full Faculty Senate meeting of the year.

 

Vice President Williams: Thank you for inviting me. I will give you a presentation of our 2012 Budget including key issues, budget parameters, tuition and fees, deferred maintenance,

 

 

Key Issues – Compensation increases 2.3 million dollars (approx. 6% increase) including the law school.

 

Health Care – BC/BS – 29% rate increase. Experience factors have increased, our claims have increased but these are not catastrophic claims. There is also a 2.25% increase due to health care reform

Plan design changes for non-union 7/1/11 this will make non-union pay the same copays as five of our unions are already paying – copays will go up and deductibles. We are staying with BC/BS based upon a competitive bid process and negotiating. Projected Health Care costs for 2012 will be approx.. 10 million.

 

Depreciation

            Increased 848K for FY 2012

            Total depreciation (university and law school) 12 million

 

Financial Aid

            University increase of 3.2 million

            RWU discount rate 30.7%

            Average for our peers 34% – 39%

 

Deferred Maintenance Needs

            3.5 million for FY 2012

            20 million for FY 2012 – FY 2016 (priority one maintenance, more maintenance is needed which is not included in this figure).

 

 

Total Reductions ($1,419,700 in reductions)

 

Vacant Positions – Not Filled ($504,000)

 

Bottom Line:

 

Tuition increase of 4% for next year.

 

As we/if we approach $50K per year tuition, then parents may make a choice not to consider us at all. Just a cautionary note.

 

 

“Need revenue growth through enrollment increases or initiate strategic decisions to reduce/reallocate expenses for future years.” (from the PowerPoint presentation slide)

 

We need to grow the enrollment by a couple of hundred students. And retention is also important.

 

Tuition and fees at $44,098 for next year. Within 3-4 years we will be at 50K if this continues.

 

 

$3.5 million going to deferred maintenance – $2.1 million going to replacing the deteriorating exterior of Bayside and $610,000 for the Feinstein roof.

 

DISCUSSION

 

What are our borrowing costs?

 

VP Williams: We have 2 bond issues in the 4.5-4.75% range. We are refinancing others currently. We are a “BBB” rating. We cannot get bond insurance because bond insurers do not insure educational institutions.

 

Will there be an elevator for the Feinstein building if we are already fixing the roof?

 

VP Williams: Priority one was to get the envelope of the building safe. I am not sure whether the elevator was included in that.

 

Do you include overhead from research grants and revenue from conferences in the budget?

 

VP Williams: Yes, it is included under other revenues.

 

 

What is the university’s endowment ?

 

VP Williams: 78 million dollars. We are more diversified today than we were a few years ago. We have assets in real estate post real estate crash, so we are hoping that will generate additional endowment monies.

 

How are we doing in comparison to our peers?

 

VP Williams: About half a percent or so better on our investments.

 

How do we compare to our peers based upon the dollar amount of our endowment?

 

VP Williams: For a university our size our endowment should be at about $120 million.

 

What is the projection that the Board would like to see for increasing the freshman class?

 

VP Williams: That is a discussion that we will be having with the Board. Another 200-250 students we could probably handle while providing us with increased flexibility for the budget. Growth can also come from the graduate side.

 

President Bosco: Please email additional questions to the Executive Committee so that they can be forwarded to Vice President Williams.

 

 

Approval of Minutes of April 6, 2011

(Alfieri, Tait) Passed 26-0-2

 

 

Announcements/Communications

 

President Bosco: I would like to thank everyone for a very full year. We will have our organizational meeting to establish the new Senate from 2-3 p.m. on May 11, 2011.

 

We have been asked to assist in establishing a recognition wall in the New Commons. I have been in contact with Senator Murphy and he has come up with an idea.

 

Senator Murphy – we are recommending that the past two recipients and the recipient from this year of the Excellence in Teaching Award be recognized.

 

Motion: The Faculty Development Committee recommends that the three recipients of the Excellence in Teaching Award be recognized on the University’s Recognition Wall. (Murphy/Alfieri) Passed 26-0-2

 

 

 

MOTION (re the excellence in teaching award’s criteria from the committee report will be taken then).

 

 

President Bosco: when using the all-faculty listserv, it is necessary to approve all outgoing emails. Suzanne Barnes said there was a problem with an outside person using the listserv to send emails to faculty.

Vice President Alfieri: This is a problem, I have been receiving letters apparently sent from my email account.

 

On May 11 from 5-7 p.m. the Faculty Senate has been asked by Bob Engvall (RWUFA President) to co-host a reception on the occasion of Richard Potter’s and Glenna Andrade’s retirements.

 

The Executive Committee and the Steering Committee will be meeting shortly to put together the comments from last week’s Faculty Caucus. The comments will be sent to President Farish and also to the faculty.

 

The at-large ballots for the Faculty Senate will go out tonight via email.

 

Vice President Moskowitz: Lastly, we need nominations for the Gen Ed Committee election from the School of Engineering and the School of Education.

 

 

Executive Committee Meeting Report from April – 1st Vice President Alfieri

 

You have all received the minutes from the Executive Committee via email  – are there any questions?

 

Motion: To accept the Executive Committee Report of April 13, 2011 (Alfieri/Tait) – Passed 26-0-2

 

 

Standing Committee Reports

 

Admissions and Enrollment–  Senator Donnell

 

The minutes focused on a renewed charge for the committee for next year.

 

Motion: To accept the report of the Admissions and Enrollment Committee of May 2, 2011(Donnell/Alfieri) Passed 26-0-2

 

 

 

Curriculum – Senator Hollingsworth

 

Senator Schlinke presenting on behalf of Senator Hollingsworth .

 

You have received the April, 2011minutes and addendum of the FSCC.

 

Motion: to accept the report and addendum of the Curriculum Committee of April, 2011 (Schlinke/Sorger) – Motion passed 27-0-1

 

 

Diversity– Senator Swanson

 

We have three more people who have signed up to serve on the committee.

 

Motion: to accept the report of the Diversity Committee of April 29, 2011 (Swanson/Schroth) – Motion passed unanimously

 

 

Academic Standards and Policies  – Senator Dermody

 

There are two sets of minutes (4/12) and (4/26)

 

Motion: to accept the report of the Academic Standards and Policies Committee of April 12, 2011 (Dermody/Moskowitz) – Motion passed 27-0-1.

 

Background

 

Senator Dermody: If you recall earlier in the semester, the Provost stated that the university is doing away with the added (financial) charge for students taking 18 or more credits in a semester. The question of the charge for additional credits and the number of credits a student can take are separate matters.

 

Discussion:

 

So the catalog states that the student must seek Dean’s approval for taking 18 or more credits per semester?

 

Senator Dermody: Yes.

 

 

Motion (from the 4/12 ASPC minutes) The Academic Standards and Policies Committee recommends to the Faculty Senate that no changes need be made to the catalog copy(on p. 69 of the 2010-2011 RWU Catalog) regarding Semester Credit Limit (Dermody/Stevens) – Motion passed unanimously

 

Motion to accept the report of the Academic Standards and Policies Committee of April 26, 2011 (Dermody/Moskowitz) – Motion passed 27-0-1.

 

 

Could you please highlight substantial changes?

 

Senator Dermody: We have been working on this for a while, specifically the procedures in dealing with suspected violations. The procedure has changed . There is also the establishment of an academic standards committee. When a breach occurs, the appeal of a finding of a breach of academic integrity is being handled at the school/division level, or not. Our peer institutions use a university-wide committee to hear appeals. Our motion moves in that direction: Establishment of a university wide committee and a four step procedure to deal with breaches of Academic Integrity.

 

Motion: The Academic Standards and Policies Committee recommends to the Faculty Senate that the Proposed Academic Integrity Policy Catalog copy, dated April 26, 2011, replace the current policy in the next University Catalog. (Dermody/Alfieri) – Passed unanimously.

 

 

 

University Life –  Senator Roberts

 

Motion: Motion to accept minutes of the University Life Committee of April 13, 2011  (Roberts/Alfieri) – Motion passed 27-0-2

 

 

 

Discussion

 

Heidi Hartzell would welcome more faculty participation on the Disciplinary committee, is there a procedure in place?

 

Senator Roberts – there is a call that goes out each fall semester, you are provided training and you are then in a pool of faculty whom Heidi can draw upon to attend a hearing based upon a first response to an email call for volunteers.

 

On the last page, faculty are encouraged to take the following steps, these are encouraged, not required?

 

Senator Roberts: Yes, encouraged not required.

 

One idea in particular is that professors should schedule exams and quizzes on Fridays? And incorporate discussion of alcohol and drug use in classes?

 

Senator Roberts: Yes, in some classes it is appropriate, such as a psychology class on substance abuse, or a criminal justice class to incorporate the topic of alcohol use and abuse into class lectures.

 

It appears to be a curious set of recommendations.

 

You mentioned the training, what is it like?

 

Senator Roberts: The training was a three hour afternoon session going over the academic and behavior codes. They discuss circumstances and you are asked to work through the case. They do follow-up training throughout the year as well.

 

 

At the recent faculty caucus, several people asked that the university project a more academic image. If students can go out drinking all night and still pull A’s and B’s this lends to the image that RWU is not projecting an academic image.

 

 

 

Steering – Senator Sorger

 

Senator Sorger – you received a report from President Bosco about a meeting by the Provost, the Executive Committee and myself representing the Steering Committee. As a teaching-centered university, we might want to look at how we evaluate teaching every 20 years or so. We are going to have a pilot of the new SET instrument and are inviting all tenured faculty and full professors to take part in the pilot. In an effort to encourage participation, faculty will be held harmless with the pilot of the new SET.

 

 

Questions:

 

I am not a methodology person, you will be having two sets of instruments evaluating faculty? Should not junior faculty not use the better (new) instrument?

 

A: Since there is a need to document teaching effectiveness by tenure track faculty, keeping the instrument the same might be necessary.

 

Some group of faculty will be evaluated by the new instrument, so why not let junior faculty be allowed to use it?

 

A: There are other concerns, including the continuity of measures.

 

Vice President Alfieri – existing faculty will be phased in.

 

This is just a pilot.

 

Can we not run both so that we can see if one is better or not? I would be curious to see whether it is or not.

 

A: The response rate for student evaluation of teaching is already low and doing more than one survey may drop the response rate even more.

 

I have concerns that there are two parts to the question of SET, the questions and the administration of the SET. Has that been addressed?

 

Senator Sorger – that is a personal concern of mine that I would like to bring up with the new president. Our peer institutions make it part of the course requirement, we should do the same.

 

As a junior faculty member, I would be willing to use the new instrument, can we?

 

Senator Sorger: you can implement in paper form. I do not know whether it would be considered. We can bring back to the administration the request that junior faculty be allowed to use it.

 

What makes one survey of student teaching better than another, if you can evaluate teaching, based upon student surveys, to begin with?

 

Are the problems with the old survey the questions? What if the new survey yields the same results? Then the old and the new survey are both bad?

 

Senator Sorger: the new questions tap into reflection of learning on the part of the students.

 

What is this need to have the new survey compared to the old survey if after years of following best practices we all agreed that the new SET is better? What is the purpose of not adopting the new SET?

 

President Champagne – I would like to make a simple recommendation. The administration would like you to debate what is in the best interests of the faculty. This is not a small decision, teaching evaluations factor into the tenure process.

 

 

2nd Vice President Moskowitz. Has anyone used the new SET? Does anyone know what the results of the new SET would be? We know that for the two key questions used in the old SET, 21 and 22, that national data indicate that they are normally distributed so that you know if you obtain a certain mean, you are in a given percentile. The new SET requires students to be more reflective in their evaluations of professors’ teaching. This may produce a different set of results than when students simply checked off responses to questions on the old SET.

 

 

Provost de Abruna, I have met with the Executive Committee and the Chair of the Steering Committee. This has come out of a prior set of meetings which have gone on for a number of years.  The pilot is a compromise between not changing the form and changing the form without  a pilot. 

 

Senator Sorger: This body passed, responding to President Champagne, after extensive discussion, the new SET. This has been a very thoughtful process leading to the recommendation to use the new SET.

 

 

 

Question? Is there a motion on the table that we can call?

 

President Bosco – there is no motion on the table.

 

Further discussion

 

I would like to know whether this effort is going to accomplish something. If we already know that this is best practices, then what is the need for a pilot?

 

How are we going to assess the success of the new SET? Is it easier for the students  to fill out? Does it yield better results for the faculty? Will the administration, then, choose not to go forward with it?

 

I would defer to the committee that put together the new SET, how they wish to go forward.

 

 

So the senior faculty take the new SET, we have 10-20 years of the old surveys. How do we determine that the new SET is better?

 

MOTION: Endorse the implementation of the pilot study for next year and establish a senate committee to compare the results from the new and old SET. (Rutherford/Sorger)

 

Discussion of friendly amendment to the motion to include the establishment of criteria for the evaluation of the new SET and old SET.

 

Discussion:

 

Define pilot study? Both SETs?

 

No, the new SET to the tenured faculty for the purpose of a pilot.

 

A second friendly amendment to administering both the old and new SET to the pilot group.

 

Senator Sorger: I think that you are asking us to do something that is impractical.

 

 

I intend to vote against this motion for the following reasons:

Faculty already voted to accept the new SET

If the Office of General Council has problems with the new SET, that is an administrative problem not a Faculty Senate problem

I do not like policies that treat junior and senior faculty differently

We have determined after asking the faculty for their input, that they prefer the new SET to the old SET.

 

I hope that when the analysis is being done, that the analysts take into account who has volunteered to take part in the pilot and why, keeping in mind the comparison of apples and oranges.

 

 

Friendly amendment: to allow any junior faculty member the ability to volunteer for the pilot study?

 

Senator Sorger: if this were extended to junior faculty, the Provost has stated that she would not be able to use the new SET if this were open to junior faculty.

 

 

This is not a question of whether we like the tools (new SET) but rather how we can implement the tools so that the Provost can have some justification to go to the Office of General Council to implement the new SET for all faculty.

 

 

Provost de Abruna: this is a good compromise. I need to be sure that we have not done something with our own instrument that puts the university in an untenable position. It would be okay for me not to change the questions at all, since we have years of data for the old SET.

 

This appears to be the most painless way of implementing the new SET.

 

It would appear that comparing the new SET to the old SET is meaningless since the procedure of recording SET yields such a low response rate. The low response rate is what the faculty are most upset about.

 

The RWUFA recognized that it is the administration’s prerogative to implement any SET. This has been a long process of working with the administration at arriving at the new SET. This is why I will not be supporting the motion to implement a pilot study.

 

 

President Champagne – I would like to seek the counsel of the Office of General Council and the Provost. I am worried that the other issue with the current SET is the low response rate. This is something that we should examine.

 

 

If faculty self-select to take part in the pilot who normally get high scores (on the old SET) then the administration can claim that the new SET is “soft.”

 

Has anyone looked at the reasons for the low response rate and how it might be improved.

 

Motion: To call the question (Murphy/Moskowitz) – Passed 28-0-1.

 

Motion: Endorse the implementation of the pilot study of the new student evaluation of teaching for next year and establish a senate committee to compare, from faculty and student perspectives, the results from the new and old SET. (Rutherford/Sorger) – Passed 17-7-4

 

 

 

 

Presentation of the Revisions to the Faculty Senate Constitution

 

Motion to Accept the  revisions of the Faculty Senate Constitution (Sorger/Boggs)

 

Clarification – what is the reference to University Colleges?

 

Senator Sorger: That is the School of Continuing Studies

 

What are the official divisions and schools

 

Senator Sorger: Listed under section 3.

 

Perhaps Academic Support should be specified as to which area(s) they represent.

 

Senator Sorger: point taken

 

 

Question: did you use a style guide?

 

Senator Sorger: no, there is need for improvement….

 

Is there a reason for the revised charge for the Curriculum Committee?

 

Senator Sorger: it seems more relevant to what the committee actually does, esp. vis-à-vis general education.

 

President Nirschel wanted to put the School of Education in with CAS, while President Champagne said no. Is restructuring built into this or if restructuring occurs, will CAS have an extra vote?

 

Senator Sorger: We have attempted to stand clear of academic reorganization.

 

President Bosco: there is a provision in the Faculty Senate Constitution to have the senator complete his/her term should the school/division be changed. Once the term expires, the seat would be lost.

 

 

President Champagne – there is allocated in next year’s budget a position of Dean of the School of Education. The way reorganization occurred, in my view, was wrong. A president should consult with the faculty and the Faculty Senate before any academic reorganization should occur. It is left to the next president to organize the institution as the president deems appropriate after consultation with the faculty and the Faculty Senate.

 

 

I would like to go further with the prior comment on the change in charge to the FSCC, especially the omission of curricular innovation. While the current FSCC has not been involved with curricular innovation, in the future the committee should be charged with doing so.

 

 

The ASPC’s charge as a reviewer of academic petitions has not occurred during my time on the committee.

 

Senator Sorger: we have not been adding to the Constitution. At this point we would withdraw the motion and accept more feedback from the faculty.

 

 

Motion Withdrawn.

 

 

Question – do we need an English teacher to go over the Constitution? Should that be done in parallel to revising the Constitution?

 

 

 

Faculty Development– Senator  Murphy

 

Motion to accept the minutes of the Faculty Development Committee of April 13, 2011 (Murphy/Tait) – Motion passed 25-0-1

 

 

 

 

 

Question: who would the committee like to see take on this charge?

 

 

Senator Murphy: this is really administrative work that may be better suited to the work of the ULC. I do not believe that the committee should be establishing criteria for some of the charges that we receive. I don’t want to be in charge of changing criteria.

 

 

 

I concur that much of the work of the committee, Provost Awards, etc. is administrative work.

 

Motion: The FDC agrees in principle to help facilitate the process of identifying faculty candidates for the Recognition Wall should this activity be continued in the future.  However, we request that the Senate and someone else (University Life, Steering, an ad hoc committee, the Senate as a whole, etc.) develop criteria for the selection of faculty to be so recognized in the future (Murphy/Stevens) – Passed 25-0-1

 

 

 

President Bosco: I would suggest that the ending place be decided with the new Senate, as far as which committee should be charged with these items.

 

 

New Business

Guidelines for RWU Faculty-Led Programs Abroad – Senator Tehrani

Senator Tehrani: You had received this document in November of 2010. Many of us take students abroad and these guidelines may affect our ability to do so. There are a number of items, for example the survey that students take when they return from the study abroad, I have not seen the survey nor have I had input in how they the survey was constructed. There is also the issue of what happened to the 2-week study abroad opportunities. Any left-over monies should go into a fund for that program and not go to fund other programs that may be losing money. Also, the need to resubmit a proposal each time the study abroad is being offered is burdensome. Some of these items get into curricular issues, credit hours, etc. that it should not be.

 

 

Question – was there faculty input in the creation of these guidelines?

Vice President Alfieri – this was developed in Dean’s Council so no there was not.

 

Motion: To extend for 5 minutes – (Sorger/Schroth) – Motion passed 25-0-1

 

 

Provost – I recommend that we put together a group with Guilan and faculty to examine this issue further.

 

Loss of quorum ends meeting.

 

 

Meeting Adjourned 4:40 pm.

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