Thursday, November 15, 2012

Informal Notes and MInutes of the November 13, 2012 Senate Council Meeting

On November 13, 2012, the Penn State Faculty Senate Council held a regularly scheduled meeting.  This post provides an informal summary of the meeting.  In the event of conflict the formal minutes will be regarded as authoritative.  

(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2012)

I was unable to attend and Chair Elect Brent Yarnel chaired in my place (my thanks to him!). My Thanks to Tram Turner for excellent note taking.  Most interesting was the discussion on the report by the Intra University Relations Committee on fixed term faculty--a topic that continues to be sensitive.  Most interesting in that regard is how sensitivity appears to affect a willingness toward open discussion of issues. But the issues are important and could profit from a wider engagement by interested people.  Please send in your comments.  If there is sufficient interest I will circulate the report.  

Senate Council Notes

A Guest from the Board of Trustees (Ryan McCombie, a former Navy Seal) was introduced by Chair-Elect Brent Yarnel (who served as Chair today).

Agenda reordered to take action first on three proposals (including the P 6s).

Core Council Recommendation—single name for the International Affairs Program.  Passed.  The College of Agriculture’s two P 6s were to phase out undergraduate degrees.  There was a question about discontinuing a degree in the Horticultural Program, and whether it would be better to defer the action.  The Plant Science department will now include the prior degree’s coursework.  A follow up question (Bagby) was about whether the name change might be confusing to employers.   The response was that the Agronomy Program would thereby have sufficient numbers.   Gul Kremner then asked if the requested faculty consultation about the naming had occurred.  It has not. 

The P 6d passed on a voice vote, by majority.

The Chair-Elect then listed the FAC topics from today, including the Budget Planning, Presidential Search, (MOOCS), and new Athletics Director Search.  Pangborn and Hanes will be briefed on December 12th about the campus visits of the Senate leadership.

Hufnagel to attend the CIC Governance meeting and will brief the UFS in January about that meeting.  December and January are the months during which UFS elections should take place, based on the most recent Faculty Census.  This will be the final year of implementing the new

Jan. 15th, 11 a.m. will be the first meeting of the Nominating Committee.  Tuesday, Feb. 5th at 1 p.m. will be the second meeting date.  Past Chair Dan Hagen will chair the Nominating Committee.

2 new endowments have been named for Carey Eckhardt.  Alumni Council has provided T Shirts for all members. 

Interim Provost Pangborn covered the FAC item of a special Scholarship program that will help in recruiting students.  He said that there might be a national trend of declining applications.  At PSU, a low percentage of scholarship funds have come from Institutional Resources in comparison to other universities.  (He noted that some are mandated to recycle 25% of tuition to student aid.)  For this year, about $12 million will be allocated (with $8 million in reserve for the second year); the goal is to enhance yield.  About $8 million will go to $4,000 scholarships at the campuses (1 in 4 students) and $4 million to UP.  Those with a low probability of enrolling will be targeted.  A 20% yield from the offers is anticipated.  At UP the $4 million will be used to fund $6,000 scholarship offers.  Numbers are the focus at the campuses; maintaining the quality rather than the overall number is the focus for UP.  A total of 1,000 students at the campuses could result in $10 million in income (-$8 million cost).   Cash reserves from past years are the main source for this initiative.

The Interim Provost also reported on the response to the General Education Study Group and Senate Forensic.  From the administration’s view, he said that the next step would need to be a Senate initiate to establish an implementation focus.  He suggested that Senate Officers and Chairs of Committees engage in planning out those next steps.  Responding to a question, he said that we’re ahead of last year on enrollments, though the number of applications is down.   Vice President Hanes said that the $8 million would be divided in a manner similar to the Chancellor’s awards in the past.  A further response to a question indicated that the new scholarships would be merit-based.

When asked if a new Gen Ed program could be implemented by Fall 2014 and whether it could become a factor in recruiting, the Interim Provost noted that it would be good to have a “signature” Gen Ed that could be used in recruiting.  He also said that Fall 2015 might be the earliest implementation date.  Questions then returned to the scholarship initiative.  The impact of the program will be assessed before a decision is made about further implementation.  Transfer awards will also be continued.

None of the Senate Officers had comments, so the discussion moved to two Unit Constitutional changes a) Berks on the Athletics Committee (with a shift of some positions from the Student Affairs Committee) and b) the School of Nursing Constitution that had been sent back for clarification on whether a single member could call a meeting of the body (see page 4 of the draft).  Both changes were approved.

The Chair of the Senate Self-Study Committee (Mohamad Ansari) then provided an overview of the Self-Study Committee’s work since September 17th.  He invited Vice-Provost Bowen and FAC member M. Chorley who serve on the committee to make comments also.  A UFS Forensic on the issues that emerge is planned for January.  The report outlined the gatherings held with Unit Faculty Governance Leaders at University Park, with Commonwealth Faculty Governance Leaders, and with campus Chancellors.  Three Focus Groups are planned (Past Chairs and Standing Committee Chairs in November and a Student Group in January).  He also summarized the eleven recommendations that had been included in the Franz Committee’s Senate Self-Study Report.   Ansari then asked Council to comment on the role of the Senate Council as outlined in the UFS Constitution.

Turner asked how other Council members feel about last year’s discussion of whether Senate Council should take up issues and initiate motions rather than solely setting the agenda for UFS.  A Student Senator pointed out the concern that often students don’t know that the UFS exists.  He, like the campus leaders called for improved communication.  Chair Ansari also raised the question of release time for Senators.  One Council member called for clarifying what it is that Senate does and how to build on the role of leadership taken by Senate in the past year.  Doing something and then communicating that to stakeholders was presented as an important focus.

Ruiz then raised the question of whether Informational Reports could be presented in a way to focus on discussing questions about reports that have already been read.  [40 – 60 Reports per year are Informational?]  The value of floor discussions was noted by another Council member as a way to move to identifying issues.  Eckhardt suggested combining the bullet points on Senate Council and Standing Committees to have a blended discussion.  She noted that each group needs to be responsible for moving issues.  It was then suggested that the Self-Study group look at the different cultures within Senate units and at campuses.  [For example, the HHD Dean now meets with one UFS HHD Senator a month.]  Slow movement on non-routine issues was another concern indicated in the discussion.  More had been expected from the Senate by the UFS Senators from Engineering.

Chair Ansari then asked for responses to the recommendation that Senate Council members make report to unit faculty organizations and whether the term for Senators should be reduced from 4 to 3 years.  [2:35 p.m.]  One response was that a 2-minute report would

Council members comments:  Turner asked about the status of ARSSA’s work on the Priority Registration status for veterans.  Acting Chair Yarnel noted that the chair of the Standing Committee would be joining the Council meeting later

Graduate Council:  Carey Eckhardt reported on concerns about the slowness with which proposals for course submissions now move.  Executive Director Youtz reported that a new software program is being Beta-tested.  If adopted, it could

C. Robinson (CC&R) and Jeff Laman  (last year’s IAC Chair) stood for questions about the three inter-related CC&R motions, along with T. Turner.  The same three stood for questions on the next two reports.   There were no questions about the report.

Cynthia and Jeff were identified as those who would stand for questions about the three reports at the December UFS meeting.

The IRC Report on Strategies to limit the use of Fixed Term Faculty was then presented for discussion.  Past Chair Hagan asked whether Faculty Affairs and one other committee had been asked for comments on the report.  IRC Chair Lawlor said that this report was not to establish an actual “threshold” but to urge that that be considered.  There was then a question about the data in Table 1 as to what factors led to the reduction in ratio at campuses.  Vice-Provost Bowen then asked about the third paragraph of the introduction.  The Report as presented is a different version than that seen by Faculty Affairs.  Turner suggested that the Report could be presented as a Forensic.  Listing the Report as Advisory/Consultative seemed to be a central point of the discussion.  Interim Provost Pangborn noted that the total number of hours taught by tenured faculty has declined over the years and that that accounts in part for increased FT hires.  He also noted that shift in campus locations toward teaching more upper division courses has also had an impact and that those factors are not included in the report.  The EMS Council member noted that flexibility in new initiatives like on-line learning has been possible through the use of FT faculty.  Bagby then spoke for the Report going forward.  He referenced a November 1st Chronicle article by Marshall and Hill about ratios of tenure-line to administrators as worthy of review.  That the important discussion should go forward was agreed, but Past Chair Hagen suggested that this Report should be deferred until there have been more discussions between Faculty Affairs and IRC.  Irwin suggested that Council would need to provide more direction as to what the Report should include.  Kremer then raised the question of what message would be sent to the public by having such a Report posted.  She suggested including a list of benefits to students that aren’t stated in the Report.  Eckhardt then suggested that the Report be presented as an Interim Informational Report rather than an Advisory/Consultative Report.  Committee Chair Lawlor responded that that was done in last January’s Report.  Ricketts suggested adding the data on long-term (de facto Standing) appointments as FTs.

Ansari then asked that Lawlor withdraw the Report.  Lawlor responded that the Committee felt it important for the Report to go forward.  The Council member from the Medical School then summarized the requested changes that he had heard, to list the factors under consideration.  Turner again suggested a Forensic to follow January’s Informational meeting.  Acting Chair Yarnel asked Lawlor to withdraw the Report for discussion within committee.  He declined to withdraw the Report.  Whether it would go forward as a Forensic was not clear in terms of Parliamentary motion.  Turner moved that the Report be placed on the Agenda as a Forensic Item, in a revised format.  (The Revised Report being due by Thursday of this week to Senate Office, after consultation with the IRC Committee.)  The motion to place a revised Forensic Report on the Senate Agenda passed.

The IRC Report on Student Transition Issues to University Park was then approved.  Acting Chair Yarnel asked if there had been changes to the earlier version of the Report.  Lawlor responded that more data is now included; the earlier version had only two campuses listed as examples.  Egolff suggested that it would have been valuable to include data going further back into the past.

The agenda was then adjusted to consider a Student Life Report on Alcohol Use.  There were no questions, other than how much time would be needed for the Report.  Vice President Damon Sims will have 15 minutes for the Report.  The Report was placed on the Senate’s December Agenda.

The Report on Curricular Consultation was presented and placed on the December Agenda.  While awaiting the arrival of committee chairs, Vic Brunsden was called.   The Report of Faculty Workload Policy was presented.   Harold (Altoona) then asked about the need to include “faculty approval” in the header of columns three and four.  The Report was then placed on the December Senate Agenda.

The IAC Informational Report on the Faculty Partner Program was then presented and placed on the December Senate Agenda.  Two Reports from the Committee on Undergraduate Education (Petitions Summary and Enrollment Patterns) were presented and were placed on the agenda.  Rick Robinett, committee chair, responded to a question from Past Chair Hagen about a heading for a Table that included no indicator of rank.   The UG Ed Chair asked if the Report was useful.  He indicated that it took three years to get the data on one year.

The Report on Faculty Senate Scholarships was approved for placement on the December Senate Agenda.  Acting Chair Yarnel then turned to the Tom Beebe motion   The December Agenda was then approved on a Bagby/Turner motion.

Parliamentarian Ansari then presented a one sentence Motion that refers to the 30 Past Chairs statement.  Senator Eckhardt asked about the Procedural movement of the motion so that it doesn’t have to wait until January.  Ansari said that his motion would be placed under New Legislative Business.  The concerns of the Engineering Caucus about the slow movement of the Senate were again voiced.  Crafting an effective statement was urged, and the discussion then moved to whether any further statement should be made.  Turner suggested that the flow of announcements be discussed at CC&R.  The Senate Council meeting adjourned at 4: p.m. after the 2013 – 2014 Senate Calendar was approved.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012 – 1:30 p.m. 102 Kern Graduate Building
Telephone: (814) 863-0221 Fax: (814) 863-6012

Members Present: M. Ansari, D. Babb, J. Bagby, M. Blanco, M. Chorney, C. Eckhardt, R. Egolf, D. Hagen, H. Hayford, P. Hufnagel, Z. Irwin, G. Kremer, J. Kulikowich, J. Laman, J. Nousek, R. Pangborn, R. Pooler, R. Ricketts, S. Ross, J. Ruiz, R. Shannon, A. Staub, T. Turner, B. Yarnal
Guests/Others: R. Berghage, K. Bieschke, J. Boehmer, B. Bowen, V. Brunsden, J. Cohen, M. Hanes, T. Jones, T. Lawlor, R. McCombie, P. McConnaughay, A. Mountz, P. Poorman, R. Robinett, C. Robinson, C. Yarnal, S. Youtz
Absent: L. Backer, R. Troester CALL TO ORDER

In the absence of Chair Backer, Chair Elect Brenton Yarnal called the meeting to order at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 13, 2012, in 102 Kern Graduate Building.
Chair Elect Yarnal welcomed Penn State Trustee Ryan J. McCombie to the Senate Council meeting. Mr. McCombie was elected by the alumni to serve a three year term on the Board of Trustees beginning in July 2012. He serves on the Academic Affairs and Student Life Committee.
The minutes of the October 2, 2012, meeting were approved with one correction.
Announcements by Chair Elect Yarnal:
The Faculty Advisory Committee met with Interim Provost Pangborn on November 13 and
discussed the following items: Scholarship Plan, Clery Act, search plans for new Athletic Director, search progress and the role of the Athletics Integrity Officer, and updates on the Budget Planning Task Force subcommittees, the President search, settlements with the Sandusky victims, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) and World Campus opportunities, and plans for the sustainability initiative.

  •   The Senate officers completed their fall campus visits and will debrief with Interim Provost Pangborn and Vice President Hanes on December 12. The visit report will be presented at the January Senate meeting.
  •   President Erickson supported the Inter-Campus Research report approved by the Senate on August 28. The report and the president’s response are posted on the Research Committee website.
  •   Pam Hufnagel will represent the Senate at the CIC Faculty Governance meeting November 29 to December 1 at Northwestern University.
  •   Letters have been mailed to deans and chancellors to verify the faculty census in all University units. Unit elections will be conducted in December and January.
  •   The Senate Council Nominating Committee, comprised of the elected members of Senate Council and chaired by Immediate Past Chair Dan Hagen, will meet on January 15 and February 5. The committee nominates for chair elect, secretary, Faculty Advisory Committee to the President, and Committee on Committees and Rules.
  •   The Committee on Committees and Rules nominates for Faculty Rights and Responsibilities, University Promotion and Tenure, and Standing Joint Committee on Tenure. Councilors were asked to consider nominating colleagues to serve on these committees.
  •   Liberal Arts senator Carey Eckhardt was recognized for two Comparative Literature endowments recently established in her honor.
    Interim Executive Vice President and Provost Pangborn discussed the planned establishment of a special scholarship program for the 2013 admissions cycle. He noted students and their families are anxious about the costs of higher education and that students are applying later and to fewer institutions. He said that Penn State’s institutional aid as a percentage of tuition revenues has historically been very low. He observed other schools allocate more tuition revenue for financial aid, citing North Carolina and Iowa who mandate 25 percent of tuition revenue for student aid.
    To that end, he announced that President Erickson has approved placing an additional $20M of temporary dollars into financial aid with the purpose being to enhance the yield. Renewable, two year awards similar to the Chancellors awards will be made with $12M available for 2013 prospects and $8M to fund renewals for when the students are sophomores. He went on to say the University is hoping for a 20 percent yield for these new students with one out of every two student offers receiving an award. He noted the University is considering other efforts to grow enrollment.
    The Provost responded to questions on the implementation of the new institutional aid program, including how the resources would be divided among campuses; the merit–based elements of the program; attracting a diverse student population; assessing the impact of the new scholarship program; and gauging how existing students might respond to the new program for incoming students.
    Dr. Pangborn briefly discussed his thoughts about “next steps” with the review of General Education. He supports convening a small group of individuals from the Senate, Office of Undergraduate Education, and the Provost’s office to plan for the future of General Education at Penn State. He was asked about a likely implementation date for a new General Education program (2015).

Proposal to implement Core Council’s recommendation of a single dean for Dickinson School of Law and School of International Affairs. On a Ruiz/Babb motion, Senate Council voted that the proposal, “be implemented as described in the documents received.” Interim Provost Pangborn will be notified of this action.
Proposals from the College of Agricultural Sciences to Phase-out the Bachelor of Science degrees in Agroecology and Horticulture. Councilors Bagby and Kremer asked questions about the naming of the new majors and the process of consultation with college faculty and the Senate. Professor Berghage responded to their questions. On a Nousek/Staub motion, Senate Council voted to approve these proposals. The Office of Undergraduate Education will be notified of this action.
Revisions to the Penn State Berks constitution. Pam Hufnagel provided a summary of the constitution. Senate Council approved the recommendations. The Berks chancellor will be notified.
New School of Nursing constitution. Pam Hufnagel provided a summary of the constitution and noted that the constitution was revised as recommended by Senate Council at the October 2 meeting. Senate Council approved the new constitution. The School of Nursing dean will be notified.
Mohamad Ansari, chair of the Senate Self-Study Committee, provided an overview of committee’s progress to date, including the charge and meetings with various University constituencies, e.g., Senate committee chairs, unit governance leaders, and chancellors. Future meetings will include past Senate chairs, Committees and Rules membership, and student senators. Following is a summary of councilor comments:
  •   Should Senate Council be more involved in University policy/budget deliberations?
  •   There are students who are not aware the Senate exists.
  •   How can participation on the Senate be incentivized (some units offer a one course
  •   Senators should be aware of what their responsibilities are and should share Senate
    information and reports with their constituents.
  •   The Senate should reconsider the Senate committee structure, length of Senate terms, and
    revisit the purpose of the large number of informational/mandated reports.
  •   A concern was expressed that the Senate is perceived as moving too slowly. Another
    councilor observed that the Senate should be mindful of the different cultures across
  •   Councilor Ansari asked if it would be helpful if unit councilors provided brief reports on
    governance activities in their units at each Council meeting. Two councilors commented this would be an “inefficient” use of time for Council meetings.
    Councilor Turner asked about the status of the Abington proposal for priority registration for veterans. Youtz will speak with the chair of ARSSA and follow up with Turner.
Minutes from the October 17, 2012, Graduate Council meeting is posted on the Graduate School website at Graduate School liaison and Councilor Eckhardt commented on the agenda for the November Graduate Council noting that time was allotted for discussing streamlining the Graduate School curriculum review and approval process. Concerns have been expressed about the length of time it takes to review proposals. Youtz mentioned the electronic Course Submission and Consultation System (CSCS) and the new PSCS (Program Submission and Consultation System) that is currently being piloted. Both systems have the potential to greatly facilitate the ease of consultation and review, as well as expediting the review timeframe.
Forensic Business
Legislative Reports
Committees and Rules—Revisions to Standing Rules, Article II, Section 6(h) Senate Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics. This report was placed on the Agenda on a Bagby/Kremer motion.
Committees and Rules—Revisions to Standing Rules, Article III, Section 8(b) Faculty Athletics Representative. This report was placed on the Agenda on a Turner/Ruiz motion.
Committees and Rules— Standing Rules, Article III, new Section 9 New Extra-senatorial Committee on Campus Athletics. This report was placed on the Agenda on a Shannon/Hayford motion.
Advisory/Consultative Reports
Intra-University Relations—A Strategy to Limit the Increased Use of Fixed-Term Faculty. This report was placed on the Agenda on an Egolf/Ansari motion. Following is a summary of the extended discussion on this report:
  •   Questions were asked about the factors contributing to the decline in the numbers of standing faculty.
  •   Concern was expressed that the report should have been vetted by the Faculty Affairs committee and also co-sponsored with them.
  •   Interim provost Pangborn commented that the report did not contain a complete set of data and that the report leads to “incorrect conclusions.”
  •   Some councilors were troubled by the structure of the report and observed that IRC, Faculty Affairs, and administration should meet to address the issues embedded in the report.
  •   A councilor commented that fixed-term faculty enables their unit to be more “nimble.” Other councilors wanted to see a more “robust” report with additional and less selective data, in-depth analysis, future directions, and conclusions.
  •   One councilor wanted the report to go forward for discussion but expressed the need for further study.
  •   Others noted that the issue is “complex” and warrants considerable deliberation.
  •   A councilor asked how many fixed-term faculty have been teaching for an “extended”
    length of time. Another councilor suggested a review and comparison of SRTE ratings for standing and fixed-term faculty.
    At this point in the meeting, it was suggested that the report be withdrawn and returned to committee. Councilor Turner suggested that IRC reconsider this report for submission as a Forensic report. A straw vote was taken and there was strong support for withdrawing the report. Chair Lawlor asked if the report could be reframed as a Forensic report. On a Turner/Egolf motion, Senate Council supported having the report resubmitted as a Forensic report. IRC chair Lawlor will work with his committee to rewrite the report with forensic questions and resubmit it by 12 noon on November 16.
    Informational Reports
    Admissions, Records, Scheduling, and Student Aid—Faculty Senate Scholarships Awarded to Undergraduates. This report was placed on the Agenda on a Turner/Ruiz motion.
    Curricular Affairs—Curricular Consultation Suggestions and Guidelines. This report was placed on the Agenda on a Blanco/Staub motion.
    Faculty Affairs—Report on Unit Development of Faculty Workload Policies. This report was placed on the Agenda on a Ruiz/Bagby motion. A request was made to reformat the table.
    Intercollegiate Athletics—Faculty Partner Program. This report was placed on the Agenda on a Hayford/Eckhardt motion.
    Intra-University Relations—Student Transition Issues from the Commonwealth Campuses to University Park. This report was placed on the Agenda on a Turner/Egolf motion. IRC chair Lawlor commented on the new data included in the report. Egolf commented it would have been helpful to look at data from multiple cohorts including the 80s and 90s. Yarnal observed that the concluding comments were very similar to those submitted and returned to committee last April. He asked if they should be updated to reflect the new data. Lawlor pointed out the new sections on pages 9-10.
    Student Life—Initiatives at Penn State to Address Alcohol Issues among Students. This report was placed on the Agenda on a Kremer/Irwin motion. Fifteen minutes was allocated for presentation and discussion.
    Undergraduate Education—Summary of Petitions by College, Campus, and Unit 2011-2012. This report was placed on the Agenda on a Ricketts/Babb motion.
    Undergraduate Education—Enrollment and Instructor Patterns in General Education Courses. This report was placed on the Agenda on a Kulikowich/Ricketts motion. A request was made to
re-title Table 5 and define what constitutes a “Wage Payroll” employee who teaches General Education courses.
The Agenda was approved on a Turner/Bagby motion.
Chair Elect Yarnal thanked Council members for their attendance and participation. The meeting was adjourned at 4:10 p.m.
Susan C. Youtz Executive Director

No comments:

Post a Comment