Faculty Senate Minutes, March 8, 2019

March 8, 2019

Purdue Northwest Faculty Senate Minutes

March 8, 2019

10:00 A.M., Portage Meeting Facility Room 113

Voting members present:

L. Taylor, M. Connolly, C. DeLeon, G. Domke, A. Sindone, H. Zhao, D. Kozel, S. Rezak, W. He, F. Colucci, C. Gillotti, L. Pelter, VQuinn, P. Stompor, C. Fewer, G. Schultz, R. Cherry, R. Vega, M. Curia, R. Merkovsky, D. Gray, A. Mitra, J. Polman, S. Trekles, D. Detmer, A. Elmendorf, C. Chen, R. Kramer, R. Ocon, G. Stefanek, J. Tazbir, X. Wang, Y. Zheng, A. Alavizadeh, M. Zimmer

 Senators absent:

K. Scipes, J. Davis, K. Kincaid, M. Mascha, C. Morrow, R. Calix, J. Dorman, S. Smith, W. Yu

Non-Voting members present:

S. Turner, J. Schooley (SGA Representative), J. Colwell, J. Holt

Visitors present:

J. Williams, D. Clark, R. Stankowski, J. Kuhn, H. Saporiti, N. Nemeth, T. Roach, K. Tobin, J. Pula, G. Kacenga, K. Thomas, M. Rainey, J. Swarts


  1. Determination of Quorum
  2. Call to Order was determined at 10:02 am.
  3. Approval of the Agenda: Elmendorf motioned, and Mitra seconded. The motion carried.
  4. Approval of Minutes of the February 8, 2019 meeting– Elmendorf motioned, and Mitra seconded. The motion carried.
  5. Remarks by the Senate Chair (D. Detmer)
    1. Results of the elections for committee chairs:
      • Faculty Affairs: Rita Brusca-Vega
      • Ed Policy: Kim Scipes
      • Gen Ed: Libbie Pelter
      • Nominations: Ali Alavizadeh
      • Student Affairs: Tony Sindone
      • Curriculum: LaVada Taylor
    2. Please consider running for the Vice Chair position. Elections will be held in April; those who wish to run should inform the Nominations committee by April to be placed on the ballot. However, nominations can also be taken from the floor. Elmendorf added that the bylaws state that the election of the Vice Chair Elect makes that Senator’s seat vacant, as they now occupy a new position. Therefore, even those serving a 1-year term are eligible, and the seat vacated will need to be elected again within that senator’s department.
    3. Faculty Affairs has completed compiling responses from the administrator feedback form. The response rate of 331 total faculty was 213, a 64% return rate overall. Detmer offers thanks to all who participated.
    4. There will be a special meeting of the Senate on April 19 related to the SRA task force report – please plan to attend. The April 12 regular Senate meeting will be in Portage as usual, but the special meeting will be held in SUL 321 in Hammond. Please mark calendars accordingly.
    5. Provost Mueller noted in an email related to the next phase of the Strategic Plan that the Senate has been asked to nominate up to 5 Senators for the Strategic Plan Task Force. The Executive Committee has been asked for names.
      1. Kozel remarked that the Provost noted in the SRA Update meetings with consultant Larry Goldstein during the week of February 25 that he did not want to see the “usual players” in this group. Anyone who would like to be considered for this spot, self-nomination or otherwise, should declare by March 13. The charge is not clear for the task force members currently, but it was emphasized during the aforementioned meetings that the task force is to stay very future-oriented in its outlook and come up with a strong strategic plan for the next 5-10 years.
      2. Sindone questioned who the “usual players” actually are, and discussed that these would be people that are not perhaps frequently involved in volunteering for committees and service work. Schultz added that he felt that historical perspective from people that volunteer to a wider extent is important and should be valued. Tazbir and Quinn noted that there is concern about faculty burnout and this should also be noted. Kozel also noted that a broader perspective might additionally be valuable, but there should also be people familiar with the bigger picture to add valid input.
      3. Interested persons should send their nominations or self-nominations to the Secretary of the Senate by March 12.
    6. The Westville task force has been populated and has already met. Notes from the meeting have been shared with the Senate leadership, and the list of members includes J. Pula, D. Spoljoric, T. Sindone, chair D. Feikes, J. Shires, D. Whitten, V. Quinn, K. Scipes, S. Trekles, J. Schooley. Staff were asked about to be on the committee but administration indicated that they cannot serve unless they get permission from their Vice Chancellor.
    7. FSD 18-17 was drafted by Detmer but has received more information; rather than pull the document, it will be discussed to get the advice of the Senate, even though it may not be able to be supported due to the legal reasons.
  6. Remarks by the Chancellor (T. Keon) – Chancellor Keon and Provost Mueller were not in attendance. VCFA Turner has agreed to fill in. Turner noted that the strategic planning task force will have a training at the end of the month, and that is why the deadline is so short for membership. He also noted that broad participation from a variety of areas is important, and staff have already been identified to serve to ensure that all functional areas have been represented equally. Turner also noted that this is an urgent issue as the training cannot be rescheduled with the consultant, and work will be continuing over the summer (with compensation for faculty). It is important to continue this work rather than delay it another semester.
    1. Budget planning update: VCFA Turner presented information about budgeted tuition and fee revenue, with an enrollment decline showing as about 3% more than anticipated. This resulted in a budget shortfall of an additional $1.3M over what was projected. Spring census numbers were slightly worse than projected as well, which contributed to the shortfall and the reason for needing to adjust. Overall, the net decline for academic year 2018-2019 enrollment was 7.2%, resulting in a $2.7M shortfall.
    2. PowerPoint Presentation by VCFA Turner (download)
    3. Fewer asked if there is a breakout of data for Hammond and Westville, and there is this data available. However, this was not included in the slides presented.
    4. Revenues were broken down further, showing state appropriations at 31%, and these funds are no longer based on headcount. The state appropriation is decided by the Legislature of the state of Indiana yearly, and has no basis or multiplier for headcount like K-12 schools. The basic state appropriation is the most stable of all revenue streams, and we have not seen declines recently in state monies. A total of 12% of the state budget goes to colleges; 7% of this, however, is a merit-based appropriation related to retention, degree completion, and other factors. Fewer asked for clarification related to unification and appropriation. The state has added the two institutions’ (PUC and PNC) appropriations together, rather than choose to adjust or reduce the appropriation for PNW as a new institution.
    5. The reduction in budgeted expense was broken down to show all reductions related to various aspects of university efficiency without changing staffing, including tuition contingency. This is the reserve that we draw from as tuition revenue changes. Therefore $1.4M has already been cut. A further budget reduction plan is needed to meet the total amount of $2.7M budget shortfall, and approximately $1.3M which has been distributed across the divisions based on their percentage of recurring base. Decisions at the division level are not driven centrally and will be determined by the administrator over those areas. Mitra asked whether guidelines can be provided to the divisions, or that the budget committee can suggest to allow for strategic cutting of recurring funds within divisions. Elmendorf commented that in discussion with the Provost, it was indicated that the Deans have been given hard numbers related to their colleges with discretion as to how to distribute those further to each department and program. Turner added that regarding distribution of cuts, the Deans have looked at enrollment declines in particular relative to that unit for the current academic year.
    6. Schultz asked about the budget cutting measure currently happening as it relates to the SRA process. Turner responded that these two processes are not connected. The current budget cut needed to come out ahead of the SRA process, as these adjustments are what must be accomplished based on current census figures for this fiscal year. The SRA process is a different exercise and is intended to help identify priorities and opportunities for reallocation of resources, not for cutting the budget. If any SRA recommendations are simply to be used to reduce the budget, we will have no resources to reallocate appropriately. In other words, the current budget would not be reduced, only redistributed from one area to another within the institution. The budget cutting exercise requires us to actually make the budget smaller. It is critical to keep these two operations separate and distinct.
    7. Mitra asked for clarification related to Strategic Planning, as it is based on SRA process. Turner noted that the SRA process describes where the potential reallocations could come from, but on April 12, the recommendations of the task force are not a “done deal,” just a starting point. Mitra noted that PNW should consider basing mission and vision based on the values of our surrounding community, rather than simply on resources available. In general, public services are decided in this way, and this should be considered thoughtfully when moving forward with the strategic planning. Turner noted that we do measure our success in the quality of our programs and our graduates; our process will work effectively if we step through it in the right sequence and with enough information to make informed decisions.
    8. The fiscal year 2020 budget assumptions are that the state appropriation will increase by 4.29%, and tuition rate will increase 1.75%. The projected enrollment decline is anticipated at 3.47%. There is a proposed one-time merit salary plan of 2% (subject to Trustee approval), with fringe benefit increases for medical plan and S&E operational cost increases. The merit salary plan does not go into the recurring base salary – this is in response to the fact that enrollment is anticipated to go down.
    9. Kozel asked if anyone has approached the state legislature about the differences between the Purdue regionals and the main campus in terms of challenges. Turner noted that the Ivy Tech system and all regional campuses are experiencing similar issues as Purdue currently, and it is also happening nationwide.
    10. Merkovsky asked about the decline in enrollment projection. K. Thomas responded to the collection of data and the determination of the 3.47% overall decline of undergraduate and graduate revenue (not headcount). Institutional Research and Enrollment Management put together a projection model, shared with the Deans and Global Engagement, and used their input to refine the model further. Therefore, the number they reached is anticipated to be stable. Schultz noted that the projection from last year was off by about 3%, but there were many other factors that became variables this year.
    11. Recommendations for next year include increasing recurring contributions to enrollment contingency reserve from $588k to $1.0M ,with a $1.0M recurring base reduction proportionally distributed to units. This is made in anticipation of enrollment declines happening in the next year. This will be taken in advance of the fall census. Retention efforts must continue to be refined, as well as recruiting efforts for new students.
    12. Kozel asked about the reduction in enrollment revenue and whether banded tuition has impacted our enrollment. Relative class load by enrollment category was not shared, but the banded tuition initiative has been successful. The first-time in college (FTIC) cohort group and other enrollment retention rates have gone up, but this year’s international enrollment decline was not predicted. Banded tuition may impact summer enrollment, but it has been successful overall.
    13. Colucci noted that we know that a decline in birth rates will start to impact colleges in about 5-6 years, as there will be fewer new students coming in from the high schools. This is the kind of data we need to consider in our strategic planning institutionally.
    14. Vega asked about hiring practices moving forward and whether there are university-wide directives to Deans about searches, new positions, or rescinding offers on the table based on current budget cuts. There is no hiring freeze currently to the knowledge of VCFA Turner.
  7. Remarks by Invited Guest (George F. Kacenga, Executive Director of Global Engagement)
    1. G. Kacenga presented a short discussion on the American Council on Education (ACE) Internationalization Laboratory initiative as part of Imagine PNW. Slides will be made available and handouts were provided.
    2. The laboratory involves more than moving students across borders. Kacenga presented on how the Office of Global Engagement functions and on the resources available to faculty and students. Outcomes for the office include student mobility, institutional articulations, faculty policies and practices, curriculum and learning outcomes, administrative leadership, and collaboration and partnerships.
    3. The ACE Internationalization Lab was part of an invited process comprising a number of other universities. The summary was provided to show the two-year process of the cohort that will be coming through the lab program, starting in June 2019. Please contact Dr. Kacenga for questions.
    4. Gray asked about international students and the impact of the diploma branding controversy. Kacenga responded that he believes that the Purdue brand is important and highly recognized, but the fact that it is an affordable degree with proximity to Chicago makes it continue to be attractive. International enrollment trends here are similar to other institutions currently. The ACE lab will bring in many experts to help us continue to grow international programs and partnerships that are sustainable and not disruptive to current programs.
  8. Remarks by Invited Guest (Professor Dave Nalbone, Indiana AAUP President)
    1. Intellectual Property at Purdue – download PowerPoint presentation
    2. D. Nalbone presented briefly on the changes in intellectual property policies at Purdue at the system level. The current policy makes key changes to the licensing of scholarly copyrightable works and instructional copyrightable works, as well as incorporation into the terms of employment for all contracts, subject retroactively. Purdue is in compliance with its own policies now, and employees also agree to this retroactively as a condition of employment. This means that Purdue can use instructional materials without gaining permission from faculty first, which has not been active practice in the past. Indiana AAUP is concerned about this and is working with Purdue to get it to change this language based on the fact that it is retroactive, appears to monetize faculty created works, may discourage faculty from sharing works electronically, and may harm faculty hiring.
    3. This is also part of a much larger problem related to the privatization of higher education, and there was expressed concern that we are taking away a public good and moving toward a market-based approach that will erode shared governance, tenure, and academic freedom. The long-term effect may be likely to lower the quality of education.
    4. Detmer noted that scholarly publications and instructional materials are included in the policy, although we have not seen the institution clarify this point yet.
    5. Fewer noted that this is not a new policy and that we have always retained copyright for anything we create, but we automatically grant the university a license to anything placed in BlackBoard, as this is an institutionally-owned system. The policy indeed has not changed, but the interpretation has changed; Purdue is taking a more active approach to enforcing this. Trekles noted that this policy has been clarified for those situations where a faculty member has left the university and their course materials in BlackBoard are still able to be used, regardless of the consent of the authoring faculty. Nalbone noted that the new policy now relates to faculty who are still employed as well.
    6. T. Roach noted that international partnership with an Oman university through the Communication department resulted in the sharing of course materials with little consideration for the rights of the faculty or even reimbursing them for their efforts. We may want to continue to look at this and try to clarify any arrangements or agreements made with other universities.
    7. Vega related that if an online course that Purdue Global or another university does not exist, under this policy, Purdue can simply go into the system and pull the materials or syllabi from those courses without permission if they decide to do so. This is confirmed to be correct interpretation of the revised policy.
    8. Cherry asked if West Lafayette faculty have been consulted, and Nalbone noted that concerns about the intellectual property policy were brought up by Fort Wayne faculty initially. Roach added that West Lafayette may be looking at handing off materials to Purdue Global and is preparing to figure out how to monetize further and built profits.
  9. Special Business: The Recently Announced Budget Cuts: questions and discussion
    1. Previously discussed – see above.
  10. Special Business: Strategic Resource Allocation Initiative: questions and discussion
    1. No questions or comments were noted.
  11. Update on Westville Task Force enrollment – G. Schultz
    1. Enrollment data since 2016 was compiled by Schultz, who shared the information with the Task Force and full Senate (available on the Senate website). The reduction in core undergraduate student enrollment by headcount and by credit hours is shown to be significantly higher in Westville over the past 3 years than in Hammond. Hammond’s declines appear to reflect national trends, but Westville’s are outside the norm. This confirms the thoughts and perceptions of a number of concerned faculty, and solidifies the need to look specifically at institutional policies that may be causing or contributing to these numbers. Domke asked if declines may be showing because the students are being moved from Westville to Hammond, but we do not have data on these kinds of changes currently. Schooley noted that the SLT is looking at the issue as well. Turner confirmed to the Task Force previously per their minutes that there is a committee formed to analyze the issues from an administrative perspective. Schultz also asked if there is a course cancelation policy; Schooley responded that there is no possible hard number based on each unit and the materials and costs involved.
  12. New Business
    1. Curriculum Documents Approval
      1. Taylor moved to approve the documents, and Elmendorf seconded. No discussion. The motion carried.
    2. Senate Documents for Action
      1. FSD 18-13: Resolution Calling for Relief from Committee Meetings at the End of Each Semester (A. Elmendorf)
        1. The document has been revised in response to concerns raised in the February meeting. It now specifically asks for relief from meetings between the start of finals week and the grade deadline, allowing departments to meet after the deadline.
        2. Elmendorf moved to approve the document, and Domke seconded. The motion carried.
    3. Senate Documents For Discussion
      1. FSD 18-15: Creation of Academic Program Review Process Task Force (D. Detmer)
        1. The Provost and AVC Stankowski noted that there is a mandate by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to have an academic program review process approved. The document calls for the formation of a task force to develop the process in collaboration with the departments and colleges.
        2. Kozel commented that there are programs with outside accreditation that need to be taken into account by any newly developed program review process. The document does include language that it be conducted in collaboration with departments, but Kozel suggests that specific language for accreditation may be useful. He recommended that members of the task force include those who work in areas with outside accreditation.
        3. Stankowski commented on the criteria from HLC and clarified the need for an active, approved program review process. A process has been partially developed by a different task force formed previously, but its work has been put aside because of SRA. However, the issue must be revisited due to the fact that a self-study is due in 2020, with evidence of an approved policy document. Outside accreditation does not supplant an internal process; however, it must also look at how the program impacts the institution and across units. Outside accreditation calendars will be looked at, and the information generated for external review can be used internal review as well. The first reviews should be in place by fall of 2020 so that HLC can see the data.
        4. Quinn offered a friendly amendment: instead of comprising the task force to include “one representative from each college,” it should be revised to read “at least one representative from each college and school”. DeLeon noted that this may not be able to accommodate departments such as social work with outside accreditation, since they are not in their own school. The list of all accredited programs is available on the website at https://academics.temp.pnw.edu/academic-affairs/accreditation/accrediting-agencies/.
        5. The document is up for discussion only and will be revised to reflect these concerns for the April meeting. Ideally, the task force will be populated before the end of the semester. However, it is critical that the Senate is involved in the program review process.
        6. Detmer noted that the amendments will be sent to the Nominations committee, as the Executive Committee has been noted to not be the appropriate place from which this resolution should come, per the Senate bylaws.
      2. FSD 18-16: Adoption of Ranked Choice Voting for Senate Elections (A. Elmendorf)
        1. Related to how the Vice Chair Elect will be selected in April. Ranked choice voting has been chosen based on the fact that where there are more than two choices, this is the ideal choice for accuracy in voting.
        2. Elmendorf moved the document to action; Schultz seconded. The motion carried.
        3. Elmenforf moved the adoption of the document, and Kozel seconded. The motion carried.
      3. FSD 18-17: Recommendation that credits earned at Purdue University Global not be accepted for transfer to Purdue University Northwest (D. Detmer)
        1. There is new information related to the legality of rejecting credits from the Core Transfer Library (CTL). Detmer noted that in a discussion with the ICHE, all public universities have to accept CTL courses, except where curriculum content does not line up with our courses. The relevant faculty person will be contacted in this case to review the course to be transferred.
        2. Purdue Global did respond about the nature of their Senate, and noted that there is an independent curriculum committee with authority over the curriculum, but given that there is no tenure at Purdue Global, there may not be independence in making determinations about the curriculum. Faculty at Purdue Global serve at-will only, and have year-to-year contracts. The average length of service is 8.5 years, according to the Purdue Global Chancellor. The overall conclusion is that Purdue Global does not operate like a public institution; however, we cannot simply reject out of hand their courses from the Core Transfer Library legally. There are only 9 of their courses available in the CTL currently, though it has been noted that some are approved by an advisor without faculty review.
        3. Concerns have been raised about the honesty and veracity of Purdue Global’s claims, noting that they had originally noted that they are not interested in having courses as part of the CTL. Fewer reiterated these concerns and that a coordinated, multi-campus, long-term strategy for addressing this issue should be developed. Other campuses have the same concerns and the University Senate has a task force related to it that J. Pula sits on. There is not yet any plan as to what to do with findings related to Purdue Global.
        4. DeLeon noted that any university can change a syllabus that has already been approved in the CTL, so even though Purdue Global states that they can do this, all other universities have the ability to do so. Whether they take advantage of this is a different concern.
        5. There is a regular review process for CTL credits and courses. Stankowski noted that a rationale has to be provided for why any CTL course would not be accepted for credit at an institution. Increased monitoring beyond what is done now is perceived to be quite difficult. Roach noted that the CTL process is typically focused exclusively on the syllabi and not how the course is taught. Monitoring the quality of how the course is taught would be ideal, but we do not have an option of simply not participating in the CTL – this is a state law. However, if we review this process and lobby to the legislation to thoroughly discuss this requirement, we have the opportunity prevent future problems related to enrollment and competition between colleges.
  13. Remarks by the Representative of the Student Government (J. Schooley, SGA President)
    1. Schooley presented to the Board of Trustees in February and responded to questions about the Westville situation and enrollment. Current focus of the SGA has been on refining policies.
    2. The Board of Trustees noted that Schooley presented very professionally, and that the Trustees seemed to have some understanding of the issues faced at PNW, but were surprised by the numbers related by Schooley and the SGA. See https://www.purdue.edu/bot/meeting-documents/2019/feb/stated/pnw%20presentation.pdf for the report made to the Board of Trustees from the PNW SGA. The gravity of how much enrollment has changed on Westville campus was related, and the Trustees will be meeting in at PNW Hammond for their April 2-3, 2020 meeting to hear from students and faculty directly.
    3. Schultz commented on the Board’s response to the presentation, noting that while we often look at PNW as a whole, issues are often buried when we ignore the fact that we have two campuses. We should start talking more specifically about Westville and what we may be doing currently to exacerbate the situation. The philosophy of operating as one university may be misguided and does not take into effect that there are different issues impacting each campus. There are concerns about entire programs and colleges pulling out of Westville, when this has not been discussed in Senate or in the university community as to the full implications.
  14. Remarks by the University Senate/Intercampus Faculty Council Representatives (J. Pula/V. Quinn)
    1. University Senate: Pula reported that Purdue Global had originally noted that they had no intent to enroll students in individual courses, but in programs only. However, they have been found to do exactly the opposite in practice. Also, there are concerns about the geofencing of the online nursing program, effective January 22. However, if attempting to find out more information about Nursing from Purdue Global, students are not properly redirected based on their location. Investigation is ongoing.
    2. New Health Saving Account cards appear to have a fee associated with transactions. This is incorrect, but if anyone has a problem, please report to Human Resources and Benefits.
    3. CHEGG.com website has been noted to have research papers and exams for sale to students. In West Lafayette, the Online Writing Lab has a contract with this website, however, to provide them with resources, and this is a concern in the University Senate. Pelter commented that Chegg has been an issue for a long time; students can upload their graded assignments and be paid for it. It also has a number of other assignments and quizzes from publishers, violating academic integrity and intellectual property rights. Chegg has been contacted and does not have any satisfactory response at this time.
    4. University Policy committee: R. Cherry discussed two documents related to lecturer appointment and hiring policies, linked in the agenda. The first document renames the status of continuing lecturers to simply “lecturers” and differentiates between limited, lecturers, and senior lecturers, indicating that rank qualifications and promotions are to be determined. The document also revises the cap on the number of lecturers. Currently, the policy states that the number of lecturers may not exceed 10%. The new language proposed indicates that this number may not exceed 15% on the West Lafayette campus, and the regional campuses will determine their own cap based on their instructional needs. Limited-term lecturers also do not have a university maximum. Currently at PNW, limited and continuing lecturers equal 26% of all faculty. Vega clarified that there are 223 tenure track, 42 clinical, and 69 continuing/visiting as of Fall 2018.
    5. Schultz noted that our campus is different from West Lafayette, but the perception in policy may also be related to perception in the branding on the diplomas. Elmendorf responded that staffing needs at WL are not reflecting the large numbers of graduate students teaching courses. Graduate assistants are not counted in their numbers currently, and are used very often (up to 40% of teaching faculty according to West Lafayette sources in Academic Affairs). This is an argument that the diploma branding staying the same makes good sense.
    6. Cherry asked whether we want to define a cap in policy, since our current practice is higher than the 10% or 15% noted in the policy. An extension can be asked for from the University Policy Committee to be revisited, and the discussion will handed over to Faculty Affairs.
    7. Kozel noted that in some departments, continuing lecturers are needed in order to provide continuity in curriculum.
  15. Open Discussion (if time permits) – none
  16. Adjournment: 12:30pm


Committee Room Assignments

  • Nominations, Elections, and Awards – Foyer Room
  • Curriculum – PMF 104
  • Education Policy – PMF 113
  • Faculty Affairs – PMF 113
  • General Education – PMF 113
  • Student Affairs – PMF 113