Faculty Senate Minutes, April 12, 2019

April 12, 2019

Purdue Northwest Faculty Senate Minutes

April 12, 2019

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

Voting members present:

M. Connolly, G. Domke, A. Sindone, H. Zhao, D. Kozel, S. Rezak, F. Colucci, C. Gillotti, L. Pelter, VQuinn, P. Stompor, C. Fewer, G. Schultz, R. Cherry, R. Vega, M. Curia, R. Merkovsky, A. Mitra, S. Trekles, D. Detmer, A. Elmendorf, R. Kramer, R. Ocon, G. Stefanek, X. Wang, Y. Zheng, M. Zimmer, R. Calix, C. Chen, M. Mascha, K. Scipes, K. Kincaid, J. Davis, J. Dorman, W. Yu

 Senators absent:

C. DeLeon, C. Morrow, R. Calix, S. Smith, A. Alavizadeh, L. Taylor, W. He, D. Gray, J. Polman, J. Tazbir

Non-Voting members present:

R. Mueller, J. Schooley (SGA Representative), J. Colwell, J. Holt, J. Pula

Visitors present:

A. Pettee, B. Miller, N. Nemeth, J. Williams, D. Clark, R. Stankowski, J. Kuhn, H. Saporiti, N. Nemeth, J. Swarts, L. Feldman, M. Eisenhauer, C. Arroyo, K. Tobin

  1. Determination of Quorum: 10:01pm
  2. Call to Order
  3. Approval of the Agenda: Elmendorf motioned and Connolly seconded. The motion carried.
  4. Approval of Minutes of the March 8, 2019 meeting: Elmendorf motioned and Vega seconded. The motion carried.
  5. Remarks by the Senate Chair (D. Detmer)
    1. Four nominees from the eight sent by the Senate were chosen to be part of the Strategic Planning Task Force: Pitparnee Stompor, Colin Fewer, Vanessa Quinn, and Cathy Gillotti.
    2. Amlan Mitra and David Pratt have agreed to serve on the Advisory Council on Continuous Improvement.
    3. Thank you to the Provost for a slight increase in the Senate budget for 2019-2020, as well as for our lunch provided today.
    4. New Senators have been elected for next term, including: Michael Mick (COB); Lindsay Gielda, David Kozel, and Gayla Domke (CES); Ralph Cherry, Cathy Gillotti, Florian Vauleon, and Geoff Schultz (CHESS); Julia Rogers (NUR); and Michael Roller and Jose Peña (TECH). At-large members elected are Omer Farook and Neeti Parashar.
    5. The April 19 SRA special meeting will be moved to Portage Meeting Facility, 10:00am. The templates and task force recommendations will be released today, and we urge you to review the templates and recommendations with colleagues so that you are prepared for next Friday.
    6. Strategic planning input sessions: Per Joseph Coates and Renee Conroy, please choose from one of the following two dates for Senators, although there will be other opportunities to provide input on PNW’s future to create a 5-year plan for the university: May 3 (Portage after Senate meeting), or May 8 (location TBA). 21 Senators vote for May 3, and 5 vote for May 8. May 3 is chosen; more details are available on ImaginePNW website.
  6. Remarks by the Chancellor or Designee (R. Mueller)
    1. Chancellor Keon is attending the Board of Trustees meeting. The Board will be voting on the naming of the Innovation and Bioscience building, as well as the promotions list and other issues.
    2. Provost Mueller shared that there have been problems with the timing of curriculum documents coming from Senate and their effective date/appearance in the catalog. They are not immediately effective when passed; in particular, when documents are passed in April or May, they may not make it into the fall catalog for the next academic year due to the need for the Registrar to review and add them to both DegreeWorks auditing and to the Web catalog. At New Student Orientations (NSO) beginning in April, students hear about the catalogs and choose majors from the available lists. Therefore, those curriculum decisions that come from Senate at the end of the calendar year (December) should be in the catalog for the following academic year (Fall). Everything that gets passed after January 1 should wait for the following catalog year, as otherwise, we may be giving students the wrong information on plans of study.
    3. Mitra asked about changing prerequisites or other minor changes. The Provost clarified that the December deadline includes major changes that change a catalog or plan of study.
    4. Cherry asked about the CHESS supplemental core and the fact that many programs have passed changes to curriculum based on this.  There is some concern that this could lead to more confusion for students as the changes would go into effect a year later, not in the fall of the next academic year. Mueller responded that since we already have had NSO sessions this year, we should avoid telling other students something different than what they have already heard. This year, there have been changes already implemented, but Provost Mueller asks that for the future, the December-Fall implementation be recognized and implemented.
    5. Kozel asked if there is a later date that might be able to be agreed upon so that changes are not potentially over a year old before implementation. Cheryl Arroyo, Registrar, was asked about the deadline potential, and March 1 was determined as an agreeable date for getting information into the catalog and DegreeWorks. This would allow January and February curriculum documents to also be implemented in the Fall of that calendar year. Provost Mueller agreed that this is acceptable.
    6. Elmendorf moved that all curriculum documents passed by March 1 take effect for the following academic year, and Scipes seconds. All curriculum documents passed after March 1 will become part of the following academic year. The motion carries.
  7. Remarks by Invited Guests (Brian Miller, Director of Public Safety, and Andy Pettee, Dean of Students)
    1. Chief Miller and Dean of Students Pettee provided information about safety on our campus as well as guidance on how to work with students of concern
    2. Students of concern behaviors include: harassment, acting out, disruptive behavior, emotional issues, threatening behaviors, and so on. A handout was provided describing an emergency guide for working with students of concern, and extra handouts are available at any time. The Dean of Students is happy to attend department meetings to talk about specific supports that are available, and information is also available on the website to review. Further, the DOS and University police also provide presentations at New Faculty Orientation.
    3. Dean of Students (DOS) and university police work together closely to ensure that students and faculty are safe on campus. Over 400 students of concern have been reported to the Dean of Students this year so far.
    4. The university police perform an immediate threat assessment on any student reported to ensure that they have no criminal concerns, warrants, weapons permits, or contact with local police. This information is provided back to the Dean of Students office to be communicated with the faculty member reporting. When there is a confirmed threat at a criminal level, it is acted on appropriately, and if no criminal threat, the DOS works with the parties through interviews and determinations with Counseling and other support offices. Emergency meetings are called whenever needed
    5. Chief Miller stresses communication; please call or email at any time for assistance and ensure that teaching assistants and LTLs also understand how to contact the police even if the issue isn’t well known but there is concern. Additionally, if you are on campus at night and have concerns for safety, call the police non-emergency number (2140 on Hammond or 5220 on Westville) to request an escort.
    6. Pettee addressed questions regarding bringing others into a meeting on or with a student of concern. Colleagues that may be helpful to the meeting are always welcome. When there is a student of concern, report to the Dean of Students office right away. The contact will not violate FERPA because there is an educational need to know. If the incident affects other colleagues, they also have a right to know.
    7. Sindone noted that there is an online form for communicating the student of concernas a non-emergency report only, but if there is no one in the DOS office when there is an emergency, call the police. If you ever not sure, calling the police does no harm and will help you get the aid needed. Using the non-emergency reporting form helps gather data about the student that can be used to contact them and help as needed
    8. Mascha, Kozel, and Gillotti praised the university police and Dean of Students office for incidents handled in the past, noting that police have been extremely responsive and professional, and are very well trained in dealing with crisis situations. They work with each individual situation with responses appropriate to the incident or concern.
  8. New Business
    1. Curriculum Documents Approval(L. Taylor)
      1. Colucci presented the documents for approval in place of Taylor.
      2. Mitra made a comment with regard to the curriculum approval process as well as specific concerns on COB 18-06 New Concentration in Finance. There was an issue regarding whether the document was discussed with other units that may be impacted, and a distinction was outlined between banking, finance, and economics courses. Many courses in CHESS and in Business appear to already be in the available catalog covering these areas. Sindone responded with perspective on the history of the concentration and the courses as offered in the College of Business.
      3. Vega asked if there is a stated obligation for programs to reach out to other programs to ask about the potential impact of curriculum change proposals. Colucci responded that this is not the Curriculum Committee’s responsibility, so there is assumed collegiality that departments are communicating with each other
      4. Mitra motioned to withdraw the COB 18-06 document from consideration at this time, and Schultz seconds.
      5. In discussion, Mascha and Stompor noted concerns about the withdrawl of the document, as it has gone through all due process in the College, and that the concentration has a lot of student and community interest. Elmendorf disagreed that a document being approved by a College should automatically be passed by the Senate without consultation with other units, hence the requirement for the Senate vote to make it official.
      6. College of Business Senators noted that the issues between CHESS and Business on Economics issues may be unresolvable and expressed concern about delaying the document until May. Vega noted that initiators of new curriculum have an obligation to reach out to involved departments or individuals as needed, though Sindone noted that he had previously been in conversation with Paul McGrath with regard to the economics issues and there were no problems expressed.
      7. K. Tobin was recognized and noted that competition between departments is not in the spirit of educating all students, and she was concerned about the speed at which curriculum is passed because there is not always communication before the Senate process. Faculty do not always know where to find documents or that they are available. She encouraged faculty to be vigilant and to evaluate when there are issues of communication between departments to maintain better collaboration.
      8. Kozel requested that the Curriculum Committee review the form and add a place for impacted departments to sign off on review of the curriculum before it is approved.
      9. Schultz called the question in favor of retraction of the document back to the curriculum committee. 18 Senators agreed, and 9 dissented. The motion carried, and the author of the document will be contacted to discussed further.
      10. Regarding all other documents, Colucci made a motion, and Elmendorf seconded. All other curriculum documents passed.
    2. Senate Documents for Action
      1. FSD 18-15: Creation of Academic Program Review Process Task Force (A. Mitra)
        1. The revised document was presented for approval. It includes a clearer external and internal review process and all stakeholders.
        2. Elmendorf moved, and Mitra seconded. The motion carried.
      2. Election of Vice-Chair-Elect (A. Alavizadeh)
        1. L. Pelter is on the ballot, and no other Senators were nominated. Elmendorf moved to elect Pelter by acclimation, seconded by Merkovsky. The motion carried; L. Pelter is elected as the Vice Chair for 2019-2020
        2. Pelter spoke on election to Vice Chair-Elect, noting that we are at a real turning point at PNW, and the SRA process highlighted that we have outstanding faculty and programs. She felt that the Senate can take leadership in capitalizing on our success thus far to open up a new, impactful university based on the quality of our academic programs.
    3. Senate Documents For Discussion
      1. FSD 18-18: PNW General Education Assessment Process (L. Pelter)
        1. The document includes a revision of the rubric used for evaluating general education courses to update the process with more guidance and tied to outcomes that are measurable. The revised document adds more detail to what was previously passed.
        2. As a member of the General Education committee, Kozel noted that program and course outcomes are not able to be easily evaluated for alignment currently. Also, the state objectives passed by ICHE, such as 30-credit core, impact our assessment and we must stay within state mandates.
        3. Elmendorf commented that the document includes the following: “As ongoing assessment of GE courses is necessary, the GEA Committee proposes that all departments and programs with listed GE Core courses take this year to do the following:
          1. Identify the appropriate Statewide Transfer General Education Core
          2. Identify at least three learning outcomes for the identified competency that the course fulfills. These outcomes should be identified in course syllabuses in the future.
          3. Identify assessment procedures, making use of both direct and indirect assessment.
          4. Identify the level considered successful student attainment of the specified outcomes and the measure used.
          5. Identify procedures for making modifications and improvements to the course based on assessment, documenting and reporting on the entire cycle annually.”
        4. Kozel pointed out that Appendix B includes a form to make it easy for departments to add the assessment data and what Gen Ed objectives are satisfied. This allows for easier evaluation in the accreditation process.
        5. R. Stankowski commented that most programs that offer Gen Ed are already doing this at some level, but this document will clearly outline the process for all programs to follow in a more uniform manner, and certify for the Higher Learning Commisssion that we are doing what we say we are doing.
        6. Detmer questioned if there is a time constraint on this document. HLC will be here in 2021, and in 2020 PNW will submit an assurance argument to provide evidence that we are performing assessment tasks and collecting data. We need the data in a central repository to be able to show this, which should be operationalized in the fall.
        7. Provost Mueller added that accreditation and data collection are very important. This process was supposed to be in place this year, so must be in place as soon as possible.
        8. Pelter motioned to move the document to action and Mitra seconded. Elmendorf offered opposition in the light of the fact that this is a substantial document that needs to be shared with departments so that there are no issues that need to worked out prior to approval. Upon voting to move the document to action, 23 approved and 6 dissented. The motion carried.
        9. Motion to approve the document is given by Pelter, and Mitra seconded. The motion carried.
      2. FSD 18-19: Resolution on Summer Employment Practices (R. Brusca-Vega)
        1. Practices have been brought to the attention of Faculty Affairs with regard to opportunities for summer employment. Some departments have capricious practices while others have very direct and open practices. The FSD 18-19 document does not dictate how decisions are made, but expresses a call to action to have a written departmental policy on summer hiring that all faculty in the unit have voted on and approved.
        2. K. Tobin expressed that consistency and predictability are helpful to faculty with regard to hiring in the summer; however, as a department chair, it should be noted that all departments are very different in terms of budgetary processes. Transparency is sometimes difficult to achieve with regard to summer budgets.
        3. Scipes noted that advisors have suggested that banded tuition may have an effect on summer enrollment, so departmental policies that are transparent are needed to prevent faculty fighting over fewer sections that may be available.
        4. Pula added that transparency is vital and that the process should be written and made available to all faculty in the unit so that we understand the constraints we are working under.
      3. FSD 18-20: Resolution Regarding the PNW Faculty Senate’s Role in the Suspension of Academic Programs (D. Detmer)
        1. Detmer and Elmendorf had a discussion with Senior Leadership on the nature of the Academic Program Change/Creation (APCC) form and the idea that there is a distinction between discontinuing and suspending a program. The Constitution grants the faculty the power to approve and recommend programs, as well as the discontinuance of those programs when they no longer fulfill the mission of the university.
        2. The administration agreed that the Senate has the power to discontinue a program, but there is a difference between suspending and discontinuing. Suspension is defined as not allowing students to enroll, but not removing it from the books. Discontinuance is defined as removing the program from the catalog entirely.
        3. Detmer suggested that discontinuance and suspension are related; therefore, the Senate has this power as well. The clear intent of the Constitution seems to be that this is the one place that is under faculty authority. With that said, budgetary issues complicate the situation and the Provost’s office does control the budget, so there is a legitimate role for the administration with a call for collaboration between Senate and Provost’s office. However, budgets and constraints for specific programs are relative to the other programs being offered. It should not be the case that the administration should unilaterally decide what is and is not educationally necessary. The current resolution calls for collaboration between faculty and administration on whether a program should be suspended or not.
        4. The APCC form is available and has been implemented as a review process that is sufficient to effect program reopening or suspension or permanent closure.
        5. Schooley asked for clarification as to whether these discussions be made obsolete by the RCM budgetary model, since colleges would have more direct control over the funding of their own programs and therefore the administration would not be solely holding the budgets. Detmer and Provost Mueller responded that the RCM finance model does not create complete independence for each unit, and it is not yet implemented. It will not be fully in place for two years.
        6. Mueller noted that the intent of the APCC process is that that the faculty drives the curriculum, but fiduciary responsibilities lie with the administration. The form ensures that administration and faculty talk early on in the process of adding new curriculum. Provost Mueller agreed that Faculty Senate should be aware of what decisions are made with regard to program suspensions/closures, but did not feel that the faculty had the sole purview to make these decisions.
        7. Elmendorf noted that reopening/suspension of programs should also not be the sole purview of the administration, by way of the APCC form, which states this specifically. The opening or suspending of a program does have clear curricular impact and should come before the Senate.
        8. Colucci asked Quinn as to her dissent in voting on the resolution. Quinn responded if Senate is going to go about making decisions to open or close programs, that we need clearer procedures. She expressed discomfort on engaging in this process without further guidance.
        9. Scipes recognized that the administration having the final say may indicate that the budget ultimately counts most in making curricular decisions; however, there are other values that get negated as far as educational importance, community impact, student impact, decision-making processes, and so forth. It is very clear that the decision is within the Senate’s power as per the Constitution.
        10. Domke asked whether the APCC form initiates from the department, since the department chair and dean sign off first. Kozel responded that the form’s intent is that the department chair and dean present the case that there is budgetary ability to propose the change.
        11. Mueller noted that he agrees with Scipes on the matter that there are more values at play in curricular decisions than money, including welfare of students and strategic directions of the university. But, we cannot do these things if we don’t have the money. The reopening of programs means we are not creating a new program, but reawakening suspended programs; the intent is to speed up the process to ensure that there is financial viability to start something back up. This is different than starting a new program, which comes to the Senate.
        12. Schultz asked about what happens when faculty are involved in a suspended programs – how are they reassigned? Mueller noted that all of this is done in collaboration with the Provost’s office and the Dean and department chair.
        13. Fewer noted a concern that the document presented may set us up for difficulties with the administration down the road, and wished to see the document come from another subcommittee instead of Executive Committee.
        14. Scipes reiterated that faculty control the curriculum according to the Constitution, despite the need for collaboration with administration and budgets. It is the administration’s obligation to convince the Senate that a decision should be made on closing a program or suspending one. Pula and Schultz supported this notion, stressing that the Constitution had been cleared by legal counsel previously, and issues related to its processes should have been expressed at that time.
        15. Sindone noted that concern about students should be paramount; when we suspend or discontinue a program, the biggest impact is on students. This should be the number one priority, so collaboration between faculty and administration allows us to best prioritize. Kozel added that when programs are only partially available and students are admitted, we should be concerned about making sure it can be clearly supported.
        16. Detmer reminded the Senate that students are important, and that tenure allows faculty to make decisions on curricular matters without retaliation, thus being motivated solely by educational concerns. This is different from a department chair or dean, who serve at the pleasure of the administration. Detmer requested that the document be sent to the Educational Policy committee for further review.
    4. Issues for Discussion
      1. PNW Senate’s Advice to the University Policy Committee with regard to a Cap on Lecturer Appointments (A. Elmendorf)
        1. There was some continuation on the discussion from Cherry in the March meeting regarding the report from University Senate on the limitations on the number of lecturers. There is a cap at West Lafayette, but a cap is left to the discretion of the Provost at the regional campuses. The Executive Committee would like to see a written policy on the limitation as commensurate with WL’s policy, with a suggested limit of 25%.
        2. Mascha commented that Business, Nursing, and others rely heavily on practitioners, and cautioned against applying the cap unilaterally in that it may limit enrollment or otherwise negatively impact important programs.
        3. Elmendorf responded that this is not a hard proposal, but a suggestion for conversation, and that it would not be imposed on a unit-by-unit basis. A cap would take take into account numbers across the university. Pula agreed and noted that the policy is considered campus-wide in West Lafayette as well, and has not yet passed in the University Senate. Pula also plans to vote against the policy as currently written, noting that tenure-track lines are shrinking and the numbers of faculty can be manipulated if one were inclined to do so.
      2. Clarification on the Promotion of Clinical Professors (R. Brusca-Vega)
        1. Vega noted that we have faculty at the rank of clinical instructor that have been told they cannot go up for promotion. The policies in West Lafayette support the promotion of clinical faculty at all levels, with clinical instructor being the lowest rank, followed by assistant professor, associate professor, and professor.
        2. Mueller noted that Continuing Lecturers are different from Clinical faculty, and that CLs are considered staff members and not voting faculty. Clinical faculty are voting faculty, and are important additions to our teaching capacities. Some clinical/professional instructors were added in some units to have faculty classification, but allowing for more people with higher teaching capacity. Provost Mueller stressed that all ranks of clinical faculty are promotable ranks; however, clinical instructors are being hired with an explicit teaching focus and higher teaching load than tenure-track professors. They have no scholarship expectations, but the promotion ladder for clinical faculty does indicate a scholarship component.
        3. Trekles asked Provost Mueller to communicate clearly to Deans that clinical instructors are not kept from being promoted, but that they need to understand that they would require scholarship to be promotable.
        4. Schultz asked about differentiation on the ranks as defined in the PNW promotion and tenure guidelines. The system-level policies make it clear that clinical instructors are promotable at all levels, but it is also being made clear to new clinical instructors that they do not have an expectation for research. Therefore, they are not being set up to be promotable.
        5. Scipes raised the point that those with heavy teaching loads also have a service component to be considered in promotion, and asked how this can be made more explicit for them to be able to be promotable on teaching and service.
        6. Kozel clarified that clinical professors have field practical experience, and supported the notion that the guidelines should be revisited for clinical faculty. Provost Mueller responded that the language used is from West Lafayette and that it does include the scholarly component, though it may be more applied scholarship. However, there may be issues with promoting people on active clinical practice alone.
        7. Sindone noted that the College of Business has promotion criteria reflective of West Lafayette’s, and agrees that scholarship should be included in clinical track, but this does not necessarily have to be hard research in high-end journals to be valuable to the field and their practice in the classroom.
  9. Remarks by the Representative of the Student Government (J. Schooley, SGA President)
    1. SGA is holding an inaugural spring event in Westville on Tuesday from 12-4pm on the commons ground between TECH, LSF, and SWRZ. Different organizations will be present with food, games, and so forth. The hope is that this will boost flagging morale among students.
    2. The SGA is seeking to change the elections process in light of the very low voter turnout in recent months. They are working with Student Affairs to ask that the Senate oversee and openly support Student Government elections. There is hope that this collaboration would improve attitudes of students toward the administration and the university. An initial proposal is being drawn up, but would include the Student Affairs committee as overseeing regulation and promotion of elections.
    3. Dorman asked what the SGA believed could help morale. Schooley responded that student advocates and leaders should be more prominent among the student body, and included more in decision-making. Communication should also always be clear and transparent. The low enrollment situation in Westville is a concern, and cuts and changes to courses and programs should be done with active student participation and buy-in. Currently, students do not feel that they have a voice. The diploma name change issue was also a big blow to morale and created a lot of tension. Even though the issue has been resolved, this was as a result of mass protest rather than actions taken by representatives of SGA.
    4. Sindone supported the SGA proposal and the need to do more to bolster students and morale.
    5. The SGA Chief of Staff spoke on behalf of students to ask the faculty to help promote the SGA and voting to make it seen as more legitimate and attractive to students.
  10. Remarks by the University Senate/Intercampus Faculty Council Representatives (J. Pula/V. Quinn)
    1. West Lafayette building projects were a large part of the last meeting discussion.
    2. The Senate is asking for a longer period on decisions about benefits packages. Also, those using their health savings account cards are sometimes getting charged a fee for using them, so West Lafayette is in the process of figuring out why there are these charges happening.
    3. The geofence for Purdue Global and PNW online programs should now be in place, with ads to those in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin going to PNW. However, the TV ads only mention Purdue Global and calling does not get one to PNW representatives directly. They will now at least be able to provide contact information to the PNW admissions office, but upon investigation, Purdue Global does not provide other information. This is still seen as a step in the right direction.
    4. There are about 400 employees taking Purdue Global courses at no cost. However, unless those courses are directly related to their work, they may have to pay taxes on the compensated tuition as per the IRS. The university is to cover whatever taxes employees are liable for this year only as this was not communicated properly. But, be sure that it is a direct relationship to your work or you may be taxed on this benefit if you take Purdue Global coursework.
  11. Open Discussion (if time permits)
    1. Scipes commented on the committees looking at Westville concerns, including the Senate ad hoc committee and an administrative committee led by Vice Chancellor Turner. The latter has held forums for students, faculty, and senate in the past week. Scipes requested that both committees provide a report to the Senate in May, not just the Senate committee. Detmer will invite a representative from the administrative committee to speak.
  12. Adjournment

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