Faculty Senate Minutes, August 23, 2019

August 27, 2019

Purdue Northwest Faculty Senate Minutes

August 23, 2019

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

Voting members present:

  1. Pelter, R. Kramer, L. Pelter, A. Sindone, H. Zhao, X. Wang, O. Farook, S. Rezak, V. Quinn (for M. Zimmer), M. Mick, L. Gielda, G. Schultz, N. Parashar, J. Davis, J. Rogers, M. Curia, G. Domke, W. Yu, C. Fewer, A. Elmendorf, A. Alavizadeh, M. Connolly, P. Stompor, R. Calix, D. Wilbur, A. Mitra, J. Dorman, M. Roller, C. Morrow, K. Scipes, R. Merkovsky, R. Vega, C. W. He, C. DeLeon, C. Gillotti, R. Cherry, K. Kincaid, F. Vauleon, M. Mascha, D. Gray, L. Taylor, C. Chen, D. Kozel, D. Nikolovski


Senators absent:


Non-Voting members present:

  1. Winders, N. Latif, J. Colwell, A. Trekles, J. Holt, J. Schooley

Visitors present:

  1. Rupp, L. Feldman, B. Stankowski, C. Murphy, N. Nemeth, T. Hines, M. Garcia-Verdugo, J. Swarts


  1. Determination of quorum. 10:01am
  2. Call to order.
  3. Approval of the agenda. G. Schultz noted that FSD 19-04 will be moved to Discussion Items rather than a Senate document for discussion. The agenda is approved.
  4. Approval of the minutes from May 3, 2019. Motion to approve Schultz, Wilbur, approved
  5. Welcome and remarks by the Senate Chair (T. Elmendorf).
    1. The Senate welcomes all new Senators and the new Chair and Vice-Chair. Chair Elmendorf thanks everyone for being in attendance and introduced Vice-Chair Pelter, Jerry Holt the Parliamentarian, and S. Trekles, Secretary of the Senate.
    2. Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs search: In the summer, a vacancy occurred in this position and we congratulate Dr. Latif for his appointment as interim Vice Chancellor. He will not be a candidate for the permanent position, and there will be a search committee formed, with L. Pelter serving on that committee. The Chancellor will also appoint other members of the Senate and hopes the committee will begin its work in September. An external firm will not be used, but instead the internal capabilities through West Lafayette will be utilized.
    3. Elmendorf reminded the Senate that the faculty controls the curriculum. He noted the process of Curriculum approval and reminded the Senate of how the process works. He stressed that this is the most important power that the Senate has; however, there have been important issues raised over the summer regarding faculty control of the curriculum. One was regarding departmental administrative overrides of curricular requirements on plans of study without faculty input. There should be faculty oversight over when these overrides are permitted, rather than merely advising and department chair oversight. Another was the approval of transfer credit, which is governed by FSD 17-21 and notes that faculty with expertise in the course in which the credit is being granted must have oversight on the approval of transfers. There have been instances of department Chairs getting pressure to sign off on expedited instances of transfer credits, and we would like to see this issue reduced or eliminated.
    4. The Faculty need to have a strong voice in the formation of the Strategic Plan and pay attention to the input as well as proposals that will impact the core mission of the university.
      1. Gillotti asked about the nature of department chairs making override decisions on plans of study and asked if a resolution on the issue should be decided upon. The resolution will be looked at by Ed Policy.
    5. Preparations for accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) are ongoing and the visit will occur in April 2021. Please provide Associate Vice Chancellor Becky Stankowski with the materials that she requests when needed as this process continues.
      1. B. Stankowski reminded the faculty that HLC requests will be coming forward and asked for cooperation and support. She also invited questions.
    6. Only 75% of faculty are up to date on credentialing for Title IX mandatory reporter status. This is an important duty that each faculty member has and it is essential to keep your credentialing up to date. Faculty were urged to convey to department members that they need to pay attention to the messages incoming to update credentials online as needed.
    7. The committee from the Senate on Westville and the administrative committee presented their reports to the Senate in May, which had many similar findings. Many of those recommendations were taken into consideration by the SLT and one of the first decisions was to ensure that 16 majors of study would be guaranteed to be available completely at Westville without the necessity of traveling to Hammond. In the announcement, however, it was not made clear as to who this impacted, and clarification from the Chancellor indicated that this has been guaranteed for incoming freshman only at this time. The status will be reviewed on a yearly basis and we will be continuing to keep up with this issue as time goes on. Extra funds to support these programs, including those with low enrollments, was not made clear to Senate leadership as of yet.
      1. Scipes noted that this is the first time he’s heard that the Westville 16 decision was for one year only. He expressed concern about ongoing dedication to lessening travel.
      2. Kincaid responded to Scipes noting that on the bus this week, he saw a large number of students traveling back and forth, and even though we have promised them previously that they would not need to travel, they are still doing so.
  • R. Merkovsky asked about the location of faculty and where they might be teaching, and decisions based on that. Provost Latif noted that typically the “home” campus is where ones office is located. D. Gray commented that there may be some errors about where faculty are located with regard to Title IX.
  1. The Intercampus Faculty Council passed a resolution at the system level to reiterate that the Senates are the decision-making bodies that represent the Faculty and major initiatives that impact faculty and curriculum should be presented to the Senates rather than simply brought forward unilaterally or through a small hand-picked selection of faculty members.
  1. Remarks by the Student Government representative (J. Schooley, SGA President)
    1. Because of a conflicting SGA meeting, the remarks for SGA have been moved up. J. Schooley remarked that SGA will be appointing students to participate in the Vice Chancellor and Provost search as well as in other initiatives related to Strategic Planning. Elmendorf asked if student representation will be on the Electronic Communications committee and Schooley indicated that yes, they will. They have a full SGA this year.
  2. Remarks by the Chancellor (T. Keon)
    1. Chancellor Keon deferred to Provost Latif for remarks. Latif noted that there are 5 major items to be addressed right now: preparation for the HLC and establishing timelines, with a goal for summer of 2020 to have all documents ready. We need your help in this process. Second, we will be developing practical doctoral degree proposals for ICHE, including PsyD and engineering. Third, academic advising will be reviewed in order to strengthen retention, and focusing on ensuring students come back and have a good experience. General Education will also be organized and reviewed with the help of the faculty and an ad hoc committee generated in CHESS. The RCM model is the final area of review and concentration this year.
    2. Latif noted that DegreeWorks is now in place and that it allows faculty members to approve transfer credits. Training will be available.
    3. Title IX reporting concerns will be relayed to Linda Knox for her review.
    4. Scipes asked about the status of PNW as a Metropolitan University and the decision made against the status change. Chancellor Keon responded that Indiana University essentially blocked the change in status for PNW, and we are now working with IU to redefine was a regional university is. Under the new definition, under exceptional circumstances regional universities can offer applied doctoral programs, and we are continuing to work with IU on what “exceptional” means for the definition for ICHE.
  3. New Business
    1. Curriculum documents and updates (L. Taylor)
    2. FSD 19-03, Curriculum Committee Dates and Curriculog Information for 2019-2020 (for information)
    3. Taylor reminded that March 1 is the last day for curriculum to be approved for the next academic year; this means that January 3 is the last date the committee can receive documents for review for the next academic year. Documents after that will be going into effect in the subsequent year.
    4. Regarding documents CHESS-SOEC 18-83 and 18-81, Math and Education met together in August. MA 153 and STAT 301 have been agreed upon with a gap analysis to be performed by the math department to ensure candidates can pass the CORE licensure exam, with another meeting scheduled in September.
    5. Regarding Curriculog, training will be available starting in September. We will still accept paper documents for this year to allow everyone to get trained.
    6. Dates for submission to the committee are posted and should be followed. The committee needs advance notice of documents before they meet to review.
  4. New Business
    1. Senate Documents for Action
      1. FSD 18-19, Summer employment policy (Faculty Affairs, R. Vega)
        1. The resolution presented was discussed in April and May, and is now on the agenda for voting. However, for those new Senators who have not reviewed the document ahead of time, it is suggested that some may wish to move it to the next meeting.
        2. The document notes discrepancies in equity across departments in policies for making summer employment available, and urges the creation of set policies that are voted upon by the faculty in each unit. The document, if approved, would take effect for summer 2020.
        3. Quinn noted that it could be put off another month to allow Senators to go to their departments for feedback and return in September.
        4. Gillotti and Mick asked for clarification on the language used in the resolution. Vega explained that the voting on options for summer employment would happen in each unit, not through the Senate.
        5. Cherry noted that there is a somewhat limited time in which this should be discussed so that departments have time to have these discussions and make the votes necessary. It may need clarification that the issue relates to individual departments rather than colleges.
        6. Domke offered a friendly amendment to clarify that votes happen in “each department, school, or college.”
        7. Schultz indicated that the advisors in many units recommend to the chair which courses should be offered based on student needs. However, the document does not give any stipulations of specifics on how departments should make decisions about staffing these classes. Sindone discussed the language used and clarified this further for the Senate. He suggested that some additional guidance might be provided for those options that might be made within units. Kramer and Merkovsky added to this discussion and asked for fine-tuning in replacing the word “options” with “process.”
        8. Schultz commented that some administrators may indicate that the scheduling is an administrative process, not to be voted on by faculty. How do we address this? At this time, there are no guidelines nor are we certain should there be.
        9. Vega moved to accept the document with friendly amendment in place. Kramer seconded. The motion carries
      2. FSD 19-01, Electronic Communications Task Force (Executive, T. Elmendorf)
        1. The document was created over the summer and passed by the Executive Committee per their action in the summer as the Senate. The document must now be ratified by the whole Senate.
        2. The document deals with open forum email and its use, in response to controversial communication sent through open forum in the previous academic year. The Senate has nominated faculty members Donna Whitten and Kathy Tobin, and SLT has Tim Winders and Richard Rupp, and SGA will nominate members to join. APSAC and CSSAC were invited to participate but declined to do so.
        3. Elmendorf moved to ratify the document. Wilbur seconded.
        4. Schultz asked what the task force will do, and it was indicated that they will recommend policy on electronic communication. Gillotti asked if the issue that arose that prompted the creation of the task force may be covered in our civility polices. Rupp responded that he and VC Winders have been looking models for open forums used at other universities and a number of them will be discussed in this task force for adoption. It is important to move expeditiously to establish a new system of communication that includes value for freedom of expression with the ability to opt-in or out, and specific groups may have their own forums (faculty, staff, etc). In this way, different groups can more easily have direct communication to targeted groups. Monitoring what goes into communications is also a concern and it is the hope that the task force can find the best balance between freedom of expression and restricting uncivil speech.
        5. The vote was taken to ratify the document, and the motion carried.
      3. Senate documents for Discussion:
        1. FSD 18-23 on the use of SRA (Ed Policy). Recap of issues for further revisiting for revision by Ed Policy – Senate feedback suggested.
          1. Scipes reiterated the discussion had in Senate in May related to SRA outcomes and the impression that the process was deeply flawed. A document was generated and presented related to the outcomes from the April 19 meeting, but there were wording issues. It is on the floor today to ask the Senate for suggestions on viewpoints related to the use of SRA data to take back to the Ed Policy committee.
          2. Kozel noted that we all put a great deal of time into the SRA process, and the format in how the data was requested was fundamentally flawed. Programs were taken out of context in many cases and considered separately, and the way the conclusions were made in the report did not accurately reflect some areas. He argued that the data is available in many sources, and does not need to be used from the SRA report.
          3. Mascha noted that the data reviewed by the committees came from the units and may not have been publicly available before. One of the challenges was that some programs gave very clearly written data, while others did not. Therefore, she was not sure that all data should be thrown out from the SRA report as that may be the only place to find it.
          4. Curia recalled that one wording change was that the SRA data would not be used as the “sole source” of decision making, which relates to the concerns posed by Kozel and Mascha. Scipes agreed that this allows for data to be used when needed but would not be considered as the only source of data for decisions to be made or for strategic planning. Mitra added that the analysis of the data was also considered an issue and that the concern was more about the narrative related to analysis of the data and the conclusions made in the SRA report. The amount of data collected does not need to be set aside, and clarification can be made in the resolution to ensure that this does not happen.
          5. Elmendorf further commented that data are only as good as the question that they respond to.
          6. Quinn noted that we should be careful to use quality data in any decision, not just data we “like.”
          7. Scipes noted that these concerns will be offered to the committee in their further deliberations.
          8. Rupp added that SLT did meet over the summer and reviewed all SRA data, as well as data supplied by Deans in the colleges.
        2. FSD 18-26, reinstatement of the BS in Economics (Executive, T. Sindone). On hold pending further action to reinstate the degree in the ICHE degree list.
          1. There have been several meetings over the summer with the Provost and stakeholders in CHESS related to the Economics degree. The sense at the Executive Committee meeting in August was that the degree needs to continue in the process of ICHE approval before the Senate can vote on it. Latif commented that it is not yet clear whether it needs to be proposed as a new program, which includes showing ICHE that evidence of sustainability and growth of the program must be shown. Economics has a minor currently and once that minor grows, it will provide the evidence needed at that time.
          2. Mitra added that a clarification on how to propose a new major would be helpful. He asked if there is a requirement that a minor be established before a major can be proposed. He also noted that there may be different populations of students who would choose the major over the minor. Latif noted that there is no requirement for a minor, but evidence of concentration of students is needed regardless. His concern is about showing ICHE the best evidence that the program will grow. Other issues such as the job market, the market demand, and so forth will also be considered when needed, but the demand within the institution is one of the most important data points for ICHE. We only have the minor which started in March 2018, so more data and time is needed to gather that data.
          3. DeLeon noted that having gone through this process before, it is necessary to demonstrate to ICHE how the degree proposed is different than other degrees in the area and how it will draw students. It is not usually enough to say that other colleges have such a degree – the program must be distinctive in some way from the others in the region and that must be demonstrably clear to ICHE.
          4. Mitra added that the minor and its standing is just one data point and that other data are available and actively being gathered.
        3. FSD 19-02, Membership of standing committees (Nominations and Awards, A. Alavizadeh)
          1. Nominations used the survey data to ask for volunteers on the standing committees. Senators have been assigned to committees of choice wherever possible, allowing for composition requirements to be met where needed.
          2. The resolution shows the list of the members of the committees as of 2019-2020.
          3. The motion to move the document to action was made by Sindone, seconded by Mitra. The motion carried.
          4. Wilbur moved to approve the document, which was seconded by Sindone. No further discussion. The motion carried.
      4. Discussion items:
        1. FSD 19-04, Faculty workload (Faculty Affairs, R. Vega)
          1. This document is still in the early stages, but it is the outcome of the ad hoc subcommittee on workload formed in Faculty Affairs. It comes from concerns about discrepancies in workload assignment across the university. Faculty Affairs has not approved the document yet, but is interested in the Senate’s comments before moving forward with approval. The primary concern of this document is that faculty workload will be assigned in a more equitable fashion.
          2. DeLeon noted that workload should not be defined only by number of courses, but also what counts as one course as far as the number of students assigned to it.
          3. Gillotti also noted that there is a difference across the university in how graduate classes are counted.
          4. Kozel added that new teaching assignments are also not counted equitably and there should be some thought about new assignments made.
          5. Curia responded that the committee heard these issues and the “further resolved” section allows for each unit to be able to look at issues related to that unit that may be particular to the discipline.
          6. Parashar asked about the concerns raised in the survey, and the resolution provides some of those concerns as a broad sample but not an exhaustive list. Parashar also noted that no release time is often given to research grant recipients and that workload related to those receiving grants should be considered as well.
          7. Mascha indicated that previously, some units had rules about specific numbers of students taught or credit hours generated. Elmendorf commented that credit hour generation should not be used as the sole method of faculty workload calculation.
          8. Taylor and Mitra stressed the notion of equity and that this needs to stay in the forefront of our conversations about workload. It should be fair across the board to all faculty, both within departments and within disciplines.
          9. Pelter noted that real data must also be used, not just hearsay. We should look at all data for the faculty member including credit hours, research hours, independent studies, contact hours, and tenure status.
          10. Mick noted that in Business, there is a college-level workload committee that has already done some work. Faculty Affairs is invited to speak with them. Gillotti also added that benchmarking from other peer institutions has been done in the past and may be a good thing to revisit. A report was previously generated and she hopes that there are some actionable items that come from the new resolution.
          11. Vega indicated that a resolution on workload should help to establish firm policies that assist in equitability and general rules that make the job of workload assignment easier for both faculty and administration. Schultz added that inequitable workload distribution can also lead to issues in promotion and tenure discussions as well. He suggested that contracts should reflect workload properly, as there appear to be discrepancies in what faculty are teaching versus what it says in their contracts. This is evident in the current discrepancies seen in clinical contracts, as has been discussed in previous Senate meetings in April and May.
          12. Mitra asked about the survey and data-gathering used by the committee so far. The resolution asks to establish an official joint task force to examine that data further, as there is a great deal.
        2. Senate focus group venue for the Strategic Planning Task Force.
          1. The Executive Committee discussed the request of the Task Force (per Renee Conroy) related to Senate time to discuss the Strategic Plan. It was suggested that the time needed for the focus group requested is too great for the floor of the Senate and that it might be best for a standing committee. Executive Committee was suggested as the place for that, and the Chair asks if the Senate approves of this.
          2. Kozel noted that broader input might be more beneficial. Gillotti, as a member of the committee, added that we need as many people’s voices as possible. Therefore, it is important to engage with everyone on the Senate.
          3. Pelter noted that the Executive Committee meeting would be open to all Senators for their input. R. Kramer inquired if a special meeting of the Senate could be convened to accomplish this task, which may or may not be during the Executive meeting.
          4. Fewer, another member of the task force, noted that the focus group is a specific series of questions and data-gathering process, so large-scale open discussion won’t necessarily happen in such a meeting. L. Feldman offered that the task force is continuing their work of getting input from all stakeholders and there will be additional input opportunities beyond the Senate. An email came out this week that includes an electronic survey for those who cannot make the meetings.
          5. Kozel asked if the questions could be given ahead of time as to what the committee is asked to comment on. Some questions are on the website from the survey, but not all details of the focus group engagement activity. Answers might be better thought out if we knew them in advance.
          6. The Executive Committee meeting is next Friday, August 30, 10:00am in Portage, but this may be too short a timeframe. The September meeting is on Friday September 27 at 10:00am in Portage, and all senators are asked to attend if able to participate in the focus group. The Task Force would like all data collected by end of September. The Senate agreed, and at least half of the Senators indicated that they plan to attend September 27th’s meeting.
  5. The Nominations Committee and the Chair thanked all the new Senators and look forward to working with everyone.
  6. Report of the University Senate/IFC representative (J. Pula): No report; IFC and University Senate has not met yet.
  7. Open discussion (as time permits).
    1. Kincaid recognized Rob Merkovsky as the new chair of Grade Appeals.
  8. Adjournment: 12:05pm