Faculty Senate Minutes, September 13, 2019

September 15, 2019

Purdue Northwest Faculty Senate Minutes

September 13, 2019

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

Voting members present:

L. Pelter, R. Kramer, M. Pelter, A. Sindone, H. Zhao, X. Wang, O. Farook, S. Rezak, V. Quinn, M. Mick, 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, C. Morrow, K. Scipes, R. Merkovsky, R. Vega, W. He, C. DeLeon, C. Gillotti, R. Cherry, K. Kincaid, F. Vauleon, L. Taylor, C. Chen, D. Kozel, X. Yang, K. Scipes, R. Evans


Senators absent:

M. Roller, D. Nikolovski, L. Gielda, M. Mascha

Non-Voting members present:

T. Keon, N. Latif, J. Colwell, A. Trekles, J. Holt, J. Schooley

Visitors present:

R. Rupp, L. Feldman, B. Stankowski, N. Nemeth, M. Garcia-Verdugo, J. Swarts, K. Falzone, P. Turbek, J. Williams


  1. Determination of quorum.
  2. Call to order: 10:01am
  3. Approval of the agenda: Approved
  4. Approval of the minutes from August 23, 2019. Davis, Schultz, approved
  5. Welcome and remarks by the Senate Chair (T. Elmendorf).
    1. Members of the Senate briefly introduced themselves to the new membership.
    2. Standing committees: At the last meeting, the standing committee membership was established, but there have been some minor changes since then. D. Wilbur sits on Student Affairs, C. Gillotti sits on Curriculum, and V. Quinn sits on Faculty Affairs.
    3. Title IX Mandatory Reporting training: Senate leadership has been informed that over 20% of faculty are not in compliance with Mandatory Reporter training. It is very important that everyone take the time to complete the online training, so please take this information back to your departments to remind your colleagues.
      1. Wilbur asked about the implications of someone not completing training. Previously, failure to complete training meant that a faculty member was locked out of their accounts, but it is not clear that this consequence still exists.
    4. Elmendorf reminded the Senate of the Special Senate Meeting on September 27 at 10am in Portage for the Strategic Plan Focus Group. This was decided in the last meeting, and all members are invited to join in at that time. The Executive Committee meeting will occur directly following the focus group session. The questions for the focus group will be shared ahead of the meeting to give Senators some time to consider them.
    5. The Chair welcomes Pitparnee Stompor as the representative to the RCM Task Force from Curriculum. Funding for service courses is one of the issues currently being discussed in the task force, and currently the model indicates that 80% of the funds for service courses go to the offering college, while 20% goes to the student’s major college. There is concern that this may cause competition between departments, with major-specific courses offered to replace service courses housed in other departments. This is an issue that all faculty should be considering and discussing with colleagues.
      1. Morrow asked for clarification on the 80-20% split. The college receives the distributions, not the departments. Morrow indicated that she has seen some “turf issues” coming up amongst departments already.
    6. An issue in one college has come up regarding administrators serving on college-level curriculum committees. A resolution will be coming forward regarding this concern.
    7. The Grievance Committees are being populated and colleges are currently soliciting nominees. Please encourage interested colleagues to respond.
    8. The Provost and Chancellor informed Senate leadership that a marketing company, Emsi (https://www.economicmodeling.com), has been hired to perform a marketing analysis for PNW.
    9. Westville 16 programs: Students currently moving through these programs will be able to finish in Westville, and Chancellor Keon indicated that these same 16 programs will be available for freshmen starting next year as well.
    10. The Summer Employment resolution has been passed and the administration has been asked to communicate the message to Deans and department chairs. 
  6. Remarks by the Chancellor (T. Keon)
    1. Chancellor Keon reaffirmed that the Westville 16 programs will be in place for Fall 2020, and that we will always need to make these decisions a year in advance. We have already admitted 46 freshmen for next year.
    2. A memo was circulated last May indicating that the results of the SRA process would be evaluated over the summer, and that the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) would be providing recommendations. Later today, the list of suggestions that came from the SLT discussions will be distributed to all faculty, which include recommendations to examine program efficiencies.
    3. Title IX mandatory reporting training consequences will be discussed further. Currently LTLs are not hired back if they do not complete necessary training.
    4. The Chancellor and Provost indicated that they will work further with Senate leadership and the Deans on the assignment of summer courses, as per the resolution.
      1. Schultz asked about further clarification on summer employment and whether this is a budget committee issue. We currently do not budget for summer school and it must be self-sustaining; if there is a deficit, the department has to pay Academic Affairs back. Schultz asked if this is under review, and the Chancellor responded that the RCM model will allow colleges to have more flexibility in how to implement summer courses and budget for them. Chancellor Keon also remarked that he hoped that departments can work together to determine which courses should be offered in what areas. No department can make changes to curriculum without the faculty and the Senate approving it. Because of the concern regarding infringement and competition, he recommended that the Curriculum Committees at all levels scrutinize these issues very carefully.
  7. New Business
    1. Curriculum documents and updates (L. Taylor).
      1. January 3 is the last day that program changes can be submitted for the 2020-2021 academic year. This does not apply to course changes which can be made semester by semester.
      2. The documents were presented for approval. Taylor motioned, Schultz seconded. The motion carried.  
      3. Elmendorf reiterated the point that the approval of curriculum is extremely important, and is the major power of the faculty. Approving documents affirms the hard work of all curriculum committees and individuals who worked on developing those documents. No changes to curriculum can take place until the Senate approves them.
  8. New Business
    1. Senate Documents for Action
      1. FSD 18-23 on the use of SRA (Ed Policy, K. Scipes)
        1. The document was revised by Education Policy and was presented for action. The language was refined based on feedback from the Senate in the past meeting. The main change was the “Resolved” section to clarify the statement on the results of SRA.
        2. Scipes moved to accept the document, and Cherry seconded.
        3. Wilbur asked whether there is anything to recognize as valuable from the SRA process. Scipes noted that the document does not nullify all parts of the SRA, but does note that the results should not be used as the only source of data for decision-making. Chancellor Keon further remarked that the SRA provided a great deal of data that is valuable to colleges and departments for consideration of changes to programs and engaging more students. He agreed that the results of SRA should not be the primary source of data, however. Provost Latif added that the SRA results provided the College of Technology with useful information regarding which programs to put emphasis on moving forward. Elmendorf noted that the programs examined by SLT have been those from categories 1, 3, and 5.
        4. Kozel added that programs and concentrations were separated too much in some cases, and therefore there may be overlap in what students participate in which courses and concentrations. It may not always have been apparent that these concentrations do not put additional strain on departments. The Chancellor noted that numbers of students in courses, as well as in concentrations or majors, were examined to get a better picture.
        5. Voting commenced to approve the document. The motion carried.
    2. Senate documents for Discussion:
      1. FSD 19-04, Faculty workload (Faculty Affairs, R. Vega)
        1. Faculty Affairs has looked through the document, revised it, and presents it for discussion. The document includes guidelines for improved equity of workload. Vega noted that the document and its recommendations came from the Task Force on Workload and the survey that they distributed among faculty.
        2. Two members of the Faculty Affairs committee had further concerns about the document and spoke. Parashar indicated that teaching duties for faculty on each campus based on when and where they were hired may need to be addressed as well in this document. The maintaining of office hours and travel is not currently addressed, and Parashar asked the question as to whether we are “confined” to a single campus or not. Another concern was grants: those that generate an indirect cost that brings in revenue for the university should be considered heavily, as grants are now considered over and above faculty workload. We as a group should hash out these issues further to understand how grants impact faculty workload.
          1. Provost Latif responded that all new faculty members hired after 2016 are hired for PNW, and that their workload may be distributed across both campuses at the discretion of the hiring department. With regard to grants and releases, Provost Latif indicated that summer pay is often the way faculty receive compensation for grant work. It must be examined as to whether grant work can be included as part of regular semester workload. The RCM model further complicates the issue.
          2. Schultz noted that in the August Faculty Affairs meeting, he supported the document for discussion, but not for action in the September meeting. He noted that many issues in the document need to be addressed immediately, including the assignment of load based on credit hours. Clarity needs to be achieved as to whether this should be implemented and how, as well as the assignment of courses at the last minute before classes start. In fact, this latter issue may need its own resolution, as it is important.
        3. Vega noted that the document provides a list of potential issues under consideration to provide context for the establishment of the task force. The resolution does not propose to be an extensive list of all possible issues, as there are many. It does not prevent any resolution on specific issues to move forward separately.
        4. DeLeon noted that contracts for faculty hired prior to 2016 need further clarification. It does not state in our contracts that we must teach on both campuses, even though many of us are indeed doing so. The contract issue must be examined thoroughly to ensure that we are working within legal parameters. The Provost responded that while colleges cannot force a faculty member to teach on a different campus, they may need expertise in certain areas. DeLeon noted that despite protests of not being able to teach on both campuses, some faculty are being told by their supervisors they must teach, which impacts their productivity and workload.
        5. Gillotti asked the Chancellor and Provost about clarification on contracts. She has asked for her contract but was not able to obtain it. It may be useful for everyone to be issued a new contract to ensure that our workloads are clearly communicated. Provost Latif clarified that offer letters and contracts are two separate documents; the offer letters are the condition of employment, but the contracts for tenure-track faculty are renewed every two years.
        6. Curia noted that the resolution implies that there needs to be a collegial relationship between department administration and faculty. Further, Domke noted that faculty are volunteering to teach on the opposite campus, but what happens is that faculty cannot be available to students on both campuses at the same time.
        7. Domke asked about credit hour generation, and how we decide credit hour generation determinations for service courses. Merkovsky added that this issue deserves its own resolution. Morrow agreed, but also noted that the need for a separate resolution should not slow down the adoption of the current resolution.
        8. Kozel wished to add the requirement for transparency rules for faculty assignments. All members of a unit should know what the rest of the faculty is doing and not be private. Mitra responded that this information can be gained through the Banner class schedule online. However, not all assignments are related specifically to teaching classes, so workload reports with releases should be shared. Some departments already provide this to their faculty, as noted by Elmendorf in MSCS.
        9. Schultz agreed that the Senate should not wish to stall the current resolution, but does want to see a further resolution established regarding teaching on both campuses and the workload implications within. There are no established, written agreements regarding this at this time.
        10. The Chancellor noted that there are many issues at stake including equity and the definition of it. The clarification on what equity implies for each college and department should be investigated thoroughly in order to ensure that assignments are weighted in an equitable manner that is standardized. In this way, performance evaluations can be treated similarly across the institution. We do need to think through all issues carefully and Chancellor Keon noted that legally, we all work at the will of the university and we can be asked to travel if it is necessary for the execution of our jobs. Shared governance, however, is an opportunity for administrators and faculty to work together to serve students as best we can, and do so in such a way that all professionals have input into how and where the work is done. We should all find solutions where we have input, but when we get down to technicalities such as whether we can we be assigned to other campuses, the condition of employment ultimately indicates that yes, we can.
        11. Gillotti responded that she has enjoyed teaching on both campuses, but she also comes from the privilege of living between both campuses, rather than far from one or the other. The reality of traveling for some people is very different.
        12. Scipes noted that the contracts we previously signed are not with Purdue Northwest, so this is a concerning issue that should be addressed. The assumption that the contract is simply subsumed by PNW now should be examined. DeLeon asked for equity and fairness in each department such as a rotation of courses so that faculty are prepared to teach across campuses and can plan their schedules accordingly.
        13. Morrow moved the document to action. Domke seconded. Kozel supported the motion. Additional resolutions on other actions can be forthcoming but the document establishes the groundwork. Schultz agreed and supports the document as well. The motion carried.
        14. Vega moved the document for approval, and Morrow seconded. Wilbur noted one question for clarification of language on “campuses” versus “sites”. He asked if this is an understanding that we need to make about whether PNW is one “campus” with two locations or two campuses. A friendly suggestion to this effect is made to consider clarification.
        15. Taylor asked for clarification on the final “resolved” statement. Curia responded that this section is a reassurance that the task force is a working task force and will be producing a product.
        16. Voting commenced to approve the document. The motion carried.
      2. FSD 19-05, Membership of subordinate committees (Nominations and Awards, A. Alavizadeh)
        1. The document establishes the members of subordinate committees known at this time. Some committees still need population or a communication of their members to Nominations.
        2. Domke asked that the chairs of committees get the Nominations committee the names of subordinate committee members as soon as possible. The list will be updated prior to the next meeting. 
    3. Discussion items:
      1. Report on the current status of assessment in preparation for the HLC visit (C. Fewer)
        1. Fewer presented General Education and Assessment determinations, and the need to clarify the application and the assessment process. The current instructions are not clear, although there are improved templates for assessment. The current plan is that all assessment forms will be submitted to TaskStream based on N. Nemeth’s templates, to serve as data for HLC accreditation reporting needs. This part of the HLC reporting process is due on September 30, and will be submitted for the Senate in October.
      2. Discussion of issues relating to the Westville campus.
        1. The task force will ask the chair of the task force, Dave Feikes, to establish a meeting date.
        2. The document established by the task force last May is on the website and are linked in the minutes here for new members to review. The recommendations were taken under consideration by the Chancellor and he communicated a summary of those issues and actions taken, including the “Westville 16 decision,” over the summer.
  9. Remarks by the Student Government representative (J. Schooley, SGA President)
    1. There is not a great deal to report currently. Executive pay for SGA officers has been cut in half to allow for money and resources to be put toward student organizations. The SGA is meeting with leaders of student organizations to establish connections and plan for upcoming events. The next SGA sessions will discuss the governing documents and updates made to them through the Student Affairs committee.
  10. Report of the University Senate/IFC representative (J. Pula)
    1. The first meeting of the University Senate included minor issues and leftover issues from last year. Enrollment is up in West Lafayette, as is retention. President Daniels did not have data on regional campuses other than basic “problems” with retention and that freshmen enrollment was up. President Daniels was also asked about Purdue Global and noted that 700 employees are currently taking courses. Approximately 2000 Indiana residents are enrolled in programs.
    2. Student ID cards in West Lafayette are being examined to include a date so that they can be used as valid ID for activities such as voter registration. Schooley noted that the current PNW cards do not have dates on them as well. It would be appropriate to ensure that new ID cards be reissued without incurring the $10 fee that would normally be associated with a new or reissued card. Domke asked about the expiration date and how it would be determined. Schooley responded that 4 to 5 years would be appropriate, and then if they need to be reissued later, they would need to be paid for.
    3. Sindone added that a similar resolution from Student Affairs at PNW will be examined. Such a document needs to note that the approval of the reissue of cards will include the fact that no fee is required.
    4. Pula noted that the rest of the discussion at the University Senate regarded healthcare and benefits options.
  11. Open discussion (as time permits)
    1. Quinn related the purpose of Faculty Senate and University Senate as it relates to TruePNW task force conversations. In the spring of 2018, the Ed Policy committee proposed a document on Student Success progress reporting. We currently complete 79% of progress reports in week 6, as the reports only need to be performed once instead of 6 times. This is up over 50% from previous years. She thanked the Senate for their work and noted it is a demonstration of the powers and benefits of shared governance.
    2. A discussion of PNW contract issues was revisited briefly. Schultz related the discussions of the two legacy Senates during unification. A big issue at that time was what would happen with tenure, and this was clarified as a resolution that went to the Board of Trustees. The Board voted at that time that all rights and privileges of the current contracts would be honored. However, this did not indicate which campus individuals would serve, as we are all now PNW faculty, not PNC or PUC faculty. The contract we signed prior to unification is not relevant based on this. Mitra and Fewer agreed that we may be wasting time in discussion on these issues, as legal concerns were no doubt vetted thoroughly before the unification officially took place.
    3. Domke asked as to which county we should note when asked on tax forms for our employment. The answer is currently unclear, but we should use our own best judgment.
    4. Kozel responded that during unification, faculty currently employed were told as an agreement that they would not have to travel. Pula added that in the Westville discussion forums last spring, senior leadership was asked as to why they were not seen much in Westville. The response was that it was “not a good use of their time.” There is a reality of travel time, which for some is quite great, and this should be included as part of workload.
    5. Scipes and Kozel both added that recognition of travel strain and quality of work conditions should be part of this discussion as well. Kincaid noted that there would be a guarantee that there would be grade appeals chairs on both campuses for the first two years of PNW. However, this was not followed through, so as chair he did have to travel to both campuses to chair Appeals committees. This was not ideal and caused undue strain.
    6. Schooley asked which standing committee the discussion falls to, and Faculty Affairs is the determination. He asked that the committee continue to discuss these issues there.
    7. Gillotti indicated that the travel issue and workload for faculty is a direct issue for students as well, and impacts our ability to work with them. She implored the task force from Faculty Affairs to continue to keep this in mind.
    8. Adjournment: 11:50am