Faculty Senate Minutes, March 13, 2020

March 27, 2020

Purdue Northwest Faculty Senate


March 13, 2020

10:00 a.m., Portage Meeting Facility Room 113


Executive Committee members present:

Gayla Domke, Tony Elmendorf, Omer Farook, Libbie Pelter, David Pratt, Kim Scipes, Anthony Sindone (via ZOOM), LaVada Taylor

Other senators present:

Geoff Schultz, Dushan Nikolovski

Non-Voting members present:

  1. Keon, N. Latif, J. Colwell, D. Underwood, S. Turner,

Visitors present:

  1. Carey, M. Zahraee, T. Winders, J. Colwell, L. Goodnight, C. Holford, D. Nalbone, L. Hammer, J. Swartz, L Hopp.
  2. NOTE: This is not a meeting of the entire Senate.  It is a meeting of the Executive committee acting on behalf of the Senate due to the Covid-19 virus which restricts large public gatherings
  3. Determination of quorum.
  4. Call to order.
  5. Approval of the agenda. The agenda was approved.
  6. Approval of the minutes from February 14, 2020. The minutes were approved.
  7. Remarks by the Senate Chair (T. Elmendorf).
    1. Elmendorf is invited to address the BOT on April 2 (West Lafayette) and is soliciting what should be included in report.
  8. Remarks by the Chancellor (T. Keon)
    1. Resolution passed about adding the rebuttal to the P&T process after the university committee meets. SLT favored the resolution.  WL is comfortable with it as well, and it can be implemented in the next academic year.  Any candidate can add a rebuttal next year after the university committee.
    2. There is a FAQ section on COVID-19 on the PNW website. Be very aware that this virus is going to add variance to what we do.  It will add significant instability to what we do.
    3. Great Lakes athletics conference cancelled through May 31, 2020. Updates will be made as well.
    4. Keon spoke to 12 regional university presidents. If we don’t see exponential growth leveling out, there will be a longer period of online activity beyond the two weeks.
    5. One important thing is to ask faculty senate to reach out to those who have experience with online learning. There could be up to 50% who have never dealt with an online activity.
    6. Asking people who have never used Blackboard to learn about Brightspace, or learning management tools in general.
    7. Most universities require placing syllabi online.
    8. Chancellor believes that we will be out longer than initial two weeks. Maymester will probably be online also.
    9. Senior leadership and academic affairs thought it was important attend today’s senate meeting. Our intention is to listen and hopefully respond
    10. Pelter asked what percent of faculty was not on Blackboard or Brightspace? Chancellor stated it was about 50% of the faculty are not online.
    11. Keon stated that if 700 students in the residence halls asked for their money to be returned, it would be over $1.7 million.
    12. Keon is not sure how Covid-19 might impact Fall enrollment. It might decrease if parents lose their jobs, or it might lead to young people staying home for a year.  Then it may result in increased enrollment.  The senior leadership is meeting multiple time a week to consider different scenarios.
    13. Elmendorf asked the drop date will be extended. Keon stated if there’s a resolution today to extend the deadline, it could be implemented
  9. New Business
    1. Curriculum documents and updates (Curriculum, L. Taylor).
      1. Moved and approved. Note this is subject to the documents receiving a final approval at the next meeting of the full senate, according to the Bylaws.
    2. Amendment of the Bylaws, (Executive, T. Sindone) Guidelines for elections by academic units. For Discussion (amended section in BOLD)
  • Academic units shall determine the method of and complete the election of their senators by March 1st and report the results to the Secretary and to the Senate Nominating Committee Chair immediately thereafter.
  • Tenured and tenure-track faculty, clinical professional faculty, and administrators with academic rank with teaching appointment of at least 0.5 FTE and no supervisory duties over faculty, are eligible to participate in elections of senators and to serve as senators. Any and all exceptions shall be approved on a case by case basis by the Senate Executive Committee.
  • The normal term of an elected senator, following the transitional period of 2016-2018, shall be three years, beginning one week before the first Senate meeting of the fall academic term following her or his election.


  1. Suspension of programs (Ed Policy, K. Scipes)
    1. This policy affirms that Faculty Senate has authority under the PNW Constitution to control the Curriculum at PNW and all related processes; Before any curricular changes are made by any PNW administration at the Department, College or Provost levels, these changes MUST be submitted to the PNW Senate Curriculum Committee for its approval and then, subsequently, the PNW Senate’s approval, and that any curriculum changes made since the beginning of Academic Year 2019-2020 without going through these formal processes are therefore declared null and void; That future program suspensions, etc., must go through this formal process for approval.  The purpose of requiring Curriculum Committee approval, and then consideration by the Senate is to ensure formal and meaningful consideration of all proposed changes by PNW faculty through their elected representatives.  Should something happen that is deemed an “emergency,” a request for a waiver of this policy can be made to the Senate Executive Committee, which can be granted upon a two-thirds vote accepting this single exception. These will be decided on a case-by-case bases, and no general waiver will be granted.
    2. Scipes stated that the reason for this policy was that there has been sufficient evidence that there has not been meaningful faculty input. The problem isn’t that the changes don’t need to be made, there is considerable evidence that there has not been discussion about this.  We do want meaningful faculty involvement and consideration.
  • Latif stated that there currently no written process, and that it did not need to be complex. The program faculty must meet, the facts should be shared, and there could be faculty vote.  Currently, the provost does not receive a vote.  Latif stated that a formal process can be developed in the office of the Provost. Elmendorf asked, on behalf of the Executive committee, that the office of the provost develop a formal written process for the suspension of programs to be brought back to the Executive committee for its consideration at its next meeting on 3/27/20.
  1. Elmendorf mentioned that there will be a vote in April for the vice chair-elect of the senate. (assuming there will be an April meeting of the full Senate) Each candidate for vice chair should prepare a brief campaign statement to be presented at the April meeting
  1. Proposal on the University budget (FAC – Budget Committee, O. Farook, D. Nalbone, G. Schultz)
    1. Compensation presentation and document 2012-2018 by Dave Nalbone (link is here)
    2. VC Turner had no comment on this, because he had no knowledge where the data came from.
  • Schultz stated that there is a feeling that compensation for employees is too easily taken away from the budget. This is important to running the institution.  He asked that faculty be part of the budget process.  Essentially, what we are hoping that would happen, that there would be some type of compensation increase.  The resolution is asking to meet before the BOT meeting. The compensation for employees is too easily taken away.  (LINK for Resolution goes here)  The goal is to give the faculty and staff some compensation. The second point is that the administrative costs are set, but faculty costs are variable.  Why is this the case?
  1. Nalbone noted that all of information he provided was publicly available. The second thing is that programs need to be financially sustainable.  Administrative units do not have to be financially sustainable.  Faculty are asked to support an increasing burden.
  2. Schultz was reluctant to move it to action, because it was not discussed by the full senate.
  3. Elmendorf asked that he can take it to the BOT under advisement.
  • Schultz stated that compensation should be looked as something that is important to running the university
  • Pratt stated that the first bullet point is a mandate. It is too soon to prescribe it in a resolution. The other bullet points are valid
  1. Scipes suggested that before the BOT meeting, there needed to be a meeting with Steve Turner.
  2. Steve—the second bullet point is puzzling does the second bullet point indicate that the review will be done by the BOT? Is that really the goal?
  3. Nalbone stated that we are asking the BOT to help us rein in our administrative costs.
  • Turner: The process is important.  We owe it to have open and honest discussion, let’s improve the process.  I’m frustrated that when people don’t show up.  There were more than two faculty invited.  These are very difficult discussions to have.
  • Scipes believed that a meeting be held with Elmendorf, Turner, and the Chancellor before meeting with the BOT.
  • Elmendorf stated that the document will go back to the executive committee for revisions
  1. Discussion items.
    1. Resolution to extend the drop date for Spring 2020 to April 24, 2020 due to COVID-19 (see link). The chancellor was favorable to this resolution.  Document was approved.
    2. Selection of the Chair of the Grade Appeals committee. Four names were submitted.  Frank Colucci will be the new chair of the committee.
    3. Final report of the Westville Committee (see link). The main issue was having a full time administrator at Westville.  Other issues were– better marketing of the 16 degrees that can be completed at Westville, increased clubs and student activities, etc.,
    4. Report on the work of the PNW Gen Ed Task Force (D. Pratt)
    5. General education reform white paper. There are going to be thematic clusters that focus on the 8 major categories, instead of cafeteria style.  We also currently have over 200 offerings and students really only pick from a few of them.  Ed and Assessment meets today.  There will be a draft paper today.  The hope was to select three clusters to pilot in GNS 191 to measure the impact of this design.
    6. Elaine Carey. We want to have focus groups as well as surveys.  Most students don’t’ know that they are taking general education.  What we found within the task force is “What story are we telling?”  There was originally nothing to sell or to tell.  It is a white paper-draft.  The white paper is not ready to be discussed with the senate at this time.
    7. Program Review Process (see link)
      1. Hope is to get it passed this semester.
      2. Units that have program reviews by external bodies consider this to be additional work. They want a different, shorter process.
  • The selection of the review body is vague. A senator should be part of the review team.
  1. Latif. Stated that we needed this expedited because of the HLT timeline.
  1. Summer school: The cutting of summer school was a last-minute thing.  This should be addressed ASAP.
  2. Open discussion: None.
  3. Adjournment. 10:15 AM