Faculty Senate Minutes, April 10, 2020

May 2, 2020

Purdue Northwest Faculty Senate


April 10, 2020

10:00 AM



Senators present: 

Alavizadeh, L. Artz, R. Calix, C. Chen, R. Cherry, M. Connolly, M. Curia, J. Davis, C. DeLeon, G. Domke, J. Dorman, A. Elmendorf, M. Errihani, O. Farook, L. Gielda, W. He, K. Kincaid, D. Kozel, R. Kramer, M. Mascha, R. Merkovsky, M. Mick, A. Mitra, C. Morrow, D. Nikolovski, N. Parashar, L. Pelter, M. Pelter, D. Pratt, S. Rezak, J. Rogers, G. Schultz, K. Scipes, A. Sindone, P. Stompor, L. Taylor, F. Vauleon, X. Wang, D. Wilbur, X. Yang, W. Yu, H. Zhao, M. Zimmer

Senators Absent: 

Evans, M. Roller

Non-Voting members present:

Keon, N. Latif, J. Colwell, D. Underwood, J. Holt

Visitors present: (no list)

  1. Determination of quorum.
  2. Call to order.
  3. Approval of the agenda. APPROVED
  4. Approval of the minutes from March 13, 2020. APPROVED
  5. Remarks by the Senate Chair (T. Elmendorf).
  • Protocols for vote. Raise hand in Zoom for aye and nay.
  • Voting by ranked choice voting. Ballot will be sent out at the end of the meeting.
  • All Senators will have 2-hours after the meeting to fill out ballot. The ballot will be returned to Gayla Domke. Campaign statements will be given later.
  • It is not clear if students or faculty have the available equipment. Student might lack the necessary equipment, which is more pressing.
  • There has been no response to Elmendorf’s report to the Board of Trustees Meeting at this time
  1. Remarks by the Chancellor, who yielded his time to Provost Latif
  • The tenure and promotion clock will be extended due to the COVID19 pandemic. We are following the West Lafayette guidelines.  Faculty wanting this option should contact the VCAA’s office
  • Approval for a rebuttal option for T&P process after the decision by the University committee. The revised document will be uploaded on the website and shared with the Senate leadership.
  • Retention initiatives: A committee consisting of faculty, deans, and the enrollment office has been meeting virtually every week to focus on retention.  Starting in 2019, the committee on retention examined retention studies from peer institutions and our own institutional research data. The initial focus was on finding out why students were not showing up.  Using a survey conducted with undecided majors in GS191 courses, we tried to address some of their concerns by redesigning delivery of the course without changing the learning outcomes.  We have implemented a 3-semester schedule to help students and departments to schedule ahead of time.  Advisors are currently trying to reach out to students via phone and text messages to get them to register for Fall. Advisors are logging their work.  This data is collected daily and weekly.  In addition, data from faculty on the progress reports on students who are at risk are being followed up on.  We have advisor monthly meetings.  We added a “second major” option so we can guide student into other programs if necessary.  We have also met with the math department to revisit the ALECS placement test.  We are also trying to revisit gateway courses with high DWF rates.  There will be specific training for faculty in August for courses with high DWF rates.  A 1% increase in retention rates translates to $1 million dollars.
  • Question from T. Elmendorf to Latif or Keon: What will be the impact on federal funding for COVID19 to the university budget?  Keon:  Most of the funds are directed to Pell recipients.  If those students had outstanding balances, it might help the University.  We don’t know how any additional funds can be used at this time
  • Pelter (to Latif) Was any effort made to reach out to at-risk students to see if they had the ability or access to do online instruction? Latif: Yes.
  • Kozel (to Latif) Is there any thought to moving to Pass/No Pass option and/or changing the last day to drop to May 1? Latif:  We have not.  The April 24 date was given by the senate.
  • Scipes: I would like to hear from the chancellor.  We have several issues.  I would like to ask him to say why, without any explanation, he chose to not extend spring break even though this was proposed by the senate?
  • Keon: We have taken on an expanded effort of making sure that we are getting information to all faculty.  We set up a meeting with the senate leadership.  We are taking a number of contingencies of what could happen based on this crisis.  We know there will be fewer international students and no English as a second language program this summer.  With respect with the delay, we took a look at what was available and decided to have a soft start, partly because we knew a number of faculty who had prepared lectures and labs that were ready to go, and others were not.
  • Macha (to Latif) Why weren’t the clinicals included in the budget discussions that our unit had with senior leadership? Latif: As the budget discussion continues, it may affect faculty who are not on tenure or tenure track.  We thought it was in the best interest to talk to the people who have to deliver the program.
  • Elmendorf objected to this. This action excludes the very people who will be impacted from the discussion. It should be shared with those whose careers may be at stake.
  • Kincaid stated that students were completely overwhelmed during the first week of online instruction and were complaining about eye strain and headaches.
  • White (SGA President) stated that students reported being overwhelmed by the “busywork”. Some faculty had added extra work.  It was too much all at one time. While students found a way to cope, if they didn’t have a laptop, they had no way to do their homework.
  • Winders stated that students have access to computers in the first level of the both the LSF and SUL buildings. They can also check out Chromebooks from the library. A few Windows laptops were also made available. All computers labs were made available through remote access so students who didn’t have access to software specific to classes could access that from off campus.
  1. New Business: Curriculum documents and updates (Curriculum, L. Taylor).
  • The curriculum committee asked that COB 19-32 be pulled, after receiving a similar document from CHESS. The two colleges have been asked to collaborate on it. With the exception of COB 19-32, a motion to move and second the curriculum documents for approval.
  1. Confirmation of actions taken by the Executive Committee in lieu of the Senate
  • Approval of the curriculum documents approved at the March 13 meeting. CONFIRMED
  • Approval of FSD 19-18, extending the drop deadline to April 24. CONFIRMED
  1. New Business: Documents for action.
  • FSD 19-19 Revision of the Bylaws (Executive, T. Sindone): Moved and seconded for approval.  No discussion.  APPROVED
  • FSD 19-20 Suspension of programs (Ed Policy, K. Scipes) Elmendorf stated that a document addressing this issue was released from the office of the provost after the senate executive meeting when it was decided to move FSD19-20 forward.  The document from the provost was shorter and less specific.  The document from the Provost appears to make the program suspension official without considering the faculty vote.  Given that, Scipes argued that FSD 19-20 should go forward.  Taylor asked that item #5 be reworded.  A suggestion by Kramer to delete the comma in #5 would fix the problem.  Schultz agreed that decisions would start in the colleges and will give control the faculty in the unit.  He is troubled with matters being discussed with the faculty senate that should only be addressed in the unit.  Scipes argued that as the constitution now stands, the faculty senate has final approval of curriculum decisions.  He stated that the committee put forth FSD 19-20 because of the problems that came up from different units which were not taking faculty input within their units for consideration.  The curriculum process by the Senate Curriculum Committee is the best place to do this.  Kozel recognizes the value of discussions about suspending a program taking place within the department or unit, but agreed that there should be some place to discuss it if there are issues within a department.  Sindone stated that perhaps the document should be reworded so that it ensures the process was followed at the department or unit level, assuring the faculty determining any program changes.  Macha asked if clinical faculty vote was to be included in the vote.  Elmendorf stated that clinical faculty are voting faculty so they should be given vote and voice.  Macha stated that she was not confident that it would be followed.  Since we have seen that faculty decisions have been pushed aside in the past, what recourse do we have?  Scipes believes this is an issue is one that faculty senate needs to develop its own policy when senior leadership does not follow the policy that the senate approves.  Farook stated that any procedural processes regarding this document can be worked out through the curriculum committee processes. APPROVED:    OPPOSED:  4.  Document approved.
  • FSD 19-16 Proposal on the University budget (FAC – Budget Committee, O. Farook, G. Schultz). Because of the current budget situation due to the COVID19 pandemic, the document was pulled from consideration.  Schultz was asked to comment on the budget meeting with senior leadership.  We are looking at a $ 4.2 million deficit.  Some consideration of cuts before July 1, 2020.  There will be personnel cuts.  Sindone stated that $23 million is allocated for tenure and tenured track.  $7 million is allocated for nontenured and clinical people.  Sindone urged that nontenured people be part of the budget meetings.  Mitra asked if that we are doing a “one size fits all” cuts and will there be cuts from academic side to cover nonacademic side.  Schultz stated that “efficiency” seems mean “increasing enrollment” and not efficiency. Mitra stated that it was discomforting that programs having a surplus will be transferred elsewhere.  Encouraged the leadership of the senate to be proactive.


  1. Campaign statements from candidates for Vice-Chair Elect: D. Wilbur, L. Taylor, J. Davis, K. Scipes. Note: The election will take place by Qualtrics survey immediately after the meeting, with the survey closing two hours later.


  1. Discussion items.
  • Proposed Program Review procedure (GE&A, D. Pratt). Becky Stankowski worked with a team of people and created this thorough and very specific program review process this is required by HLC.  This document has been available for all to review for over a month on the Senate website, with a feedback form for comments. Bullet #3 stated the method of selection will be determined by the colleges in the faculty Senate either through election appointment or other means.  This was determined to be vague. GE&A suggested replacement language for this bullet point would be change to, the members from each college would be decided by a college level nomination process and college-wide vote and the single faculty Senate member will be nominated and voted on by the faculty Senate. Stankowski has agreed to this change.  Pratt stated that another concern was with programs who are already reviewed by accrediting agencies, so they questioned the need for this review. Pratt stated that HLC requires that there’s an internal program review for all programs whether they have specialty accreditation or not.  People who had worked on this document were from programs with external reviews and attempted to align as close as possible this review with the accrediting the reviews done by outside accreditors.  A third issue was with the timeline for review of some programs was problematic.  Pratt state that it was important to move the document to vote at this meeting to give programs going up for review in 2021 enough notice.  Stankowski said the visiting team will be here in 2021.  If we do not have the process and operating, we will not be able to get a clean accreditation.  The document was moved and seconded for action.  30 approved/ 3 opposed.  Document was moved to approve with the document as amended.  Discussion:  Kozel suggested that it be taken back to our departments for review.  Stankowski said the timing for selecting the committee for review would be more easily accomplished before the end of the semester.  Delaying it a month really delays it until September.  Mitra said that he felt that sufficient time was spent for review.  Kozel stated that while we had time, we have been very busy.  It is a matter of making sure everything makes sense.  For example, ECE and MCE are not evaluated at the same time. This is just one issue.  There are other smaller details in the document.  With another month smaller details might be fixed.
    • Waiver of testing requirements for admission (J. Colwell; Executive, T. Elmendorf). Colwell stated that ACT/SAT testing for high school students has been suspended due to the COVID19 crisis. We have applicants who will not be able to complete test scores for admission.  Elmendorf suggested that we temporarily go to test-optional admission standards until further notice, until we find that it would be in the best interest of the university to resume testing.  Moved and seconded.  APPROVED
    • FSD 19- 21 Addition of administrators to instructors’ Blackboard rosters. EPC & FAC.  Moved and seconded to action.    Moved and seconded to approve the document.  Discussion:  Schultz stated that he did not feel any infringement on his academic freedom.  Latif stated that the purpose of the policy of the chair to refute any complaints from a student. Pelter’s concern was that administration needs to have a legitimate reason for this action.  If a student had a concern about a particular lab not being presented, then that faculty member should have been contacted and asked that question.  It is not acceptable for an administrator to be able to come into your classroom and possibly take your materials.  Scipes stated that students have a right to privacy.  If we cannot assure that no one outside has access, then this cannot be done.  He stated that this policy is egregious and this resolution should be passed immediately.  APPROVED


  • Pass/No Pass Grade option. Pass/No Pass may cause more issues.  Taylor stated that Pass/No Pass would be beneficial to some of the SoEC students.  Pelter commented that Pass/No Pass might be an issue in the College of Nursing.  Kozel stated that it may be helpful for many students.  The decision was moved to the senior leadership.


  • Motion to move the drop date to May 1, 2020. Moved and seconded.  APPROVED
  • Domke asked senators to please email her if they do not receive a ballot.
  • Underwood suggested that an email be sent to the entire senate, instead of only those present at the end of the meeting, in case some were present at the beginning of the meeting but were not in attendance at the end of the meeting.
  • Kincaid stated that the meeting was well run, but that next time we remind senators to turn off their microphones and do not allow non senators the opportunity to speak out.
  1. Adjournment.

Committee room assignments: cyberspace.