Faculty Senate Minutes, May 8, 2020

May 29, 2020

Purdue Northwest Faculty Senate


May 8, 2020

10:00 AM



Senators present: 

Alavizadeh, L. Artz, R. Calix, C. Chen, R. Cherry, M. Connolly, M. Curia, J. Davis, C. DeLeon, 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, G. Domke

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 April 10, 2020. APPROVED
  5. Remarks by the Senate Chair (T. Elmendorf).
  • Elmendorf thanked the executive committee for their hard work this year. Special thanks to Parliamentarian Jerry Holt who is retiring this year, to former senate secretary Staci Trekles, and to current secretary Diana Underwood.
  • Additional business may be conducted by the executive committee in a special session over the summer. New committee chairs (L. Artz, Curriculum, M.Pelter, Student Affairs and Cheryl DeLeon, Ed. Policy) are invited to participate in these meetings, but will not be able to vote until the August meetings.
  1. Remarks by the Chancellor
  • Keon began by thanking Latif for his work as interim provost.
  • After considering the senate resolution from the April meeting, policy was changed so that faculty would be given a 48-hour notice before an administrator would be allowed to enter an online course.
  • Attorney Trent Klingerman from WL is present at today’s meeting to answer faculty questions about the process for the suspension of programs
  • An overview of the COVID19 budget crisis: (Next week, there will be a university budget committee meeting and a meeting with the senate budget committee.).  Prior to COVID-19, institutional research predicted an enrollment decline for 2020-2021 of 3.6%, which is a loss of $2.7 million dollars.  The fiscal 2021 budget was reduced by that 2.7 million dollars prior to going into the next fiscal year.  Then we have the pandemic.  As part of our planning, the Purdue system decided that we should look at three different scenarios.  Scenario 1:  10% decline in enrollment, Scenario 2:  15% decline, and Scenario 3: a 20% decline.  West Lafayette said to consider a 5% drop in state funding for all three scenarios.   We were then told by WL to focus on the 15% enrollment reduction or a $13 million deficit.   Since we had already planned for the $2.7 million, we needed cut closer to $10,000,000.  We are supposed to get $2.9 million from the Cares Act.  By reducing travel by ½, we could save $1.3 million dollars.  Reducing supplies and consultants by 20%, would result in another $1.2 million.  Salary reductions and furloughs were also discussed.  There were a number of reasons that were more mechanical in nature dealing with the system that made furloughs a better choice.  We are attempting to come up with a process that is equitable and could generate about $3,000,000 in in furlough time.  While all of the above does not quite reach $13 million, the difference can be taken out of University reserves for this one year.
  • Clinical faculty members, with the exception of nursing, were given letters telling them that this next of fiscal year could be their final fiscal year with the University. Clinical faculty contractually need to have one full year notice.  Other contingent faculty only need one semester notice.
  • On the non-academic side, all the administrative areas have identified cuts for the $2.7 million dollars. C. Goodnight will soon put out a memo outlining where and how those reductions were made.
  • The chancellor’s area will be reduced by four people. Academic Affairs is closing down a full division and suggesting a college merger.
  • We don’t know where the pandemic is heading, which makes planning very difficult. We have to keep the possibility of all face to face, or all online, or some mix of opportunities.
  • Mick asked if there was any consideration to altering the Fall schedule as being done in WL. The chancellor said that the WL decision was based on the number of students travelling for holidays. We have fewer students doing that, so it does not appear necessary to alter the schedule.
  • The chancellor then asked that Trent Klingerman, from the WL counsels’ office, be recognized for questions about the suspension of programs.
  • Klingerman: The question of suspension of programs depends upon the impetus for that suspension. If the impetus for suspension, or merger, or creation, is primarily pedagogical, then that authority goes to the faculty.   If the reason for a suspension, or merger, or creation is principally financial, we would view that as a reserved authority for campus administration
  • Scipes (to Klingerman) What happens if there is a debate between Faculty and Administration on whether the issue is curricular or financial? Klingerman stated that he assumed the decision would go to the chancellor.
  • Schulz (to Klingerman) It is difficult for me to see how an administrative decision to cut a program would not have a curricular impact.
  • Artz (to Klingerman) While I understand the distinction between curriculum and the budget, it strikes me that it is possible that saying that there is a “budget issue”, a decision could be made to close an entire program or an entire college, which then becomes a curricular issue. The Faculty may say that we understand that there is a reason to close this program, but we think, for the curriculum of the college, it would be best not to close a program but instead make some other adjustments.  It seems to me that it becomes a very shadowy explanation when we start saying that this program or that program deserves to stay, but another program doesn’t because of the budget. It still remains a curricular issue.
  • Latif said that he and C. Holford have discussed merging the College of Technology and the College of EMS.
  • Farook asked if more cut could be made to administrative units before cutting academic units. Turner stated that there have been cuts across the board for the past few years.  Turner stated that he has conducted meetings with 15 academic departments with a total of 258 individual tenure track faculty members in that series of discussions in which information was shared about the cuts that have been taken in all areas of the University.  PNW has already made cuts on this on the support side. It has ceased operations in entire units.  The travel office was closed and there will be further announcements like that coming out in the next week or so.  Restructuring is also taking place in a number of support areas to reduce expenses, which also means a reduction in staff. The reductions in expenses have taken place in all areas of the University for years now. The pandemic will accelerate the trends that were already in place.
  • Cherry asked that if individual faculty wanted to teach online because they felt more at risk would they be allowed to do so. Keon said that we would develop parameters to protect all staff.
  • Sindone stated that we need to focus more attention on how students will be affected by the decisions that we are making now. Student government president O. White asked to be on the task force.  Keon welcomed her to the taskforce.
  • Artz argued that the entire premise of the budget that we have been given is constraining what we can do. If large corporations can be allocated relief funds, then there should be adequate funding allocated to higher education.  Artz called for the faculty and administration to raise an appeal for additional funding to the state and federal government.
  1. New Business: Curriculum documents and updates (Curriculum, L. Taylor).
  • A motion was made and seconded to approve the May curriculum documents.
  1. Special Business
    • Selection of a Senate representative to the Academic Program Review Task Force. Amlan Mitra was the only senator to be nominated. His nomination was approved.
  • Challenge to the election of the Vice-Chair Elect at the April Meeting (L. Taylor). Taylor made a motion to nullify and void the results of the April election for Vice Chair because of her concerns over whether or not the proper number of people who were eligible to vote had voted, and if the bylaws for voting were properly followed. Domke, chair of the nominations committee, was not present at the senate meeting due to a death in her family, and therefore unable to address the issues.  After a lengthy discussion, a motion to vote on nullifying the election was seconded.  The senate voted 27 to 10 to nullify and invalidate the election.  The nominations committee was tasked with developing a new process for the election.  J. Davis asked if there would be a new slate of candidates for the new ballot.  A. Mitra replied, “Yes, we would follow the process the way it is written in the Bylaws.”
  1. New Business: Documents for action.
  • FSD 19-23 Assessment procedure for experiential learning courses (GE&A, D. Pratt). Pratt stated that FSD 19-23 creates a structure for Experiential Learning assessment. This document is an update to the Curriculum Document Coversheet which incorporates the procedures for submitting a course for Experiential Learning approval.  The form FSD 19-23 Experiential Learning Course Application Form will be integrated into Curriculog.   APPROVED:  35/0
  1. Discussion items.
  • Survey of administrators (FA- O. Farook). 207 Faculty participated in the survey. The Chancellor, VC, Deans, Directors, and Department Heads were part of the survey. A report will be forthcoming.
  • FSD 19-24 Resolution regarding the use of student course evaluation for Spring 2020 (SAC, A. Sindone) Schultz stated that valuable data is in the evaluations and asked if this resolution was proposing to eliminate them?  Sindone stated that there was nothing in this document that suggest that they be eliminated. The evaluations are useful, even if there are negative remarks in them.  It only says the evaluations will not carry the same weight toward merit and promotion as they usually do.  Schultz asked if they could be used in issues of merit and promotion if the faculty wanted.  M. Mick suggested that document also mention merit.  Sindone agreed with this addition.  Kozel suggested the language be stronger and state that we see value in student input on how faculty taught remotely.  Elmendorf recommended that student affairs make a few tweaks and then presented to the executive committee, who would put it into action and then it would be confirmed by the full Senate in the Fall 2020.
  • Audit of computer availability for students. (SAC Sindone)  A survey of student needs was conducted by the Dean of Students office and received approximately 2300 responses. (see attached).  For example, we had 11% of students who had inadequate access to reliable internet.  We need to know now, what do we do to help students succeed who do not have access?  Cheryl DeLeon:  Now that we have months to prepare, what are we going to prepare for this?  Almost 700 students reached out for help and the Dean of Students reached out to those students.  Financial support is the number 1 problem.  Logistics to transitioning online was the problem.  Access to webcams and printers were also issues for students.  Mascha stated that if we go to a hybrid model, we should look into the possibility of allowing students to rent or purchase Chromebooks.  R. Kramer stated that Chromebooks may not allow some students to complete their coursework.  Kozel stated that we needed to figure out good ways to prevent student cheating, and that we have to make sure that it works on the technology that is available to the students.  Kozel asked about the plans for Fall.  Keon stated that a committee is working on that and working with WL and information will be forthcoming.  K. Scipes pointed out that a plan to start face-to-face and moving to online is ludicrous.  It should be the other way around.  Scipes also asked that Open Forum should be reestablished immediately for all faculty and staff
  • Results of faculty senate led food drive: Around 10% of the students stated that they were food insecure. Approximately $2300 were collected and 3 laundry carts full of food was collected.  Special shout out to S. Iverson for his work on this.
  1. Remarks by the SGA President (O. White)
    • All members of SGA will be reaching out to their departments in the Fall.
  2. Open Discussion
    • T Sindone thanked A. Elmendorf for all of his hard work this year as Chair of the Faculty Senate.
    • Alavizadeh asked Underwood for the emails of the voting senators from today’s meeting, who will be sent a ballot for the VC election next week.
  3. Adjournment