Faculty Senate Minutes September 11, 2020

October 1, 2020

Purdue Northwest Faculty Senate Minutes

September 11, 2020

Via Zoom

Voting Senators Present: Ali Alavizadeh, Amlan Mitra, Angela Schooley, Anne Edwards, Anthony Elmendorf, Anthony Sindone, Cheryl DeLeon, Chien-Chung Chen, Colette Morrow, Dave Pratt, David Kozel, Diane Spoljoric, Geoff Schultz, Hairong Zhao, Harvey Abramowitz, Joan Dorman, Julia Rogers, Kenneth Kincaid, Khair Al Shamaileh, Kim Scipes, LaVada Taylor, Lee Artz, Libbie Pelter, Lin Zhao, Magesh Chandramouli, Maria Garcia-Verdugo, Marianne Curia, Maureen Mascha, Michael Connolly, Michael Mick, Michael Pelter, Michael Roller, Mohammed Errihani, Neeti Parashar, Omer Farook, Pitparnee Stompor, Ralph Cherry, Robert Kramer, Robert Merkovsky, Sheila Rezak, Shengyong Zhang, Shoji Nakayama, Stephen Turner, Thomas Roach, Vanessa Quinn, Wei He

Voting Senators Absent: Dushan Nikolovski, Michael Zimmer

Non Voting members present:  Thomas Keon, Chris Holford, Saul Lerner, Diana Underwood, Oriana White, Lisa Goodnight, Stephen Turner

Guests:  Bir Kafle, Catharine Olsen, Catherine Murphy, Cathy Gillotti, Charles Rarick, Cheryl Arroyo, Colin Fewer, David Nalbone, Donna Whitten, Elaine Carey, Emily Hixon, Feng-Song Wang, Geoff Barrow, Jen Williams, Jonathan Swarts, Joy Colwell, Kathy Tobin, Lisa Hopp, Maria Watson, Michael Bourgeois, Nicoleta Tarfulea, Paul Hecht, Rachel Smith, Raida Abuizam, Richard Rupp, Shengyong Zhang,

  1. Determination of quorum.
  2. Call to order.
  3. Approval of the agenda. Michael Connelly asked to amend the agenda to add a discussion about the proposed merger of the College of EMS and the College of Technology.  Motion was Seconded.  DeLeon (Ed Policy) stated that her committee had not received any information about it yet and the discussion was premature. Dave Kozel stated that he told others that it would not be on the agenda for discussion, therefore, they were not attending the meeting.  The vote to amend the agenda was struck down.
  4. Approval of the minutes from August 28, 2020. Approved
  5. Remarks by the Senate Chair (L. Pelter).
    • Pelter stated that the start of this semester has been very smooth, and the student are very engaged in their classes. The Faculty has been working very hard, and our administration has really done a good job of guiding us through what could have been a very difficult rough start. Pelter thanked the Faculty and Administration for their efforts.
    • The census was not as bad as it might have been. It is important that we still continue to focus on recruitment, retention, and the efforts that the Senate can do to assist in retention.
    • The state appropriations are down 7%. This means the university budget will have to be modified to address this.
    • Pelter is calling for a close look at our recruitment, retention and graduation rates based on race, ethnicity and gender. Pelter is charging each of the Senate’s standing committees to examine their own activities and eliminate any actions that might be discriminatory.
    • All senators and Faculty were encouraged to attend Jose Moreno’s seminar. Moreno will provide insights into what we can do to encourage inclusive education and diversity on our campus.
    • Pelter yielded her remaining time to Student Government President Oriana White.
    • Oriana White stated that Student Government is working this year on 1. A voter registration week, 2. Getting free feminine products in all the women’s restrooms, and 3 restarting the PNW Student House of Representatives. White stated that student government works best when more students are engaged in sharing the students’ issues. White hopes this action will lead to more student engagement overall on campus
  6. Remarks by the Chancellor (T. Keon).
    • Chancellor Keon is pleased that all students seem to be following the COVID19 safety rules.
    • The 4.5% decrease in funding ($3.3 million) will require some maintenance for this academic year. On Monday September 13, the senior leadership team will present the deans with three different proposals to address the decrease in state funding. The chancellor noted that expenses may not be as high as expected in some areas, leaving only $2 million left to be funded.
    • Shortly after, the SLT will meet with the University Budget Committee with the same three options and the feedback from the deans. On September 24, there will be a meeting with the Faculty Senate Budget Committee, and that meeting will include the feedback from the other two committees.  The process of figuring out FY2022 budget will then begin
    • Amlan Mitra asked about faculty who were being asked to teach more than four courses without overload pay. Provost Holford stated that he was unaware of this and has asked for more information from the dean in the COB.
  7. Vanessa Quinn was elected with an over 50% margin as the PNW representative to the West Lafayette Faculty Senate
  8. Unfinished Business:
  • For Action:
    • FSD 19-24 Resolution Regarding the use of Student Course Evaluations for Spring 2020 (M. Pelter)
      • Taylor asked if this document was a precursor to a conversation about the usefulness of student evaluations. G. Schultz stated that while he agreed with Taylor, the annual review, promotion & tenure documents should consider multiple sources, so student evaluations should not be thrown out.  Schultz stated that a few Faculty “bailed” on their Spring semester classes, and asked if we were providing cover for those by not requiring everybody to share their evaluations.  He stated that the department heads should decide how they want to use the evaluations.  C. Morrow argued that the value placed on student assessments in annual reviews is much higher than the value placed on other measures.  She asked that Faculty Affairs and Student Affairs jointly examine this issue.
      • Sindone, who wrote the original document stated that if faculty were not able to adjust to online instruction, then they deserved to “take a hit”.
      • Scipes disagreed. The Faculty Senate had requested an additional week to prepare for online instruction and it was not granted the extra time.  Therefore, the faculty should get to choose how their evaluations from Spring 2020 should be used.
      • VOTE 22 Yes/11 no.  APPROVED
    • FSD 20-05 Senate Representation for departments/schools with reduced number of faculty (T. Elmendorf). Document was moved to action.
    • For Discussion
      • FSD 20-04 Faculty control of their course syllabus (C. Deleon)
        • Document was moved to Action.
        • VOTE 30 YES/ 0 NO APPROVED
  1. New Business
  • Curriculum Documents Approval
    • All 15 documents were approved. VOTE 29 YES/ 0 NO
  • For Action
    • FSD 20-01 Bylaw change of Chair’s term. (L. Pelter)
      • This changes the current term in office so that the incoming chair of the senate’s term will begin one week after the last senate meeting of the spring semester.
      • 29 YES/0 NO APPROVED
    • FSD 20-07 Membership in the Senate Budget Committee (A. Elmendorf)
      • 4 YES/ 0 NO APPROVED
    • For Discussion:
      • FSD 20-06 Survey of Faculty Regarding Budget Priorities (L. Artz)
        • Artz explained that purpose of the resolution is to conduct a survey of the faculty preferences and thinking is on budget priorities. The Faculty Affairs Committee would have the task of conducting the survey and presenting the results of the survey. C. Morrow suggested a friendly amendment that would allow FA to make more than one survey to streamline the approval process so that a discussion would not be necessary every time we want to do a survey on budget.
          • VOTE 36 YES/ 0 NO APPROVED
        • Pelter clarified that the next step in this process would be for the FA committee to write a survey and bring their survey back to the senate before the survey could be administered by the FA committee.
        • A list of questions developed by Artz had been discussed via email by the FA committee. The FA committee had several issues with the questions, and no vote was taken by the FA committee.  Michael Connelly was doubtful that the questions would result in any useful data.  Tom Roach disagreed with Connelly on this point
        • Artz pointed out that there would not be enough time to have FA develop a survey and then have it approved by the Senate before the upcoming university budget meetings on the current fiscal year’s budget deficits.
        • Artz presented a modified list of questions to the senate based on the FA feedback. Taylor and C. Morrow asked that the 10th survey question be removed because it would cause division and undermine future anti-racist initiatives.
        • VOTE: 13 YES 21 NO.  Motion Failed.  Developing the survey was tasked to the FA committee.
      • For Information:
        • Fall Enrollment and Budget Process (K. Scipes)
          • Scipes restated the series of upcoming meeting on resolving the budget shortfalls for last year. We will also have to deal with next year’s budget. We have not received any information about that yet.
  1. Open discussion
    • Harvey Abramowitz asked if student travel would be permitted in Spring 2021. While there is no travel for Fall 2020, he has not been able to get an answer from leadership if travel would be allowed in Spring 2021.  This has an impact on senior design projects.  If students will not be able to travel, it is likely that they will choose a different project. Provost Holford stated that the decision for Spring travel will be made some time later this semester.
    • Abramowitz also expressed his concerns about the actions regarding the proposed merger of the College of Technology and CES. Abramowitz stated that the “Yes/No” survey sent to faculty was not adequate.  He stated that while the senate only has an advisory role, there appears to be actions suggesting a move forward in merging without senate input.  Abramowitz stated that this merger, as was the case campus unification, appears to be “from the top, straight down, no input”.   Provost Holford stated that when the administrative proposal was ready, it would then go to the faculty in every department.  Since several departments have asked for more time to discuss this, there has not been a proposal presented yet.  He stated that there is no attempt to circumvent this process.  Abramowitz countered that the assignment of certain personnel to the design studio makes it feel like the merger is “coming in through the back door”.  Kim Scipes suggested that Holford and Abramowitz have a discussion about this issue.


  1. Adjournment:  12:00 pm.   Pelter asked all committees to make sure that they meet today.