Faculty Senate Minutes October 9, 2020

October 26, 2020

Purdue Northwest Faculty Senate Minutes

October 9, 2020

Via Zoom


Voting Senators Present: Ali Alavizadeh, Amlan Mitra, Anne Edwards, Anthony Elmendorf, Anthony Sindone, Cheryl DeLeon, Chien-Chung Chen, Colette Morrow, Dave Pratt, David Kozel, Diane Spoljoric, , 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, Vanessa Quinn, Wei He

Voting Senators Absent: Dushan Nikolovski, Michael Zimmer, Angela Schooley, Geoff Schultz, Lin Zhao, Maureen Mascha, Michael Mick, Michael Roller, Thomas Roach,

 Non-Voting members present:  Thomas Keon, Chris Holford, Saul Lerner, Diana Underwood, Oriana White

 Guests:  Bir Kafle, Catalina Rodriguez, Catharine Olsen, Cathy Gillotti, Cheryl Arroyo, Christina Ragan, Catherine Murphy, Colin Fewer, Daniel Wilbur, Emily Hixon, Feng-Song Wang, Florian Vauleon, Jennifer Williams, Jonathan Swarts, Joy Colwell, Keyuan Jiang, Lisa Hopp, Megan Murphy, Cheryl Mordich, Nicoleta Tarfulea, Oriana White, Pam Saylor, Raida Abuizam, Rebecca Stankowski, Sarah White

  1. Determination of quorum.
  2. Call to order.
  3. Approval of the agenda. APPROVED
  4. Approval of the minutes from September 11, 2020. APPROVED
  5. Remarks by the Senate Chair (L. Pelter).  Pelter encouraged everybody to read the university’s Strategic Plan and encourage their fellow faculty members to read it as well. Going forward, the University’s activities will be aligned with the Strategic Plan. Pelter stated that there would be a presentation at today’s senate meeting by the general education task force, which is not a senate general education committee.  General Education is also discussed in the Strategic Plan.  Pelter also mentioned the creation of a Senate task force on how to better utilize the Westville facilities and to better serve the Westville community. Pelter stated that there would also be a budget discussion on last year’s budget shortfall.
  6. Remarks by the Chancellor (T. Keon). Chancellor Keon thanked all the governance groups that worked with the senior leadership team who came up with options for taking care of this year’s budget deficit. Keon also thanked Kim Thomas who came up with the option that everyone chose. Chancellor Keon then yielded the rest of his time to Provost Holford.

Holford thanked faculty for the work they have been doing to make this semester successful.  As of today, there were seven active COVID student cases and one staff member case. The number of cases is less than expected.

Holford stated that budget discussions for 2021-2022 will begin soon.  Deans have been given enrollment estimates for next Fall, and adjustments will have to be made at the college level.  The biggest adjustments will be due to the state’s decline in appropriation or an anticipated decline in appropriation.  Holford invited Westville faculty to a forum on Friday, October 16, to discuss Westville campus sustainability and establishing goals for increasing Westville vibrancy. Holford is hopeful that the Senate ad hoc committee will be willing to work closely on these items.  Future meetings with Westville staff are planned.

A formal proposal on merging COE and COT was given to Professor Pelter.  Holford and Dean Latif will be at the November senate meeting to answer questions about the merger.

The VP of research and partnerships at Purdue West Lafayette has established a new policy in response to public concerns about research integrity and responsible conduct. Part of that is required training. There are two components to the training—there is a general online training that takes about 2-4 hours to complete. This is for faculty, postdocs, and all grad students. Anybody who is tenured tenure track faculty or actively engaged in scholarship right now really needs to complete this training. This is a one-time only training if you don’t have active grants.  People who are/will be working on state and federally funded grants will need to complete this training about once every four years. The VP of research wanted this training done within 60 days of the start of the Fall semester, but would be tolerant through the course of the year.

Holford stated that Professor Tu (COT) received the largest single grant ever received by PNW. The total funding in sponsored research activity is $9 million from July 2020-September 2020. Last year’s total was $6.4 million for the campus. Holford thanked those who had worked on these grants.  Holford said that an article in today’s Times NWI said that Aquagenics Technologies had just announced that they’re moving their headquarters from Naperville into Michigan City, Indiana.  Their focus is on green chemistry, water treatment, filtration and sanitation, as well as sales. Holford sees this as potential opportunities for partnerships.

Morrow asked for Holford to clarify what it means to leave open positions unfilled. Holford explained that it meant that vacancies that occurred because of retirement or from somebody leaving the university in the Summer results in an open line. Under normal conditions, a search would take place during the course of the Fall semester and we would extend an offer. Typically, a new faculty member wouldn’t start then until the following August. There is budget line sitting in each of the colleges that represents that line. That would turn into cash at the end of the year as long as the position stays unfilled.   The suggestion to address our budget shortfall for last year was to use the money that is sitting as vacant lines rather than have that go into one of the colleges or universities reserve accounts was to put those funds to use to help us cover the Fall deficit. This is a short-term solution. In many cases, such as the retirements in SOEC, we cannot leave those positions permanently open. Searches will have to take place to those vacancies. There was sufficient money across all of the colleges and all of the other units. The largest contributor was VC Winders branch of the campus, ultimately, that had the most unfilled lines, all of that went to address our budget deficit this year.  Holford stated that now the conversations will begin for making more permanent adjustments. Nursing is already authorized to fill four of their positions for next year.  The School of Education and Counseling will certainly be moving immediately to fill two of their positions this year. So those positions won’t remain permanently available.

    • Remarks by SGA President Oriana White. SGA is holding Town Halls via Zoom on the 15th, from 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm.  Students had expressed concern about not being able to study on the campus on weekends.  After discussing this with T. Keon, the campus will have Saturday hours from 9:00 AM- 3:00 PM. Provost Holford will be at the next Town Hall discussing ideas for December commencement. Student Government is also going to be participating in a leadership institute training with Rachael Clapp Smith and her team.  SGA is also working on a legacy plan for leadership.  SGA was on WJOB radio discussing the free feminine hygiene plan, the baby changing tables, and the lactation space.
  1. Approval of Intercollegiate Athletic Advisory Committee Representative, Mike Pelter (Chair, Student Affairs Standing Committee)
  2. New Business
    • Curriculum Documents Approval:
      • There were no curriculum documents for approval.
    • Discussion Items:
      • Ad hoc committee to develop a Vision for Westville (K. Scipes)  Scipes stated that Hammond and Westville are different campuses with different strengths and weaknesses. This committee is an opportunity for faculty to discuss how Westville might be utilized in new ways. Scipes encouraged Westville faculty to attended Provost Holford’s meeting on Friday. M. Connelly asked if the senate ad hoc committee was going to be a parallel effort to the Provost’s effort. Scipes stated that this would be the case, because the Provost had many commitments at the university other than Westville. The senate committee would be focusing exclusively on Westville.  Scipes reiterated that this committee would not exclude the Provost, who would always be welcome at their meetings.
    • For Information:
      • Dissemination of mission statement. C. DeLeon (Ed. Policy) stated that R. Stankowski asked if the mission statement could be distributed to the students using a separate Brightspace course. This has to be done for the HLC visit.
      • Report from the Senate Budget Committee (N. Parashar for G. Schultz). Parashar stated that the senate budget committee met on September 23. Three options were presented by Steve Turner.  The first option was furloughs.   People with highest salaries would be giving back the most.  Anyone making less than 45,000 will not be impacted by furloughs. This option would have been considered if the enrollment drop reached the levels of 15% or more, but the drop was just a little over 6%.  The second option was a 3% annual salary cut.  Since it would not be implemented until November, it would have actually amount to a 4.6% cut in monthly salary for the rest of the five months of the academic year. The third and the final option was that that select positions will be left vacant during the upcoming year. Parashar stated that the committee had consensus that the third option was the best given the faculty morale, and that the university did not need any bad publicity.
      • Mitra asked if there was any discussion about if the funds would be spent on instructional purposes or can that money be spent on administrative purposes also. Chancellor Keon said that there was no money being spent. This was to cover the $2.3 million shortfall. Lines were cut throughout the university. Information Systems was one of the largest contributors in dollars to cover the shortfall.
      • Pelter has questions about the RCM budget model and questions about cuts for next year. She stated that the Senate will be requesting an explanation of the RCM model in the November meeting. Scipes requested that the RCM numbers (the ghost numbers) be presented to the Senate and to the Senate Budget Committee.
      • Cherry asked if the Senate budget committee had discussed salaries and salary compression at their last meeting. Scipes stated that he feels that there are gross discrepancies in faculty salaries across the university. New assistant professors in some units will be making more than full professors in other units who have been at the university for 15-30 years. A. Mitra did not agree with this, stating that you cannot penalize new hires by not paying them market salary.  L. Pelter stated this discussion needed to go to the senate budget committee.
  1. Presentation of the 2020-2025 Strategic Plan (C. Fewer) PNW Strategic Plan 2020-2025.
    • Fewer stated that the Strategic Plan was the culmination of more than a year of work on behalf of the members of the Strategic Planning Task Force and various other faculty, staff and administrators. Fewer stated that he was not here to comment on or defend the content of the plan but to answer questions about the process. The committee spent 2019 conducting focus groups and various other kinds of engagements with over 1500 faculty, staff, and students and community members. The data from those engagements were gathered together in a what we call the “sense making meeting” to develop themes. Writing committees were assigned the task of designing concept papers that reflected the data pertaining to those themes. The concept papers were gathered together and formed the basis for the vision conference in December of 2019. That conference included a number of local and regional stakeholders, community members, school board members, representatives from NIPSCO, and the PNW advisory board, who read the concept papers and offered feedback.  This led to a goals conference in January of 2020. On the basis of that meeting, a writing team synthesized all the data from from the previous meetings into what was initially five themes, and a number of goals associated with those themes. Eventually, that was whittled down to the four themes.  The feedback period came out when COVID hit.  In the end, there were only 37 comments.  The strategic plan is organized under four themes with 12 goals associated with the four themes and a total of 47 strategies associated with the 12 goals. Fewer explained that the idea of the metropolitan university is a very good description of the vision that eventually came out of all of these engagements, and best understood in contrast to the traditional vision of the land grant research one institution.  West Lafayette or any major campus isn’t dependent on the local economy. It is the local economy. Metropolitan Universities are interdependent with the economy of the region that it is a part of.   This means that it has to be much more closely engaged with stakeholders and community partners.   Fewer feels that promoting PNW as a Metropolitan University is a way to get people to understand what we are and what we do.  Fewer believes this plan charts a path forward in the changing landscape of higher education.
    • Kincaid stated that there was not anything in the strategic plan that addressed internationalization and globalization. He stated that the Strategic Plan does not speak to anything beyond PNW as a regional university. Since PNW is an institution whose student body is 25% Hispanic, Kincaid said that we are being a bit disingenuous if we don’t actually look at the fact that students and their families come from Hispanic regions in the world.  He stated that there is a need for a component that addresses global studies, creating global citizens, and global partners.  Scipes commented that he felt that climate change should be part of the strategic plan.
    • Morrow commented on identity category goal two. She stated that the language in the strategic plan stops short of making deeply rooted commitments to anti-racism and to gender equity. The vocabulary of diversity, equity, and inclusion signals a steady commitment to the status quo, and refraining from engaging in serious anti-racist work. Morrow also stated that there’s no mention of curriculum, but of “training”.  There appears to be no commitment in the curriculum to attempt to identify where structural racism and structural sexism are happening.  She stated that there is a need to examine the structural impediments that our institution and our society is sustaining in addition to the kinds of activities listed in the document. Morrow also stated that word intellectual seems to be a substitution for a commitment to liberal arts and social sciences, which seemed to be conspicuously subordinated in the strategic plan.
    • A Mitra stated that there needed to be some language about what a typical metropolitan university is.  If this is not reflected in the strategic plan, then the language does not make sense.  He agreed with Morrow, Scipes, and Kincaid that the document cannot leave it at “region connections” without addressing the issues mentioned by the others.
    • Morrow also stated that in the land grant tradition, there is a commitment to education to working class students, and empower students which is not emphasized in the metropolitan university description. She also felt that the image of PNW portrayed in this document was not inviting to students of color, Latino students, or women.
    • Fewer stated that it was unfair to say that the strategic plan did not include a significant commitment to anti-racism and becoming a more welcoming institution to Latinos, African Americans, and other students of color. He stated that more strategies could be included address these concerns. C. Morrow offered to meet with Fewer to discuss the language choices in the document.
    • Pelter stated that we need to recognize that the committee did the best job they could under the circumstances, and that strategic plans are always dynamic. Having good feedback from our fellow faculty members will be helpful as we go forward.
  1. Report from the General Education Task Force (C. Gillotti & O. White)C.Gillotti stated that the Gen. Ed Task force found that only 71 of the 189 designated Gen Ed courses were taken by 80% of our students. The current offerings do not offer a coherent vision of general education and they are also unmanageable to assess.  PNW currently requires 30 credit hours of Gen Ed, and that is the plan going forward as well. And the eight categories of general education that are currently used will be the same eight categories. Students often double and triple dip between counting courses for their Gen Ed.   An initial proposal for Gen Ed. thematic clusters was presented to senior leadership and to the Senate Gen and assessment Committee. The task force then attended the AACU Institute on general education in May of 2020. Their mentors at this conference encouraged the committee to revise their plan.  The task force arranged for two of our AACU speakers, Jose Marino and Paul Hansted, to speak at PNW.   The task force is proposing that two or three thematic clusters would be considered for the pilot study with exploratory students only.  C. Gillotti and O. White highlighted a few of the eight different themes outlined in the attached PowerPoint.  A survey of 185 students indicated that “go outside and play” was the top pick.  Another survey of students asked if they preferred a thematic model or a core distribution model.   A core distribution model has a FYE and a capstone course in general education.  The committee decided to turn the Homeward Bound theme into a core distribution model.  If they go with this Homeward Bound model for a core distribution, there are courses that are related to the region that could fit into Gen Ed, as well as opportunities to create courses such as “the psychology of the rust belt” to fulfill a social science requirement.  Gillotti said that all offerings would include equity, inclusion and diversity.  The Gen Ed committee will also be meeting with colleges and universities.

Parashar asked for clarification on what it means to “double dip”. Gillotti stated that she meant that a course such as COM250 could count for Gen Ed, and also be counted for the CHESS core, and it could be counted for the major.

Kozel stated that programs such as engineering have a lot of accreditation constraints. So they cannot have different Gen Ed courses. Kozel recommended that the committee talk to each department/unit to find out what those constraints might be.

Gillotti stated that their committee recognize those constraints and are trying to make sure that whatever plan is offered, that they have all of those considerations in place.  Gillotti stated that currently, this plan is only for the undecided students that have not been accepted into a college.

12.    Report from the West Lafayette Senate (V. Quinn)

    • Quinn stated that Senate chair’s and President Daniels’s remarks were specifically about COVID-19, and working together to continue having a successful semester and returning to campus. Purdue West Lafayette COVID-19 dashboard is being updated daily. And you can find this information if you are interested protect.purdue.edu\dashboard, or you can google Purdue West Lafayette COVID-19 dashboard. West Lafayette senate we’ll be meeting virtually through the end of Spring 2021. This was a that was passed out of Faculty Affairs. The bulk of the meeting was nominating senators to subcommittees. Quinn was nominated to Ed. Policy and Nominations. The Equity and Diversity Committee put forward a resolution asking the university to actively uphold the existing policy through visible promotion of inclusion efforts for all campus and community members who are black, indigenous and people of color. This resolution passed. The next regular meeting of the West Lafayette Faculty Senate will be held on October 19. A special meeting regarding a disciplinary hearing will be held on October 12.

13.  Adjournment

As has been the practice of the PNW Faculty Senate, standing committees meet directly following the conclusion of the PNW Faculty Senate meeting.  These meetings will be virtual as long as the senate meetings are virtual.