Faculty Senate Minutes, January 15, 2021

February 5, 2021

Purdue Northwest Faculty Senate


January 15, 2021

Via Zoom

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

Voting Senators Absent: Colette Morrow

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


Alan McCafferty, Anne E Gregory, Bir Kafle, Catharine Olsen, Cheryl Arroyo, Catherine Murphy, Colin Fewer, Daniel Wilbur, David Nalbone, Deepa Majumdar, Dietmar Rempfer, Elaine Carey, Emily Hixon, Frank Colucci, Feng-Song Wang, Florian Vauleon, Gokarna Aryal, Harvey Abramowitz, Heather Bowers, Janet Garwood, Jennifer Williams, Jonathan Kuhn, Jonathan Swarts, Joy Colwell, Kathleen Tobin, Keyuan Jiang, Lisa Goodnight, Lisa Hopp, Maria Watson, Marianne Curia, Mary Jane Eisenhauer, Meden Isaac-Lam, Michael Bourgeois , Mike Johnson, Mita Choudhury, Neil Nemeth, Niaz Latif, Nicoleta Tarfulea, Pam Saylor, Paolo Miranda, Paul Hecht, Rachel Smith, Raida Abuizam, Rebecca Stankowski, Richard Rupp

  1. Determination of quorum.
  2. Call to order.
  3. Approval of the agenda.
  4. Approval of the minutes from December 11, 2020.
  5. Remarks by the Senate Chair (L. Pelter).
    • Pelter stated that while we may be feeling overwhelmed that we shouls think of the next few months as an opportunity to come together and work toward common goals. Pelter referred to the mission statement, Purdue University Northwest transforms students’ lives in our metropolitan region through a diverse campus committed to innovative education, applied research, and community engagement. Pelter asked that we consider how we influence and transform our students lives and how we interact with the broader community. Pelter invited everybody to the annual faculty convocation on January 22, 2020, where there would be a discussion about the challenges and opportunities that we will be facing going forward.  Pelter yielded the rest of her time to Oriana White, student government president.
    • White reported that the “Twelve Days of Giving” event in December was well received and businesses expressed a willingness to partner again next year. To keep students engaged and excited about the university, SGA is planning activities such as a trivia night using a platform other than ZOOM, stating that, “Everybody is sort of done with Zoom”.
  1. Remarks by the Chancellor (T. Keon)
    • Keon thanked the Faculty for all their hard work. He stated that we needed to be aware of the national trends and Midwest trends in higher education as we come out of COVID.  Currently, there is a trend for fewer transfer students. The international student market has dried up.  COVID has had a large and negative impact on all universities. Keon then yielded his time to Provost Holford
    • Holford stated that our current headcount is 6,114 which is down from about 7,000 students in the Fall semester. This is 5% lower than anticipated. There is a decline in the persistence rate of our students, meaning students who didn’t return in the spring semester after the fall semester is greater than normal. This has disproportionally impacted our first-time college students who did not persist at the same rate they have in the past. This is consistent with what is going on around the country.  PNW also didn’t see the typical increase in students transferring into PNW from other universities.   The declining headcount resulted this year in a loss of around 10,000 credit hours distributed across the colleges. CHESS and CES experienced the greatest impact.
    • PNW made temporary adjustments in the budgets in Fall 2020 and was able to avoid furloughs. Holford stated we will have to take into account the total impact of the budget decline going forward.  Academic Affairs will have to adjust for a loss between $2.4 and $3.9 million.
    • Holford encouraged those who were comfortable teaching in a face-to-face environment to work with their administrators to move back to face-to-face when restrictions are loosened. In Spring 2021, PNW is about 16% face to face, 33% virtual classroom, 33% hybrid, and 18% totally online. Virtual is turning out to be a popular way to deliver online education, and the student responses were overwhelmingly positive. In many of the courses that were going on, there were comments such as, “my professor really helped me during this semester”; “My professor was very patient with me as we work through the semester”; and “My professor accommodated me”.
    • Holford asked that those who are teaching in the summer (and who would be comfortable doing so) consider moving into a more engaged format such as virtual classroom, or something that brings students back on campus. The Fall schedule will move back to normal operations. The campus is currently operating on an exemption from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the Higher Learning Commission to offer all of our courses online. As a brick-and-mortar campus, we are not authorized to offer many courses online. Returning to normal operation in the Fall will help us with some of our enrollment challenges.
    • Holford strongly urged senators to attend the Dr. Martin Luther King virtual event will be on Monday morning starting at 8:30 am.
    • Two testing centers are being built. Training will be available to faculty to learn how to register their class.
    • The Westfield committee will be convening another meeting on February 19. There are significant positive changes that will be implemented in the Fall semester.
    • Holford stated that the campus received a $7 million award from the Department of Energy in advanced manufacturing. This is the largest single grant given out by the Department of Energy in the advanced manufacturing sector. Nikki Jackson participated to a True Crimes podcast that reaches over 4 million subscribers nationally. She was also recognized in a story in US News and World Report.  Christian Lestring from Biology, along with his collaborator Charles Steele, developed one of the first field test kits for THC. It’s a semi-quantitative field test that can be used by police officers to test the quantity of THC that is present in either hemp or marijuana. Christian was invited to a conference with the lieutenant governor to talk about this.
    • Kozel asked Holford if there was any testing software. Holford referred him to Tim Winders.
    • Elmendorf asked if Faculty will have Zoom licenses in the Fall. Holford stated that the university license will transition to departmental licenses
    • DeLeon asked if staff, students, and faculty need to be COVID19 vaccinated before returning in the Fall. Holford stated that while students who live in the residence halls can be required to be vaccinated, we cannot require that all students, faculty, or staff be vaccinated.
    • Sindone ask if the testing center be available before midterm. Holford stated that Westville will be open, and to reach out to Jan Gonzalez or Katherine Olsen about the availability in Hammond. Sindone also asked if there be opportunities for some virtual learning going forward. Holford stated that it has been popular enough that PNW has made virtual classroom a permanent offering type.
  2. New Business:
    • Curriculum Documents Approval. All documents were approved. (32/0)
  3. For Action:
    • FSD 20-11 Membership on Awards Committees (T. Elmendorf)  This document was discussed on the floor of the Senate in December.  A question was raised about if there were four colleges rather than five, whether the fact that there would then be two representatives from the College of the chair would lead to an imbalance. The committee took no action on this.  Elmendorf personally felt that it is more important to maintain an odd number of members on the committee than it is to maintain some sort of balance of membership on from the colleges. Approved: 30/0
      • FSD 20-13 Amendment to the senate bylaws III. C. 5.4. Proposal for the revision Senate Budget and Resources Subordinate Committee. (L. Pelter)   Moved for action and approved:  32/0
  1. Discussion Items:
    • Selection of IFC representative (A. Alavizadeh)  There are four nominees.  Ballots will be sent out later today. Senators are asked to submit their ballots by Monday, January 18, 2021.
      • FSD 20-14 EPC Resolution on proposed CES-COT Unification (C. De Leon)
      • Based on the discussion on December 11, the proposal was referred with Ed Policy. The EPC found that the majority in both colleges were not in favor of the merger. EPC recommends that the Provost actively consult the faculties of both CS and COT to clarify any questions and to create possible alternative proposals that are supported by a majority of the faculty from these colleges.
      • Holford agreed with the EPC recommendation but disagreed with the EPC report. Holford stated that four surveys conducted.  One survey was conducted by the administration. A second faculty follow-up survey was conducted. The faculty of the COT supported this merger in both of those surveys. Holford stated that he has answered all of the questions posed to him about the merger.  He stated that the proposal results in a reduction of administrative overhead without pulling money out of faculty or instruction.
      • Parashar stated that first survey conducted by the college was flawed, and that’s why the CES faculty council did it again. The EPC committee did the same did that for COT.  There were verbal surveys conducted, therefore there were really only two valid surveys.
      • Schultz stated that the reason why faculty are resisting the merger is because they don’t believe that it is a cost saving measure
      • Holford stated that the actual payroll savings around $560K. The rest of the faculty is aware of the this.  There is currently a deficit in COT, that some faculty in CES are concerned that they would have to cover.  The language can be modified to address that concern.
      • Kozel stated that the issue was not just a matter of cost savings, but also a matter of levels of administration. Kozel stated that Holford’s structure is more convoluted and proposed eliminating the Dean and having three directors.  Kozel stated this would result in an additional $300K, which would be 54 LTLs over the whole college.
      • Farook reiterated that COT faculty were not included in the first survey. COT also came up with an alternate proposal that eliminates the layers of administrative overhead. That model has more cost saving than the model under consideration.
      • Holford stated that the Faculty role in this structural process is “recommend”. He also stated that he has shown a willing to meeting with anybody who wanted to discuss the merger.  He stated that he has looked at some of the other models and those models won’t work. Holford stated that doing nothing means that the university will have to find a half million dollars somewhere else to cover expenses.
      • Artz asked at what stage do budget questions trump questions of curriculum, anf how do we resolve these issues except by allowing for maximum participation by both departments and colleges?  Holford stated that he was sensitive to the concern about number of courses we have to cover and challenging budget, which is why his proposal takes all of the reductions out of administration and staff and it increases the number of instructional faculty.
    • FSD 20-15 Classroom Behavior Policy (M. Pelter)
      • M. Pelter stated that there was not a behavior policy and a procedure to handle disruptive students. The one currently on the DOS website predate PNW. The new policy builds on existing policies and put the emphasis is on “can you meet with the students and get through it”.  The document was moved for action with the correction of a typo.  32/0 approved
    • FSD 20-16 revision of FSD20-04 Faculty syllabus
      • L. Pelter stated that this is a minor revision of a document that was passed last September. The final sentence in the document will say that the syllabus is under the control of the Faculty, referring to the program faculty, the faculty on the curriculum committees and the faculty of the Senate. Holford stated that the previous version would empower control to the instructor of record, and not the faculty. Pelter stated that this was a minor change that was not meant to undermine the new development of the faculty syllabus template.  Moved to action & approval 26/0
  1. Report from Senate Westville Committee (K. Scipes)
    • Four subcommittees, including program recruitment, development of the university community and local outreach. There will be a meeting on February 5, and public discussion on the February 19 with the provost.
  2. Report from the West Lafayette Senate (V. Quinn)
    • No report—no meeting yet.
  3. Open discussion (as time permits).
    • Parashar would like the email for the senate agenda to be posted a 5-7 days in advance as stated in the bylaws and also asked that the start and end time of the meetings be published. Pelter stated that agenda is on the Senate website a week in advance, but the email reminder of the senate meeting was only sent out a few days in advance.  Parashar also asked how the votes were determined and if only senators’ votes were recorded.  Underwood stated that we have been assuming that only senators are voting and that all the votes have been recorded in the senate minutes.
    • Kozel stated that the pandemic has allowed ECE to combine lectures for both campuses at one time. Once the pandemic is over, the teaching loaded will increase or require additional people. Kozel asked if the university has considered if we will continue to take advantage of broadcasting lessons to both campuses via Zoom.  Scipes stated that before the pandemic he went back and forth between Hammond and Westville every other week, which increased opportunities for students on both campuses.
    • Kincaid asked why the discount was reduced to 15% at the bookstore. Keon stated that the bookstore sets the contracts.
  1. Adjournment

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