Faculty Senate Minutes, February 12, 2021

March 4, 2021

Purdue Northwest Faculty Senate


February 12, 2021

10:00 AM-12:00 PM: 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, 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: none

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

 Guests:  Assen Kokalov, Barbara Mania-Farnell, Catalina Rodriguez, Catharine Olsen, Cheryl Arroyo, Catherine Murphy, Colin Fewer, David Nalbone, Deanne Shimala, Dietmar Rempfer, Donna Whitten, Elaine Carey, Feng-Song Wang, Geoff Barrow, Godwin-Charles Ogbeide, Harvey Abramowitz, Heather Bowers, Jane Rose, Jennifer Williams, Jonathan Kuhn, Jonathan Swarts, Joy Colwell, Kathleen Tobin, Keyuan Jiang, Lawrence Hamer, Lisa Goodnight, Lisa Hopp, Marianne Curia, Masoud Mojtahed, Meden Isaac-Lam, Michael Bourgeois, Niaz Latif, Nicoleta Tarfulea, Paul Hecht, Raida Abuizam, Rebecca Stankowski, Richard Rupp, Stephen Turner, Tim Winders, Yueqi Zhang

  1. Determination of quorum.
  2. Call to order.
  3. Approval of the agenda. (Approved)
  4. Approval of the minutes from January 15, 2021. (Approved)
  5. Remarks by the Senate Chair (L. Pelter).
  • Founders Day is March 5. If you are interested in hosting a virtual viewing party, go to the Founders Day page on the PNW website.
  • The campus reopening is only for Type-3 and Type-4 courses that were originally scheduled for the Spring to be either face-to-face or hybrid.
  • Our enrollment figures for Fall 2021 are disturbing. PNW has experienced a significant drop in Fall applications. This will have a significant impact on the university. First generation, low-income students, and Pell Grant eligible students are not applying nationwide. Pell eligible student applications are down 10% nationally. IUN and Ivy Tech applications are also down at the same rate as we are.  Our campus is impacted because that is the community that we serve.  This is a social justice issue—we have a group of potential students that are not going to have the opportunities that they deserve.  The faculty must work even harder than they have been.  This means listening and reaching out to our struggling students.  We are in a crisis, and we have to do everything we can to come through this crisis.
  • Faculty need to make sure that our friends and neighbors understand that the value of a university education and how it can make a difference in the lives of not just our students, but their families as well.
  • The university will be figuring out how we can cut back to meet the budget demands. Cuts will be made in areas that have already been trimmed beyond what we think we can do. That doesn’t mean that we can’t still invest. We must be looking at our growth areas and where we can accomplish the most.
    • Kozel suggested that Faculty poll their students to see if they really want to return to campus or would rather remain virtual. Shultz also polled his students about returning to campus.  Students have scheduled their lives in other ways making virtual classes easier to manage.
    • Mitra stated that the senior leadership team has an important role to raise the issues of enrollment at a regional level.
    • Yohlunda Mosley stated that her office is working with a digital marketing company that will help us tailor our markets. Mosley also stated she and the provost are meeting with READY-NWI and they have engaged in discussions about our current enrollment concerns and the regional impact of low university enrollments.
  1. Remarks by the Chancellor (T. Keon)
    • Chancellor Keon is writing an editorial to be sent to the local news media that focuses on the economic diversity that occurs in the United States.  People with lower incomes are living very different lives than those people who can count on an income.
    • First generation lower income students from Michigan City, Merrillville, Gary, East Chicago, and Hammond are not applying here, or anywhere else.  The federal government is going to give PNW a significant amount of aid that we can direct to students, but they’ve got to apply.
    • The chancellor fears that we might lose 200 or 300 students that would normally come to PNW.  The students who do come will likely have a lot of dual credit. This could have a devastating impact on math, sciences, and the humanities.  The chancellor yielded the rest of his time to Provost Holford.
    • Provost Holford stated that PNW may be in a better financial situation than other institutions because of the planning that has been taking place.
    • The Provost’s office has identified students that did not reenroll for Spring 2021.  To date, 50 students have now been re enrolled. The office has been identifying the factors (financial, academic, home life, etc.,) impacting students’ education and then directing them to the appropriate support areas on our campus.
    • Last year at this time we were able to make it through without furloughs. We now have to adjust for additional budget declines.  Our spring decline was about 8500 credit hours, which is about 5% greater than the 10% loss that we had anticipated.   Depending on what happens with the decline in applications, PNW is potentially predicting another 10% decline from Fall 2020 to Fall 2021.  That’s 25,000 credits fewer that we’re offering than we have in the past. The budget impacts have been shared with the academic deans. The deans will begin the process of reducing their expenses.
    • As we move into the new IBBM model, we’re looking at how we spend money and make sure that aligns with our budget.
    • Holford stated that he supports the effort to maintain the CES/COT merger dialogue.  He has met with the CES faculty counsel and attended the Engineering Technology Department meeting.  He is also looking forward to meeting with the senate budget committee to discuss the merger.  Holford does not want to miss an opportunity to reduce administrative overhead.
    • There is a new process for early progress reporting to identify at risk students.  We are looking for behaviors that we know put our students at risk. For example, if you’re teaching in the virtual classroom, or one of the live formats, and you already have noticed that there are particular students not attending all the time, that’s an at-risk behavior. If you have had assignments due and you notice certain students are not submitting the assignments or submitting partial assignments that will help us identify our at-risk students and then actually target interventions.  There will be an appropriate follow up with this early warning. For example, there might be outreach from Trio, 21st century scholars, or the athletics department.  If the problem of the student not being able to attend class is financial will direct them to financial aid and figure out how we can make the appropriate accommodations.
    • An outdoor commencement ceremony will be held on May 15.
    • PNW is planning for an in person return to instruction for Fall 2021.  A cohort model will be employed on the Westville campus for our exploratory students.  We currently retain those students at a rate that is 20% lower than students who are enrolled in majors.  The university will be targeting our retention and success strategies to the cohort. Westville is a good incubator to pilot this model.  If it is successful, the program will be scaled up.
    • There are six faculty members across both campuses piloting the new testing center software. Faculty who want to use it should reach out to the testing center.
      • DeLeon asked how the Provost’s office was going to insure that follow up to the early warning system for at-risk students will happen.  Holford stated that they had identified the same shortcomings. To address this, there are specific individuals charged with following up and making sure there is follow up.
      • Edwards asked for a one-page summary of the additional financial assistance that students could get.  This would also be a good advertising opportunity to let students know that now is the time to enroll.   Keon responded that this funding will be made in the third wave of federal funding, and that we don’t have all of the details yet.  The chancellor is anticipating that there will be more details by the end of February.
      • Lerner suggested that the chancellor try to be interviewed by some local media outlets about the current enrollment situation in higher education. Spoljoric also mentioned that the chancellor contact media outlets in LaPorte and Starke Counties.
      • Morrow recognized the work of Vanessa Quinn and Lee Artz on the resolution that was passed by the PNW university senate asking for additional significant financial assistance from the federal government. This resolution was effective in persuading the Interfaculty Council to take that resolution to their own campuses.
  2. New Business:  Curriculum Committee:
    • Artz stated that curriculum is one of the primary reasons that students will attend PNW. Faculty from all colleges have been very active in making new course proposals, revisions, and programs that students want and need. Artz asked the faculty senators to remind their departments that submissions to the curriculum committee need to come in three weeks before their scheduled meetings, which are on the same day as the Senate meeting. The curriculum committee is in the process of revising some of the forms on Curriculog.  Some of the documentation submitted is not always sufficient.  Some of the things that the committee needs to know are, if there is faculty expertise and availability to teach any new course proposals; if there is going to be sufficient course offerings; and if the course is an accrediting body requirement.   If a new course or program is proposed, there should be some evidence that there is sufficient student interest. The goal is to confirm our position that these decisions are transparent and widely based on faculty discussion and decisions.  All curriculum changes will include approval by vote from the faculty that are in the departments that are affected by any proposed changes.  The Curriculum committee will be bringing some of these suggestions to the Senate.  Artz asked those who have suggestions about the curriculum process to email him.
    • Curriculum Documents Approval  All documents listed for this month were approved (Approved, 32:0)
  3. For Action:
    • FSD 20-14 EPC Resolution of Proposed CES-COT Unification (C. De Leon) DeLeon stated this document was up for discussion last month and is now moved to action.  The resolution states that after conferring and getting survey results from both colleges that are involved, further questions about budget, administrative structure, and long-term impact on students still remain. EPC recommends that the Provost actively consult with the Faculty of both colleges to clarify questions and to possibly create alternative proposals that would be supported by the majority of the faculty from the from both colleges. (Approved, 28:1)
  4. Discussion Items:
    • New Senate IFC representative (A. Alavizadeh) A survey was sent on January 15. 27 votes were received.  Collette Morrow was elected as the representative
    • FSD 20-17: Procedures for Remote Election of the Vice-Chair Elect (A. Alavizadeh)
      • Taylor questioned the use of the Borda voting method.  She wanted to know if there was any research to support using a “1” as the most preferred” to using the number of candidates as the most preferred number when casting votes.  Mitra, Elmendorf, and Sindone stated that either method of casting votes would yield the same results as long as the method used was explained to the voters.  Kozel stated that using a “1” for the first choice, “2” for the second choice, seemed more intuitive and might be better understood by the voters.
      • Elmendorf said that the decision to use the lowest score Borda method was already approved by the senate and can be found in FSD 18-16.
      • Taylor asked how the senators’ presence at the April meeting would be determined since only those present at the April meeting are allowed to vote according to the Senate Bylaws.  Underwood stated that Zoom keeps a record of the names and the minutes attended for each participant at a meeting.  Kozel asked if there would be a minimum number of minutes used to determine a senator’s eligibility to vote.
      • Sindone asked if the vote could be conducted in real time during the April senate meeting or immediately after to be as close to what would be done in a face-to-face meeting.  Taylor also expressed the desire to vote during the meeting.
      • DeLeon called for a vote on tabling this document. (Tabled, 17:8). 
    • FSD 20-18: Resolution on a Proposal to Reorganize Departments within the College of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (C. De Leon)  This is a proposed merger of the departments of history, philosophy, political science and economics. Another of the proposed departments is a merger of the disciplines of World Languages and English. The CHESS council surveyed the faculty in the affected disciplines, The majority of the faculty supported the merger. Therefore, be it resolved that the EPC encourages CHESS to go forward with making the new merged departments of the Department of English and World Languages and the Department of history, philosophy, political science and economics.  For Discussion.
      • Elmendorf recommended that if there was no discussion and that it was not controversial that it be moved to action.  Kozel was concerned that if it were moved to action today, then it was possible that the minority who were opposed would not have had the opportunity to express their concerns.
      • Scipes stated that the process was a bottom-up process that started with the faculty. There is no reason to delay the vote.
      • Rupp stated that it was not simply a majority that agreed with the merger, but a super majority across the board.  The faculty and chairs in the merging departments have been working all year on this to coordinate a smooth transition on July 1.
      • Based on the arguments presented, Kozel rescinded his objection to moving this to action. Moved to Action and Approved.  28:0
    • FSD 20-19: Resolution on University of Evansville′s Current Affairs (O. Farook) This document (with minor edits) was moved to action and approved, 26:1
  5. Update on Outstanding Faculty Awards (A. Alavizadeh)  The chair of each award committee was sent a reminder email today to inform the Nominations and Awards committee of this year’s award recipients by February 17th.  There were 5 nominations for Service. 13 for Research, and 16 for Teaching.
  6. Report from Senate Westville Committee (K. Scipes)  The committee will have an open meeting on February 19 with the provost.  Scipes invited everybody who is teaching on the Westville campus to join the meeting and extended the invitation to senators from Hammond as well.
  7. Report from the West Lafayette Senate (V. Quinn)  The majority of documents passed at the West Lafayette senate meeting were about populating committees.  The extension of the deadline for students to switch Spring 2021 courses from a letter grade to pass no pass was passed. The new deadline will be April 30. An extension of the deadline for students to withdrawal or drop from spring 2021 courses will be April 30. Both documents were sent to Cheryl De Leon, who’s the chair of the EPC Committee. As a member of Purdue West Lafayette Senate, Quinn is also on the Inter Campus Faculty Council with Collette Morrow. This body met on Thursday, February 11. Quinn recognized Professor Artz for his significant work to move the resolution about funding in higher education forward.
  8. Remarks by the SGA President (O. White)
  • Student Government elections are about to take place. Please email Oriana if you have students that you feel would be a really good fit for student government Student Government has partnered with Student Life for Black History Month. And Chancellor Keon has helped us secure some t shirts for a Black Lives Matter Parade at the end of the month. SGA is also promoting local black businesses
  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.