Faculty Senate Minutes, September 10, 2021

October 1, 2021

  1. Remarks by the SGA President (O. White)
    • O. White reported that SGA has been in contact with the other PU systems to communicate about what they are doing in terms of their colleges and their student governments to mimic what is being done right and determine what would not be right for PNW. She said she was also in conversation with the student trustee to make sure all the campuses were on the same page and had the opportunity to reach out to one another when guidance is needed. She added that IUN SGA reached out about collaborating.
    • She said a Sustainability Committee has been created that will be travelling to PUWL to collaborate with a similar committee on that campus.
    • She shared the idea of creating a community garden and a famers market on campus for feeding students in need, especially those in the University Village without transportation. She said the farmers market would be open to the public and create notoriety [sic] for the campus through newspaper advertising. A question was asked about whether community gardens would be created on both campuses to which O. White confirmed they would be.
    • She said they are doing a “What You Want Wednesday” event to elicit ideas from students about they’d like to see on campus. She also encouraged faculty to provide input on ways to help students be successful.
    • She said SGA is reconvening their House of Representatives with the goal of getting students involved who otherwise do not have the ability to commit to the restrictions of being an SGA member. She encouraged faculty to relay this information to students who would like to participate. The Chair praised SGA efforts to increase involvement and encouraged O. White to promote the Race, Racism, Anti-Racism series to the universities they are collaborating with.
  2. New Business:
    • Curriculum Documents Approval (L. Artz)
      1. No documents up for discussion/approval
      2. L. Artz announced that Curriculog has been revised and is now more user friendly. He provided a reminder that all documents should be submitted in Curriculog three weeks prior to Senate meetings so that committee members can review and resolve minor issues.
  3. For Action:
    • FSD 21-02:  Nominations & Awards Committee can appoint people to Founders’ Day Award Committee if Colleges don’t act.  Approved for action. (T. Elmendorf)
      1. T. Elmendorf explained that this document was discussed at last month’s Senate meeting. He said the purpose of the document is to allow NEAC the flexibility it needs to be able to populate the awards committees for the outstanding faculty awards in service, teaching and scholarship. He said the document that was passed last year about the population of these committees says each college needs to select a procedure and nominees for each of the three committees. This is how committees are populated, and if not done in a timely fashion, this document states that the Nominations Committee will then simply populate the committee at its best discretion.
      2. He said he has received a document from COT with their procedure but has not received any nominees. He said he hopes to receive nominees from all the committees so the document becomes moot but, as a contingency, asked for approval of this document today, so that we will have something in place if the colleges do not all comply with the needs of the previous document for population of the Awards Committees.
      3. T. Elmendorf moved for approval, R. Merkovsky seconded. The motion was approved by voice vote.
  4. Discussion Items:
    • FSD 21-03:  Further discussion of reducing of Senate size. (T. Elmendorf)
      1. T. Elmendorf said there was a discussion last month about a constitutional amendment to reduce the size of the senate from 14%, as is currently called for in the constitution, to 10% as called for in the document. After doing some calculations with K. Scipes it was determined that this number could be altered to 11% or 12%. He said he has not had a chance to discuss this in depth with his committee but that they would be meeting later in the day. He said, based on last month’s discussion, that people were more receptive to the idea that each academic unit should have one representative and the remainder of the population of the Senate should be filled out by at-large representatives. This is not reflected in the document as currently written, but it means that the people who are most concerned with the work of the Senate would have a greater opportunity to participate. He added that he was in favor of making that revision and would welcome further discussion.
      2. D. Nalbone said he generally thought it was a good idea and asked how many academic units we currently have. M. Watson said we have 19 departments not including the Honors College, which does not count. T. Elmendorf added that the Library should be included which brings the total to 20.
      3. D. Kozel agreed there should be at least one representative per department or unit and said he could see the advantages of going larger or smaller. He suggested limiting the number of at-large people so that representation is balanced between colleges or units and decisions are made to benefit the university instead of a particular unit or college. T. Elmendorf responded saying he did not think the opportunity for any one academic unit to dominate the Senate would be possible with one representative from each academic unit already forming a majority of the seats. He said that he doesn’t think something truly benefiting one academic unit as opposed to another was possible given the limited powers that the Senate itself has, which is over the curriculum and over the calendar and that he did not see any one unit disadvantaging the rest of the University on behalf of themselves by using both powers.
      4. A question was asked about how many faculty there are apropos this 10% limit, which T. Elmendorf said there were ~200 and added that in order to fully fill out the requirements in the current bylaws for population of the standing committees, we need 30 plus senators, so 10% isn’t going to cut it probably unless we revise the bylaws, which we’re going to have to do in any case. He said 11 or 12% would be a better number.
      5. T. Elmendorf stated that his committee will be discussing this afternoon.
      6. R. Cherry asked the committee to write down the figures and alternative approaches along with background information that corresponds to the nature of the resolution itself which T. Elmendorf confirmed would be included.
    • FSD 21-04 (placeholder for discussion, not official resolution):  P&T Committee members can vote via Zoom as long as they are present for the discussion of the Candidate’s case. (T. Sindone)
      1. T. Sindone said the document has some issues including in the second E. paragraph, subparagraph 2a. which states that members of the department, school, or college of university committees are responsible for attendance in person at all scheduled meetings of the committees. He elaborated that this requirement was waived last year as a result of it being a “COVID year”. Meetings were held remotely via Zoom and those in attendance were still able to participate. He pointed out that the official word this year is that we are not in a COVID year. According to this document, he states, which is the governing document, all committee members must meet in person. Despite that, there are still several faculty members attending today’s meeting remotely. He said that if this governing document is not changed right away committee members that must attend meetings remotely, regardless of their reasons, will not be able to participate. He said that he tried getting his committee together but they were not able to constitute a forum so no changes could be made. The second issue with this document is that it has not been officially approved by the full Faculty Senate as it is written currently, which is a requirement.
      2. K. Scipes said his understanding is that those who have gone through the compliance process are protected by ADA. He raised the issue of remote attendance causing a security issue in situations where committee members on Zoom may be sharing the physical space they are remoting in from with other people, which hinders confidentiality.
      3. R. Kramer said they have already had meetings where these procedures were discussed. He said there are concerns about how letters are going to be put together and signed. He said he thinks what we do here has to be consistent with what is already going on in other areas.
      4. Kim asked for elaboration on what is meant by being consistent. R. Kramer said the issue of voting was difficult, Qualtrics was very slow and voting via Zoom was met with security concerns. Without a formal decision these situations were handled on a case-by-case basis. He suggested that remote attendance should be on a case-by-case basis instead of being on a policy document.
      5. T. Sindone suggested that clarification of what “in person” must be addressed and that issues such as security must be discussed so that the P&T document is and consistent and sustainable for years going forward.
      6. D. Nalbone questioned whether we are still currently in a COVID year; the fact that everyone is wearing masks would seem to indicate that we are. He said when there are large committees, and because we have two campuses, trying to get every member to agree on a schedule is extraordinarily difficult. He said the more pressing issue is that we need legal representation.
      7. T. Sindone rhetorically asked how this policy was worked around the previous year. He acknowledged legal issues and ADA issues that have be addressed.
      8. T. Elmendorf clarified the document was approved by the Senate. He said if we feel that we can interpret the language in the P&T document, which was drafted without any consideration that remote attendance might be necessary because of a pandemic, the interpretation that we used last year should still be perfectly valid.
      9. T. Sindone noted that the document being discussed (Academic Tenure, Promotion, Policies, and Procedures) was revised and approved Feb. 12, 2020. It is not a Senate document and can be found on the Provost’s website.
      10. T. Elmendorf provided the FSD number, 20-03
      11. Someone insisted that we are still in the throes of a pandemic. We are now battling the Delta variant and people are dying every day. She said she knows that her colleagues online are not here because of potential health risks and that she would not put her colleagues at risk for a P&T meeting when all the idiosyncrasies of remote attendance could be worked out.
      12. A. Edwards posed a question: If we limit remote attendance to just ADA accommodations, would someone without the accommodations be removed from their committee if exposed to COVID?
      13. T. Sindone reiterated T. Elmendorf’s earlier statement that this document is governing the P&T process, but the idea of having to be face to face in person was waived because of the pandemic. He questioned, why can’t we still use that interpretation?
  5. For Information:
    • Senate membership:  Rob Hallock replaced John Spores (Psychology)
    • Senate membership:  Dave Nalbone replaced Neeti Parashar (at large).
    • Senate membership:  Vincent Marasco replaces Geoff Schultz (SOEC)
    • A Gen Ed nominee can’t make any meetings this semester—must be replaced.
    • SAT/ACT as admission requirement—sent to Ed Policy for further discussion, and to consult with Office of Admissions
    • Civics Requirement:  Tom Roach consulting with HPPE (Hist., Phil., Poli Sci, & Econ.) Dept on how to proceed.
    • Budget Committee to Become a Standing Committee?  Referred to FAC.
    • Form 36:  Should we recognize extra efforts regarding equity, diversity, inclusion in quest for promotion?  Referred to FAC.
  6. Report from the West Lafayette Senate (V. Quinn/C. Morrow)
  7. Open discussion (as time permits).
  8. Adjournment