Faculty Senate Minutes, October 8, 2021

November 8, 2021

Faculty Senate Minutes, October 8, 2021

Purdue University Northwest Faculty Senate


10:00 AM-12:00 PM: In person:  GREAT HALL


  1. Determination of quorum.
    • Quorum determined at 10:05
  2. Call to order.
    • The meeting was called to order by Chair K. Scipes
  3. Approval of the agenda.
    • The Chair asked to add the following topics to Discussion Items:
      1. Removal of the Vice Chair of Enrollment Management & Student Affairs
      2. 5-75 Celebration
    • The agenda was approved by voice vote.
  4. Approval of the minutes from September 10, 2021.
    • The minutes were approved by voice vote.
  5. Remarks by the Senate Chair (K. Scipes)
    • The Chair commended committees and their leadership for their participation and involvement.
    • He promoted the Race, Racism, and Anti-Racism event series and informed Senate meeting attendees about a book launch by SOEC Professor, L. Taylor.
    • He explained the rationale behind the constitutional amendment to reduce the size of the Senate.
    • He informed the PNW Senate that the PUWL Senate passed a resolution, 66 to 10, in regards to the BOT assuming too much power.
  6. Remarks by the Chancellor (T. Keon)
    • Yielded to Provost
    • The Provost provided COVID-19 update
      1. He reported active positive cases on campus: two faculty/staff and three students.
      2. He said a voluntary system of uploading vaccination cards has been launched through PointClick. More details can be found at https://www.pnw.edu/pnw-and-coronavirus-covid-19/vaccine-verification/.
        1. So far, 181 employees and 400 students have uploaded their cards, and 113 cards have been uploaded which are pending verification.
  • He announced an endowment received last spring from a former student and university employee to support environmental issues. Some of the funding was used to put beehives on campus.
  • Per request, he highlighted some of our student athlete accomplishments with an accompanying slideshow. Those highlighted were S. Brockington and I. Contreras. He also provided data highlighting the academic success of student athletes collectively.
  1. Memorial Resolution on Y. Zhang
  2. New Business:
    • Curriculum Documents Approval (L. Artz)
      1. The Curriculum Committee approved seven minor revisions to a series of proposals last month, the broadcasting minor certificates and computer aided design and industrial automation and robotics, minor revisions to the BS in civil engineering management, mechanical engineering and the concentration in electronics. Those were all approved unanimously by the curriculum committee and submitted to the full Senate for approval. And we also accepted and activated the Emergency Medical Services Program, which was approved five to zero and those were the things that were proposed for the Senate approval.
        1. Items were approved by voice vote.
      2. Old Business
      3. For Action:
        • FSD 21-05: Constitutional Amendment: Size of the Senate
          1. The Nominating Committee has had difficulty filling available seats on the Senate and therefore proposing to reduce the proportion of voting faculty who must serve on the Senate. There has been some discussion at the previous meetings about how the available seats should be distributed. One idea was to have only one guaranteed seat per academic unit, and have the rest be filled out by means of at-large seats. This is not a constitutional issue. The only issue in the constitution is the percentage. After some discussion, the Nominations Committee agreed on the figure of 12%. The current figure is 14%. 12% will allow for the population of the standing committees as they are currently described in the bylaws and is essentially the minimum number. The only difference between the resolution that you have before you today and the one that was discussed in the previous two meetings is that instead of 10%, the number is now 12%.
          2. Motion passed
  1. Discussion Items:
    • Committee Reports
      • Ed Policy
        • Ed Policy has been working primarily on the issue of admissions requirements. Throughout the pandemic the SAT/ACT requirement has been optional, this continues until the end of the upcoming academic year. We’ll be talking with M. Bourgeois from institutional research today to look at all the factors that are associated with retention and student success.
      • Faculty Affairs
        • Note: all items addressed have subcommittees within FAC.
        • FAC is working towards creating an ad hoc committee to determine if policies and procedures of PNW lead to institutional racism and inequalities in the communities we serve.
        • FAC will be working on revisions or the Promotion & Tenure document as there are some issues with the document presently being used.
        • FAC has a subcommittee working on developing a new Qualtrics survey to equitably evaluate the performance of administrators.
        • FAC discussed adding bricks to the bell tower planned for construction on the Hammond campus to commemorate retired faculty members. A question was raised about whether the Nominations & Awards committee should oversee the recognition awards for retiring faculty. Another question was raised about what the Emeritus process is at PNW.
        • There is an ongoing discussion about whether or not the Budget Subcommittee should be a standing committee of the Senate.
      • Gen Ed & Assessment
        • Gen Ed & Assessment has populated their subcommittee regarding transfer, steering and first year experience.
        • They have also reviewed assessment procedures and oriented new members in the process for evaluation needs to be conducted by this committee this semester. This is regarding compensation.
        • They discussed and approved the meeting the process by which gen ed courses were approved by the committee last year. And this will be shared and approved at future senate meetings.
        • They establish liaison with the General Education taskforce, they are working on implementing the pilot that the committee approved last year and will provide feedback.
      • Nominations & Awards
        • The Nominations & Awards Committee has been working on populating the committees that select the outstanding faculty awards recipients, those which will be awarded at Founders Day in March next year. Those committees need to be up and running soon. According to the document that was passed by the Senate, those committees need to be populated one per college. The document tasked with the colleges was coming up with a procedure for giving their nominees to those committees. We have received procedures from the College of Technology and the College of Engineering and Science. And we received the actual nominees from the College of Engineering and Science. I would like to remind the Deans and the members of the other colleges that the deadline as specified in the senate document is a week from today, October 15. Beyond which the Nominations, Elections & Awards committee will fill those seats on the awards committees at its discretion.
        • The College of Business passed a procedure two weeks ago and was approved by the necessary parties.
      • Student Affairs
        • Student Affairs is looking for some instruction from Nominations regarding the passing of Professor Yueqi Zhang. He was a member of the subcommittee and they do not know who will replace him.
        • They have been talking about the cost of textbooks. A faculty member on the committee mentioned that a textbook for one of her classes is completely sold out on every platform, including Amazon. Many faculty members have voiced concern about the inability to obtain new editions. They considered talking to the Provost about sending out a memo to faculty to keep in mind that printing houses have slowed production.
        • They are working on a template for absences for student athletes. It came to the attention of the committee that the athletic department has a template for absences, but it has never gone through Faculty Senate.
        • They also want to revisit a grade appeals policy to reduce some of the challenges of the Chair. They are going to try to work with the Honors College in helping staff student seats as participants in this
      • Budget Subcommittee
        • A question arose in the subcommittee about the IBBM decentralized budgetary decision: Is there, or will there be, a common model across colleges that drills down to the individual departments, then from the departments to the program? They are working on a resolution to pass forward on that.
        • Another question, which is an HR issue but has budgetary ramifications regarding the pay equity analysis to be undertaken soon: If inequities are found, will the college have the authority to make or recommend adjustments?
        • Third, the committee expressed appreciation for Mr. Turner and Ms. Thomas regarding the speed at which they relay information to the committee regarding the breakdown of Hammond versus Westville situations. They said they would be more than willing to meet and discuss how budgetary information was teased out from the total into the two campuses.
      • Westville Subcommittee
        • The subcommittee chair said they have had cordial meetings with the Provost and, going forward, plan to provide him with a list of questions prior to the actual meetings in order to receive the most accurate and timely information.
        • They expressed concern about budgetary issues which they were able to defer to the Budget Subcommittee prior to asking the Provost.
      • Administration response to violation of Senate Policy
        • The Chair expressed the desire to receive a public response from the Provost regarding violations of Senate policy. He asked the Provost if he was able to address that yet.
        • The Provost said he contacted the dean and communicated his expectations for that unit to any recommended changes they have to their curriculum to the Senate for discussion and change.
        • The Chair thanked the Provost for his promptness.
      • Endorsing PUWL FS resolution to BOT
        • There was a discussion at West Lafayette about instituting a civics requirement as a graduation requirement at West Lafayette. That was discussed by the Senate at West Lafayette any it was rejected. The Board of Trustees then decided to overrule the Faculty Senate at West Lafayette and impose the civics requirement. BOT did not consult with the PNW Senate before imposing the requirement, which is to be implemented in August 2022. The Vice Chair has reached out to the Poli Sci dept. at PNW, and they are in the process of creating a curriculum. The WL Senate rejected the BOT decision by a vote of 66 to 10, saying BOT exceeded their authority regarding curriculum matters.
        • The Chair asked the Senate for their input on whether they should respond to the issue.
        • A Senator moved to endorse PUWL Senate’s objection to BOT implemented requirement, pointing out that the document makes very clear that the Board of Trustees has violated a document to which it is a signatory by its membership in the Association of Governing Boards of Universities & Colleges, that states that in matters of curriculum, the Board needs to exercise self-limitation. With the document in hand, the same Senator quoted item number 3, “The University Senate observes how the Board also failed to appropriately engage the governing bodies at Purdue Fort Wayne and Purdue Northwest before making its unilateral decision to also apply to students at those campuses.”
        • It was agreed that faculty should be consulted before curriculum requirements are implemented.
        • A question was asked, if BOT has seen and overridden the initial opposition, have they seen and responded to the second round of opposition?
        • It was clarified that BOT has seen and are aware of the second round of oppositions and has not yet responded.
        • After discussion, there was a unanimous vote to move to action the endorsement of the PUWL Senate’s opposition to the imposed requirement.
        • A vote of approval of the resolution also passed unanimously.
      • A question was raised to Administration about Enrollment Management personnel and their employment with the university.
        • Administration respectfully declined to comment.
        • A Senator politely interjected, clarifying that Administration is correct in their abstention of disseminating the requested information. The Senator said there are certain things that you can talk about with respect to personnel, many things you cannot. They stated that the university would be liable for any information that came out of any supervisor if it was discussed with anybody outside of that individual and the management entity making decisions regarding their employment.
        • A second Senator added to the conversation, noting an email which stated a change in direction or new vision which was not clarified.
        • A third Senator addressed their concern about the turnover rate of personnel in the Enrollment Management Office.
        • The Chair said he understands the necessary lack of disclosure regarding specific employees but felt there was a lack of transparency regarding key members of administration which should be discussed in the future.
      • 5-75 Celebration
        • The Chair asked Administration what we are celebrating. They reported that it was for marketing and promotion. The Chair scrutinized the amount of money allocated to marketing of the events. ($50-$100K). He speculated that resources used for event have caused cuts in staff/faculty. He said SLT should provide a metric for success and justification of fund allocations at a time in which budgets are thin.
        • The Provost said that after 18 months spent in seclusion as a result of the pandemic, an opportunity for marketing and celebration of resuming regular activities is finally present. He said events will raise scholarship funds for students and go to co-curricular activities for our student population to reengage them, which is anticipated to exceed investments in the entire operation.
        • A Senator said they understand the question of returns in such endeavors, the bottom line is to increase enrollment and retention. Do we really measure this? How? Nowhere in enrollment applications does it ask why prospective students are applying to PNW. We need complete data to measure return on investments. How do we know why students are coming and what can we do to double those numbers?
        • The Chair said we should be more conscientious about what we are spending.
      • IN HS graduation report
      • Vaccine Mandate
      • For Information:
  1. Report from the West Lafayette Senate
    • PUWL Senate Met sept 13.
    • Document 20-60 was passed.
    • Document 20-57 brought to action by SGA.
    • Resolution failed.
    • Resolution 21-08 up for discussion – resolution about convening faculty remotely.
    • Interfaculty Council talked about Diversity, Inclusion.
    • Test-optional admission implementations also going on at PUWL and PFW
  2. Remarks by the SGA President (O. White)
    • The SGA President said SGA will be hosting first town hall meeting of the year on October 13.
      1. Topic is PNW in the future, give SLT opportunity to explain BOT decisions.
    • Respecting and setting boundaries.
    • Community garden getting started in Hammond.
    • Orchard in Westville is being discussed.
    • The SGA President addressed students feeling overwhelmed about issues regarding pandemic. Decrease in student excitement because of overwhelm with pandemic uncertainty.
      1. The Chair said students can and should reach out to faculty in these cases so that something may be done to assist them.
    • The SGA President suggested there should be a faster way for students to connect with faculty instead of via phone call
      1. Texting and email were suggested.
      2. A Senator said a means of texting students without sharing personal information is being discussed.
      3. Someone said anonymous surveys and tools are available on Brightspace.
  1. Open discussion (as time permits).
    • Kincaid invited Senate Meeting attendees to Hispanic Heritage event.
    • Artz announced Race, Racism, Antiracism events.
  2. Adjournment