Faculty Senate Minutes: November 12, 2021

December 9, 2021

Purdue University Northwest Faculty Senate

10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Voting Members Present:
Jai Agrawal, Khair Al-Shamaileh, Lee Artz, Minoo Ashoori, Matthew Bauman, Tantatape Brahmasrene, Magesh Chandramouli, Ralph Cherry, Renee Conroy, Joan Dorman, Anne Edwards, Tony Elmendorf, Omer Farook, Maria Garcia-Verdugo, Rob Hallock, Meden Isaac-Lam, Kenny Kincaid, Dave Kozel, Bob Kramer, Bob Kramer, Vincent Marasco, Robert Merkovsky, Michael Mick, Colette Morrow, Shoji Nakayama, David Nalbone, Dave Pratt, Vanessa Quinn, Sheila Rezak, Tom Roach, Julia Rogers, Michael Roller, Kim Scipes, Tony Sindone, Michelle Spaulding, Diane Spoljoric, Sham Tickoo, Shengyong Zhang

Voting Members Absent:
Mohammed Errihani, Hansung Kim, Roger Kraft, Maureen Mascha, Meghan McGonigal-Kenney,

Non-Voting Members Present:
Alan McCafferty, Libbie Pelter

Others present:
Chris Holford, Lisa Goodnight, Lisa Hopp, Jon Schwartz, Jenn Williams, Nicoleta Tarfula, Barbera Mania-Farnell, Emily Hixon, Michael Bourgeois, Colin Fewer, Maria Watson, Becky Stankowski, Donna Whitten

  1. Determination of quorum.
    • Quorum determined at 10:05
  2. Call to order.
  3. Approval of the agenda.
    • Discussion item regarding Indiana high school graduation and college trends was asked to be removed from the agenda.
    • Motion for approval as amended by A. Edwards
    • Seconded by D. Nalbone.
    • Agenda approved by voice vote.
  4. Approval of the minutes from October 8, 2021.
    • Motioned for approval by R. Cherry.
    • Seconded by E. Elmendorf.
    • Minutes approved by voice vote.
  5. Remarks by the Senate Chair (Kim Scipes).
    • The Chair said Professor N. Jackson informed him that late Professor Yueqi Zhang’s eldest daughter’s name was not included in his memoriam. He said that he approved amending the memoriam to include all of Zhang’s children.
    • The Chair requested from the Provost recordings of presentations done by candidates for the position of Dean of CHESS so faculty members unable to attend are provided access.
    • Quinn informed the Chair that the President of the Board of Trustees approved the request for BOT meetings to be livestreamed online.
    • The Chair said he receives enrollment forecast reports from J. Ward of Institutional Research and that, according to his understanding of the report, enrollment is down significantly for the spring semester. He requested a formal report from the Senior Leadership Team about where we are at and where we are going.
    • The Chair asked everyone in attendance to consider getting a PNW license plate to help fund student scholarships.
  6. Remarks by the Chancellor (T. Keon)
    • The Chancellor was not in attendance, the Provost made remarks on his behalf
    • The Provost acknowledged the work of the faculty throughout the semester. He discussed the memorandum sent out regarding winter weather advisories and protocol.
    • He clarified that enrollment is down at the current point-in-time but that we are ahead of the spring semester forecast.
    • He provided a COVID-19 update, stating that our campus remains one of the safest areas in the regional community. He said as of the week of the meeting there were zero faculty, zero staff, and six students who recently tested positive for the virus. He said Senior Leadership is watching what is happening on a national scale. He encouraged the entire campus community to receive vaccinations and to upload their vaccination records to the website created for monitoring campus vaccination data.
    • He said that, so far, 373 employees and 619 students have had their vaccination status verified. He said the current data represents about 25% of faculty and staff, and 10% of students reporting. He said uploading records is voluntary but highly encouraged in order to generate accurate numbers.
    • He said finalists for the Dean of CHESS search will be visiting campus starting November 15.
    • He announced the grand opening of a multicultural space on the Hammond campus and shared plans for opening another on the Westville campus.
    • He reported that there is currently a space utilization survey going on to identify other spaces that have things going on. He said he will be visiting the Westville campus to talk to classes requesting information about construction going on there. He said the bookstore in Westville is currently being renovated.
    • He said he sent a proposal to Paul McGrath in the Faculty Senate Budget Committee to get their opinions on changing our model for awarding promotion and tenure, and P&T increases. He said the proposal includes moving to a proportional model as opposed to the current model under which West Lafayette communicates to PNW what the raises are going to be following promotion and tenure.
    • A question was raised about the future direction of Enrollment Management and about updates on searches or hires for those positions.
      1. The Provost said he did not have any information, that those positions report to the Chancellor.
    • The Provost was asked to clarify a statement made by SLT regarding a change of direction in relation to turnover rates at the top of the organization.
      1. The Provost clarified that he never indicated that people were let go, but that they were no longer employees of the university. He said that, historically, when it came to enrollment, we had cast a broad net, or arguably no net at all, to recruit individuals to this institution. He said the difference is that now we are developing a more directed, data driven approach to marketing strategies for individual high schools instead of a more generalized approach. He pointed out the unique student populations of region high schools and reiterated that we are currently ahead of forecasts. He added that 100+ international students reported interest in returning in the spring. He said he was optimistic about how we are approaching our international and local partners.
    • A question was asked about vaccination mandates for organizations with more than 100 employees.
      1. The Provost explained that the mandate was challenged in court and is currently suspended, so it would be premature to answer other than to say we would be compliant of any state or national mandates, or mandates implemented within the Purdue system. He added that proactive steps are being taken and that we will be prepared for whatever decision is made.
    • A comment was made that if we are worried about attracting students and making sure they feel safe, mandating employee vaccinations might assuage their apprehensions.
    • A Senator pointed out that they have had more than one confrontation with students who refuse to wear masks. The Senator asked what should be done in situations where the student cannot be easily identified.
      1. The Provost encouraged faculty to avoid confrontation and call the Dean of Students as soon as possible to report it. The Dean of Students Office treats these instances as code of conduct violations and handles them accordingly.
    • A question was asked about how the current enrollment forecast compares to past semester numbers.
      1. The Provost called upon M. Bourgeois to answer the question directly.
        1. Bourgeois shared a spreadsheet and explained the data within, indicating the newest forecast for the spring was 5,521 but that it is still very early in the admissions cycle. He added that this is the first time in ~2.5 years that the actual numbers outpace the forecast numbers. The current fall semester numbers for undergrads are approximately 6,100.
      2. A question was asked about whether measures were being taken to attract returning students.
        1. The Provost confirmed that strategies have been implemented and suggested inviting Enrollment Management to comment on reengagement initiatives.
      3. New Business:
        • Curriculum Documents Approval
          1. none
  1. Old Business
    • Vote to reduce the proportion of Senators from 14% to 12%.
      1. The Nominating Committee met after the previous Senate meeting and were working on the protocol for creating a ballot to go out to voting faculty. The first point of confusion was who is voting faculty, which laid out in the constitution and bylaws. The numbers received at the last Senate meeting did not include the deans, department chairs and other administrators with academic rank. Those people have now been added back to that number, which is approximately 280. Those are the people who will be actually voting on the ballot, which the committee is working on creating. In addition to having a simple yes/no vote on the document, the committee would like to add statements both for and against the decision. The committee chair said they believe they have successfully solicited comments from people on both sides of the argument, so that those will be included with a ballot so that the people who vote on the ballot will be able to understand what the issues are. The committee will be discussing when the ballot will be released at their meeting later in the day.
  1. For Action:
  2. Discussion Items:
    • FSD 21-06:  Resolution on Vaccine Mandates
      1. The Executive Committee discussed vaccination mandates and the Chair said it seems this is a two-part issue: a mandate for university employees and a mandate for students. The mandate for employees is currently being settled on a national level and we are waiting for those results. On the student level are issues of how to implement a mandate and the threat of students leaving the university if a mandate is implemented. The Chair asked for comments from the Senate so that administration is aware of their position on the matter.
        1. Someone pointed out the questionable legal acumen of the Attorney General, citing examples.
        2. A point was raised about the mask mandate currently in place and the possibility of including whereas statements to the effect that any removal of the mask mandate could only be predicated upon full vaccination of faculty, staff, and students.
          1. It was pointed out that vaccinations do not prevent the potential for someone to be an asymptomatic carrier and spreading the virus.
        3. Someone pointed out that the revision to the document includes information showing that the IU policy has answers to all the questions asked. They have a mask mandate in place, but they also have a vaccine mandate in place. According to their dashboard, approximately 90+% of their and faculty, staff, and students vaccinated, and everyone still must wear masks. It was suggested that we use their policy as a model for what we do going forward.
        4. A questioned was asked about what would be done if vaccines were mandated and someone does not comply.
        5. Some of the data in the resolution was pointed out as being inaccurate and evidence was provided. A hypothetical was presented about the potential for lawsuits in addition to a reduction of students. The Senator raising these points suggested tabling the resolution.
        6. It was pointed out that there are PNW staff members who have succumbed to the virus. Someone else also pointed out that if our faculty and staff suffer long-term negative health effects because of remaining unvaccinated, it will increase the cost of healthcare for university employees across the board.
        7. The SGA President said that the number of students who are concerned about COVID is about the same as those who are not that concerned. Some College of Nursing students were worried they would have to be vaccinated to enroll in the program. Some students were worried about side effects of the vaccine despite the information being provided by the university via email and the university website.
        8. A concern was raised that if a mandate were implemented and not enforced it would erode student respect for other rules of the institution.
        9. A Senator from the College of Nursing clarified that vaccinations are not required for the nursing program, they are not expelling students for not getting vaccinated, but the college must abide by the requirements of their clinical partners. Students who refuse to get vaccinated must be tested weekly on campus. The problem is, just like all other required immunizations, the hands of CON will be tied by their practice partners.
        10. It was pointed out that state law in Indiana requires that all public university students must be vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, and meningitis, and allows universities to require other vaccines as deemed necessary. A question was extended to the Provost asking what procedures are in place for confirming that all enrolled students are in fact vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, measles, mumps, rubella, and meningitis.
          1. The Provost said he was unsure of specific details but confirmed that we do require other vaccinations.
          2. A Senator from CON clarified that immunization records requests are generally included somewhere throughout application process.
          3. It was said that the supreme courts of the United States have already deemed required vaccinations as an appropriate and constitutional responsibility for education and universities. It’s a fact that students will choose universities based on the rules that they do or do not want to follow. That’s why many students don’t apply to private institutions that they don’t want to follow certain rules. One of the arguments that’s being put forth now is the is people with disabilities and how access to education is going to be negatively impacted without vaccination mandates. Students not wanting to follow a rule that we have in place is a very different consequence than a student with a disability who sues us as an institution, because we have not followed a federal guideline about accessibility of students with disabilities and their ability to access education. We need to weigh the consequences of whether we want a group of students pushing back on a rule they don’t like, or do we want a potential number of students with identified disabilities bringing legal action against us as an institution because we have not done our due diligence and providing accessibility to education?
        11. Someone suggested a monetary incentive to students who have been vaccinated.
        12. It was mentioned that the smoking ban implemented on campus several years ago was arguably going to result in decreased enrollment, which it did not. A hypothetical insurance charge for unvaccinated employees was suggested.
        13. It was clarified that the intention of the resolution is to put the safety of our students and the university community first, not enrollment numbers.
  • Provost needing to increase budget for Senate’s course releases/compensation
    1. The Chair said he has been in discussion with the Chancellor and Provost about the budget of the Senate. He said the Provost has maintained his position that the Senate will not receive an increase above the $27,000 already allotted. He said this means that we will have to cut back on course releases.
  1. Reports from Senate Standing Committee Chairs
    • Curriculum
      1. No report
    • Ed Policy
      1. Ed Policy is continuing their discussion about ACT/SAT requirements as well as changes to the syllabus template.
    • Faculty Affairs
      1. Faculty Affairs is still pursuing their study on institutional racism and P&T document revisions.
      2. They are working strongly with administrator evaluations. A Qualtrics survey has been distributed among members which they will discuss.
      3. They are compiling a list of retiring faculty members so that those faculty can receive due recognition.
    • General Education & Assessment
      1. Gen Ed & Assessment are assessing and revalidating current Gen Ed courses in the categories of writing or composition, and natural sciences. They are digging through the Taskstream reports.
      2. They are continuing discussion with the Gen Ed Taskforce which is conducting a pilot study on the cluster base model.
      3. There is some resurgence of activity in the subordinate committees. The FYE NSO Committee and ExL Committee have new leadership.
    • Nomination & Awards
      1. The Nominations Committee has been working on populating the Faculty Awards committees, we received nominations for populating those awarded from one college, and that’s out of five. They have been trying to figure out how to populate the committees in compliance with the Senate resolution from the other four colleges. They have a method in place and hope to have that completed this week.
    • Student Affairs
      1. Student Affairs is still one member short, waiting to hear back from Nominations.
      2. They sent a message to the Provost regarding textbooks for the spring semester and subsequent semesters. Faculty should be mindful of some textbook shortages.
      3. They will be working on an excused absence policy today.
    • University Senate IFC Representative
      1. PUWL Senate passed the document to convene electronically at will, they can continue to convene via Zoom.
      2. They also passed a document on Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion as a distinct item for promotion consideration. Form 36 will allow a nominee’s work in the area of diversity and inclusion will also be considered in annual review. This is an area of shared governance with Purdue West Lafayette and PNW. Provost offices on both campuses are in communication regarding this issue.
      3. Two documents were discussed.
        1. a standing committee temporary leaves of absence document, so that if you’re on a leave of absence, the person who is taking your place in Senate will take your place on your standing committee. This is being discussed and up for vote at next meeting.
        2. Steps in addressing campus sexual assault and misconduct was brought to the floor by PU SGA. They have created an ad hoc committee to address safety issues taking place on campus.
      4. IFC
        1. PUFW passed a vaccine mandate.
        2. PUWL is working with IFC and legal to include Purdue Global representation.
        3. IUPUI will be using DEI statements in annual reviews.
        4. The Chancellor of IUPUI is retiring in March 2022
        5. The PUWL Senate Chair and IFC rep are looking for strategies to make events for civics literacy virtual, so students from any campus can attend.
        6. Test optional is being discussed by the committee. This information was sent to the Chair of EPC. PUFW is test optional, PUWL is test flexible, IUPUI is test optional. All campuses are having conversations about using tests for scholarships and other programs when the move forward to make decisions for the next enrollment cycle.
      5. Executive Sub-committee Reports
        • Budget
          1. The Budget Subcommittee will have a meeting in early December with the Vice Chancellor of Finance & Administration’s Office, looking into how they separated out the performance of the two campuses in terms of finances.
          2. The Provost shared a proposal that would change the manner in which we reward those who have achieved promotion. This is currently based on a flat amount, depending on level of promotion, the proposal would be one of a percentage change.
          3. McGrath offered to visit with departments in late fall and early spring.
        • Westville
          1. Working with Budget Subcommittee on budget issues.
  1. Report from SGA.
    • SGA is working on trans-equity on campus. They are working with VCIS Winders on making it easier to make preferred named available for use on student IDs, Banner, and Brightspace. They are talking about the harmful effects of deadnaming and misgendering. SGA was working with a vice chancellor to get PNW on the Campus Pride Index to increase credibility and resources. There have been reports from students about faculty and staff who don’t value these changes, intentionally identifying students with incorrect pronouns. SGA would like to have a conversation with faculty and staff about the detriment to student mental health that results from mispronouning [sic], misgendering, and deadnaming. Safe Zone training is being redesigned to be more inclusive, and more targeted about the trans conversation.
      1. Resources can be accessed by emailing Student Life or Brooke Hewson. They will get the training set up based on your schedule.
    • Student organization LGBTQA+ will be having a Transgender Day of Remembrance commemoration online and in person on November 23.
    • A Senator added that these issues are being addressed among Senior Leadership.
  2. Open discussion.
  3. Adjournment