CCSU Faculty Senate

Minutes—April 15, 2013 

VAC 105   3:05 PM

Present: Alewitz, M.; Anderson, C.; Antonucci, C.; Ayalon, A.; Ball, K.; Barr, B.; Battle, S.; Beck, M.; Bernstein, S.; Bilisoly, R.; Blake, E.; Boscarino, N.; Cappella, D.; Cohen, S.; Cox, S.; Delventhal, T.; Diamond, C.; Durant, M.; Foster, P.; Hermes, K.; Hicks, E.; Hoopengardner, B.; Horowitz, S.; Hou, X.; Jackson, M.; Johnson, D.; Jones, C.; Karpuk, P.; Kean, K.; Kershner, B.; Kovel, J.; Kullgren, A.; Latour, F.; Mahony, M.; Mamed, O.; McGuire, M.; Mejia, G.; Pancsofar, E.; Paolino, J.; Perdue, L.; Perry, W.; Poirier, K.; Ragusett, J.; Reasco, A.; Reska, J.; Santoro, K.; Sarisley, E.; Shen, X.; Snyder, J.; Sweeney, D.; Tully, J.; Walsh, S.; White, C.; Williams, C.

Ex-Officio: Pease, S.; Shojai, S.; Lemma, P.; Lovitt, C.

Parliamentarian: Dimmick, C.

President of the Senate: Mulrooney, J.

Guests: Stephen Adair (FAC to the BOR); Marianne Fallon (Psychological Science, Academic Assessment Committee); Peter LeMaire (Physics and Earth Science); Jason Sikorski (Psychological Science, Student Affairs Committee); Laura Tordenti (VP Student Affairs); Roderick Waterman (Grants and Funded Research); Jacob Werblow (Teacher Education, Diversity Committee)

1. Approval of Minutes, March 11, 2013

Approved unanimously

2. Announcements

a.  AAUP President (J. Jones absent; M. Mahoney reporting)

The CSU-AAUP and CCSU-AAUP elections end on Friday. Remember to vote.

The Defend Public Education conference will be on Sunday, April 28, on the first floor of the Vance Academic Center. There will be many different kinds of speakers, including teachers, parents, students, members of the national opt-out of standardized testing movement. Contact Jason Snyder if you are interested in attending.

The last chapter meeting of the semester will be on May 1, from 3 to 7pm, in the Connecticut Room.

Tomorrow is ConnSCU day at the legislature; we should try to attend and to contact our legislators about the budget of ConnSCU. Senator Hermes pointed out that the legislature is not in session tomorrow. Senator Mahoney said that Ellen Benson of AAUP knows more about this; the day was scheduled by the BOR.

On Wednesday, from 3:30 to 5pm, there will be an speaker in the Sprague-Carlton room on Open Review and the Future of Scholarly Publication. The speaker is Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Scholarly Communication at the Modern Language Association.

b.  SUOAF-AFSCME President (E. Hicks)

The local SUOAF-AFSCME election is finished; the new president is Jody Barr of ECSU.

The separation of the SUOAF-AFSCME chapter is still going on; the current topic of discussion is money.

Lobby day will be May 5, and the annual meeting will be June 7.

c.  SGA (E. Bergenn)

No announcements.

d.  FAC to the BOR (S. Adair)

The election for the CCSU representative to the FAC is coming up. Stephen Adair is running again.

A meeting was held with the Chair of the BOR's Special Committee on Strategic Planning, Dr. René Lerer. It seems like there will be changes made to the strategic plan for ConnSCU, to acknowledge the role of the institutions and the faculty in the creation of knowledge, as well as our social, political and cultural contributions to the state.

The BOR's actions seem to imply that they are not fond of the FAC, but the FAC has made enough noise that the BOR knows they are not free to ignore the FAC. Most of the BOR's "advocacy" at the legislature has consisted of fighting bill SB 867, which would provide for non-voting faculty representation on the BOR. Professor Adair believes that SB 867 will pass in its modified version.

e.  President of the Senate (J. Mulrooney)

Faculty members who are interested in serving on the Faculty Advisory Committee to the Board of Regents need to send their nomination and statement to the President of the Senate by Friday, April 26, 5pm.

There is an online forum for discussion of two proposed initiatives: the New Britain expansion, and the creation of a STEM school. The forum was being flooded by spambots, and so it is now password protected. Members of the CCSU community are encouraged to go to the forum to participate in the discussion. The login information for the forum is: username CCSU, password ccsu123.

Chris Galligan has said that, in the future, input from the faculty would be sought when choosing a speaker for the Vance Lecture Series.

f.  Student Affairs (L. Tordenti)

As of March 22, Counseling Services and Health Services are integrated under one administration, under the Director of Health Services, Senator Diamond, M.D. Hopefully, they can all be in one physical location once the Willard-DiLoreto renovations are completed.

3. Committee Reports

a.  Student Affairs Committee (J. Sikorski)

The primary role of this committee is to recognize student organizations. As of today, the committee has recognized 11 student organizations, with a few more likely to be approved at the next meeting. A senator asked about the nature of the "Deuces Wild" club; it is a club that produces a comical newsletter for students.

b.  CCSU Foundation Grant Advisory Committee (R. Waterman)

The main role of this committee is to evaluate faculty-student research grant proposals. Senator Barr asked if accepted proposals are available online; the names are posted along with the dollar amount, and perhaps short descriptions of the research projects should be posted in the future.

c.  Diversity Committee (J. Werblow)

Senator Kovel asked about the "D" designation; the designation based on the course and on the instructor, so it is possible for one section of a course to have the "D" designator, and not the other section, if the instructors are different. We currently have 17 "D"-designated sections, and we would like to have more. The process of obtaining the "D" designation is a bit cumbersome, but the Diversity Committee can help guide faculty through the process.

d.  Academic Assessment Update (M. Fallon)

Senator Mahoney pointed out that her department had been doing a lot of assessment even before it was required, although the assessment was done differently from what we are required to do now. Therefore, why should faculty be doing all this assessment work in a different way, other than just "because NEASC wants it"? Professor Fallon answered that the assessment helps us serve students and improve our programs. Senator Mahoney stated that this does not really answer her question, which is a broader question about the amount of administrative work being asked from faculty. Her question is broader than what can be answered here.

Senator White asked whether NEASC has done anything to assess the value of assessment, given how much work it requires. Senate President Mulrooney said that he does not know if they do, but he knows that they care about quality education, and that we should look at how the data can be used to improve our programs. Also, since many departments were already doing assessment, the amount of extra work is not too large.

e.  Curriculum Committee (M. Jackson) FS 12.13.019B

Senator Bilisoly asked about resources for the STEM program; in particular, who will teach STEM 501? Provost Lovitt said that the program will not require additional resources.

Senator Latour asked about the rationale behind the removal of Skill Area II from CS 151; Senator Williams answered that many of the non-CS majors taking the course were failing it, and the CS majors who take the course don't need it to fulfill their General Education requirements.

4. New Business

a.  Academic Standards Committee: Dean's Recognition Proposal (F. Latour)

Many Senators expressed concerns about the proposal:

Senator Cohen: How clear will this be to people outside CCSU that this recognition is for a rather small number of credits? (Senator Latour: A description of the Dean's Recognition can be included on the back of the transcript.)

Senator Foster: Why can a student who does poorly at a Community College for 2 years, transfers to CCSU, and does well for 2 years here, get this Recognition, while a student who does poorly at CCSU for 2 years, stays here and does well for the last 2 years, gets no recognition? (Senator Hermes: The latter student would be on the Dean's List for the last 2 years.)

Senator Kovel: Why do we need to exclude courses taken outside CCSU from GPA calculations for this award? Graduate schools can calculate a student's overall GPA for admissions purposes, why can't we?

Senator Karpuk would increase the minimum requirement for the Recognition from 30 credits to 45. He believes that 30 credits is too few to earn this kind of recognition. (Prof. Fallon: This is not much different from awarding the same Graduation Honors to some students with 62 credits and to some others with 122.)

Senator Shen stated that she would prefer to give such a Recognition to students who earn a high GPA in their major after transfering to CCSU.

Senator Bernstein asked about the purpose of a residency requirement. Senator Mulrooney answered that, if a student earns a degree from CCSU, they should do at least a certain amount of work at CCSU.

Motion (Tully/Ayalon): to postpone to the first meeting of Fall 2013.

Approved (one senator opposed)

b.  Constitution and By-Laws Committee: By-Laws of the Faculty Senate (S. Cohen) FS 12.13.020B

The proposed revision to the by-laws of the Faculty Senate makes the "Functions and Responsibilities of Standing Committees of the CCSU Faculty" document an appendix to the Faculty Senate By-Laws. The Senate Parliamentarian has confirmed that appendices to by-laws are an accepted practice. The committee feels that making the document an appendix gives it more authority and ties it more tightly to the by-laws. In recognition of the importance of the document, the committee proposes the addition to the by-laws of the new section, 2.7.4.

Also, the document, “Functions and Responsibilities of Standing Committees of the CCSU Faculty”, contains items S and T, regarding the creation of new committees and the dissolution of existing ones. The Committee on Committees believes that information about how to add or remove standing committees belongs in the by-laws of the Senate. The C&B-LC recommends amending the by-laws by adding to the by-laws the new section, 2.9., and striking sections S and T from the Functions and Responsibilities document. The Steering Committee of the Senate recommends removing references to "ad hoc" committees from these articles, since the formation of ad hoc committees should be by action of the Faculty Senate President.

The by-laws of the Senate have an article about committee term limits. The “Functions and Responsibilities of Standing Committees of the CCSU Faculty” document also has an item about committee term limits. The two are not completely consistent with each other. Also, some committees usually are not in favor of term limits. For example, the Graduate Studies Committee usually likes to have the coordinators of graduate programs on the committee, and having them step down from the committee for one year because they have been on it for six years is somewhat of a burden for them. Fortunately, there is a provision for case-by-case extensions of term limits in the Senate bylaws. But the Graduate Studies Committee would prefer to have the option to not have term limits at all (on a committee-by-committee basis). A similar issue comes up with the Diversity Committee and the Community Engagement Committee, which both have open membership. It is strange to ask someone to step down from a committee which has no membership limit because he/she has been on it for 6 years. The C&B-LC recommends amending the by-laws by adding new articles 2.12.2 and 2.12.3, and striking the language about term limits from the "Functions and Responsibilities" document. The committee’s thinking in making the above recommendation is this: two of the committees in 2.7.3—Community Engagement and Diversity—are open membership committees, so removing term limits from them does not prevent someone else from serving; moreover, the idea of term limits seems to contradict the spirit of open membership.  Three of the committees in 2.7.3—Curriculum, Graduate Studies, and International and Area Studies—are elected by departmental or other specialist faculty; those faculty should be able to determine the appropriate length of service for their members; moreover, these committees require, and benefit from, the specifically disciplinary expertise of their members, which benefit is vitiated by term limits (it is because of this disciplinary concern that we do not include the Senate itself, whose members are also elected by departments, in this suggested change—the roles of faculty senators are less dependent on disciplinary expertise).  The final committee in 2.7.3, Academic Standards, is anomalous: it is unclear to the committee why it is not elected by the senate or by the faculty at large but by the schools; nonetheless, we prefer excepting all of 2.7.3 from the term limits and then excepting Academic Standards from the exception, rather than simply listing the other five committees as exceptions: identifying them with 2.7.3 links the exception to the way(s) that members are chosen.
Finally, while reviewing the by-laws, the committee noted that the old article 2.7 seems to serve no evident purpose. Its seeming rationale, separating from the other committees those with “special contractual obligations,” has no evident function, and is also incomplete, as other committees not listed in 2.7 (e.g. Sabbatical leave, P&T) also have “special contractual obligations.”  Everything else specified about the two committees listed in 2.7—Mediation and Termination Hearing—is repeated in the old 2.8.2 (new 2.7.2), where Mediation and Termination Hearing both reappear. The C&B-LC therefore recommends striking the old 2.7 (and 2.7.1) from the by-laws, and renumbering the articles that follow it accordingly.

Approved unanimously

5. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 4:47pm.