CCSU Faculty Senate

Minutes—March 11, 2013 

VAC 105   3:05 PM

Present: Alewitz, M.; Anderson, C.; Ball, K.; Barr, B.; Battle, S.; Bernstein, S.; Bigelow, L.; Bilisoly, R.; Bishop, R.; Blake, E.; Boscarino, N.; Cappella, D.; Cohen, S.; Cox, S.; Diamond, C.; Durant, M.; Espelin, J.; Foster, P.; Garcia-Bowen, M.; Greenfield, B.; 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.; Lisi, P.; Mamed, O.; McGuire, M.; Mejia, G.; O'Connor, J.; Pancsofar, E.; Percy, V.; Perdue, L.; Poirier, K.; Ragusett, J.; Reasco, A.; Reska, J.; Sadanand, N.; Santoro, K.; Sarisley, E.; Slaga, S.; Snyder, J.; Sweeney, D.; Tafrate, R.; Tellier, A.; Tully, J.; Wang, W.; White, C.; Williams, C.

Ex-Officio: Lemma, P.

Parliamentarian: Dimmick, C.

President of the Senate: Mulrooney, J.

Guests: Stephen Adair (FAC to the BOR), Eric Bergenn (SGA President), Jason Jones (CCSU-AAUP President), Ray Hernandez (Student Affairs), Meg Leake (Learning Center)

1. Approval of Minutes, February 25, 2013

Approved unanimously

2. Announcements

a.  AAUP President (J. Jones)

This is the year when we elect new chapter officers. A call for nominations was sent, and nominations are open until Friday, March 15, 3pm. Jason Jones is not running for reelection as chapter president.

There will be a chapter meeting on Monday March 18, at 3pm. The agenda will include a special guest, Karen Gregory, who will speak about how to bring labor into the classroom, as well as a resolution in support of the student protests against tuition increases, and a discussion of concerns about course availability in the Summer and Fall.

b.  SUOAF-AFSCME President (E. Hicks)

The SUOAF FAC election should be out this week.

The SUOAF Chapter elections will be held soon, with nominations due March 20 and election on April 4.

Many administrative faculty members were unhappy with the decision to not close CCSU on Friday, despite the fact that there were 18 inches of snow in some parts of the state.

c.  SGA (E. Bergenn)

Faculty members are encouraged to get their students to participate in student protests against tuition hikes on March 21. Those protests are crucial if we want the State to realize that they need to fund CCSU, rather than relying on students to foot the bill.

d.  FAC to the BOR (S. Adair)

The election process for the CCSU FAC representative will be finalized in May. The election must be completed in October, and it is for a term beginning in January.

State Senate bill SB-867: faculty members are encouraged to contact their legislators and submit testimony in support of the bill.

The appropriations committee of the state legislature met last week. There was little ConnSCU presence; this was a mistake!

The FAC recently reported to the Higher Education Committee of the legislature.

Representative Willis believes that BOR actions are not consistent with the legislative intent.

e.  President of the Senate (J. Mulrooney)

Senate President Mulrooney attended the student demonstration against tuition hikes. He was amazed by how articulate the students were.

He agrees that school should have been closed on Friday. He saw three students fall, and one student in a wheelchair trapped in the snow. A campus worker had to push the student into Copernicus.

Senators are encouraged to contact the chair of the ad hoc committee on campus safety, David Blitz, if they have recommendations on campus safety.

Senator Pancsofar attended a meeting with Chris Galligan. He did not ask the Faculty Senate for input on the selection of the speaker for the Vance Lecture. However, the university has little input in the choice of the speaker. The trustees of the Vance Foundation make the decision. Senator Mulrooney might ask Chris Galligan to come to a Senate meeting to answer questions.

Senator Alewitz encourages faculty to protest the selection of Rudy Giuliani. He, and last year's speaker Robert Gates, are not intellectuals.

Senator White would appreciate if someone could clearly explain the relationship between CCSU, the Vance foundation and the Vance Lecture Series.

Senator Greenfield says that we do not have to have the Vance Lecture on campus. The University could say "no more Vance Lectures on the CCSU campus".

3. Committee Reports

a.  Early Academic Warning (M. Leake, A. Tellier, R. Hernandez)

Meg Leake (Learning Center), Amanda Tellier (Registrar) and Ray Hernandez (Student Affairs) talked about the Early Academic Warning system and answered questions. Highlights of the discussion:

  • Depending on the boxes that are checked by the faculty member who reports a student, different offices or centers may get involved. The Learning Center reaches out to academically struggling students. The Registrar's Office contacts students who are not attending class; having accurate information about this is helpful for reporting and financial aid purposes. It also helps minimize requests from students to remove F grades from their transcript. The Office of Student Affairs. They will sometimes go to our classes if the student is acting up.
  • The Learning Center will first e-mail the students that they contact. A second e-mail will follow in 24 hours, and a FERPA compliant postcard in 24 more hours if the student has not replied. About 200 students are seen by the Learning Center face to face. About 400 talk to the Center by phone, and about 500 see their professor. The other half ignore the Leaning Center.
  • At the Learning Center, they try to identify issues of academic concern. Some students (e.g. student-athletes) may be sent to another appropriate office.
  • Senators Tafrate and Cox are concerned about the one-directionality of the communication. We have to provide a lot of information, but we cannot find out what happened to the student afterwards. We often don't receive an e-mail saying that the students were contacted, or that they came to the Learning Center. Meg and Ray will work on finding better ways to get back to the teaching faculty members; however, sometimes, there are confidentiality issues that prevent them from doing so (for example, when a physician or therapist is involved). This year, a new mechanism for informing faculty that the student did not respond to e-mail or to the postcard has been added. There are also some staffing issues; Meg and Ray only have one graduate assistant each.
  • Senator Perdue offered a different point of view; she feels she does not need to know the details of what has been done to help the student, only that there are people who are there to help that.
  • Senator Cohen stated that one problem is that we do not have an "automatic drop" policy for students who do not attend class. Senator Tellier responded that it is hard to implement such a policy without a mandatory course attendance policy.
  • Senator Bilisoly asked how late is too late to report a student; the answer is that it is never too late. Even if it is "too late" to help the student salvage this semester, it might be possible to help him/her for the next semester.

b.  Curriculum Committee (M. Jackson)  FS.12.13.018B

Approved unanimously

4. New Business

a.  Resolution Against Tuition Hikes (B. Greenfield)  FS.12.13.004R

Senator Greenfield pointed out that our recently adopted Vision Statement mentions opposition to tuition increases.

Senator Ayalon asked if faculty members can take the bus to the rally on March 21; SGA President Bergenn said that he need to check with SGA, although he would like to say yes. AAUP President Jason Jones added that Ellen Benson of AAUP will be coordinating carpooling for interested faculty.

Senator Diamond asked why the proposed decrease in out-of-state tuition was omitted from the resolution; Senator Greenfield said that it was in the interest of briefness.

Senator Cohen is concerned: if the money doesn't come from students, it has to come from somewhere. Where?

Senator White would like to know if the students are asking for something specific, other than "no tuition hikes". Do they want to meet with the people making the decision, to have input in how the decision is made? Answer: Yes, the students want to meet with the people making the decisions. They also want tuition hikes replaced with higher funding from the State. SGA President Bergenn also pointed out that students have only 2 seats out of 17 on the BOR. They used to have more.

Senate President Mulrooney likes the wording "we stand behind the students' right to protest", and agrees that we should stand behind the students.

Senator Alewitz pointed out that tuition increases have negative effects on how many students want to become artists, and on Black and Latino students. We cannot continue to dump the problems of society on the backs of the students.

Senator Sarisley stated that he was asked to vote "no" on this resolution, because of concerns about professional program quality. His department has unfilled positions that have been difficult to fill, and would be difficult to fill even if CCSU were to offer the contractual maximum salary for the rank of Associate Professor. The department is understaffed and is serving the needs of a large number of students. In addition, he proposed that the students should not just oppose the tuition hike, but also question how the revenue, both from existing sources and from the proposed tuition hike, is being allocated. Is it used to hire more faculty, or is it spent on administration? 

Resolution approved, with at least three senators opposed

 5. Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 4:20pm.