CCSU Faculty Senate

Minutes—November 25, 2013

VAC 105   3:05 PM 

Present: Abed, F.; Alewitz, M.; Anderson, C.; Arena, J.; Barr, B.; Bernstein, S.; Best, F.; Bilisoly, R.; Bishop, R.; Boscarino, N.; Cox, S.; D'Amato, K.; Fallon, M.; Foster, P.; Fothergill, W.; Garcia-Bowen, M.; Greenfield, B.; Hazan, S.; He, F.; Hermes, K.; Horowitz, S.; Jackson, M.; Johnson, D.; Kean, K.; Knopf, K.; Kovel, J.; Larsen, K.; Latour, F.; Lee, L.; Lee, S.; Leon, J.; Liard-Muriente, C.; Lim, K.; Love, K.; Mamed, O.; Martin, M.; Oyanadel, D.; Pancsofar, E.; Passaro, M.; Pearson, F.; Phillips, E.; Pozorski, A.; Ragusett, J.; Reasco, A.; Retelle, E.; Rosenberg, J.; Santoro, K.; Sarisley, E.; Shen, X.; Snyder, J.; Sweeney, D.; Tully, J.; Wang, W.; White, C.; Williams, C.

Ex-Officio: Fitzgerald, G.; Lovitt, C.; Miller, J.

Parliamentarian: Dimmick, C.

President of the Senate: Cohen, S.

Guests: Stephen Adair (FAC to the BOR); Don Adams (Philosophy, Former Curriculum Committee Chair); David Blitz (Philosophy, Ad Hoc Committee on Campus Safety Chair); Brian Choplick (SGA President); Mary Ann Mahony (AAUP President); Beth Merenstein (Sociology, Ad Hoc Committee on 4-credit courses Chair); Amy Stickland (Athletics)

1. Approval of Minutes, November 11, 2013

2. Announcements

a.  AAUP President (M. A. Mahony)

There is a runoff election for Council Representative, between Katherine Harris and Jesse Turner.

Reminder: Departments have been asked to sent a copy of the current version of their bylaws. Departments and chairs need to follow their department bylaws.

Professor Blitz asked about the CSU "2013-16 Strategic Initiatives" document, and more specifically, the inclusion of the item, "Constraint to change and agility implicit in Collective Bargaining Agreements (especially AAUP and SUOAF)", undee "Forces that Drive State University Planning and Operations". CCSU-AAUP President Mahony said that the content of the document had been discussed, but there was no specific discussion of this item. Senator Blitz said that we need to be more assertive. There should be a resolution asking for the removal of this language.

CCSU-AAUP President Mahony is also wondering why BOR President Gray is not more enthusiastic about the lobbying done by AAUP at the state legislature.

b.  SUOAF-AFSCME President

No report.

c.  SGA (B. Choplick)

No report.

d.  FAC to the BOR (S. Adair)

Presidential Searches - This item was on the consent agenda at the Board of Regents meeting of November 21. The FAC Chair, who is a non-voting member of the Board of Regents, asked to remove this item from the consent agenda because the FAC wanted to raise an issue with the proposed policy. The BOR said that, as a non-voting member of the BOR, the FAC Chair cannot request the removal of an item from the Consent Agenda.

Senator Greenfield said that this kind of behavior has been a pattern at the Board of Regents.

Senator Latour asked the Senate Parliamentarian whether or not it is correct that, according to Robert's Rules, all members of a body have all the rights that are associated with membership, unless the by-laws specifically state that they do not have a certain right, and that therefore, non-voting members of the BOR should still retain other rights of membership, such as the right to make motions. Parliamentarian Dimmick agreed that this is correct under Robert's Rules; however, he also asked whether the BOR has officially adopted Robert's Rules or any other parliamentary authority.

e.  President of the Faculty Senate (S. Cohen)

There have been concerns about the allocation of funds to hire part-time faculty, and the use of these funds to pay full-time faculty in the summer and winter. The matter has been referred to the UPBC.

There have been concerns about the process, and about the role of the faculty, in the creation of a possible STEM school. Dean Malhas will be invited to the Faculty Senate meeting on December 9 to address those concerns.

The UPBC will host an open forum on Thursday, December 5, at 3:05pm, in Vance 105.

3. Committee Reports

a.  Ad Hoc Committee on Campus Safety (D. Blitz)

Professor Blitz presented the committee's report, which is not yet in its final form. A drill is being planned for the Spring semester. The current warning system was imposed by the Board of Trustees; it is not necessarily the best possible system for us. Perhaps an instant messaging warning system would be more useful.

Senator Hermes said that maintenance workers were not informed by the warning system. She says that many of them are not native English speakers, and do not have access to phones or e-mail while at work. She says that a warning system should be bilingual (English and Spanish).

Senator Best asked about the "handguns on campus" policy - no one can have them, whether they are fake or real, unless they are "authorized". Who is authorized to have them? Are faculty members authorized? Professor Blitz pointed to Governor Rowland's Executive Order No. 16 of August 4, 1999, which is still in force. It bans employees from bringing weapons or dangerous instruments to a worksite, unless required as a condition of employment. This means that faculty members cannot bring weapons (real or fake) to CCSU. Perhaps Section 53a-217b of the Connecticut General Statutes, which makes possession of a weapon on school grounds a Class D felony, should be amended to include universities.

Senator Alewitz said that what happened on November 4 was a military occupation of the campus, which are not OK. Furthermore, the student who was arrested meant no hard, and now, he has been charged with a crime, and his family is being asked to pay for expenses associated with the lockdown. He said that the government and the media are generating hysteria, and that fear is antithetical to learning.

Senator Best responded that sometimes, the actions that were taken on November 4 might be necessary. What if it had been another event like the Newtown school shootings? Every individual who comes to campus should be safe.

CCSU-AAUP President Mahony said that a lot of people were terrified or traumatized by the lockdown. No locks or bulletproof glass will make people feel truly safe. We have counselors on campus. They can help us recover from events like this. We need to find a happy medium, between looking at every student as a potential shooter and denying the existence of a problem. We need to keep in mind the three Ps: prevention, preparation, protection.

Professor Blitz agreed that there needs to be a general discussion of the problem of violence in society, and that the problem is not specific to universities.

Senator Snyder said that we need to think about what kind of environment or culture we want to create on campus.

Senator Greenfield said that there is a danger in creating more fear; that could itself have deadly ramifications. We need to pull back from this culture of fear, which undermines the university.

b.  Four Credit Course Committee (B. Merenstein, D. Adams)

The Curriculum Committee requested the creation of this policy. The Curriculum Committee, Academic Standards Committee and Graduate Studies Committee were involved in its creation. It is necessary for such a policy to abide by the Code of Federal Regulations.

Motion to amend (Best/Foster): by adding an additional row to the Approved Instructional Enhancements Table: "Hybrid Courses: online extension of an existing 3-credit course to make it into a hybrid 4-credit course with the equivalent of one credit of additional material and/or activities."

Amendment approved, with one senator opposed

Motion to amend (White/Phillips) by striking the sentence "The conversion of existing 3-credit courses to 4 credits should be cost-neutral." from item 5.2.

Senate President Cohen said that the inclusion of this sentence would seem to prelude certain proposals that are good but not cost-neutral. He also asked about the interaction between this proposal and the new general education proposal. What if the Critical Enquiry seminars cost money to implement?

Senator Best pointed out that the word "should" is used instead of "shall", so there is no actual requirement of cost neutrality, and that the inclusion of the sentence helps rule out projects that are not financially feasible.

Several Senators expressed support for the amendment, saying that Deans can disapprove certain proposals that are not financially feasible, and that including the cost neutrality language gives them another reason to disapprove proposals.

Amendment approved, with four senators opposed

Motion: To approve the proposal from the Ad hoc Committee on Four Credit Courses.

Senator Snyder asked about the rationale for limiting this policy to upper division courses. Answer: Changing general education courses from 3 to 4 credits would affect certain majors negatively.

Senator Latour asked if it is correct to assume that, since this policy is valid from Fall 2013 to Spring 2016, a course that is successfully changed from 3 to 4 credits during that period would remain at 4 credits even if the policy is not renewed, and NOT revert to 3 credits automatically. Answer: That is the correct interpretation.

Senator Kovel asked about how this policy would apply to brand new 4-credit classes. Professor Adams answered that the policy is in fact rather bland. It does not say much, other than "we must obey Federal law, existing agreements, the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and cannot interfere with the transfer and articulation policy." So really there is no change in policy. Senator Kovel then asked whether the proposed policy would do anything at all. Professor Adams said that the table of approved instructional enhancements is useful to those would want to make a conversion from 3 to 4 credits, and Professor Merenstein said that the proposed policy gives additional options to faculty members or department who would like to make a conversion. Also, the Curriculum Committee had specifically asked for guidelines.

Approved, with two senators opposed

4. Unfinished Business

a.  Further Discussion of the ConnSCU plan

CCSU Suggestions for ConnSCU Strategic Plan

ConnSCU Strategic Plan

CSU Leadership Group response to ConnSCU Strategic Plan

BOR President Gray's response to the CSU Leadership Group's letter

President Miller was asked to comment on the process of creating the ConnSCU Strategic Plan. He said that, originally (in August), he was asked to sent a document to the BOR. At the time, it seemed to be more about how to obtain additional resources for the system. It was only later that it evolved into something much more comprehensive. However, some people read too much into the plan. We are a regional comprehensive university, and all such universities offer English, history, etc. So there is no plan to eliminate disciplines. Furthermore, he believes that BOR President Gray is serious about listening for input.

Professor Adair said that BOR President Gray wants to give a plan to the Governor by February, but the plan won't be completely finished until April or May. Also, it is important to note that, at the FAC meeting last week, a member asked about our status as regional comprehensive universities. Instead of simply saying that there is no plan to change that, Gray answered that, depending on how much money we get from the governor, that would be an interesting discussion to have in the Spring.

Professor Blitz said that, in the minutes of the FAC meeting of November 15, Gray is quoted as asking why we need to offer three sections of the same course at different institutions, when we could offer two, with the third one being offered at Charter Oak. Also, the minutes say that Gray anticipates that any course offered online would go through Charter Oak. That would be a clear violation of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, and of faculty control over the curriculum. We need to stand in opposition to what ConnSCU is doing.

Senator White said that she would like to know what the actual plan really is. Unfortunately, it seems like Gray himself doesn't know.

Senator Greenfield would like to address the real issues, including the fact that for many of our students, tuition is too high, and there aren't enough full-time faculty members to teach the courses.

5. Adjournment

The meeting adourned at 4:49pm.