NORTHEASTERN STATE UNIVERSITY
Minutes of Faculty Council Meeting
FRIDAY, March 5, 2010
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order by President Denise Deason-Toyne at 3:05 p.m. in SL129. There was ITV access at Muskogee (SYNR141), Broken Arrow (B226) and Tahlequah.
Council Members in attendance: Ernst Bekkering (Business & Technology), Harriett Hobbs (alternate for Sarah Brick Archer -Library), Brandon Oberg (Library), Isaac DiIanni (Business & Technology), John Diamantapolis (Sciences and Health Professions), Ron Cambiano (Education), Lallie Scott (COLA), Dan Savage (COLA), Carolyn Cox (COLA), Jennifer Edwards (COLA), Denise Deason-Toyne (Business & Technology); Kristopher Copeland (COLA); Tom Jackson (Administration); Martin Tadlock, Provost (Administration).
Council Members in attendance in Broken Arrow: Anita Ede (Education); Glenda Seiter (alternate for Julia Kwok-Business & Technology); Paul Cooper; Roger Collier (Business & Technology); Pamela Louderback (Library).
Council Members in attendance in Muskogee: none
Council Officers in attendance: Denise Deason-Toyne (President), Dan Savage (Vice President), Pamela Louderback (Secretary/Treasurer).
Guests: Tahlequah: John Milbauer (COLA); Mark Nelson (Business & Technology); Connie Henshaw (COLA)
Guests: Broken Arrow: Thomas Rink (Library)
[Council will set aside time at the
first of each meeting to visit with Administrative Officers should they be able
Dr. Martin Tadlock, Provost/ V.P.A.A. – Topics to be covered by Dr. Tadlock
Dr. Martin Tadlock, Provost/VPAA began by discussing the DWF request concerns and entertained questions regarding academic matters. Provost Tadlock discussed the compilation of suggestions received from faculty; a document was provided via email to council members prior to this meeting. Suggestions and recommendations that appeared more than once in the materials sent forward from each of the colleges on how to reduce the number of DWF’s across campus clustered in areas of possible responsibility (Academic Affairs, Colleges/Departments, and Faculty/Staff). Provost Tadlock asked the Council for questions/comments regarding this matter. The following questions/comments were discussed:
o E. Bekkering noted that for him, it helps knowing the faces and names of students and queried whether the current software supports this option.
o J. Milbaur asked about the possibility of professional advisors being provided. This option would be expensive but an advising center may be a partial solution to address some of the issues that exist. Provost Tadlock noted that a Title 3 application for a grant to support a Student Success Center is being looked at; NSU hopes to receive funding.
o E. Bekkering noted that data related to recruitment, retention and graduation is currently housed in several areas and inquired whether there is a way to consolidate and have access to data sources for assessment and tracking purposes. Provost Tadlock discussed the top three reasons students cite for leaving are too general; this occurrence makes it difficult to glean beneficial information from some of the data collected.
o J. Lowenthal asked what the root cause for this phenomenon may be. He wondered whether we really know why we are getting these DFWs. If you discovered through exit interviews that reasons cited focus around financial or family issues, will this process address those issues? Provost Tadlock responded that it would not, but that students not in good standing are pulled out of the data set.
o H. Hobbs asked whether desegregation of data is being performed. Provost Tadlock responded that it is not being performed at this time.
o C. Henshaw asked what solutions are being addressed at this time to DWFs. Provost Tadlock responded that solutions are not currently being address but the Enrollment Mgmt team will begin addressing the situation. C. Henshaw offered to be a part of the process - to help the team in addressing the situation. Henshaw further noted that the On Course materials address many of the concerns NSU has voiced.
Provost Tadlock continued by discussing online courses/class limits and entertained questions regarding academic matters.
He noted that if NSU is applying to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) for a provision for online courses, we need to be cognizant of how NSU would offer General Education courses to students if there is not at least one online section available. Thus, it is important to provide such offerings to students. Discussion occurred with comments and questions from the following individuals regarding this topic:
- M. Nelson (B&T) brought up the question of whether this process places responsibility back on the Deans based on academic quality of courses. Questions regarding what overall class size should be was discussed. Provost Tadlock discussed the five year average of class size by program, department, college and campus and the fact that it had decreased from where we were five years ago. That piece of evidence impacts the budget. By raising the class size by one (1) student, it raises the funds coming in to the University by one (1) million dollars for NSU. There should be a target average that Deans and faculty need to arrive at; it should be based on class content. Provost Tadlock stressed that target averages would not be set by Administration, or him. Rather, faculty will set target averages. The target average at NSU is currently set at 24. Provost Tadlock thinks we can raise that a little – even by one student.
- It was further noted that DFWs go up as class size increases – the higher we see our student body number go up, the higher the DFWs rate will be. Provost Tadlock does not know the correlation, if any, between class size and retention. It is a lot about how to handle who is coming in and the level of preparedness they are at when they arrive at NSU.
Provost Tadlock requested that if anyone has any good ideas on suggestion compilation list that does not cost much money to contact your Deans to continue adding to the suggestion list.
Dr. Tom Jackson, Associate VP/Dean of Graduate Students and Research. – Topics to be covered by Dr. Jackson
Dr. Jackson began by discussing grants and indirect costs. Discussion followed regarding indirect cost rates and how that may initially hinder our engaging in grant proposal. Dr. Jackson noted that it should not. Regarding the “Indirect Cost Rates and Usage at NSU” document circulated to Council members via email prior to this meeting, NSU does not set our own indirect cost rate (ICR) base of (49%). In fact, it is lower than many of our sister institutions. It is federally determined based on numerous data points. Many granting agencies do not allow full ICRs and many granting agencies require a cash match from NSU. Note, however, that it is untenable to submit grants which require an almost 100% match rate.
Our grant proposals and awards continue to go up. Dr. Jackson would be happy to come back at the end of the year to give the Council a report. If you do have a granting agency that requires 100% grant match, Dr. Jackson’s office may be able to cover it through their IC budget. Regulations must be followed to pay for auditors, etc. – so fees for administration, audits, and tracking of the grant must be paid for.
Dr. Jackson further stressed that IC charges only apply to the salary and wages components of the grant. Proper usage of indirect cost monies was discussed regarding coverage of cash matches and additional in-kind contributions. Dr. Jackson also noted that a significant portion of IC monies goes to Academic Affairs and the College of origin of successful grants (35%). This process offers opportunities to cover activities that the Education and General portion of NSUs budget does not cover. Examples include: faculty development, travel, accreditation, program and departmental recruiting and retention activities, and other extraneous expenses and equipment. Negotiations to provide the principal investigator (PI) with a (5%) percentage of the IC are in progress. This will provide opportunities to enhance salaries. To date, NSU has not experienced IC hindering grant proposals. Discussion/comments/questions concerning this topic were as follows:
- J. Lowenthal asked for clarification of the percentage of overhead costs/indirect costs based on overall grant proposal. Dr. Jackson responded that it is based on grant requirements (federal, state, etc. guidelines) – he further noted that budget reviews performed in his office have been pared down from 5 day turnarounds to 30 minutes.
- With regard to PI the Council asked how it related to salaries and workloads. Dr. Jackson noted it can be brought in as additional pay (up to 25%), summer pay (almost unlimited - as much as the market will bear and be in line with what private practitioners in the area would be charging) or release time from teaching (certain amount)
- R. Cambiano asked whether we can be provided with some documentation that states what the pay options and rates are. Discussions regarding what the incentives are for faculty to get grants followed. Faculty would benefit from documentation that is consistent in their hands. Dr. Jackson noted there are intrinsic pluses that may include tenure track, networking opportunities.
- R. Cambiano further queried regarding indirect costs and whether this does not make us competitive to our sister institutions. He further stressed that NSU faculty are competing on a national level, not with our sister institutions. Jackson pointed out that NSU faculty are not submitting enough national grants, therefore, his office does not really have a good picture of how well NSU is competing. He did note that NSU is doing an outstanding job with NBRAE science grants in the state, but incentives to move from the regional to the national level for competition is our next step. Dr. Jackson emphasized that it may take several times of reiterations before grant proposals are successful.
- R. Cambiano asked how much IC goes back to the colleges. Dr. Jackson was not sure – he suggested faculty go for analogous grants that have a higher IC component in order to reap more benefits.
Committees and Standing Reports
1. Review/Approval of Minutes of the Februrary meeting (available online)
Minutes of the February meeting were reviewed. No corrections were noted. L. Scott moved to approve the minutes; it was seconded by I.
Delanni. The motion carried.
2. Financial/Spending Report –
President Deason-Toyne noted that the transfer of funds to Undergraduate Research Day (URD) has been completed; authorization has been
given for $250 to be provided to Dr. Bill Corbett and Dr. Denis Vovchenko from the travel account.
3. Tenure policy and procedure committee report – Dan Savage/John Milbauer
A committee report assessment was provided. The group was in general agreement on the issues. Several main points include the examples below:
- A mentoring team will be assembled to guide all non-tenured faculty. The team members will be comprised of tenured faculty, and the team will be selected with the department chair in consultation with the candidate. The committee, not the department chair, will write the candidates Annual report
- Entries should be scholarly in nature
- Specific criteria for tenure, promotion, and post-tenure review will be determined by the individual colleges –
- The instrument for annual review tenure promotion, and post tenure review is much too long-winded and it should be superseded by something far more succinct
- Specific documents should not be included in files for tenure, promotion, and post tenure review
- The process should be peer driven
President Deason-Toyne noted the terminology “peer driven” required clarification; a description needs to be addressed. J. Lowenthal asked what documents should be provided. J. Milbaur responded that no documents need be provided. Discussion over replacing the Boyer model will alleviate much of the inconsistencies, concerns that have occurred.
The committee will provide a progress report at a future Council meeting.
B. Old Business
1. Circle of Excellence Bricks Location – in progress
The location of bricks is still in progress. J. Diamantopoulos asked about the process of who would be responsible for double checking correct
spelling of recipients’ names prior to planting bricks in the ground? President Deason-Toyne thinks this has already been done; she will confirm that this has been performed.
2. Textbook Costs –
A conference regarding this topic was held on the Broken Arrow campus today. The Council will obtain additional information on this topic at a later date.
3. Advocate /Ombudsman from HR (?) for Faculty/Staff –
Drs. Koehn, T. Foutch and M. Albin are all in agreement that an advocate/ombudsman is a viable and vital position to consider as an addition to the university. President Deason-Toyne is in the process of checking with the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) to see what they are doing. She will secure a job description and share her findings with Dr.Koehn for feedback and forward to the Cabinet.
4. Process and Procedures and Delays in Reimbursement for travel expenses
President Deason-Toyne noted that Dr. Koehn understands our pain; current policies/procedures seem to be an unnecessary process. Dr. Koehns office is working on methods to streamline the process. The business office is also looking into streamlining the process for the Broken Arrow campus staff. Having documentation/forms shipped over to Tahlequah and back again create delays in the process. Reemphasis must be made that when/if there are documents/forms/pieces of information missing, appropriate staff must be sure to get back with person(s) who submitted the forms.
5. Student Evaluations of Faculty and “Don’t Know” – can this be eliminated?
President Deason-Toyne has not spoken to anyone yet on this subject. The “Don’t know” counts against faculty overall ratings; there is no
reasonable explanation for students who choose this answer. Deason-Toyne is not sure to whom she should address this issue to. Deason-Toyne will follow up and report back to the Council.
6. Finals Schedules/consistency for all campuses – BA Final scheduling of finals has been inconsistent.
Dr. Bahr responded to last fall’s semester finals schedule consistency issue by starting classes on Mondays. President Deason-Toyne was told that
faculty could add an extra ten (10) minutes to each class to make up time. If this option is not feasible, especially for Broken Arrow campus classes that often are scheduled back to back, outside projects may be added to address class shortfalls. It was suggested that changes and options be put in writing and clearly displayed on schedules for students to see – not buried in the schedule. President Deason-Toyne will ask Dr. Bahr to have something clearly stated and noticeably placed so students will be made aware of changes/options. E. Bekkering commented that there is not much opportunity to change this situation; no effective process currently exists.
7. 16 weeks in a semester –night classes being “shorted” one week (or more).
The council noted that this topic is more of a problem with trying to accommodate students in Broken Arrow. The finals schedules are printed but
non-traditional students try to switch times to cover childcare. It may be more prevalent in Broken Arrow since many students are not able to take a final scheduled at a different time than the class normally meets because they are at work. President Deason-Toyne suggested maybe students should address this problem through the Student Council. Inconsistencies between finals schedules and times the class normally meets are not factual, merely anecdotal. Students have plenty of time to make arrangement. E. Bekkering offered faculty allow students who cannot make regular schedules to contact Student Services to arrange appointments for finals.
8. Student Advising - All students– Transfer Students – who is advising them and regarding what issues?
President Deason-Toyne will follow up and report back to the Council.
9. Decrease in English proficiency in foreign students – how this affects DWFs and more importantly WHAT RESOURCES are available to assist students.
President Deason-Toyne will follow up and report back to the Council.
B. New Business
1. Adding a new “Circle” to Circle of Excellence – Advisement (Dr. Betz)
Discussion regarding adding a new “Circle” occurred. Reevaluation of the proposal will take place at a later date.
President Deason-Toyne reminded council members that packets are due by March 23.
2. Student Evaluations of ALL courses rather than by faculty selection of courses evaluated. (Tenure & Promotion issue?)
Evaluations are handled differently at different colleges. Program chairs choose what classes will be evaluated.
Council members asked whether decisions are college driven. Do issues fueling a need for change exist? E. Bekkering noted he does not think the process is or should be a “pick and choose” process. It was noted that if you leave it up to some individuals, inequity and mistakes may occur. The Council clarified that the online courses system does allow faculty to be evaluated. It was stated that some faculty may find it humiliating to be evaluated by 18 year old students. Using an outside system to survey students may be faulty since one does not know who/how many students will fill out surveys. The process may be more of a popularity contest – one cannot give much weight to results from such survey results. It was noted that is essential to have some form of measurement of the quality of teaching for the data to be viable. One option might include the chairs visiting the classroom to assess quality through observation. Another suggestion was to possibly have the evaluative process include the President per RUSO rules.
3. Faculty input on retention decisions related to non-tenure track but long term instructors.
President Deason-Toyne solicited comments regarding whether this topic is something that might be considered an important issue. The
perception is that faculty are rarely, if ever given an opportunity to be retained. E. Bekkering remarked that a reversal/overturning of a Dean’s decisions at a higher level create the impression that Deans decisions do not count. President Deason-Toyne agreed with the remark but noted that the discussion involved non-tenure track, rather than tenure track. It was noted that in fact, non-tenured faculty may have more security than the tenure-track. I. DiIanni noted that when faculty leave unexpectedly, difficulties arise regarding coverage of courses. A requirement for faculty input to cover the class may slow the process down. President Deason-Toyne noted that this topic does not apply to adjunct faculty. The Council questioned whether a university policy governing this issue currently exists. H. Hobbs noted that annual reviews are provided to the department heads. President Deason-Toyne will broach the issue with Provost Tadlock; he has shown himself to be open to and continues to solicit faculty input.
4. Academic Integrity Policy/Process – Committee to review and make recommendations
President Deason-Toyne solicited volunteers to serve on this committee that oversees student misconduct and integrity issues. Provost
Tadlock is developing a procedural piece to address this issue. One goal would be to insure that all pertinent information regarding misconduct/integrity issues is retained in one central location. Committee members would be tasked with reviewing cases and providing input. E. Bekkering questioned whether such a committee currently exists. President Deason-Toyne responded that no such committee currently exists. It was noted that an appeals committee may be an appropriate venue to address such policies and procedures.
5. Possible new Committee – “CIRCUS” (Committee Investigating Redundant Committees Undermining Success) –Spring, Summer or Next Fall?
The creation of a “CIRCUS” committee is merely a joke! However, Provost Tadlock is looking at some overlap of overall number of committees in
an effort to consolidate them. President Deason-Toyne also noted this move would be helpful as it would considerably reduce posting of reports. The intent is also to provide ways to walk newer faculty through the mentoring process - to obtain fresher ideas. If you have an interest in assisting in this process, contact President Deason-Toyne. Discussion regarding this topic will be examined further in the fall. Send an email to Dr. Louderback if you are currently serving on a committee or are chairing a committee. Information will be gathered and consolidated.
President Deason-Toyne reiterated that the University’s objective is to provide transparency and communication; it is the direction that President
Betz wants for NSU. Uncertainty remains over whether there is a central source for information. Some members wonder whether the process is as effectual as it could be given there are more emails received than before. It was noted that communication is much better but there appears to be instances of communication overload. President Deason-Toyne will examine solutions for identifying viable ways of communicating.
NEXT MEETING WILL BE APRIL 2 2010.
The meeting adjourned at 4:57 p.m.
Submitted by Pamela Louderback,