Draft Draft Draft (02feb6mins)



Present:          Bryant, DiMagno, Fuller, Logan-Peters, Miller, Prochaska-Cue, Sawyer, Spann,

                        Whitt, Wolf


Absent:           King, Scheideler, Siekman


Date:               Wednesday, February 6, 2002


Location:        Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace

1.0       Call to Order

            Bryant called the meeting to order at 3:03 p.m.


2.0       Announcements

2.1      Interview with Candidate for Dean of the College of Engineering and


Bryant reminded the committee that an interview with the second candidate for the Dean of the College of Engineering and Technology is scheduled for Tuesday, February 12th at 10:00 a.m. 


2.2      Meeting with Stan Campbell, Director of Campus Recreation

Bryant announced that the committee would be meeting with Stan Campbell, Director of Campus Recreation, next Wednesday to discuss the future plans for campus recreation and their effects on campus parking.


3.0       ASUN – Nathan Fuerst and Jessica Lopez

            3.1       Dead Week Policy

Lopez reported that ASUN has concerns with how instructors are informed about the dead week policy.  She stated that each semester there are several complaints regarding violations of the policy.  Fuller and Wolf stated that a letter goes out each semester to the instructors stating the policy and that it is published in the schedule of classes as well as on the web.  Wolf asked what the procedures are for students to report a violation of the policy.  Fuerst stated that students call the ASUN office.  The office then contacts the faculty member to verify if the information is accurate.  He stated that instructors who are in violation of the policy often correct the problem.  He pointed out that instructors sometimes move the final exam to dead week but also offer it at the scheduled time during finals week.  He stated that this is usually acceptable to the students.  Wolf noted that the best time to receive information regarding the policy is before the syllabus is written.  DiMagno suggested that a reminder could be distributed with the course rosters at the beginning of the semester.  Fuerst stated that it would be helpful to students if professors would indicate on their syllabus the web site address for the policy.  Sawyer asked how many complaints are made in a given semester.  Lopez stated that approximately 10 – 20 complaints are made.  She pointed out that only two students work on resolving complaints about dead week violations.  She suggested that reminders of the policy could be sent to instructors in the middle of the semester before they prepare syllabi for the following semester.  Bryant suggested that the committee discuss the issue of communicating the policy to instructors with SVCAA Edwards.  He stated that the policy would be placed on the Academic Senate web site in addition to being on the Registration and Records web site.


3.2       Buy Back of Books

Lopez reported that students often have a difficult time selling books back because they are told that the instructor has not placed a textbook order for the upcoming semester.  Wolf explained that it is much more complicated than that.  He stated that professors often learn very late that books they’ve ordered months in advance are out of print, requiring last minute substitutions.  Whitt noted that publishers often create some of the problems by not having texts ready when promised and that many are now requiring passwords to access workbooks that are on the web.  Bryant pointed out that textbook orders are requested months in advance, but many professors are not aware of what courses they will be teaching the following semester.  DiMagno suggested that ASUN set up a textbook exchange.  Fuerst stated that this is currently being worked on and that they hope that it will be up and running next year.  Wolf pointed out that instructors cannot order the amount of textbooks they need in order to cover additional students who may enter classes by getting overrides. 


3.3       Other Issues

Lopez stated that a request was made to have a university-wide minimum attendance absence policy which would allow students to miss a minimum number of classes before their grades would be affected.  DiMagno pointed out that this issue was addressed last year by the Senate with the approval of the student absence policy.  He noted that this policy specifically refers to university-sanctioned activities.  Bryant pointed out that the policy gives faculty members the discretion to determine whether absences would be permitted.  Fuller noted that students should consult with the faculty member to determine whether missing some classes would prevent the student from satisfactorily completing the course.  Spann noted that the nature of some courses is such that absences would not be beneficial to the student or the class. 


Wolf asked what the officers’ overall experience has been this past year.  Fuerst and Lopez both reported having very good experiences, particularly in working with administrators and faculty.  They stated that they were glad to realize that faculty and administration really care about the students.  Fuerst noted that there was difficulty in getting communications out to the student body.  Lopez stated that students seem to have a misconception about the information that is available to them.  She stated that most students do not realize how hard faculty and staff work to help the students.  She pointed out that the budget cuts emphasize the importance of students on campus. 


Lopez stated that there have been some concerns with the new grading system.  She stated that ASUN probably would have supported the new grading system had they been better informed about it.  She stated that she realizes that it does help professors by providing them with more options on grading.  She noted that the biggest issue is the standing of a C- grade.  Whitt pointed out that the faculty members are also concerned with the C- grade.  DiMagno pointed out that the number of grades distributed in the A range was higher this semester with the new grading system than under the old grading system.  Lopez stated that the other concern is that an A+ and an A have the same GPA value.  Bryant pointed out that there may be some additional adjustments to the grading system to alleviate any problems.


Bryant pointed out that the Libraries’ budget is being cut and that it will have detrimental effects for both faculty and students.  He stated that faculty and students will need to unite to oppose any further cuts.  Bryant asked if the students were pleased with the services of the Student Unions.  Fuerst stated that the food service is not adequate.  He pointed out that most students seem to get food and then leave.  He stated that there is little communication and socializing occurring within the unions.  Wolf pointed out that there are no lounges where people of similar interests can gather to socialize. 


Lopez reported that some students are not pleased with having to take the required library class.  She stated that some of them feel that it is a costly class that should not be offered as a free-standing course.  Fuerst suggested that the course could be joined with an actual course in a college or that it be included as part of the freshmen orientation class.  Sawyer recommended that the students discuss this with the faculty of the Libraries.


4.0       Approval of 1/30/02 Minutes

            Sawyer moved and DiMagno seconded approval of the minutes as amended.  Motion



5.0       Unfinished Business

            5.1       Follow Up on Announcement of Budget Cuts

Bryant stated that, although he believes that the process in determining the budget cuts was rational, he has concerns regarding the kind of information that the Chancellor received on the various units.  He noted that Michael Anderson of the Teaching and Learning Center provided some information at the Senate meeting that may not have been considered when the Center was proposed for elimination.  Whitt noted that the Sociology department lost a faculty line even though the Academic Program Review conducted last year indicated that the department was understaffed.  Sawyer suggested that the committee, when it next meets with him, request the Chancellor to lay out in detail some detail the nature and quality of the information upon which his decisions were based.  Miller noted that some of the restructuring, such as the creation of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, was positive.  Prochaska-Cue stated that although this new position will be a good one, faculty are bothered by the absence of an open search process to fill it.  The committee agreed that they should press to have an open search process rather than an internal search for this position.  The committee discussed whether there are specific cuts that they wish to oppose.  


The Executive Committee discussed the use of faculty salary increases to offset the budget cuts.  Spann stated that the committee needs to ask what alternative cuts would be made if the salary increases are not used.  Bryant stated that he is concerned that a 4.8% increase is not the bottom line and that the faculty will be asked to give up more of the increases.  Fuller pointed out that money is usually held back at the Vice Chancellor’s level and questioned how much that would be from the 4.8% increase.  Bryant stated that faculty members need to be assured that there will be more money available for a satisfactory performance this year than last.  Spann pointed out that Deans have been using open faculty lines to cover other expenses but that now those lines will revert back to the Vice Chancellors.  He noted that this could have a significant impact on the operating budgets of the colleges.  The committee agreed to have further discussions with Chancellor Perlman on this topic.


            5.2       Pepsi Quasi Endowment Fund

Wolf pointed out that the non-discrimination clause in the Pepsi Quasi Endowment Fund contract does not correspond with the university’s non-discrimination clause.  He asked for Bryant to check with Vice Chancellor Jackson as to why the contract was written this way and to report back to the Executive Committee.  Wolf questioned whether other contracts were written without the non-discrimination clause and whether the Foundation does not adhere to the same policy as the university.


5.3       Grading

DiMagno distributed information relating to departments and the overall GPA for the number of grades awarded.  He found that only 30 departments, out of 118 evaluated, had a GPA of less than 3.  He noted that the range of GPA’s was 2.5 – 4.0 and that there was little correlation of the number of grades with the GPA.  He stated that this raises concerns that students in more critically graded subjects are at a disadvantage for university honors and awards based upon GPA, that faculty teaching critically graded subjects may be at a disadvantage for university honors and awards based on student evaluations, that students’ choice of majors may be influenced by disparities in grading policies, and that there is student confusion because of widely varying expectations for comparable grades.  He proposed that the scores be normalized.  The committee discussed the possibilities of this being done and how much teaching evaluations play a part in grade inflation.


6.0       New Business

            No new business was discussed.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:18 p.m.  The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be held on Wednesday, February 13, at 3:00 p.m., at the Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace.  The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and James King, Secretary.