Academic Council: Meeting Minutes
October 20, 2000

Members present: Larry Basirico, Joyce Davis, Don Grady, Tom Green (chair), Bob Guffey, Mike Kingston, Leo Lambert, Becky Olive-Taylor, Fred Rubeck, Jean Schwind

I.    Call to order: The meeting was convened at 3:00. Minutes of the September 25, 2000 meeting were approved.

II.   Follow-up business

A.  Faculty Research and Development Committee: Council has conveyed to Jon Berry (FR & D chair)
      our decision regarding his request for increasing (or decreasing) FR & D membership to an odd number
      to eliminate the possibility of tie votes. Council will leave membership as it is for the time being, since
      it fairly represents the faculty and an even number of members is not unusual for standing committees.
      Council also noted that tie votes on FR & D proposals are quite rare, and in the unlikely event of a
      stalemate, a tie vote means that a motion (or proposal) is not approved. If problems arise with the
      current committee membership, we will reconsider this matter.

B.  Academic Technology and Computing Committee: Council has notified Karl Sienerth of our
     recommendation that ATACC continue to investigate protocols for evaluating and monitoring the Elon
     Vision for Technology and ways of implementing these protocols. A suggestion was made of  one
     possible model for this evaluation/monitoring of the Technology Vision. Council further advised that
     Chris Fulkerson should be involved in this process. Sienerth responded that ATACC is looking into
     the possibility of designing an evaluative instrument for the Elon Vision for Technology and that Fulkerson
     is a full, voting member of ATACC.

C. U.S. News and World Reports: At the request of Council, Robert Springer is working to answer our
     questions about the reasons for Elon’s relatively low ranking on its commitment to faculty resources in
     U.S. News and World Reports. Springer will report to Council in November.

D. Intranet Use:  According to administration, faculty may decline to post syllabi on the intranet by informing
     their department chair and dean. There seems to be some lack of clarity with respect to whether or not
     non-posted syllabi will be stored electronically or not.  Council recommends that this policy be clearly
     explained to the faculty by Academic Affairs. In response to concerns about the validity of using
     electronically posted syllabi in pre-registration advising that were expressed at the last Council meeting,
     Becky Olive-Taylor noted that Academic Advising does not typically use course syllabi in advising students
     about course selection.


III.   Subcommittee Reports

A. Student Evaluation Instrument Committee: Larry Basirico reported that this committee is now working
     on the process of administering the new evaluation instrument. The goal is to standardize this process
     as much as possible to ensure the reliability and validity of the data. The plan currently being drafted
     will include a specific set of instructions for faculty to read to their classes before distributing the
     evaluation forms and set uniform dates during the semester and time within the class session in which
     evaluation should be conducted. This committee hopes to present a complete process for administering
     the student evaluation instrument for Council approval in November.

B.  Academic Climate and Diversity Committee: Larry Basirico noted that to proceed in an informed and
     efficient fashion, this committee must first agree on a working definition of “academic climate.” To this
     end, the committee will host November’s Numen/Lumen session, “Academic Climate: Rethinking the
     Roles of Students, Faculty, Administrators, and Staff.” Council members asked how “academic climate”
     is related to “academic ethos.” Are these two names for the same thing or different animals?  If the
     former, consistency in terminology will avoid confusion.

C.  Salary, Benefits, and Development Committee: Don Grady reported that the annual survey concerning
      budget priorities was sent to faculty and staff via email on October 17. Deadline for responses is
      November 6, so that survey results can be discussed at the November 17 Council meeting. Two new
      categories were added to this year’s list of budget issues: reduction of teaching load and tuition exchange.

D.  Fall Report Committee: To reflect the spirit of the Shared Governance Report, Tom Green has
      requested additional information for this year’s Fall Report. The goal is to present information to and
      about all faculty (teaching faculty, academic administrators with faculty rank, and academic support staff
      with faculty rank).

E.   Ad Hoc Committee on Professional Standards Statement: Don Grady informed Council that committee
      chair Pam Kiser will present a draft of this statement about interpersonal relationships between faculty
      and students at the November Council meeting. He noted that three questions emerged during committee
      deliberations: 1) What is the scope of this statement? Are we establishing a standard governing teaching
      faculty/student relationships, or a broader statement about relationships between supervisors and those
      they supervise?; 2) Are we assuming that faculty are always responsible for inappropriate relationships
      with students?; 3) Are there consequences that should be spelled out for students who falsely charge
      faculty with engaging in an inappropriate relationship? Council will address these and other questions
      in November when the draft professional standards statement is reviewed.

F.  Ad Hoc Committee to Define Professional Development Including Scholarship: Chair Mike Kingston
     reported that committee membership represents all the major divisions of the college and includes faculty
     in early, middle, and late stages of their careers. In addition to Council members serving on this
     committee (Kingston, Bob Guffey, Becky Olive-Taylor, and Fred Rubeck), Barry Beedle, Maurice
     Levesque, Angela Lewellyn Jones, Nancy Midgette, and Tom Nelson have also agreed to serve. The
     committee will lead the February Numen/Lumen, host focus groups on specific issues related to defining
     scholarship and professional development, and produce a final report defining Elon’s “teacher/scholar”
     ideal and recommending ways of improving faculty development. This report will be discussed in a
     spring term faculty meeting.

IV. Bylaw Changes
A.  Article XI. Department Chair: Tom Green explained that the proposed revision to section 1 is
      intended to reflect the dean’s role in the process of appointing departmental chairs. The change in term
      length will give departments continuity of leadership and give re-appointed chairs flexibility in the length of
      subsequent term(s). With one minor change, the recommended revision of Article XI was approved by
      Council. This proposed change will be brought to the November faculty meeting: “Section 1. Appointment.
      A chair of a department shall be appointed by the provost/vice president for academic affairs after
      conferring with the appropriate dean. The dean, after consultation with members of the department, shall
      first formulate a recommendation to the provost. A department chair shall be appointed for a term of four
      years. The chair may be re-appointed for successive 2- to 4-year terms.”

B.  Section 20. Student Life Committee: In response to Council’s request that the Student Life Committee
      examine the diversity of its membership, the SLC requests a revision to Section 20 of the Faculty Bylaws.
      Two unrelated additional Bylaw changes are also requested.

      1) Membership (a.2.)—Delete current second sentence (“These students must represent at least the
          following student classifications: black students, residence hall students, fraternity/sorority students,
          and commuting students.”) and substitute: “Student membership should reflect the variety of
          experiences and perspectives found in the student body.”
      2) Membership (a.5.)—Change “Director of Leadership” to “Director of Leadership and
          Organizational Development”
      3) Duties (b.4.)—Change “constitutions” to “bylaws” in the sentence, “To recommend to the
          vice president for student life/dean of students the bylaws of all new student organizations.”

      Council approved these revisions and will bring them to the November faculty meeting.

       SLC has also requested an addition to the Faculty Handbook description of the Student Life
       Committee (II-12. Section 15). They request that this be added as section b.7 of “Policies and
       Procedures”: “7) The newly elected faculty members and newly elected SGA president will meet
       with the returning members of the committee in the spring to discuss appointment of new student
       members and to elect a faculty chair.” Council approved this revision.
V. Other Business
 
A.   Faculty Athletics Committee: As chair of the Faculty Athletics Committee, Jim Drummond
       addressed two concerns to Council. First, he questioned the statement in the minutes of Council’s
       August 25, 2000 meeting about “whether academic priorities are being successfully considered
       within the athletic priorities statement.” Council acknowledged that academics should be the
       foremost priority of all Elon students, and indicated that we didn’t intend to single out athletics.
       Next, he asked why the ballot distributed in the September faculty meeting identified the Director
       of Athletics as a member “without vote” of the Faculty Athletics Committee. He noted that the
       Faculty Handbook at that time specified that the Director of Athletics has “ex officio” status. Council
       noted that there was a clerical error in the faculty bylaws at that point.  The bylaws have been
       corrected to indicate “without vote”  as was approved in the May faculty meeting.

B.   Resignation of Laura Roselle Helvey: Tom Green informed Council that Laura Helvey resigned
       from Council effective October 10, 2000. Council regrets this loss to their membership and thanks
       Laura for her spirited leadership. An at-large member to replace Laura will be elected at the
       November faculty meeting. Todd Lee will coordinate this midterm election.

C.   Transition to Elon University: President Lambert presented the draft of a memo to faculty, staff,
       and students about forming two task forces to work on important aspects of the transition to
       university designation. The first task force, to be chaired by Dean Nancy Midgette, will consider the
       issue of naming the College of Arts and Sciences “Elon College.” The second task force will investigate
       how we can “enhance our character as an intimate and collegial campus and reinforce our central
       commitment to undergraduate teaching.” Both of these committees will report to council, and their
       membership will include faculty, staff, students and trustees. Council supports this initiative, and
       Council members will encourage colleagues to volunteer to serve on these committees.

D.   Evaluation of Advising Instrument:  Tom Green informed Council that students will be asked to
       complete an “Elon College Evaluation of Advising” form as they stand in line to register for Winter
       and Spring terms. Council acknowledged it is important to collect data on the quality of academic
       advising because this is an important component of Unit I and Unit III faculty evaluations. However,
       concern was expressed over the lack of reliability and validity in the development of the instrument.
       After considerable discussion, Dr. Green moved that: 1) Council examine ways to assess academic
       advising and determine whether an evaluation instrument is needed; 2) Council coordinate the
       development of an advising instrument if it is determined that such an instrument is needed;
       3) Council recommend to the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs that for the time being,
       the “Elon College Student Evaluation of Advising” should not be used for evaluating individual
       faculty or departments. The motion was seconded and unanimously approved.  Additionally,
       Council suggested that if an evaluation must be taken to satisfy SACS that a form without
       personal identity information might be an appropriate alternative.

E.   Distance Learning: Tom Green reported that a subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee
      is examining distance learning initiatives. He will encourage them to report preliminary findings
      to Council as soon as possible.

VI.   Adjournment: The meeting ended at 5:30.

Minutes submitted by Jean Schwind
October 25, 2000



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