Academic Council: Meeting Minutes

December 15, 2000

Members present:  Larry Basirico, Jim Bissett, Joyce Davis, Gerry Francis, Don Grady, Tom Green (chair), Bob Guffey, Mike Kingston, Pam Kiser, Leo Lambert, Fred Rubeck, Jean Schwind.

Call to Order:   The meeting was convened at 1:30. Minutes of the November 17, 2000 meeting were corrected as follows. On page 3, Item IV. D., Statement of Professional Standards, Dr. Dillashaw should be added to the authors of the document. Minutes were approved upon correction.



Curriculum Committee Sub-committee on Web-based Courses:  Prof. Bob Anderson and Prof. Jim Murphy discussed progress on the summer based pilot program on web-based courses and answered questions from the Council members.
Anderson and Murphy discussed the status of the pre-registration guide (and distributed a draft) and the history of  the project for the web-based summer pilot, including a detailed outline of the workshops that have been and will continue to be provided for faculty involved in the pilot.
Currently, there are 12 web-based courses that will be offered this summer as part of the pilot, and 1 additional web-based course that is not part of the pilot. Participating faculty will have attended 8 meetings/workshops prior to teaching their courses. They noted that distance learning is not a new concept and cited Sloane Foundation data indicating the pervasiveness of distance web-based learning throughout the United States. They noted that the summer pilot program is purely exploratory on two levels: exploring the potential of the pedagogical uses of web-based learning and exploring the potential for programmatic development using web-based courses.

The following questions from Council members arose:

* the types of assessment that will be conducted;
* the level of disciplinary support from outside consultants that will be provided;
* the extent to which the General Studies Council will be involved in any potential programmatic development;
* whether the development of web-based courses is a pedagogical issue falling under the protection of academic freedom of individual faculty members or a curricula issue that should fall under the purview of the Curriculum Committee and teaching faculty;
* the issue of insuring academic integrity on the part of students;
* the mechanisms that Elon will use to develop web-based course policies; and
* the extent to which the faculty-student engagement of which Elon bases its reputation will be jeopardized.
Each of these issues was discussed at length. Dr. Francis suggested that the pilot should run as planned and that after a thorough assessment at a variety of levels, the subcommittee should make recommendations about the continuation or development of the program and about any issues or concerns that emerge during the process. Prof. Murphy and Prof. Anderson reminded Council that a web site ( has been established to insure continued, open, free communication about the process and invited all members of the academic community to participate.
US News and World Report - A report developed by Mr. Rob Springer was discussed, especially with regard to faculty resources. Elon is ranked 11th among Southern Regional Universities, but 52nd with regard to faculty resources.  Discussion ensued on what factors go into the faculty rankings, and on ways to improve this ranking. It was agreed that the entire faculty should see the Springer report and it will be posted to the Academic Council website  (
Salary Gender Equity. A report developed by Mr. Springer addressing salary gender equity report was discussed.  From the initial report, it was found that gender is not a significant variable in accounting for salary variance. This report, with additional interpretative details, will be posted to the Academic Council web site (  Council requested that Mr. Springer run additional analyses which will be presented to Council at the February meeting.
Other Reports
Student Evaluation of Advisors:  An email to Dr. Green requested that the current instrument continue to be used for seniors-exit interview while advising awaits results from the Council's evaluation subcommittee. It was suggested that continued usage is necessary in order to be able to provide data for an external review coming in 2 to 3 years.  Council recommended that the current instrument continue to be used for seniors-exit interviews without revealing advisors identities.
Rework Bylaw Change for Appointment of Department Chairs: The bylaw change was amended to read as follows: "The appropriate dean will make a recommendation for a department's chair to the provost/AVP after consulting with all full time department teaching faculty.  The chair shall be appointed by the provost/AVP after conferring with the dean. A department chair shall be normally appointed for a term of four years. The chair may be reappointed for successive 2-, 3-, or 4-year terms."

Required Participation Outside of Class: Council discussed a concerned faculty member's e-mail request that the Council develop guidelines for dealing with outside of class academic requirements that may conflict with other required activities. Dr. Green presented a draft of suggested guidelines.  After discussion, Council, through a majority vote, decided that it would not be appropriate to provide such guidelines. It was felt that there are many extenuating circumstances consisting of many different types of situations that would prevent a coherent policy that could readily be followed by all. It was recommended that situations in which conflicts arise should be dealt with on an individual basis between professor and student.

Subcommittee Reports

Statement of Professional Standards:  Prof. Kiser and Dr. Grady presented a statement of professional standards regarding interpersonal relationships between faculty and students. Council's discussion centered on concerns regarding whether this statement should apply to all students or just those students with whom faculty members have professional relationships. Council recommended that the statement when revised should appear in all handbooks used by individuals employed by the college.  Council suggested that this be an item to be discussed at a future faculty meeting.

Student Evaluation of Advisors: Basirico called attention to the e-mail that the subcommittee sent to the Academic Council. The e-mail provided a time-line for examining and revising the evaluation instrument to be used for evaluation of academic advisors.

Report from Don Grady on Budget priorities:  Academic Council's budget priorities, as determined from a faculty survey, were discussed.  Council's budget priorities are posted to the Academic Council's website (

Priority 1 is faculty salaries. When compared to ANAC institutions, Elon is approximately $6400 below average at the full professor level, approximately $2700 below average at the associate level, and consistent with the average at the assistant professor level. "As suggested in the Academic Council's 2000-2001 budget recommendations, Council continues to believe that Elon should surpass High Point and compare favorably with Davidson, as a point of reference among NC private institutions. In addition, Council believes that Elon should rank in the top quartile of ANAC schools.  Appropriate salary increases should be offered to maintain or achieve these rankings" (p. 2 of Dr. Grady s report). "To initiate progress toward these goals, Council recommends a salary increase of 6.0% for the 2001-2002 academic year (2.75% for inflation and 3.25% for merit). Consistent with action taken last year, Council also recommends an additional increase of $1500 for full professors for the 2001-2002 academic year to continue addressing salary compression issues at this rank" (p. 3 of Dr. Grady s report).

Priority 2 is reduced teaching load. Council recommends that the standard teaching load be reduced by one course to 20 hours annually and that this transition be implemented over a two- to three-year period using a combination of new faculty and adjunct faculty. (p. 4 of Dr. Grady's report).

Priority 3 is more full time faculty. Council recommends 10-15 additional new teaching faculty positions annually in order to meet the recommendations of Priority #2 and to reduce the number of adjuncts. This recommendation does not address any future increases in enrollment and corresponding need for additional faculty. (p. 5 of Dr. Grady s report).

Priority 4 is medical and health coverage. Council recommends that the percentage of the college's budget allocated to medical and health benefits be reevaluated and increased in consultation with the President's Health Benefits Committee. Council also recommends that the committee evaluate the specific benefits within the plan and the quality of service to employees while continuing to advocate for improvements. Further, Council recommends that the President's Health Benefits Committee investigate the most appropriate manner to provide, at a reasonable cost, continuing health insurance coverage for all retirees under the college health benefits plan. (p. 5 of Dr. Grady s report).

Priority 5 is faculty research, development, and travel. Council recommends that general travel funds be maintained exclusively for the purpose of fully supporting faculty attending or making presentations at conferences and that such support be provided through funds separate from the general travel funds budget. Council recommends that the college work toward the goal of establishing sufficient funding for sabbaticals to grant each full-time faculty member a sabbatical every seven years. Moderate growth in this area would be an additional three to five sabbaticals for the year 2001-2002.

Special Note: Council's survey of faculty also indicates that more student scholarships is a priority. Council recommends that funds for student scholarships be developed through endowments managed by the Office of Institutional Development to attract deserving students, to promote retention of excellent students, and to increase diversity.
Other Business:
Vacancy on Admissions Committee:  Because Dr. Michael Ulrich is leaving Elon as of February, there will be a vacancy on the Admissions Committee and the General Studies Committee. Council will nominate Jane Wellford as his replacement on the Admissions Committee.  After researching faculty committee preferences, Council will nominate a replacement to the General Studies Committee.
The Issue of sending the letter to the Board written by Dr. Bissett, Dr. Henricks, and Dr. Reddington was postponed.
Issues raised by a concerned faculty member's email regarding the length of the school year, etc. was postponed.
Meeting was adjourned at 5:20 pm.
Submitted by
Larry Basirico

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