Academic Council Meeting Minutes

November 17, 2000

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

Call to order:   The meeting was convened at 3:00.  Minutes of the October 20, 2000 meeting were approved.


College Budget Committee:    Dr. Hamm, College Budget Committee member, met with Council to distribute a timeline of the budget process.  From previous experience on the budget committee, Professor Hamm believes that the open forums held in January and February are valued and useful in helping the committee make adjustments in budgetary appropriations that accommodate as many faculty/staff concerns as possible.  He would like Council to strongly encourage attendance at the forums which will be held two different days in each month.  Pam Kiser and Don Grady will convey results of the faculty survey to the budget committee by December 10th to be considered as Academic Council priorities.  Provost Francis noted that 10 new faculty positions are already approved for next year.

US News & World Report:  Rob Springer will report on this at the December meeting.

Curriculum Committee Sub-committee on Web-based courses:  Professor Anderson and Professor Murphy will report in December.


Follow-up Business

Syllabi on Intranet:   Provost Francis provided clarification on this issue.  All syllabi will be stored electronically.  Faculty may opt not to have their syllabi posted on the intranet.  Having syllabi posted on the intranet has become more problematic than anticipated due to (1) the myriad of word processing programs used to create syllabi (2) the lack of attention to spelling and grammar that make public viewing of some syllabi undersirable.

Student Evaluation of Advisors:   Dr. Green distributed a copy of the advisor evaluation instrument and reviewed recommendations from Council’s last meeting.  These recommendations were:  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.

Dr. Green also reported that the instrument was not used during the last preregistration cycle.  Provost Francis clarified that the current instrument was constructed five or six years ago by a faculty committee using sample advisor evaluations which were obtained from the National Academic Advising Association.  This instrument is being used by Elon seniors at their graduation audit to evaluate the advising process.  Data from the evaluation has been reported in aggregate form (not identifying individual advisors) for 1996-1997 seniors.  All supporting data collected has been lost.

Dr. Green referred the issues of examining ways to assess academic advising, and the development of an advising instrument to Dr. Basirico, chair of the Student Evaluation Instrument Committee, for review.  Dr. DeNeui, who has expressed an interest in this assessment, and Becky Olive-Taylor from Academic Advising will be added to the committee.

PT&P Sub-Committee on Faculty Evaluation:  Council has requested that PT&P form a sub-committee to consider and make recommendations to Council concerning a possible change from the current practice of having department chairs write an evaluative letter of faculty candidates for PT&P to a process that would involve review and recommendations being made by a committee of senior faculty at the departmental level or the division or school level.  Dr. Francis has requested that Dean Burbridge be included on the sub-committee to serve as a representative of administration.  Dr. Pugh responded that this request is being honored and the sub-committee will report back to Council.

Subcommittee Reports

Elections committee:   At the December faculty meeting, Council will nominate Dr. Jim Bissett for election to the at-large position vacated by Dr. Laura Helvey.

Fall Report:  Tom Green expressed appreciation for the work of Linda Martindale and Barbara Walsh in helping to prepare the 2000 Fall Report.  A concerned faculty member asked Council to check how adjunct faculty are counted in the report.  A new category, “limited term,” has been added to the Fall Report to represent faculty serving full-time for a specified period of time (1 to 3 years).  These positions were previous listed as “other” in past Fall Reports.

Council reviewed the report page by page to edit for clarity and noted the following needs:  heading consistencies, rounding standard deviation percentages to a single decimal place, and adding footnotes as needed for accurate interpretation of data.  Dr. Basirico suggested that Council obtain additional information to explain any appearances of gender inequities in the data.  Mr. Rob Springer will be asked to provide gender equity information at Council’s December meeting.

Salary information for faculty categories of Administrators with Faculty Rank and Academic Support Staff with Faculty Rank had been requested but was not available.  Discussion regarding the inclusion of the data followed.  Dr. Green indicated that the spirit of shared governance, the three categories of faculty should be included in each area of the report.  All types of faculty are now serving on standing committees and voting in faculty meetings.  Therefore, inclusion of all faculty in this report is appropriate.

Provost Francis and President Lambert expressed concern over inclusion of this data in that senior administrators’ salaries skewes the averages. Administration also expressed concern that salaries of specific administrative and/or support staff could be identified through a relatively small “n”.  It was clarified that the request was made for average data for all ranks thus not allowing for identification. Administration further indicated that unlike the national data available for average salaries of assistantprofessor, associate professor, and full professor, there is no national data on salaries for the categories of administrative staff with faculty rank and support staff with faculty rank thus making meaningful comparisons within those categories impossible.  Discussion continued without resolution.  The elected members of Council recommended that this data be reported.  Dr. Lambert requested more time to consider the issue and will report back prior to distribution of the fall report.


Budgetary Concerns:   Responses from Council’s email survey requesting faculty input to prioritize budgetary concerns were distributed by Don Grady.  The survey represented 36 responses.  The top five concerns were (1) general salary issues, (2)  reduced teaching load, (3) more full-time faculty slots, (4) more scholarships for students, and (5) health insurance issues.  Council noted that scholarships for students had not appeared with such frequency on previous surveys.  Dr. Lambert stated that increasing scholarhips is a part of the New Century at Elon plan.  Institutional Development is involved in that endeavor.  Elon’s current tuition discount rate is an average of 12%.  This rate is favorable when compared to other colleges with higher discount rates.


Statement of Professional Standards:   Dr. Grady distributed a Statement of Professional Standards draft that he and Prof. Kiser had written. It included language from an original statement as well as additional wording to better clarify faculty-student relationships.  Council acknowledged the sensitivity of this issue and requested that each member carefully review the document and return to the December meeting with suggestions for drafting the final statement.


Ad-Hoc Committee on Implementation of Faculty Governance Policies and Procedures:  Dr. Schwind reported that the committee work is now underway after some delay created by the inability to quickly post the updated Faculty Handbook on the web.  Committee members have specific sections of the handbook assigned to read and check for proper wording that indicates implementation of faculty governance policies. Any discrepancies will be worked out with Mary Wise.  Work should be completed by mid-February.


Ad-Hoc Committee on Academic Reorganization Transition:  Joyce Davis reported that information is still being collected from the Deans to determine needs and potential problems for effectively transitioning to the new organizational structure.  She hopes to report a summary of that information at the December meeting.  The committee hopes to distribute a faculty survey in early spring to further identify concerns or problems.


Standing Committee Coordination:  Joyce Davis stated that she is working with standing committee chairs and will report further at a later time.

Other Business

Project Pericles:   Dr. Lambert reported that Elon has been invited by the Eugene M. Lang Foundation to participate in a pilot program, Project Pericles, that promotes educational experiences to develop socially responsible citizens.  Elon’s current programs with emphasis on service meets many of the project’s criteria.  Elon would be one of ten inaugural schools along with Allegheny, Hampshire, Macalster, New England, Pace, Pitzer, Swarthmore,Vermont, and Ursinus.  Dr. Lambert believes that this involvement would benefit Elon through increased national visibility, recognition and enhancement of current programming, and potential funding.  After reviewing the program’s goals, criteria, and board of advisors, Council recommended that Elon proceed with involvement in the project.

Proposed Faculty Contract Date Change:  Dr. Francis asked Council to consider supporting a change to issue faculty contracts on April 15th rather than April 1st.  The request was based on (1) limited time between the March Board meeting that approves contracts and April 1st, (2) additional time needed for deans and/or department chairs to make adjustments that result from the Board meeting (3) physical time required of limited Human Resource Office staff to prepare contracts by April 1st deadline. Council acknowledged the difficulties of processing the contracts in the current time span, but expressed concerns that April 15th was too late for faculty whose contracts may not be renewed.  The later date also increased difficulties for department chairs to hire new faculty.  Dr. Lambert suggested processing time-sensitive contracts first.  For example, non-tenured and non-professionalized contracts could be issued April 1st with tenured and professionalized contracts issued closer to April 15th.

Any staggered issuing of contracts would require that categories and dates of issuance be made clear and public.  Dr. Francis agreed to take this suggestion back to Human Resources for discussion.


Academic Calendar:  Dr. Francis reported that the academic calendar for 2002-2003 would have 2 additional days in fall semester if the number of class days after Thanksgiving vacation are kept the same.  In the interest of more instructional time after Thanksgiving, Council supported keeping the number of days after Thanksgiving the same as previous fall semesters.


Letter on Shared Governance:  Dr. Green received a letter from Dr. James Bissett, Dr. Tom Henricks, and Dr. Doug Redington expressing concern that the process by which the decision was made to become a university violated principles of shared governance that had been formally adopted by the Board of Trustees, faculty, and senior staff.  The letter made three points.  First, the principles of shared governance would have been better served by working within the existing faculty standing committee structure when appointing the task force to consider university designation.  Secondly, discouragement of a vote by faculty on this issue at the October faculty meeting circumvented voting as a critically important part of shared, democratic decision-making.  Finally, faculty members of the task force should have been present at the Board of Trustees meeting when this issue was discussed.  In the interest of promoting the principles of shared governance on future issues, the following recommendations (listed verbatim) were made to Council:

1.  That the president or other senior administrators consult with the Academic Council chair regarding the formation of college-wide task forces addressing matters of significant concern to the members of the academic affairs sector of the college.  Ideally, this consulting process should occur during the regular academic year and include discussions with the entire Council whenever possible.

2.  That summertime planning of important changes affecting the academic affairs portion of the college also include consultation with the Academic Council chair.  Although the Council does not meet formally during that period, the Council chair should keep in contact with and, when the occasion merits, poll the opinions of Council members by electronic correspondence or other means.

3.  That the Academic Council be solicited for nominations regarding faculty membership on the college-wide task forces described above.

4.  That faculty members of college-wide task forces be routinely invited to portions of Board of Trustees meetings when significant discussions of those matters are held.

After discussion of the letter, it was agreed that Council (both elected and administrative members) appreciated and understood the concerns expressed in the letter.  Further, Council (both elected and administrative) expressed full support for a commitment to work towards the recommendations outlined in the letter.

Required participation Outside of Class:  Dr. Steve Braye emailed Council and asked for guidance in handling the myriad of conflicts with other campus activities that required GST 110 summits encounter.  Dr. Braye expressed concern for both the GST 110 program and students who are caught between conflicting expectations.  In the interest of time, full discussion of this issue was rescheduled for the December Council meeting.


University Designation Task Forces:  Dr. Lambert reported that Dr. Midgette has agreed to chair the committee that will investigate the feasibility of naming the College of Arts and Sciences the Elon College of Arts and Sciences.  Dr. Thurlow will chair the committee that will explore ways to maintain and enhance Elon’s collegial culture.  Volunteers for both committees were numerous and a list of committee members is forthcoming.


A & S Dean Search Update:  Dr. Rosemary Haskell’s email to Academic Council dated November 13th stated that 41 applications are on file.  Approximately 11 letters of nomination have been received, with one of those translating into an actual application thus far.  The results of a 650+ nationwide mailing to college and university presidents asking for nominations are only now beginning to be felt.  The job announcement also appeared in the Oct. 13th and 20th issues of the Chronicle of Higher Education.  November 20th  is the announced date of first review.  On-campus interviews in early spring are still projected with the Dean taking his/her position on June 1, 2000, or soon thereafter.  The Search Committee’s group email address is


Task Force to Consider MPT move to Doctoral Program:  Dr. Francis asked for Council’s guidance to construct a task force that will explore the feasibility of replacing the Master of Physical Therapy degree with a doctoral degree.  After discussion, Council recommended that an augmented subcommittee of Graduate Council be formed to address this issue.  Dr. Green will work with Dr. Francis and Dr. Beedle in the formation of this subcommittee.

Adjournment:   The meeting ended at 6:00.

Minutes submitted by Becky Olive-Taylor

November 20, 2000

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