Academic Council Meeting Minutes
April 20, 2001

Members present:  Larry Basirico, Jim Bissett, Joyce Davis, Tom Green (chair), Mike Kingston, Leo Lambert, Todd Lee, Nancy Midgette, Becky Olive-Taylor, Fred Rubeck, Jean Schwind.

Guests present:  Jim Johnson.

Call to order:  The meeting was convened at 2:50 pm.  Minutes of the February 16 and March 16, 2001 meetings were approved.


Bookstore Issues:  Mr. Jim Johnson, the Director of Administrative Services, opened the discussion by summarizing the most recent records of textbook adoptions for summer 2001 and fall 2001.  The ensuing discussion covered a variety of topics including the following concerns in regard to ordering books:  ordering several editions with different pagination; late arrival of course books that are not textbooks; ordering hard cover copies when the professor provided ISBN number for soft cover edition; and failure to use the ISBN number for course packs provided by publishers.  It was noted that some students only receive some of the items provided in bundled course packs.  It was also noted that professors using the bookstore Web site to order texts do not receive confirmation that their order has been received, and that the hardcopy of the textbook order forms include texts used by other professors in previous semester in multi-section courses.  Mr. Johnson assured Council that these concerns would be pursued.

Contract Length for Professionalized Faculty/Length of In-track Time for Professionalized Faculty who Move to a Tenure-track Contract:  Prof. Jim Bissett opened the discussion by recommending two amendments to the Faculty Handbook.  The first amendment involved changing the length of the professionalized faculty contract from a “two-year annually renewable contract” to a “three-year annually renewable contract” (Faculty Handbook, Section II-2A.1.b.2.).  The second amendment involved the number of years credit given to professionalized faculty toward the probationary period of the tenure track process.  The proposal would change “…he or she can receive one year’s credit toward the probationary period of the tenure track process” to “…he or she can receive two years’ credit toward the probationary period of the tenure track process” (Faculty Handbook, Section II-2,A.2.b.).  President Lambert indicated that he had been continuing to consider these issues since Council’s last meeting and was prepared to act immediately to allow a possible additional year of credit for faculty on professional appointments who accept tenure-track appointments.  He also indicated his support for the idea of the 3-year professional appointment contract and will bring this before the Board of Trustees during their fall 2001 meeting before agreeing to make this change.  A discussion ensued regarding the two-track system used at Elon and its merits.  Dr. Lambert suggested that Council continue to investigate issues in regard to professional status and tenure at Elon.  The Council voted to pass both recommendations for amending the Faculty Handbook.  On behalf of Council, Dr. Green thanked Dr. Lambert for his approval of the first amendment and support of the second.

Follow-up Business

Academic Year Length Update:   Dr. Green reminded Council of the recent change in the academic calendar for 2001-2002 which resulted in moving the starting date for spring term from January 31 to February 1.  Additionally, Dr. Green informed Council that Dr. Bissett would be working with the Calendar Committee later in the semester.  Dr. Bissett indicated that the Calendar Committee would meet shortly to discuss building starting and ending dates of each academic year for the next 7 years.

Length of Faculty Contracts:  Dr. Green opened the discussion with the observation that the faculty contract length for the upcoming year is 9 months and 4 days, although the stated contract length is 9 months.  Discussion ensued regarding how important the summer months are for personal scholarship and other professional activities. Council looks to the Calendar Committee to develop a 7-year calendar cycle which will conform to the 9-month contract period.

Full-year Student Evaluation of Instruction:  Council asked the Provost’s  representative, Prof. Nancy Midgette, to explain the rationale behind conducting teaching evaluations in both fall and spring semesters.  She cited that the Schools of Education and Business currently have both fall and spring evaluations.  She also noted that many courses are only taught in spring and many adjuncts only teach in spring.  Dr. Midgette also suggested differences in the fall and spring calendar may affect student responses.  Discussion continued on whether to consider alternative evaluation schedules that would permit spring evaluations without evaluating each semester or only evaluating courses exclusively offered during the spring. Dr. Green was asked to meet with Dr. Francis to discuss these issues.  Continued discussion of this topic was deferred to the May Academic Council meeting.

Subcommittee Reports

Fall and Spring Reports Committee—Spring Report:   Dr. Green opened the discussion by asking for Council’s input in terms of content and clerical issues.  Questions were raised regarding the stated Salary Pool Increases for Continuing Full-Time Teaching Faculty of 5.33% and 6.16%, respectively, for the years 00-01 and 01-02.  The adjustment in full professor salaries and pay raises with promotion were thought to explain some of the discrepancy between these values and the 4% salary increase mentioned in the cover letter accompanying yearly contracts.  Subsequent investigation revealed that the years associated with these values were in error.  The error will be corrected prior to distribution.  Dr. Green requested that the minutes reflect the Council’s gratitude for all the work of Linda Martindale and Barbara Walsh in helping to compile and produce the Fall and Spring Reports.

Dr. Green informed Council that as with the fall report, salary information for all faculty (teaching faculty, administrative staff with faculty rank, and academic support staff with faculty rank) was requested for inclusion in the Spring Report.  Dr. Green made a motion to adopt a formal recommendation to the administration regarding the representation of all faculty in the Fall and Spring Reports:

“Academic Council recommends that salary information, which has been consistently provided for teaching faculty, be provided  for all three types of Faculty (Teaching Faculty,  Administrators with faculty rank, and Academic Support Staff with faculty rank) for inclusion in Academic Council’s Fall Report and Spring Report to the faculty.”
Discussion of the motion ensued with President Lambert expressing his concerns about identifying the salaries of individual faculty members.  Tom Green then made a second motion to amend his recommendation to include the following:
“Further, Academic Council recommends that categorical breakdowns which identify individuals be avoided.”
Discussion continued as Council addressed the principles of shared governance at Elon and the role of Council in representing all categories of faculty.   A vote was called on the amendment to the original motion which was passed.  A vote was then called on the amended motion which also passed.
Committee to Evaluate the Implementation of Faculty Governance Policies and Procedures:  Dr. Schwind summarized the committee’s work and noted that the faculty had already passed most of the Bylaw recommendations suggested in the committee’s document.  The committee made 4 recommendations to Council:  1) that the Faculty Handbook be completely revised now that it is available through the Web; 2) that the Office of Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs implement the committee’s revisions during the summer 2001 and that Council monitor these changes; 3) that a permanent subcommittee of Council be instituted to oversee all future changes to the Faculty Handbook; and 4) that all new faculty members receive a hard copy version of the Faculty Handbook upon coming to Elon. Council members recommended a few additional changes and clarifications.  Prof. Olive-Taylor made a motion recommending that the revisions of the committee be incorporated into the Faculty Handbook during the summer of 2001.  This motion was passed.

Committee to Define Scholarship:  Dr. Kingston reported on the committee’s work during the current academic year.  Currently, the committee is editing a document describing the “Teacher-Scholar” model of Elon that will be distributed to all academic departments for discussion during summer retreats and the August orientation week.  The committee has designated faculty liaisons in all departments and schools who will keep lines of communication between the committee and the faculty open.  The committee recommends that its work be continued into the next academic year by facilitating conversations within and between departments, programs, schools, and focus groups during fall 2001.  The input from these discussions will be used in the spring 2002 semester to complete a revised “Teacher-Scholar” description that applies to all faculty at Elon University.

Other Business

Continuing Student Housing Issues and Entering Freshman Class:  President Lambert informed Council that the institution has located housing for the 28 junior and senior students who failed to secure a place on-campus.  Housing will continue to be a problem since freshman retention looks good and the recent construction projects have made on-campus housing the “place-to-be.”  He also told Council that it looks like we will have another large incoming freshman class that is academically stronger than the 2000-2001 freshman class.

Elections Committee—Standing Committee Nominations:  Council discussed the ballot for Standing Committee Elections for that will be used in voting during the May faculty meeting.

Meeting was adjourned at 5:30 pm.

Submitted by
Michael Kingston

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