Academic Council Meeting Minutes

May 5, 2001



Members present:  Larry Basirico, Jim Bissett, Joyce Davis, Gerry Francis (afternoon session) Don Grady, Tom Green (chair), Mike Kingston, Pam Kiser, Leo Lambert (afternoon session) Todd Lee, Becky Olive-Taylor, Fred Rubeck, Jean Schwind.

New Members present: Lisa Carloye, Jeff Clark, Tim Peeples, and Yoram Lubling.
 

I.     Call to order:   The meeting was convened at 9:00 AM.  Minutes of the April 20, 2001 meeting were approved.

II.    Old Business

A.      Academic Climate
The issue of Greek and student organizations using academic buildings and spaces was discussed. Concern was expressed over disruptive overnight activities which interfere with evening classes and housekeeping.  Council agreed to consider the broader issue of student organization responsibilities next year.
B.      Professional Standards
Council continued discussion of questions related to the Professional Conduct Statement approved in our April meeting.  Concern was expressed over the scope of the statement, the responsibility of students, and the consequences for students who falsely charge faculty with engaging in an inappropriate relationship.  Issues raised included liability insurance coverage, lack of faculty support (an advocate and/or legal counsel for faculty who feel they are falsely accused), and clear procedures for due process.  Council will consider these issues next year.
 
C.      Year-Round Evaluation of Teaching
Dr. Green recommended that the Council consider this issue at its first meeting next year.
 
D.      Length of Academic Year
Dr. Bissett reported on the most recent meeting of the Calendar Committee.  The committee discussed the beginning and ending of semesters and the length of the academic year for the next seven years.
E.      Professionalization, Promotion & Tenure
Dr. Green summarized a request from students expressing concern over their lack of information concerning professionalization, promotion and tenure.  The students requested that the names of candidates being considered for and eventually granted or denied promotion, professionalization, and/or tenure be publicized.  Council noted that the professionalization, promotion, and tenure procedures are confidential.  However, students  who feel they need more information about the process may read about it in the Faculty Handbook on-line.
 
F.      Academic Reorganization Report
Dr. Davis presented the "Report of the Faculty Survey on Academic Reorganization."  Concern was expressed over the low response rate (30 percent) and that one-third of respondents were newer faculty (0-3 years of service). Respondents generally felt that it was too early in the process to judge the success of reorganization.  Dr. Davis noted a correction to question 8b: response 5, line 3, should read 0; total 6.00%.


III.   Review of Council's 2000-2001 Priorities

The Council discussed progress on 2000-2001 priorities:
 

A.      Salary and Benefits

Council appears to have been successful in establishing the need to bring Elon faculty salaries in line with ANAC institutions and North Carolina private colleges.  However, no tangible plan has been presented for escrowing funds to achieve this objective.  The Council will continue to encourage the Budget Committee to present this plan as soon as possible. Dr. Kingston noted that the assistant professor salary averages are skewed by long-term faculty members at that level.
 B.     Faculty Development Funds, Sabbatical, Travel Funds
The number of sabbaticals, travel funds, and funds for faculty development projects increased.  Council members noted that different divisional standards for funding of travel and other professional activities appear to exist and that clarification or institution-wide guidelines are needed.
 
C.      Professionalization/Tenure
The Council succeeded in getting a year removed from the length of in-track time for faculty placed on tenure-track after achieving professional status and gained administrative support for three-year renewable contracts for professionalized faculty.
 
D.      Academic Climate
The Ad-Hoc Committee to Define Professional Activity has made progress in defining scholarship, professional activity, and the teacher/scholar at Elon.  In addition, the Council has followed up on the implementation of web-based courses.   Discussion of these issues and academic scholarships for students will continue next year.
E.      Faculty Workload
Progress was made on faculty workload issues.  Department chairs who had only one course release now receive two.  Council concluded that discussion should continue on class size and course load.
 
F.      Diversity
Little progress was made on this issue this year, and diversity will continue as a priority next year.
 
 G.     Faculty Governance
The Council’s Ad-Hoc Committee to Evaluate the Implementation of Faculty Governance Policies and Procedures reviewed and edited the Faculty Handbook to reflect changes resulting from the Shared Governance Report.  Concern was expressed for the need to preserve College of Arts and Sciences "divisions" as a means of faculty representation.  Council also expressed concern about the nature of faculty meetings and the perceived trend of the administration reporting to Council rather than conferring with Council about specific governance items.


IV.   Establishing 2001-2002 Priorities

The Council used faculty survey data to determine Council priorities for next year.  Priorities will be:


Academic Council Priorities: 2001-2002

A.    Salary and Benefits
1.   Achieve a salary status competitive with top private NC institutions and at the highest ranking among ANAC institutions.
2.   Support explorations of a retirement health plan.
3.   Investigate increasing TIAA/CREF contribution rates.
4.   Encourage the administration to provide information on how a proposed escrow will be achieved.
5.   Work with Institutional Research to review methods of calculating and reporting average percentage of salary increases.
6.   Pursue disclosure of salary information for all three faculty types in Council’s fall and spring reports.
7.   Explore establishing a “distinguished professor” designation to recognize superior accomplishment in teaching, scholarship, and institutional service and to increase salary at the full-professor rank.
 
B.     Workload and Teaching Load
1.   Address issues related to the impact of academic reorganization on faculty workload, especially that of department chairs.
2.   Review policies defining appropriate class size.
3.   Seek recognition of the need for course-load reduction as a result of increasing research demands being placed on faculty.
4.   Encourage an increase in support staff to assist faculty with increased responsibilities.
5.   Investigate inconsistencies between course-load credit and the number of hours taught in a course.
 
C.     Faculty Development, Sabbaticals, Travel Funds
1.   Continue to increase the number of sabbaticals and continue to develop an institutional policy regarding the appropriate number and use of sabbaticals.
2.   Increase funding for faculty travel to professional conferences (whether the faculty member is presenting or simply attending).
3.   Continue to improve funding for faculty development projects related to research, technology use, pedagogical experimentation, and personal/professional growth.
4.   Enhance coordination between various institutional funding sources.
 
D.     Academic Climate and Community
1.   Continue and complete work on defining professional activity and the teacher/scholar ideal.
2.   Complete work on the Professional Conduct Statement by requesting faculty approval in the fall. Continue to address issues raised by this statement.
3.   Ensure that the recommendations of the Maintaining Community at Elon report are seriously considered and implemented.
4.   Increase the diversity of both faculty and student body.
5.   Increase academic scholarships.
6.   Investigate the availability and use of academic spaces by student organizations.
 
E.     Professionalization, Promotion, and Tenure
1.   Work with the Promotion, Tenure, and Professional Status Committee to facilitate a campus-wide discussion of issues related to promotion, tenure, and professional status.
2.    Continue discussion of departmental and divisional constraints on professional track vs. tenure track status.
F.     Faculty Governance
1.    Work toward the successful implementation of shared governance policies and procedures.
2.    Review the format and conduct of faculty meetings.
3.    Increase familiarity with the Sturgis Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure and follow these rules more deliberately in the conduct of Council meetings.
4.    Investigate the need for a faculty advocate.


V.   Enhancing Council Effectiveness
 

A.      Council considered ways to enhance its effectiveness next year.  The following suggestions were made:
1.    continue Council pre-meetings
2.    more carefully direct discussion during pre-meetings and meetings
3.    conduct some pre-meeting discussion via e-mail
4.    consider meeting twice a month
5.    prepare more carefully for discussion
6.    avoid consideration of last-minute items
7.    promote awareness of Sturgis’ The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure
8.    clarify the need for confidentiality of topics discussed in meetings
9.    strengthen role of Council as advocate for faculty
10.  use ballot votes as appropriate to protect untenured Council members


VI.   Election of Council Officers
 

A.   Dr. Schwind was nominated and elected unanimously as Chair of Academic Council for 2001-2002.

B.   Council members interested in serving as vice-chair were asked to contact Dr. Schwind.  The vice-chair will be elected in Council’s first fall meeting.


VII.   Members present/representation
 

A.   Dr. Green announced that Bob Guffey has resigned for Council.

B.   A meeting was held with the School of Business after the May faculty meeting to select a replacement.  A call for a quorum ended the selection process, and election of a representative will be held at a later date.


VIII.   Reviews 2001-2002 Priorities

A.   Dr. Lambert suggested the possibility of rewarding exceptional full professors by establishing a “distinguished professor” designation.  The rationale for this designation, selection process, and type of compensation (salary, course release) were discussed.  Pay increases associated with this designation would come from a special supplement to the general salary pool, most likely as a one-time base increase.

B.   Dr. Lambert talked about possible administrative goals for next year, including:

1.  Enhance the centrality of the Arts and Sciences

2.   Continue seeking Phi Beta Kappa affiliation.  Dr. Lambert noted that Phi Beta Kappa turned down Elon’s application this year, but noted that the Society:

a.   favored number of out-of-state students
b.   noted SAT scores improving but not as good as other applicants
c.    looked with favor on general studies and study abroad
d.   applauded close professor/student contact
e.   looked with concern on Honors Program resources
f.   looked with favor on graduation rate
g.   expressed concern over small percentage of Phi Beta Kappa faculty
h.   expressed concern about the percentage of tenured faculty
i.   questioned the imbalance between athletic and academic scholarships
j.  looked with concern on the number of faculty with terminal degrees in Arts and  Sciences
k.   looked with concern on the large number of professional program majors (and the corresponding small number of majors in Arts and Sciences)
3.   Charge the Honors Committee with conducting a comprehensive review of the Honors Program and report to president, provost, and faculty

4.   Develop a Center for Teaching and Learning

5.   Successful visits from SACS, NCAA and NCATE

6.   Preserve and enhance community at Elon
 

C.   Dr. Lambert discussed with Council the relationship between what has traditionally been valued at Elon, the recent recommendations of the Community Committee, and the push to achieve Phi Beta Kappa recognition.

D.   Dr. Lambert responded to concerns that the possible creation of a School of Information Technology is inconsistent with reinforcing the centrality of the Arts and Sciences.  Discussion followed on ways of combining a liberal arts education with additional preparation that will assist students with career objectives.


IX.   The meeting adjourned at 2:30 PM.

Respectfully submitted,

Don A. Grady



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