Academic Council Meeting
Minutes for February 21, 2003

Present:  Dr. Jeff Clark, Dr. Doug Redington, Dr. David Copeland, Dr. Jim Bissett, Dr. Charity Johansson, Dr. Tim Peeples, Prof. Barbara Taylor, Prof. Anne Cassebaum, Dr. Leo Lambert, Dr. Lisa Carloye, Dr. Gerald Francis, and Prof. Becky Olive-Taylor

Guests:  Dr. Jane Romer, Prof. Tom Nelson, Dr. Wonhi Synn,

The meeting was called to order at 2:47 P. M.

I.  Review and Approve December Minutes:

The December minutes were accepted with one change noted.  Dr. Redington stated that the experiential learning committee listed was a one-time, exploratory committee, set up to decide the next step.

II.  Report from the Budget Committee (Dr. Synn).

Dr. Synn gave a brief description of the budgeting process and how he became involved.  The Committee is made up of Dr. Synn, Dr. Francis and Mr. Whittington. The latest annual budget is approximately $87 million, most of which is committed (i.e., scholarships, salaries, etc…) There is $1.7 million in uncommitted funds. This is the portion the Budget Committee deliberates over.

The Committee must have priorities from which to work.  The Academic Council’s priorities were helpful in the deliberations. Health care was Council’s number one issue and was considered in budget planning.  The second and third priorities were teaching load reduction and class size. A description of the trade-offs in these two ensued. Dr. Synn stated that faculty must decide what the important issues are, then help to make these university priorities.

Discussion followed of implications of decreasing teaching load and reducing class size. Two areas of improvement: Last year deans had 10 release times for faculty, which will increase this year. The new budget will have additional money for Faculty Research and Development and for summer fellowships.  Dr. Francis stated that Dr. Synn and he have had a discussion on the budget in taking and putting class size maximum at 15 in senior seminars because that would be a big qualitative move, at a cost of $40,000.

III.  Report from the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Advocacy and Advising (Dr. Romer and Prof. Nelson)

Dr. Romer noted that a copy of a preliminary report has been finished.  The committee’s main purpose so far has been education and to determine if there is a need for some type of mechanism for faculty advocacy and advising. The committee’s research has been informal so far and consisted of tracking down information and discussions with Elon’s faculty, telephone conversations with other institutions, and internet research. At present there is no sense of formal structure in the Faculty Handbook for advising faculty. A discussion followed of scenarios where faculty might feel vulnerable, confused, or in limbo. Prof. Nelson voiced the difference between a management device and legal tool, with a concern of preventing the issue from becoming legal in nature.  The committee has begun to look at a number of mechanisms for advising/advocacy. Dr. Francis raised a concern that the committee seemed to be focusing on the grievance end, since there are already some grievance procedures in the Faculty Handbook. Dr. Clark stated that the original charge was for the ad-hoc committee to come up with ways to deal with situations, and they were looking for flexibility and not just a mechanism to keep situations from growing out of proportion. Dr. Romer stated that further research needs to be done on how other institutions handle this advocacy/advising issue and what would work the best for Elon.

Dr. Clark and Dr. Francis will meet to decide on the administrator to be placed on the committee.

IV.  Discussion of the Report of the Ad Hoc Committee to Review Tenure and Promotion Criteria (Dr. Johansson)

Dr. Johansson gave an update on the committee’s work, and presented 7 recommendations for changes to the Handbook, along with their rationale.

1. Separate peer-reviewed scholarship from the list of other professional activities, and indicate that it is a necessary but not sufficient condition for promotion and tenure.

2. Recommend that departments, in conjunction with the appropriate dean, create a document that both agree defines peer-reviewed scholarship for their disciplines.

3. Fold the role of community service into the first- and second-level criteria, deleting it as a third-level criterion.

4. Communicate clearly to faculty that adherence to the Statement of Professional Standards is a condition for continued employment at Elon University. However, the Statement of Professional Standards needs to be reviewed before the recommendation is implemented.

5. Continue to allow split decisions to occur.

6. The Faculty Handbook needs to define and specify criteria for tenure.

7. The Handbook should be amended to clarify characteristics of each promotional level.

Dr. Johansson indicated that the last three recommendations are still being worked on by the Committee.

In discussion on recommendation #1, Dr. Bissett offered a friendly amendment designed to clarify that the recommendation applies to promotion and tenure decisions, not annual reviews.  Discussion then revolved around the term, “peer-reviewed” versus the language used in the Teacher-Scholar document, where the departmental guidelines would be housed, what is a “peer,” how this should be handled for the new faculty tracks, and the role of different teaching styles. Also discussed was whether a statement was needed in the Handbook or not regarding the Professional Standards recommendation. After discussion it was agreed to include the statement in Section II-5 and Section II-8. Recommendation #4 was discussed later (see section V.).

A vote was taken to take these issues to faculty meeting.  The motion passed unanimously.

V.  Discussion of Possible Amendments to the Statement of Professional Standards.

Dr. Bissett started the discussion by suggesting the following be added in Section A:

Adherence to the Statement of Professional Standards is a condition for continued employment at Elon.

He went on to indicate he has heard some problems exist with Section E: 1 and 2. He moved to strike both. There was agreement, provided the introduction to Section E make reference to the Elon University Mission Statement. Next to be discussed was E7, with a proposed change to read:

To be clear when making public statements that they are speaking as independent scholars and citizens.

The motion passed. An issue regarding work as a consultant and the possibility of a conflict of interest was raised. After a brief discussion, it was suggested this be addressed at a later date.

The next area of discussion was Section B.4 of the Professional Standards, as the current meaning is unclear. Discussion revolved around a possible rewording that began with:

To seek ways to strengthen the academic mission of the university through pedagogical discussions and/or research with colleagues, and, when possible, through participation in the interdisciplinary programs of the university.

After much discussion, a simplified wording passed Council:

To seek ways to strengthen the total educational program of the university.

A suggestion was made that B1 explicitly refer to the academic freedom statement, and whether B3 is consistent with policy in regard to documentation. The discussion will continue at the next meeting of Academic Council.

VI. Discussion of the Report from the Admissions Committee.

The question of admissions policy regarding faculty/staff spouse/dependents (III, 6, C.1) was raised in August, 2002. The Admissions Committee sent a proposal to Council which was discussed. The discussion revolved around whether or not this should be a university obligation. Admissions decisions take multiple conditions into account besides academics; this is true of all applicants, not just those of employees. Dr. Francis stated that the Admissions Committee has no intention of keeping faculty and staff dependents who are eligible for admission out of the university. A request has been made of the Admissions Committee to present a revised statement to Council for the March meeting.

VII.  Proposal for Changes to the Committee on Human Participants in Research.

Three proposed changes to the committee were suggested: include the director of sponsored programs as a non-voting representative of the committee; have members elected to serve three year terms; and have the name of the Committee changed to Institutional Review Board. Following a brief discussion, it was agreed to bring these Bylaw changes to the faculty at the next meeting.

VIII.  Discussion of Procedure for Nominations for Elected Standing Committees.

Elections for standing committees take place over the next three months. Council faces two competing agendas as they come up with a slate of nominees: individual faculty members’ need to serve on elected standing committees as a way of fulfilling the requirements of the faculty evaluation system; versus the institutional need for healthy and functional committees as part of the shared governance system.  At times, those agendas may be in conflict. As it solicits nominations to the various committees, Council should strive to strike a careful balance and not to err on the side of individual faculty members’ needs. Discussion followed on the methods to achieve this mix. Two suggestions were that faculty should be encouraged to submit names from the floor, and that Council could nominate more than one faculty member for each open slot on elected standing committees.

IX.  Discussion of Part-Time Assistant Coaches’ Eligibility for University Health Insurance.

Council delayed action on health care for part-time coaches until the next meeting.

X.  Other Business. Dr. Francis made a note about the Promotions, Tenure, and Professional Status Committee discussion.

There will need to be some work done on the name of this committee due to the fact that professional standards will no longer be an option. Dr. Peeples and Dr. Francis will discuss this and return to Council with their suggestions.
Given the prevalence of identity theft and fraud today Dr. Redington raised a security and privacy issue regarding the Datatel system. Anyone in the system, which includes all students, faculty, staff and administrators, has their social security number and (possibly) private home telephone numbers available to all users. Prof. Kleckner has agreed to bring this up with the Academic and Technology committee. Dr. Lambert agreed there is a problem with widespread use of social security numbers and stated that he will discuss this with Mr. Whittington.

Meeting adjourned at 5:25 P. M.

Respectfully submitted by Doug Redington and Linda Martindale

Return to 2002-2003 Minutes