MINUTES OF THE ACADEMIC COUNCIL MEETING
MARCH 21, 2003



Present:  Dr. Bissett, Dr. Carloye, Dr. Copeland, Dr. Francis, Dr. Johansson, Dr. Lambert, Dr. Redington, and Pofessor Taylor.
Absent:  Prof. Cassebaum, Dr. Clark, Prof. Olive-Taylor, and Dr. Peeples
Guests:  Teresa LePors, Dr. Sandra Seidel, and Dr. Christine Nemcik

The meeting was called to order at 2:50 P.M.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES

Minutes from the February meeting were accepted, with the amendment that the last sentence be clarified to indicate all Datatel users.

NEW BUSINESS
 

I.  Memo Regarding Benefits for Part-time Coaching Staff

Council members discussed the concern raised by Dr. Schwind’s memo that part-time coaches may be being taken advantage of and may be without appropriate health insurance.  It was acknowledged that part-time coaches put in far more hours than their jobs require, and that that is the nature of jobs which are used to further one’s career.  Dr. Francis noted that, in addition to the direct cost of providing health care benefits to part-time coaches, the university is obligated under COBRA to provide coverage after they leave the institution.

Administration also expressed concern that if part-time positions were converted to full-time positions for benefits purposes, it might hinder future growth in Athletics.  As programs mature and the need for staff increases, new positions tend to be part-time initially and grow into full-time positions.  There was concern about limiting this means of growth.  Communication with Athletics indicates that they would prefer 6 part-time coaches to 3 full-time coaches.

Dr. Schwind’s memo requested that the Healthcare Sub-committee investigate this matter.  Council felt that the Athletics Committee would be more qualified to address this issue.  The concern will be communicated to the Athletics Committee.
 

II. Proposed amendment to admissions policy statement
The work of the Admissions Committee in addressing this issue was commended.  When a Council member inquired whether exceptions in admissions were made for students other than faculty/staff offspring who might fail to meet academic qualifications, the answer was no.

Use of the term “spouse” in the statement was questioned.  Administration confirmed that “spouse” included same-sex partners.  A general statement clarifying the interpretation of “spouse” was established in December for use in the faculty and staff handbooks but will not appear until next fall.  It was suggested that the wording be defined at the beginning of the document so that interpretation would be clear and consistent throughout.  Dr. Redington and Prof. Olive-Taylor will look at the language used to indicate same-sex partners.

The Council also discussed the issue of whether faculty/staff spouses with an undergraduate degree could take additional undergraduate courses without paying tuition.  Currently this is not possible, but Dr. Francis is investigating this issue.


III. Statement of Professional Standards

Amendments proposed at the February Academic Council meeting were approved.  A recommendation was made to remove the statement, “Adherence to the Statement of Professional Standards is a condition for continued employment at Elon,” from the end of I-5 A, and place it before section A. The statement would thus act as a preamble to all the Professional Standards sections, clarifying that adherence to all professional standards is expected.  The move was seconded and approved.

The Council made additional minor changes, all of which will be presented for approval at the April faculty meeting.


IV. Proposals from the ad hoc PTP Review Committee

Discussion began with consideration of two amendments proposed by Mike Kingston.  In response to his concerns, Council agreed to add language on the use of undergraduate research associates to the indications of scholarly activity listed in the Faculty Handbook.    In addition, Council agreed to add the phrase “that are not defined as peer reviewed” to the first item listed under other professional activities.

In response to a concern regarding faculty doing interdisciplinary research, raised at the February faculty meeting, Dr. Braye offered a proposal that the GST director, in conjunction with appropriate departments, generate a document defining peer-reviewed scholarship for interdisciplinary scholarship and the scholarship of teaching.  Following discussion, the amendment failed.  Council generally agreed that, for interdisciplinary programs such as nonviolence, environmental studies, and women and gender studies, the directors of the programs should generate the documents in conjunction with the appropriate departments and deans.  Individuals involved in interdisciplinary scholarship outside a recognized interdisciplinary program would rely on the relevant department and dean to assure representation in the departmental document.  Council recognizes that these documents are fluid and may change to allow the integration of new interdisciplinary scholarship.

Considerable discussion took place around the issue of the Third Level Criterion.  Council felt strongly that community service is an important and valued aspect of Elon’s character but that it did not belong as part of the faculty evaluation process as a stand-alone criterion.  It was also recognized that since in practice the university does not treat community service as a stand-alone criterion in the promotion and tenure process, representing it as such is misleading.  Because Council felt that community service enhances the character of the university, it was suggested that it be included (“leadership or service in the wider community”) in the alphabetized list of Contributions to the Life of the University in the Second Level Criterion (II-8, D3, b. 1)).  The move was seconded and approved.

The ad hoc committee proposed that a statement be included in the faculty handbook regarding split decisions for promotion and tenure.  Currently split decisions are not normally applied and are not consistent with Elon’s usual view of promotion and tenure.  Council moved, seconded, and approved a change to II-3, B2, adding the statement, “Under normal circumstances there will not be split decisions where a faculty member is tenured but not promoted to associate professor.”


V. Status of the Cultural and Intellectual Life Committee

Teresa LePors discussed with Council the work of the committee to review the Cultural and Intellectual Life committee.  While considerable thought and effort were put into the review, it was not clear to Council that the proposed changes resulted in a significantly clearer purpose for the committee.  Because the proposed changes had evolved appreciably from the initial charge of the committee, and because there are important academic climate issues involved, Council agreed to recommend a by-laws change dissolving the Cultural and Intellectual Life committee and to continue investigating the possibility of creating a new committee to address the identified needs, as appropriate.  Dr. Bissett agreed to meet with Ms. LePors to discuss this in more detail.  This issue will be revisited at the next Academic Council meeting.


VI.  Proposals regarding academic standing

Dr. Seidel presented the proposed changes to Council, stating that they are intended to bring written policy better in line with actual practice.  Some concern was expressed by Council members that the changes might result in faculty relinquishing oversight power.  After some discussion, Council agreed that this was not the case.  A move was made to accept the proposed changes.  The move was seconded and approved.


VII. Proposals regarding the grade appeal process

Dr. Nemcik discussed with Council the proposed clarification of the grade appeal process.  Dr. Nemcik responded to Council members’ questions and concerns.  Minor changes were suggested, including the use of an identifier other than SSN and the inclusion of the “basis of grade appeal” section on the faculty form.  The committee is investigating alternative means of student identification.  Administration recommended that the proposed procedure be reviewed by an attorney prior to implementation.  Dr. Lambert will take the proposal to legal counsel and notify Council of the results.


VIII. Law School Update

The law school update was deferred by Council to the March university faculty meeting.


IX. Ad hoc committee on diversity

Proposals from the ad hoc committee on diversity were deferred to the April Academic Council meeting.


UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Bookstore Ordering Policy

In response to concerns about under-ordering of textbooks raised by two faculty members, the Council discussed the bookstore’s ordering policy.  Dr. Francis reported that the bookstore routinely orders the full number of textbooks for freshman courses course packs, and new courses.  Book orders for other courses take into account past sales history.  It was suggested that problems might be alleviated if faculty are informed of the bookstore’s ordering plans for their courses.  The question also came up of whether course packs must be ordered through Barnes & Noble since it adds considerably to the cost.  Dr. Francis will consult Mr. Whittington regarding this issue.


Datatel Security

In an update on the use of Social Security Numbers as identifiers in Datatel and the potential for identify theft, Dr. Lambert reported that much had been done since last Council meeting, and another meeting is scheduled for later this month.  This is still a concern, and work on this issue is ongoing.


NEW BUSINESS

Dr. Redington informed Council that Senior Faculty Review committees were well received by the Business School and are being put in place.  Council then discussed the upcoming April elections for Promotions and Tenure Committee.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:45 P.M.

Respectfully submitted by Charity Johansson and Linda Martindale.

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