Academic Council Minutes
November 15, 2002

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

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

October Minutes

The minutes of the October meeting were opened for discussion.  A question regarding the status of the committee to study the feasibility of a Law School resulted in the following clarifications.

To date, the committee members include Trustees Noel Allen, Bobby Drakeford, and Shelly Hazel; Leo Lambert and Gerry Francis; Ocie Murray, an alumnus; faculty members Kevin O’Mara, David Crowe, Nim Batchelor, and Tim Peeples; Ms. Nan Perkins, who will serve in an advisory role; and a student.

The October minutes were amended to read that the Provost would work with the chairs of Academic Council, Curriculum Committee and Graduate Council to appoint faculty members of the law school feasibility committee.

Report on the Evaluation of Advising Subcommittee

Becky Olive-Taylor shared the latest version of the Evaluation of Advising form and responded to questions from council. Questions regarding confidentiality and dissemination of results were raised.  Becky reiterated that students would most likely complete the form on-line and identify their advisor by selecting him/her from a pull-down list. She stressed the fact that the specific results would be compiled and sent to individual advisors.  Department chairs would get summary information only for their department; no information linked to specific advisors would be sent to chairs.

Because the evaluation is voluntary, council members expressed concern about interpretation of the results.  It was suggested that the survey include a short statement indicating that the results are from a self-selected group of students and therefore may not be accurate for statistical purposes.

It was moved that Council endorse the evaluation as a tool for gaining feedback at the advisor and departmental level.  The motion was unanimously approved.  The evaluation will be forwarded to Academic Affairs.

Changes to the Faculty Handbook Descriptions of the General Studies Council and the Admissions Committee

There is a discrepancy in the description of the Chair of the Admissions Committee in the Faculty Handbook.  Section II-12 of the Handbook, which describes the elected standing committees, specifies that the chair be a member of the teaching faculty.  The description of the Admissions Committee in the Faculty Bylaws, on the other hand, does not make this specification. Council agreed to fix this inconsistency be removing the term “teaching faculty” from the committee description in Section II-12.

The course of rotation for membership on the General Studies Council as listed in the by-laws does not match the rotation as it has been implemented in recent elections.  Council agreed that it is easiest to change the rotation schedule in the faculty handbook to match the actual rotation schedule.  This will require a vote of the faculty because it is a by-laws change which will be done at the next faculty meeting.

Discussion regarding the availability of the faculty handbook on-line indicated that it would be helpful to the faculty to have committee listings posted so that faculty have access to the most up to date listings.  Dr. Francis commented that updating the faculty handbook is a mammoth job but he would follow up on the feasibility of this request.

Replacement for Yoram Lubling for Spring, 2003

Since Yoram will return to Academic Council following his sabbatical, and given the fact that Academic Council is in the middle of variety of issues, it was decided to not replace him for the Spring semester.

Fall Report

Dr. Clark opened discussion on the Fall Report.  Dr. Francis distributed a table providing the salary data for administrators with faculty rank and academic support staff with faculty rank as requested by Council in September. The data provided includes the Mean, Median, Percent Increase for Continuing Personnel and Headcount.  He requested that all of the salaries reported in the Fall Report be prorated to the equivalent of a 9-month contract and that administrators’ salaries be compared with those for Full Professors.   Dr. Francis also noted that for 2001-2002 Elon’s teaching salaries ranked 4th or 5th when compared to North Carolina Private Colleges and Universities while administrative faculty salaries ranked from 3rd to 8th with an average ranking of 5th.   Academic Council agreed to keep these points in mind when incorporating this data into the Fall Report.

Jeff Clark provided examples of graphs he prepared from selected data from the Fall Report and asked for feedback on this representation of data and requested other ideas on how to make the Report more useful for faculty.  Council liked the graphical representation and agreed that posting the graphs on the website would be useful.  Suggestions were made on ways to make the report less bulky including reporting class size by school or department on the website.  Council agreed that it would be helpful to ask faculty to give input regarding what information currently presented in the Report is useful and what can be omitted.  It was suggested that the number of courses taught by full-time versus part-time faculty is misleading because it lumps non-continuing full time faculty in with those with permanent positions.  Therefore, it was suggested that these categories be made explicit.  It was noted that the new track system includes the “Visiting Professor” track which formalizes the category of full time non-continuing faculty as distinct from full-time continuing faculty.

Discussion on the Tenure Review Process

Dr. Francis proposed that a new policy be adopted allowing faculty on probation the option to change the length of their probationary period if they opted for less than the maximum 6 years.  This decision would be made during the Spring of their second year prior to contracts being issued.   Council was generally in favor of this change and discussion focused on the mechanics of how the information would be disseminated to faculty and the process by which a faculty member would extend or contract their probationary period.  Council members urged Dr. Francis to make the requirement of a written request explicit and that the instructions be placed in the Faculty Handbook.

Discussion of Faculty Budget Priorities

Tim Peeples presented a list of budget priorities compiled from the faculty surveys and recommended that Academic Council endorse the following priorities: health care, teaching load reduction, class size reduction, R&D, student scholarships, and support staff.  Regarding health care, President Lambert pointed out that the college is working toward a supplemental plan to Medicare but must enroll a minimum number of participants before it can be offered.

Council members expressed concern about the low number of faculty returning the surveys – 45 out of 256 full time and 96 part time faculty members.  A brief discussion of ways to increase faculty engagement in the life of the University suggested that this topic needs further, campus-wide discussion.

Doug Redington requested that Gerald Whittington report to the faculty on the state of the University’s financial standing in light of recent news about Duke and other well endowed universities’ cut-backs due to the economic downturn.  Leo Lambert agreed that this could be done at the next faculty meeting.

Anne Cassebaum asked Leo Lambert and Gerry Francis for an update on Council’s earlier request for additional release time for Council chair.  Leo and Gerry will meet with Jim Bissett to discuss it.

Report on the Ad Hoc Committee on Tenure Review

Charity Johansson presented a draft of the Tenure Review Report.  She noted that the report will be distributed to the entire faculty, and that the committee will have a forum to get input from faculty members.

Reports from Academic Council Subcommittees

David Copeland reported progress on the Teaching and Workload subcommittee.

Lisa Carloye reported progress on the Work and Family Issues subcommittee.
Ann Cassebaum reported on the Adjunct Status subcommittee and requested a summary of the number of adjuncts with full-time status because they are typically included with full-time continuing faculty and therefore it is impossible to determine the number of faculty with non-continuing status.

Dr. Peeples reported progress on defining the Senior Faculty Review Board.

The meeting adjourned at 5:15 P. M.

Respectfully submitted,
Lisa Carloye
Linda Martindale

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