Academic Council Minutes

September 19, 2003


The meeting was called to order at 2:47 pm.


Members Present: Jim Bissett, Mike Calhoun, Lisa Carloye, Anne Cassebaum, Jeffrey Clark, David Copeland, Gerry Francis, Leo Lambert, Yoram Lubling, Doug Redington, and Barbara Taylor


Members Absent:  Jana Lynn Patterson and Tim Peeples


I. The August minutes were approved as amended to note Yoram Lubling’s attendance.


II. Discussion of Issues Raised at the September Faculty Meeting.


A. Faculty meeting packets.  Council discussed the options suggested and agreed that the Provost’s office will make double-sided copies of the main agenda items and distribute them to all faculty.  The Curriculum Committee proposals will not be included in the packet as this material is typically what makes the packets so long.  Instead, this information will be available on Council’s website and faculty will receive an email with a link so they can reference it in preparation for voting at the faculty meeting.  It was generally agreed that the suggestion to project the information from the meeting packet during the faculty meeting was not feasible because the amount of information included in the curriculum committee proposals would require that the font used would be too small to be visible.


B. Evaluation of Teaching:  David Copeland reported that the committee will make the consultant’s full report available on the web and that the committee will continue to meet to create a final proposal to Academic Council.  Council members asked that the ad hoc committee also provide a summary of their work including the initial charge of the committee, the key findings of their work and a summary of key concerns expressed by the faculty.  Dr. Copeland emphasized that, although there was much discussion of the use of the student evaluation of teaching forms during the faculty meeting, the committee’s work was broader than just evaluating the use of this instrument and that their final proposal will reflect the breadth of their work.  Dr. Lambert reiterated his agreement that the evaluation form is a small piece of how teaching is evaluated overall in the tenure and promotion process.


III. Reports on the Progress of Council Priorities


·     Increasing Faculty Diversity:  Barbara Taylor reported that at the May meeting Brian Digre was elected chair.  The committee is reviewing methods of increasing diversity of faculty represented in the application pool for new positions.  She reported that while the committee may be in a position to discuss some of the strategies with Department Chairs who are currently doing searches, the larger impact of the committee’s work will not occur until after the committee has had time to complete its work.


·     Increasing Student Diversity: Doug Redington reported that this committee has been formed and will begin meeting.


·     Faculty Workload Issues:  David Copeland reported that the Faculty Workload Committee membership is under construction.  They will begin regular meetings shortly.


·     Increase Efficiency of Faculty Meetings: Jeff Clark reported that the Shared Governance Sub-Committee is exploring staff concerns that may overlap with faculty concerns so that they may be brought to the attention of faculty and discussed.  Council members reported on suggestions to further reduce the amount of time spent on administrative announcements by making these reports briefer.


·     Defining “Service” in the Faculty Evaluation Process:  Michael Calhoun reported that the committee to define service in the Faculty Evaluation Process has been assembled and will begin to identify what types of service are valued by schools and departments and to get a handle on the perception of service requirements at the faculty and administrative level.


·     Work and Family Issues:  Lisa Carloye reported that this committee is in the process of developing a needs assessment survey that will be sent to all faculty and staff.  They are beginning the process of following up on their work last year to determine the feasibility of the ideas discussed at last May’s Numen Lumen session.


·     Adjunct Issues:  Anne Cassebaum reported that this committee is meeting every 2 weeks and have discussed methods for improving communication with adjunct faculty and have made updates to the adjunct faculty handbook.


IV. Campus Shop Issues

Gerry Francis reported on his discussions with Vickie Somers and Chris Bunting regarding course pack pricing and problems with textbook orders.  They provided a sample coursepack budget and it was apparent that the majority of the cost of coursepacks arises from publisher’s royalty fees.  Council discussed whether it was possible to work with other bookstore franchises to see if it is possible to cut a better deal.  Dr. Francis said that Barnes and Noble is essentially the only company that is still in business. 


Problems with textbook availability arise from two sources.  First, publishers notoriously do not communicate with the bookstore about changes in book availability and therefore the campus shop may not know that an ordered book will not be arriving.  Second, freshmen change their schedules when they arrive on campus making it difficult to anticipate need for many classes.  Council discussed the feasibility of having the campus shop over-order books for those courses that are typically problematic and to implement a new policy whereby the campus shop will notify the Dean and faculty member when a book does not arrive by a predetermined deadline so that action may be taken.


V. October Board of Trustees Meeting

Dr. Lambert reported that because this meeting will focus on the Board’s self-study, the committees will not be meeting and therefore, the faculty liaisons to these committees have not been invited to attend as they usually are.  The second day of the meeting will focus on the report from the Law School Feasibility Task Force and all members of this task force have been invited to attend.


VI. Statement of Professional Standards

A subcommittee was appointed to revisit the Statement of Professional Standards, addressing faculty concerns and amendments raised at the May Faculty Meeting.  They will draft a new proposal which will be brought before the faculty at a future meeting.


VII. Other Business

Faculty Handbook Updates:  Doug Redington reported that the newly revised handbooks have been distributed to new faculty, secretaries, Chairs, Deans, and members of PP&T and Academic Council.  The on-line version will be available in approximately 2 weeks.  Council members suggested that in the future, updates to by-laws be made available immediately.  Gerry Francis responded that making changes to the handbook is a cumbersome and time-consuming task.  Council then discussed ways to streamline the process.  Barbara Taylor agreed to consult with the Provost’s office to evaluate the current system and suggest changes.


Jim Bissett reported on changes to the date for students dropping a class proposed by the Calendar Committee.  Council agreed that shortening the period from after 2 class meetings to after just 1 class meeting during the first week of classes was in line with increasing academic rigor and our use of on-line registration.


Annual Award for Faculty:  Doug Redington requested that the amount of the award given to the Distinguished Scholar Award, the Daniels/Danielly Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the Periclean Award for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility be increased to keep up with the times.  Dr. Francis thought it was a good idea and said that he would be glad to look at it.  There would be an equivalent amount for the Staff Member of the Year award.


Designation of Athletes on On-Track.  Doug Redington asked for the rationale for this designation.  Dr. Francis reported that it was initiated to facilitate faculty reporting on the academic progress of athletes but that since adding it to On-Track, the response rate has declined and the designation will be removed. 


Doug Redington reported that faculty have expressed discomfort with the perceived pressure placed on them by Deans to attend a football game event and questioned the appropriateness of this request.  Gerry Francis reported that the idea for the football game events arose from discussion with SGA as a way to increase school spirit and that it was not intended to be mandatory.  He emphasized that faculty should not feel pressured to attend.





The meeting adjourned at 5:05 pm


Respectfully submitted,

Lisa Carloye

Bernice Foust