Academic Council Meeting
October 15, 1999
2:30 p.m.


Anderson, Basirico, Green, Hamm, Helvey, Kingston, Lee, McGregor, Rubeck, Thurlow, Francis, Lambert
Guests: Clark, Henricks, Schwind


Dr. Clark reported that the addendum to the LRPC technology report addressed many of his committee's concerns. He further stressed the importance of security for the college's technology, the immediate need for increased support staff, and quantitative measures for how the goals of the technology report will be meet. He said that future analyses of technology on campus need to move beyond anecdotal evidence. For example, he suggested, the amount of time that it takes for support staff to fix problems or upgrade software should be recorded and available.

Dr. Clark said he had heard that the college might restrict access to the faculty/staff email account and switch some information to the E-net site. Dr. Lambert said the college planned to develop E-net as a coherent communication site and some items now on faculty/staff were more appropriate for that site.


Dr. Schwind reported that the General Studies council had completed a draft for the position search for a new General Studies director. She said the only part still under discussion was the director's teaching load. The council decided that the search would be limited to Elon candidates, because the director needed an understanding of the current General Studies structure and of the faculty available to teach GST courses.

Dr. Schwind said that while the timeline might change, the search committee expected to complete its job by December 1.


Dr. McGregror said the committee had looked at how a number of other colleges handle their academic structures and that three subcommittees were developing models for Elon's organizational structure. The three groups covering the basic academic structure, the relationships, accountability and responsibilities among deans, and the structure of special programs and support services were to report back on October 28 for the committee to review the models. In November, the information would be distributed for the faculty to review and discuss. Dr. Francis said the committee wanted to go public with early items well before any structures were finalized so that there would be public discussion and input.


Dr. Henricks reported for the Academic Council subcommittee on shared governance. He asked for guidance from the council on how to proceed. The subcommittee began in February with a series of focus groups with departments, then held discussions on what "faculty" and "shared governance" means, and then completed focus groups with academic support faculty to see how they considered their roles as faculty. These discussions led to the addition of academic support faculty, two members, Jim Donathan and Connie Keller, to the subcommittee.

Dr. Helvey asked about the subcommittee's definition of faculty, especially if academic support faculty would then sit on committees such as R&D or PP&T. Dr. Thurlow said that just being considered faculty does not mean that academic support faculty would be on these committees, though the shared governance subcommittee has looked into their representation on other committees and is interested in how college committees could be enhanced with different perspectives.

The council requested that the subcommittee bring its report to the academic council and that the council meet with the entire subcommittee to discuss the report.


Dr. Lambert said he wanted to begin campus-wide discussions with many different groups on how to implement specific issues in the technology report. The report was presented to the Board of Trustees at its October meeting. Dr. Lambert said the trustees reacted very positively to the plan and that many of their businesses were going through similar challenges with technology. The next step is to work with the budget committee and bring a plan to the trustees in March on how to pay for the recommendations in the technology report. Possible options would be a technology fee or a tuition increase.

Dr. Lambert said the trustees also heard reports on the increased focus on academics and a facilities master plan with broad ideas on future growth and campus boundaries, and trustees voted to change the college's mascot. The council approved the appointment of Dr. Kyle Torke and Dr. Janie Brown to the committee in charge of developing a new athletics identity.


Dr. Anderson asked about the status of the report on the role of chairs, which had been given by the Academic Council to Dr. Maher last year. Dr. Francis said the report had 4 basic recommendations and 8 secondary recommendations. The main recommendations were:

  1. provide formal training for department chairs. Dr. Francis said that while a

  2. formal plan is still being developed, the college has responded with several sessions, such as the one by Dr. Orlando Taylor on diversity.
  3. develop guidelines for release time, summer compensation and support staff.

  4. All chairs received some summer compensation this year, Dr. Francis said, and there was additional course releases for 5 chairs and program directors.
  5. find regular times for chairs to gather and discuss issues related to chairs.

  6. Related to this, the membership of the curriculum committee is being clarified.
  7. allow no teaching overloads of chairs. Dr. Francis said his view is that no professor should teach overloads. The college is in the third year of a plan to eliminate overloads and bring down courses taught by part-time faculty to 20 percent.
The 8 secondary recommendations were taken to deans and the reorganization committee.


The council discussed the college's hiring policies related to diversity. Dr. Francis spoke of Dr. Orlando Taylor's talk on diversity and said that search committees have a commitment to go out and do the search in an appropriate manner.

Dr. Lambert said that the college's legal commitment is to the EEO statement for hiring. He said that hiring a diverse faculty and staff in a nondiscriminatory manner is an administrative priority.

Dr. Helvey asked if the college would use more money or tenure track appointments in diversity recruiting. If so, she asked, was it possible that non-tenure track faculty members on a search committee might be looking for a candidate who would take their future tenure track position.

Dr. Francis said that the college is flexible in rank, salary and tenure in recruiting, but that he hoped that in no way would the committee members be affected by these issues related to the person being hired.

Dr. Lee asked what should be the procedure if there were problems in the search. Dr. Francis said the committee should go to the dean. If there were further questions or problems, the provost would meet with the dean and the committee members.

Dr. Lambert said that Dr. Taylor's message was that the hiring process includes a commitment to the importance of intellectual diversity that transcends other factors. Dr. Lambert said the college needed to have some teeth in its procedures, and that it was the provost's responsibility to shut down the search if it were not done correctly.

In response to a question by Prof. Rubeck, Dr. Lambert said the college had no hiring quotas.


Dr. Basirico said that after discussion at the October faculty meeting, there appeared to be no serious objections to the new faculty evaluation forms. Some changes in the document, such as the wording of questions, will be made after the suggestions from faculty. The old evaluation form will be used this fall with the goal of having a new evaluation form ready for Fall 2000.


Dr. Green updated Council on the status of the Fall Report.

Academic Council adjourned at 5:35.

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