Academic Council Meeting

Friday, August 27, 1999

Meeting convened at 3:00 p.m.

Present: Prof. Anderson, Prof. L. Basirico, Provost G. Francis, C. Fulkerson, Prof. B. Hamm, Prof. Helvey, Prof. M. Kingston, Prof. Lee, Prof. McGregor, Pres. L. Lambert, Prof. Rubeck, Prof. Thurlow, VP G. Whittington

Chair Anderson welcomed Prof. Todd Lee to the committee.


Chair announced that guests Mr. Whittington and Mr. Fulkerson were present to bring the Council up to date on the College's facilities master plan and on the technology plan.

VP Whittington (Financial and Business Affairs) reviewed the Facilities Master Plan by discussing the memo and calling attention to the master plan committee. Students still need to be appointed by the SGA. Mr. Whittington noted that Robert Spillman and Dan Harrigan (consultants) are helping with the plan and have a long history with Elon College.

The scope and charge of the Facilities Master Plan Committee is as follows and found on page 3 of his memo to Academic Council:

"The purpose of the facilities master plan is to assess the impact of facility needs at Elon College over the next ten years based on the strategic plan of the College. The plan will address logical campus boundaries, potential land acquisitions and potential land use. The effect of the new by-pass will also be considered. Also, the plan will address current and future facility needs in all areas of the campus and provide for a plan to address those needs. Finally, the campus community will have significant input into the addressing how strategic campus initiatives can be enhanced by facility development."
Mr. Whittington reminded council of the need for confidentiality with regard to certain items, such as land use acquisitions and emphasized that the process of facilities planning should be a campus-wide process.

Council asked Mr. Whittington to distinguish between a "strategic plan" and a "facilities plan." He indicated that the two are intertwined. Programmatic development has implications for facilities, and vice versa; and all have ties to the New Vision.

Dr. Francis stressed the need for understanding the college's facilities while developing a strategic plan. Mr. Whittington noted that one of the first things that is necessary is to determine the current state of facility usage. Factors that affect this plan include: usage, best use of current facility, use at current time, future use.

Dr. Lambert emphasized that all of the above facilities/programmatic issues are intertwined.

Chair Anderson asked Mr. Whittington to make a similar presentation to the entire faculty.


Chris Fulkerson was asked to provide an update on the Technology Vision Mr. Fulkerson informed council that a committee has worked since April gathering data for a 32 page report which was sent to the Long Range Planning Committee. The report will eventually be placed on the internet for feedback (Technology Plan may be found at range/techplan.htm. He also presented a summary of the technology's committee's finding. Major issues include the importance of academic programs, the need for help and training, the need for better equipment, software, the replacements of such, and organizational issues. Attached is a copy of the Executive Summary that he presented.

Academic Council members asked about the idea of requiring laptops for students. The technology committee suggested that this should be required, but the Long Range Planning Committee feels that this could not be done. However, the LRPC did suggest that an environment be encouraged at the college which enhanced the need for and ease of student's use of laptops. Dr. Francis cautioned against requiring laptops because if required, the college would then be responsible for caring for an additional 4,000 computers.

A council member asked for clarification on goal #5 of the Vision for Technology ("Provide the infrastructure and support that enable improved communications and operations technologies to be introduced in a timely and efficient manner."). Mr. Fulkerson noted that approximately $1.5 million annually would be needed to meet this goal with a one time expenditure of $3 million. Dr. Lambert emphasized the need to keep technology at a level at which it will be used. The college should grow, but must do so at a pace and in a way that makes the technology usable. The college is not in a position to take expensive risks.

A council member then asked if there would be a process through which faculty would have input into the technology plan. Mr. Fulkerson indicated affirmatively, and Dr. Francis said that after the plan is tweaked it will go out in some type of format for feedback from the faculty and staff. Additionally, Mr. Fulkerson will make a presentation on the committee's report at the next faculty meeting.

Council then asked about the possibility of distance learning and whether or not Elon would head in that direction. Mr. Fulkerson said that this idea is simply at a preliminary stage of investigation. He reaffirmed that the college does not want a program in which contact with students is lost. All present reaffirmed the need for a thorough investigation before this take places and that no distance learning programs be developed yet.

Dr. Lambert suggested that one use of the next SACS self-study might be to do a thorough investigation of technology at the college and its implications for various curricula. It was noted that we are only at Step 1 in our process of strengthening our technology and that Step 2 is still to follow.


Dr. Francis was asked to provide an update on academic reorganization and changes to the handbook. Dr. Francis deferred to Dr. Lambert.

Dr. Lambert informed council that one of the biggest questions in the reorganization is the question of the relative decision making responsibilities of the chairs, deans, and provost. He feels that the goal should be to streamline the decision-making process and to get decision-making closer to "home" (the departments). At the present, deans have been given decision making capabilities that AVP previously had.

The other question to be considered revolves around whether or not there should be additional schools and/or other professional recognition at the college. Dr. Lambert suggested that schools are attractive for gathering new resources and for support of new programs; but, at the same time, we must be mindful of keeping the Arts and Sciences at the core of the college and not as an afterthought. The notion of schools and the centrality of Arts and Sciences must be discussed in tandem. Also, the college must be mindful of the ways in which technology and international education figure into this formula.

A council member raised the question of timing. Dr. Lambert emphasized the need for timeliness in order to keep the decision-making process moving, especially with regard to issues central to faculty such as promotion, tenure, and other matters. Furthermore, he indicated that since Dr. Gill is stepping down as the Dean of Arts and Humanities it is essential to begin a search soon. However, this cannot be done until the academic reorganization takes place.

Council members expressed a real concern for thorough broad-based input from the faculty. Dr. Lambert emphasized that the task force issues will come before the entire faculty. Both Drs. Francis and Lambert reassured the council that broad-based input from the entire college community would be sought and emphasized that they would be open to considering every view and suggestion.

Dr. Lambert was asked to distinguish between schools and divisions. He noted that the differences is somewhat semantic. However, traditionally schools can be named and have a greater identity than divisions. Dr. Lambert noted that he is not in favor of having a school become an island that breaks away from the main activity of the campus and noted that schools tend to be more prestigious. This allows for more opportunity in fund raising. He reiterated that increasingly we must find additional economic resources for the college. Finally, Dr. Lambert noted that schools can help to identify areas of excellence easier than divisions. This potentially could help in the college's quest to establish a national reputation. Dr. Francis suggested that perhaps another area of the SACs self study could focus on how to strengthen the centrality of arts and sciences in the college.

Dr. Lambert said that a pivotal question for the college is to determine whether or not more professional schools are needed while considering how to nourish the emphasis of Arts and Sciences core at the college.

Council members expressed some concerns posed by AAUP campus members. Primarily, the fears are of the university model and the isolation of separate schools. Dr. Lambert reassured council that he does not want either to occur. He emphasized that the school will not move to a model that leads to disciplinary isolationism and also called attention to the false dichotomy between a university model and an Elon mode. We need to find the best of both worlds to fit our college's mission and needs.

Council members asked Dr. Lambert if we would consider nonprofessional graduate programs that could lead to a masters in a discipline (e.g., psychology, etc.). Dr. Lambert feels absolutely that this would be considered and emphasized that we need to consider every type of graduate education. Before doing this, however, we must develop a set of principles upon which we will build our graduate program.

Council chair asked Dr. Francis about the relationship between the Reorganization Task Force and the Governance Task Force. Dr. Francis noted that while they were separate committees, there were some issues will overlap and had to be dealt with immediately. For example, he noted that he has already had a meeting with Dr. Midgette (chair of PP&T) to discuss guidelines for that committee this year in the absence of the AVP. The change this year means the deans and the PP&T committee will make recommendations to the president. This will remain until the reorganization is complete.

Dr. Francis presented to the council a list of all of the faculty committees and their membership.


Chair of council asked members if there were any changes to be made to the council's priorities for the year. None were suggested.

Chair noted the appointment of Brad Hamm by Dr. Lambert to serve on the Budget Committee. He also announced that there will be a recommendation to the council from Dr. Lambert for the Health Benefits Committee (chaired by Dr. Bolin) to be more inclusive of the entire staff, not just the faculty. Dr. Lambert suggested that this committee should remain a subcommittee of the council in order to insure faculty input, but it must also be inclusive of the entire staff.

Dr. Francis reminded the council that institutional priorities are on the web. He asked if people read them and for suggestions as how to best get people to read them.


The chair called attention to the council committee assignments for the year.

The November meeting was changed to November 12 and December 10 was established as the date for the December meeting.

The council nominated Clyde Ellis and Jane Wellford to serve on the Honor Code Hearing Board.

The chair announced that the agenda for the next meeting would include a presentation by the Committee to examine the Student Instrument. Dr. Basirico will make this presentation to the council.

Council members agreed that the subcommittee reports of committees formed by the council should go to the council before going to administration. However, it also agreed that it was appropriate and respectful for subcommittees to send out any information for review or in preparation for the council meeting concurrently to council members and the appropriate administrators.

Council discussed briefly the importance of the council priority that deals with diversity issues and reinforced that this priority should indeed not be overlooked.

Meeting adjourned by chair at 5:15.

Respectfully submitted,

Larry Basirico

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