Academic Council Meeting Minutes

September 17, 1999


Meeting convened at 2:35 p.m.

Members Present: Professors B. Anderson, L. Basirico, B. Hamm, T. Green, L. Helvey, M. Kingston, T. Lee, B. McGregor, F. Rubeck, D. Thurlow, and Provost G. Francis.

Also Present: President L. Lambert, Professor B. Blake, and Campus Shop Manager J. Childress.

August 27, 1999 minutes were approved with an amendment to indicate attendance of T. Green.
 

Campus Shop Book Ordering Policy

Council was referred to a recent e-mail complaint by a faculty member and Ms. Childressí written response which outlined ordering and stocking information for the faculty memberís courses. Ms. Childress explained the Campus Shop policy for ordering text books. She indicated that order quantity is based on several factors including: professorsí estimated enrollment, course registration numbers, and history of past course enrollment. Further, Ms. Childress indicated that, although there was concern about restocking fees, the campus shop is aware of internet competition and the need to have sufficient supplies to serve students needs.

Considerable discussion ensued and various council members made suggestions which Ms. Childress agreed to give serious consideration. Suggestions included: L. Basirico Ė the need to order more texts for courses that may have other markets (i.e., Spanish texts that may be purchased by others not in the designated courses). Prof. Lee and Dr. Helvey indicated the difficulty for faculty to provide estimated enrollment for some courses and requested Campus Shop provide faculty with additional information such as past enrollment history.

Dr. Hamm asked about the accuracy of the faculty memberís complaint. Ms. Childress indicated that there may have been miscommunication from the student to the faculty member in that the course text books were in the Campus Shop.

Ms. Childress requested that faculty place Spring Term book orders as soon as possible so that the Campus Shop may attempt to have texts in stock prior to any possible Y2K problems at the end of the year.
 

Health Care Subcommittee Report/Request

Dr. Blake requested that council consider working toward making the Academic Council Health Care Subcommittee a standing committee. Dr. Blake indicated that this would allow continuity of purpose and procedure for the committee. Dr. Blake reported that the committee is currently working on issues concerning post-retirement health care options. The issues include: length that a retiree may stay on the college plan (current length is 2 years) and the possibility of the college having a fulltime wellness director. Dr. Francis noted that Ms. Jo Boone is currently serving as wellness director on a 1/2 time basis.

Dr. Lambert suggests that formation of a standing committee on health care may be problematic in that it would be desirable to have both faculty and staff on such a committee and that a standing committee of the faculty would by definition exclude staff. President Lambert suggested the possibility of a free standing committee on health care that that would report to the President. In this arrangement, staff would not be excluded, and council could nominate faculty representatives. Dr. Blake restated the desire for the need for a committee on health care that is permanent in nature. Dr. Lambert indicated that he would talk with Mr. Whittington concerning these issues and will provide council with his thoughts on this matter at the October meeting.
 

Faculty Evaluation Subcommittee Report

Dr. Basirico reported on the development of a new instrument for student evaluation of faculty teaching. He reported that the instrument has been developed and well received by faculty participating in a recent pilot study. L. Basirico, on behalf of the subcommittee, asked that the new instrument be adopted. Prof. Anderson and Dr. Francis indicated that council will need to take the instrument to the full faculty for discussion, suggestions, and possible editing.

Dr. Basirico indicated that the new instrument addresses several limitations of the prior instruments while focusing on essential teaching qualities. Dr. Basirico explained that the new instrument does not include items directly addressing the course so as to avoid confusion of teacher and course items. He also explained that the instrument would yield, among other information, a single indicator which would be computed as the average across all unweighted items.

Considerable discussion ensued and various council members asked questions and made suggestions. Dr. Helvey asked if the subcommittee could breakdown the pilot results by gender of faculty being evaluated. She indicated that studies have shown gender differences in how students rate male and female professors. Dr. McGregor (also on the subcommittee) indicated that this may be possible Ė Dr. Basirico and Dr. McGregor will look into this. Dr. Lee asked how valuable the single indicator would be. Dr. Basirico suggested that the ideal would be to have several indicators, and he noted the reality of administrationís desire of a single indicator. Dr. Green asked for clarification of what numeric feedback would be provided and suggested that a frequency distribution of scores for each item be provided. Council discussion indicated that in addition to a single indicator, information as to frequency, mean, and standard deviation of each item would likely be provided.

Discussion continued as to how the instrument could be both evaluative and developmental. Dr. Lambert pointed out that looking at a single indicator for evaluating faculty teaching would be inappropiate. Dr. Lambert indicated that student evaluation of faculty comprises only a small part of what to consider in the evaluation process, and pointed to other indicators of faculty teaching effectiveness including peer observation and syllabi.

Prof. Anderson indicated that the new instrument would be a major item of discussion for the next faculty meeting. He asked that Dr. Francis take the instrument to the college deans prior to the next faculty meeting, while council would provide the instrument and information to the faculty. Anderson indicated that council will at the next council meeting consider what councilís recommendation will be made concerning adoption , as well as the issues of how and how often to administer the instrument. Council agreed with this course of action.
 

Affirmative Action/Diversity Policy Discussion

Dr. Francis reported that he had found in discussion with concerned groups of faculty that there was a clear agreement that the college needed to increase the diversity of its faculty and that there was an expressed need for guidelines to be set up concerning how to accomplish increased diversity. Dr. Francis suggested that the guidelines could include seeking a larger, more diverse pool of potential candidates, and keeping in mind a goal of increased diversity in areas such as cultural background throughout the search. Dr. Green agreed with the need for increased diversity and suggested that clear written guidelines would be desirable.

Much discussion followed concerning ways in which the college could increase diversity. Issues were discussed concerning how directive job advertisements could be, as well as the possibility of salary incentives for candidates who would increase diversity. Dr. Lambert pointed out the important role that networking could play in allowing the college to actively recruit prospective faculty members from graduate institutions known to graduate individuals of culturally diverse backgrounds. Dr. Helvey asked if, in the pursuit of diversity, administration would be willing to handle the added financial costs. Dr. Francis indicated that the college would. Dr. Helvey asked if potential new faculty who added to college diversity would be treated preferentially with respect to tenure-track appointments. Dr. Francis indicated that this would be addressed on a case by case basis.

Prof. Anderson raised the issues of a general institutional statement of the college on diversity. Much discussion followed concerning the viability of written procedural guidelines. Prof. Anderson asked Drs. Lambert and Francis to further consider this issue and to bring to the next council meeting a proposed way to add clarity to current college procedures in light of our institutional goal of increased diversity and to provide council with a general statement that ties these issues together.
 

Preparation for Academic Council Budget Priorities

Dr. McGregor reported that he is preparing to gather information from faculty concerning budget issues via e-mail. Dr. McGregor indicated, after e-mail and other forms of input, council will likely bring budget priorities to the faculty in November.
 

Future Reports from Standing and Other Committees

Prof. Anderson indicated that Dr. Jeff Clark will be at councilís next meeting to report on work of the Academic Technology and Computing Committee. Anderson also reported that Dr. Jean Schwind will soon report to council about the work of the General Studies Council.

Prof. Anderson reported that Dr. Tom Henricks will report to council on behalf of the Committee on Academic Reorganization and the Faculty Governance Committee.
 

Faculty Meeting Location

Prof. Anderson reported that future faculty meetings will be held in Moseley at 2:45 with a seating arrangement change so that seats will face north.
 

Academic Calendar Committee

Dr. Lee volunteered to be councilís representative on the Academic Calendar Committee.
 

Discussion of UCLA Survey of Faculty

Dr. Helvey pointed out that survey results showed women faculty members in general at Elon College reported lower job security and more stress over promotion review as compared to other institutions.

Academic Council requested the Office of the VPAA provide faculty with a summary of the survey findings and that the college continue to administer and track the survey in a continuous manner.
 

Other Business

Dr. Francis reported that Dr. Richard Haworth will serve on the Graduate Mission Task Force.

Dr. Lambert reported that the recent 1 million dollar gift from Isabella Cannon would go toward building the Elon College endowment and that the endowment would yield $50,000 yearly for academic programs beginning September 1, 2000.
 

Brief Discussion of Elected Members of Council

Council members discussed issues of concern for upcoming meetings.
 

Meeting adjourned at approximately 5:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Tom Green


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