Academic Council

Minutes for December 14, 2001



Present:  Jeff Clark, Joyce Davis, Gerry Francis, Don Grady, Pam Kiser, Leo Lambert, Todd Lee, Yoram Lubling, Buck McGregor, Becky Olive-Taylor, Tim Peeples, Jean Schwind (Chair).


Guests:  Ann Cahill, Doug Redington, and Mary Wise



I.                    The meeting of elected members was convened at 1:30 PM.  The meeting of all members was called to order at 2:50 PM.


II.                 Congratulations were bestowed upon Council member Lisa Carloye on the birth of her son, Benjamin.


III.               Minutes from the November 16, 2001, meeting were approved.


IV.              Council received an email requesting that the Academic Council agenda be published via “facstaff” email prior to each meeting to facilitate faculty input. Council acknowledged that this practice will enhance communication with faculty and agreed to post future agenda before monthly Academic Council meetings beginning in February 2002. Other issues raised in this email concerning Council’s Curriculum Committee Review will be discussed at the February meeting.


V.                 President Lambert and Mary Wise reported on the Center for Innovations in Teaching and Learning at Elon University.  The philosophy department has expressed considerable interest in this project and has contributed ideas about the functions and physical design of such a center.  President Lambert recommends appointing a group to investigate issues related to the center and to provide direction for its planning and implementation. He said that Elon University is committed to providing whatever resources the steering committee deems necessary to establish this center.  Council expressed concern regarding the expenditure of funds for this type of center at the expense of research and development funds and support for faculty attendance at professional conferences.  Other concerns that will need to be addressed include the need to maintain connectivity between institutional support for the “scholarship of teaching” and more traditional disciplinary scholarship and to integrate various campus initiatives related to teaching and learning.


VI.              Doug Redington reported on the progress of the Ad Hoc Committee on Senior Faculty Role in Promotion, Tenure, and Professionalization.  The committee’s research has included a questionnaire for department chairs as well as a survey of Associated New American Colleges (ANAC) schools.  The committee has come to several points of agreement, which were summarized in the interim report presented to Council.  One point of agreement is the need for more faculty voice in the PTP process.  Points considered in the ensuing discussion included:  1) the effect of department chair turnover on the PTP process provides another argument for expanding senior faculty input; 2) the possible composition of the proposed council/committee of tenured and professionalized faculty by schools and divisions within Elon College; 3) whether the proposed council/committee should serve in an advisory capacity to the chair or dean or produce a separate evaluation of candidates for PTP; 4) the timeline and procedural steps of the PTP process.  The subcommittee has set a target date of February for their next report and hopes to meet with schools in March.


VII.            Dr. Francis brought questions to Council regarding sabbatical awards. He was specifically concerned about situations in which a faculty member could be awarded a sabbatical prior to being tenured or professionalized. If a sabbatical award recipient is subsequently denied tenure, s/he may not be able to fulfill the requirement of returning to teach at the university for one year following the sabbatical leave. Dr. Francis’s second question related to the composition of the Faculty Research and Development Committee. According to current membership guidelines, junior faculty who have never received a sabbatical may be making decisions about sabbatical awards.


Ann Cahill, chair of the Faculty Research and Development Committee, reported that her committee has agreed to examine the issue of faculty being awarded a sabbatical and then being denied tenure or professional status.  The committee does not believe that the composition of the committee interferes with sabbatical award process, since awards are granted on the merits of proposals.  Cahill reported that the FRD Committee is concerned about the wording in the Faculty Handbook regarding the criterion of six years of service in order to qualify for sabbatical leave.  It is implied but not stated that the six years of service should be full-time service.  Academic Council requested that the FRD Committee examine the Handbook for clarity and intent with respect to sabbatical guidelines and report back to Council.


VIII.         Dr. Francis reported on the work of the Faculty Salary Committee.  Although the committee’s work is not complete, their preliminary recommendation is that the salary adjustments needed to meet the New Century@Elon goal (that faculty salaries be in the top third of Associated New American Colleges) be completed in one year and be based on equity (gender and compression) and merit.  The salary-adjustment plan will include a substantial increase in salary for full professors as well as a more substantive salary increase for promotion.


IX.              Dr. Lambert announced that he plans to propose a reexamination of the professional track to the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees at its meeting on January 29, 2002.  The President requested that Academic Council hold special sessions in January to discuss alternatives to the professional track.


X.                 Jeff Clark reported on need for an assessment of the technology vision and specifically explained the need for evaluating how technology is serving faculty.  Council agreed on the importance of a faculty-based assessment of Elon’s technology initiatives and requested that ATACC conduct such an assessment to evaluate and track faculty satisfaction with the technology vision.


XI.              Council received an email from a faculty member concerned about proposed changes in University van policies.  The Student Affairs Office is putting together a plan to ensure safer procedures for transporting students and campus personnel.  Smith Jackson is leading this initiative, and it will involve faculty input.  New policies will not go into effect until late spring. 


XII.            Recommendations from Academic Council to the Calendar Committee were presented along with a related request from Council member Lisa Carloye.  It was determined that Carloye’s request to eliminate “partial weeks” from the calendar could not be implemented. Provost Francis accepted Council’s four recommendations. (See December 5, 2001, memo, below.) The Provost requested that Academic Council inform him once the additional teaching faculty representative to the Calendar Committee has been selected and asked that Council realize that the phrase “whenever possible” in recommendation 2 is key in the implementation of these recommendations. 


XIII.         An email from a faculty member about Council’s November 16, 2001, minutes was discussed. In response to a request that the Fall Report include graphics (i.e., a histogram showing the number of salaries in a given range), Council expressed reluctance to add to the length (and expense of producing) the Fall Report. Faculty who wish to create graphics can do so via Datatel. The writer also asked if this spring’s required sexual harassment workshops would clarify university procedures for handling alleged violations of the sexual harassment and professional boundaries policies. The Provost responded that the workshops will focus on sexual harassment. Responding to a final question about whether the faculty would review and discuss how the professional boundaries policy will be presented to students, Council noted that the task of determining how students will be informed of this policy has been referred to the Student Life Committee


XIV.         Don Grady reported that a revised and corrected version of Academic Council’s recommendations to the Budget Committee has been submitted.


XV.           The meeting adjourned at 5:00 PM.



Respectfully submitted,


Joyce Davis.





TO:                 Dr. Gerald Francis, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs


FROM:           Academic Council


DATE:            December 5, 2001


RE:                 University Calendar Committee



I. Background and Rationale


At its November meeting, Academic Council considered a report from Dr. James Bissett, Council’s representative to the University Calendar Committee. The following recommendations stem from that report and the discussion it provoked.

Recommendations 1-2 concern the length of fall and spring semesters. Based on Dr. Bissett’s study past academic calendars, they are designed to provide sufficient class time for satisfying academic requirements and to ensure that faculty have time to complete other professional and scholarly responsibilities (research, writing, serving professional organizations, etc.).

Recommendations 3-4 concern teaching faculty representation on the Calendar Committee. The decisions of this committee profoundly affect teaching faculty on nine-month contracts. The length of the academic year partly determines the viability of Elon’s “teacher-scholar” ideal: teacher-scholars need adequate time to produce original scholarship and to stay current in their field of expertise. Because the academic calendar is particularly important to teaching faculty, increasing their representation on the Calendar Committee is desirable.  Furthermore, given the inherently complex task of creating annual academic calendars that satisfy the needs of the university’s varied constituencies and programs, it is appropriate that teaching faculty members of the committee serve on long-term, staggered appointments.


II. Recommendations


Recommendation 1: The Calendar Committee should strive to provide fall and spring semesters that are at least 13 but less than 14 weeks in length.


Recommendation 2: The Calendar Committee is encouraged to follow these guidelines whenever possible in order to achieve 13-week semesters:


a)      the first day of class in the fall should be the last Tuesday in August;

b)      the last day of class in the fall should be the first Thursday in December;

c)      the first day of class in the spring should be one week plus one day after the Winter Term final exam;

d)      the last day of class in the spring should be on Tuesday of the week before graduation;

e)      graduation should be the penultimate Saturday in May.


Recommendation 3: The number of teaching faculty representatives appointed by Academic Council to serve on the Calendar Committee should be increased from one to two.


Recommendation 4: Teaching faculty representatives to the Calendar Committee should serve staggered, 3-year terms.