Academic Council Meeting

March 19, 2004


The meeting was called to order at 2:46 p.m. by Council chair, Jeff Clark.


Members Present: Jim Bissett, Mike Calhoun, Lisa Carloye, Anne Cassebaum, Jeff Clark, David Copeland, Yoram Lubling, Jana Lynn Patterson, Tim Peeples, Doug Redington, and Barbara Taylor 


Guests Present:  Laurence Basirico, Chair of the Curriculum Committee,  Janie Brown, Chair of Faculty and Staff Development Committee,  Anthony Crider, Assistant Professor-Physics and  Steven House, Dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences,  Nancy Midgette, Associate Provost,  Jane Romer, Chair of Advising and Advocacy Committee and  Gabie Smith, Chair of the Student Life Committee.


I. Approval of Minutes: The minutes of the February meeting were reviewed and approved with the following changes: Section VI. C. should reflect that the Intellectual Climate Committee has already been formed and has developed its goals.


II. Workload and Teaching Load Committee: Tony Crider distributed copies of the executive summary from the workload and teaching load committee’s proposal, along with guidelines for developing departmental guidelines for the distribution of reassignments. On behalf of the subcommittee, he requested faculty approval of the plan. Professor Crider also emphasized that the proposal is intended to help faculty achieve more effectively the work already expected of them; it is not intended to increase faculty workload, heighten the expectations of what faculty do, or increase the criteria by which faculty are evaluated.


Discussion revolved primarily around the establishment of guidelines for the distribution of reassignments. At the request of faculty involved in the March 5 Numen/Lumen discussion about the drafted plan, the subcommittee developed some “discussion points” to help guide departments as they created their own methods for distributing reassignments. Council raised the following issues concerning the guidelines as they were presented at the Council meeting: they need to be less vague; they tend to increase a competitive culture; they seem to lead to an increase in faculty expectations, despite the subcommittee’s intentions (i.e., the guidelines for the distribution of reassignments do not clearly carry forth the “spirit” of the proposal); and they need to make a stronger statement about institutional needs/goals/objectives/values that transcend department-level goals/needs/objectives/values.


After confirmation that the subcommittee would continue working to address these issues connected to the guidelines for distribution of reassignments, Council voted unanimously to support the proposal from the committee.


III. Faculty Advising and Advocacy Committee:  Jane Romer reported to Council that the Faculty Advising and Advocacy committee was now ready to recommend that the president appoint a faculty member to serve as ombudsman. The committee recommends that the person must be a respected senior faculty member, must have excellent communication skills, and must commit to an initial term of three years. This person’s role would be to serve the faculty. The ombudsman would listen, discuss, refer, suggest a course of action, meditate and work for a win/win situation. That person must agree to be trained and also agree to work in the summer (summer stipend). Jane Romer asked for Council’s support in presenting the proposal to faculty.


The following revisions were suggested. First, the ombudsperson should be appointed by consensus of the president and Academic Council, and renewal would be based on joint approval of the same two parties. Second, it should be made clearer that the ombudsperson would not report to anyone or any body in order to maintain the necessary neutrality and independence of the office; however, the ombudsperson would submit a summary report each year to the president and Academic Council. This report would not include any identifying details but, instead, would present general summary data and information. Third, the ombudsperson’s services should be limited to faculty. Finally, the faculty advocacy program as a whole should be evaluated jointly by the president and Academic Council.


Council voted to endorse the Faculty Advising and Advocacy Committee report with the preceding revisions.


IV. Feedback from Faculty Attending Trustees Meeting:  Larry Basirico, Janie Brown and Gabie Smith spoke to Council about their experience at the March Trustee Meeting. The two main issues addressed were the possible establishment of a law school and faculty workload. It was also reported that the Board voted to eliminate the by-law that required a minimum ratio of UCC members to non-UCC members on the Board.


The Board accepted and supports the feasibility report on the law school, supports the establishment of a law school if the necessary money can be raised, and created a subcommittee that has sixty days to report back to the Board on progress related to the law school initiative.


V. March Faculty Meeting Feedback: 

a.   Elections: The discussion on Academic Council’s role in preparing a slate for at-large members was tabled for discussion during closed session at the end of the meeting.

  1. By-Laws changes: There was no discussion about feedback from faculty concerning the by-law changes.
  2. Law School: Discussion was directed at issue related to ongoing work related to the feasibility of establishing a law school, particularly ongoing faculty involvement and the date by which the Board subcommittee would be reporting back on fundraising progress. Council recommended a faculty member be included on the Board’s subcommittee and calculated that the subcommittee should be reporting progress sometime in early- to mid-May.


VI. Progress on Priorities:


  1. Diversity: Student Diversity – Jana Lynn Patterson reported that international deposits were up.
  2. Definition of Service – Tim Peeples reported that the committee is continuing its work, currently developing suggested guidelines for reassignment distribution that will more clearly communicate the University’s commitment to the value of institutional service. He stated that the committee is prepared to speak at the April Faculty Meeting.


Doug Redington reported that there are two forms on pages 250 and 252 in the faculty handbook not being used to assess service, one of the issues raised by the committee’s work.


VII. Spring Report Update – Jana Lynn Patterson suggested that all statistical data from the Spring Report be moved to the Fall report, focusing the Spring Report on committee reports and the Fall report on statistical data. Council responded favorably but decided to maintain past practices this year.


VIII. Advising Feedback Update:  Council discussed a report from Becky Olive-Taylor concerning an advising feedback form. (See Attached) The one concern raised was related to the use of class time for the assessment.


IX. Proxy Voting Issue at Faculty Meetings:  The issue of proxy voting was raised by some faculty who were required to participate in orientation activities which conflicted with the Faculty Meeting. Jeff Clark quoted “The Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure” by Sturgis, which advises against proxy voting. Council decided not to pursue further the adoption of proxy voting and, instead, agreed that efforts should be made in the future not to schedule major events requiring faculty participation that conflict with Faculty Meetings.


X. Planning for April Faculty Meeting:  Jeff Clark asked Council to let him know if there were anything that they would like to be considered for April faculty meeting.


XI. Other Business:  Jeff Clark reported that the Intellectual Climate Committee had been convened and received its charge.  Doug Redington distributed a report from the committee outlining their goals.  See Attached.  Jeff Clark asked Council to read the report and get back to him with questions.


At 4:45 pm Nancy Midgette was excused and the elected members of Council nominated persons to fill openings on the Promotions and Tenure Committee.


The meeting adjourned at ­­­4:58 pm.


Respectfully Submitted,

Bernice Foust

Tim Peeples