Academic Council Meeting

November 19, 2004


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


Members Present: Skip Allis, Jim Bissett, Mike Calhoun, Anne Cassebaum, David Copeland, Gerald Francis, Charity Johansson, Leo Lambert, Jana Lynn Patterson, Barbara Rhoades, Doug Redington, Jean Schwind, Sharon Spray, and Barbara Taylor.


I. Approval of Minutes:

The minutes of the October 15 meeting were approved with the following corrections.  The sentence on page 3, in the first paragraph that read “Barbara Taylor stated that some faculty have also asked for discussion as to why department chairs don’t change or rotate,” was deleted and in the first sentence of the paragraph, “especially when chairs in some departments do not rotate” was added.  In Charity Johansson’s report on page 2, the last sentence, “She” was changed to “The committee.”


II. Feedback on Faculty Meeting of November 5, 2004:

            No council members reported comments from the faculty regarding the November meeting.


III. Fall Report:

            Dean Jana Lynn Patterson reported on the progress of the Fall Report. She explained that page 6 of the report “Contract Status by Academic Department” (added this year) had been edited from an earlier version and that a note page had been added to show where we got the information for the packet.  She also reported that some statistical information was rolled into the report from last spring.  From now on, the fall report will only contain statistical information, and the spring report will contain committee reports. Council requested only minor changes to the report, including a line listing adjunct faculty who teach only private lessons in music and possible teachers in HED/PED. Dean Patterson stated that the changes would be made and the report would be printed double sided on recycled paper on Monday, November 29.  Dr. Redington thanked Dean Patterson, Dr. Francis, and the Provost office staff and Bernice Foust for the work done on the report.


IV. Full Professor, Senior Lecturer:

Full Professor – Professor Michael Calhoun led the discussion by reading an amendment to the definition of full professor from Professor Jean Schwind. The definition, which is still in the revision process, currently reads as follows:


Professors should, beyond what is expected of faculty at other ranks, have established a pattern of consistent and exceptional teaching, scholarship, and institutional service. They should be recognized as master teachers and advisors who uphold high professional and ethical standards in their contacts with students. They should be currently engaged in work that extends a significant record of past scholarship. Their service to the University should reflect understanding of its purposes and demonstrable leadership in fulfilling these purposes.


Senior Lecturer – Professor Calhoun also gave a definition of senior lecturer as someone who has been doing the job of a lecturer and doing it well.  He stated that the language was taken from lecturer and integrated into the senior lecturer definition. The proposed definition reads as follows:


Senior lecturers must have demonstrated a successful record of effective teaching, active engagement in service to the institution and participation in professional activities that keep them abreast of their fields.


According to the proposal, six years of experience, of which at least four must be at Elon, are required before promotion to senior lecturer. Provost Francis questioned whether six years was adequate to consider someone a “senior” faculty member. It was noted that tenure-track faculty members are considered “senior” after going through the promotion and tenure process, moving from assistant to associate professor. This is normally a six-year process. Council also assumed that since the lecturer was part of the University’s revamping of the categories of its teaching faculty that anyone who had been an instructor and was now considered a lecturer could count her/his time as an instructor as part of the six years of experience needed to move from lecturer to senior lecturer.


Professor Calhoun’s committee also looked at eligibility for chair of promotion and tenure. The question had been raised as to whether the chair should be a full professor, but Professor Calhoun reported that there was strong feeling that anyone elected to P&T should be eligible to be the committee chair. He noted that committee members felt strongly that anyone elected to P&T should be committed to following strictly Elon’s guidelines for promotion and tenure. Also, he reported that the chair has no real responsibilities greater than other committee members.


As a final point on the promotion and tenure committee, Professor Calhoun suggested that guidelines for P&T and the Faculty Handbook contain information that explained that a positive recommendation from P&T would be based on a super-majority vote (3/4s of the voting members). Adding this to the handbook, it was noted, would not require a change in bylaws.


The definitions and changes, when approved by Council, will be brought to the faculty at either the December or February meeting.


V. Peer Review Committee:

            Professor Jean Schwind reported to Council her work on creating a Peer Review Committee, which, currently, is part of Council’s ad-hoc evaluation of teaching committee’s proposal for restructuring faculty evaluation. Professor Schwind provided Council with a proposed definition of the committee and its purpose in the evaluation process.  Professor Schwind explained that the senior review committee, as proposed, has been designed using the current peer review criteria adopted by the Love School of Business and that listed in the Faculty Handbook for evaluation of continuing- and lecturer-track faculty. If adopted, the new peer review policy would supersede any currently used at Elon.


Under the proposed policy, a peer-review committee would work with faculty members on track for promotion and tenure at the midpoint and at the end of the probationary period. The review committee members would be field specific, and the three-person peer review committee would be jointly chosen by the candidate for promotion, the dean and her/his department chair.


Under the proposal, faculty members would provide Unit Is, IIIs, IVs, and the Unit V for the peer review committee. Council members questioned the timing of the delivery of these documents and the peer review committee response.  Several Council members suggested that the delivery date should not be too close to the October 15 deadline for P&T portfolio submission nor too early in the semester. A late date might not give the candidate for promotion time to respond. A date of September 1 or earlier might necessitate candidates for promotion spending much of the summer working on the tenure portfolio. One solution suggested was to have the assorted evaluative units collected by deans and submitted to the peer review committee rather than by the candidate for promotion.


Council discussed the nature of the peer review committee’s report, whether it should be developmental, evaluative, or both. Council members also questioned whether a summative statement recommending or not recommending tenure or promotion should be included in the report by the peer review committee. A concern was raised that under current Handbook guidelines, continuing-track and lecture-track faculty undergoing a contract-extension review do not receive the report of the peer review committee. This is inconsistent with the current proposal, which requires that senior faculty reviews for tenure-track faculty be sent to the candidate.


Professor Schwind said she would use Council’s recommendations and questions to rework the peer review proposal to bring back to Council in December.


VI. Feedback on Board of Trustees Meeting: 

            Professor Redington reported that six faculty members attended the Board of Trustees meeting as guests: Professors Van Bodegraven, G. Taylor, G. Smith and Redington, Dean Jana Lynn Patterson and B. Olive-Taylor.  Council received and discussed e-mails and a written report from Professor Bodegraven of her reactions to the board meeting.  It was noted that there was input from the Student Government Association at the meeting, but not from faculty. Further, information discussed by the Board members was not shared with faculty. Dr. Lambert stated that Dr. Francis would bring the board together for a full day in February, with the morning set aside for faculty discussions with Academic Council and the afternoon for talks on student housing. 


VII. Feedback from the College of Arts and Sciences:

            Professor Sharon Spray reported for the College of Arts and Sciences.  A request was made for a budget line to be added to draw on for travel to conferences outside a faculty member’s discipline.  Dr. Francis stated that the university worked to take faculty to conferences dealing with experiential learning and study abroad, and similar programs all the time.  Any faculty attending these kinds of conferences for the University, the president and provost noted, should go to the person in charge of the special program to request the needed funds.  If faculty are not sure of who is in charge, they should contact Dr. Midgette or the provost’s office.



VIII. Academic Council Priorities Updates and Other Issues:

  • Budget Survey; Council has received approximately 40 percent more surveys than last year.  Dr. Francis reminded everyone that budget needs should be in his office by December 1. 
  • An update on family policy should be made at the December Academic Council meeting.
  • A report on the search and hire policies should also be made at the December meeting.
  • Tony Crider will provide a report in December on reassigned time. Professor Crider and other members of the teaching load and workload committee have compiled information on the ways that departments have implemented the program during its inaugural year.
  • Registration issues brought up in e-mail from Steve Deloach have been addressed in the academic affairs council and will be discussed at the December meeting if need be.
  • The December Council meeting time was changed to 1-3 p.m. on December 8.
  • A request that students on probation–who currently can take only 12 credit hours–be allowed to take 14 credit hours will be discussed at the December meeting.  
  • The deadline for the final exam period survey is December 6. About 75 surveys have already been received.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:05 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,


Bernice Foust

David Copeland