Academic Council Meeting

October 17, 2003


The meeting was called to order at 2:50 pm.


Members Present: Jim Bissett, Mike Calhoun, Anne Cassebaum, Jeffrey Clark, David Copeland, Gerry Francis, Leo Lambert, Jana Lynn Patterson, Tim Peeples, Doug Redington, and Barbara Taylor


Members Absent: Lisa Carloye, Yoram Lubling


Guests Present: Vickie Somers, Director of Auxiliary Services and Kathy Scarborough, Campus Shop Manager


I. Approval of Minutes:  The September minutes were reviewed and approved with two minor editing corrections and the following change:

On page three, under Annual Award for Faculty, the minutes were change to reflect that the Distinguished Scholar Award, the Daniels/Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching, the Periclean Award for Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility and the             Staff Member of the Year Award were all part of Doug Redington’s request that the amount given with these awards be increased.


II. October faculty non-meeting feedback:  Jeff Clark asked the Council for feedback about the cancellation of the October faculty meeting. It was noted that there will now be more business to take care of at the November faculty meeting, but there were no complaints.


III. Course-pack Pricing (follow-up):  Invited guests Vickie Somers and Kathy Scarborough presented information and answered questions concerning course pack pricing and ordering policies.  Vickie Somers explained that the bookstore handled over 43,000 books this fall semester, and their 3 % reordering rate is a very good one. They do order at 100% for freshman classes. They plan to be more aggressive about notifying faculty and department secretaries when texts are not available. Chris Bunting, textbook manager, will write down when and how he contacts faculty members. He will also contact faculty more often, and after the second time, the deans and their assistants will be copied. Vickie said that contacting faculty secretaries about book orders has worked out well. She also noted that currently only 45% of spring orders are in despite the deadline.


Vickie Somers then explained that course packs are expensive primarily because of the royalties charged and reminded us that faculty can ask for an estimate. They use Xanadu because it is the only company that allows them to return course packs.


Jeff Clark thanked Vickie Somers and Kathy Scarborough for the good work that the Campus Shop does do.


IV. Progress on Priorities

·        Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Diversity:  Barbara Taylor reported on the committee’s work. They have emailed all chairs to gather information about what strategies have or have not been successful in creating diversity in their respective departments. The committee has also informed chairs of publications the committee has purchased to serve as resources to assist departments in their searches. Strategies discussed by the committee so far include A.B.D. fellowships, hiring a person to coordinate efforts, bringing deans of historically black institutions to our campus (like we do with guidance counselors), and visiting their campuses. It was noted that lack of diversity as an issue is not unique to Elon. Barbara stated that the impact of the Diversity Committee would be long term as changes would not occur quickly. A suggestion was made that someone be assigned on every search committee to be a champion for diversity.

·        HealthCare Advisory Committee:  Barbara Taylor also reported on the Health Care Advisory Committee which met on September 30 and October 15 to discuss plan renewal. The committee heard a report from a consultant who noted that there had been no significant increases [0-5%] in healthcare premiums in the years from 1994-2001. The increase was 10% in 2002 and 14% in 2003. The estimate for next year, if we remained with Cigna was a 30% increase. Options were to reduce benefits and pay the same, or pay more to keep the same benefits, or look into changing carriers.

Factors the committee examines when considering changing carriers include network disruption, overlap of providers between networks, pharmacy disruption, cost, and client and provider satisfaction/carrier relations. After hearing reports on all of these factors, the committee made a recommendation to Dr. Lambert to change carriers from Cigna to United HealthCare. United HealthCare is offering a comparable plan, minimal disruption in providers, minimal disruption in pharmacy (actually better for Elon’s top 50 drugs), only a 16% increase in cost, and higher ratings than Cigna for provider and client satisfaction. Dr. Lambert accepted the committee’s recommendations, and the change will be communicated to employees as soon as possible. He also stated that United HealthCare agreed to fix administrative costs for the next three years.


Concerns were expressed about the opportunity for people to ask questions about the new plan. Barbara stated that Ron Klepcyk and Stephanie Page in Human Resources are working on a transition plan. She also stated that a person could go to United HealthCare’s web site at to get information on prescription drugs and physicians.


·        Limited and Part-time Faculty Committee: Anne Cassebaum reported on the need for more part-time faculty voice and representation. She distributed the results of the survey of part time faculty and noted that there are currently 93 part time faculty without vote or voice in Academic Council or faculty meetings; this number represents over a third of the faculty employed by the college. As these faculty members make important contributions to the university, it is in the interest of all for them to be represented, thus she proposed, on behalf of the committee, that adjuncts be allowed to elect a representative to Council with vote. Doug Redington asked how many adjuncts in that group were above 18 hours and thus able to vote as faculty. Gerry Francis concurred that few in that group were. Further questions were raised about whether adjuncts needed a special representative, whether this would be a troublesome precedent, whether their vision of Elon affairs would be a short sighted one, whether enough adjuncts had replied to the survey to make it valid and whether an additional vote on Council resulting in an even number of voting members would cause problems in a tie. Replies were made that adjuncts are a distinct group who need to be represented, just as groups like academic support staff and divisions and schools are. Only a third of adjuncts replied to the survey, but that was a greater number comparatively than replies of full time faculty to Academic Council surveys. It was argued that adjunct faculty issues would be best represented by an adjunct faculty member who would bring an important viewpoint to Council. The motion was seconded by Jim Bissett and failed in a 7-2 vote. Amendments to the motion will be discussed at the next meeting.


V. Report of Law School Feasibility Task Force:  Tim Peeples reported that this committee is still in Phase 1 of the Law School Feasibility Study, with the issue being argued fully both pro and con. They are currently looking at the benefits and disadvantages of a law school being located in Greensboro and are continuing to consider how having a law school would impact Elon in the immediate and more distant future. Before a report is made to the Board of Trustees in March, the Curriculum Committee and the Graduate Council will be asked to vote on the issue and prepare a narrative statement with their evaluation and questions and suggestions for the Board to consider. Leo Lambert mentioned the advice he had received that an excellent faculty and library were keys to starting well, and optimum facilities were less important.


VI. Board of Trustees Self-Study:  Dr. Lambert reported on his enthusiasm for the work that the Board of Trustees has undertaken to increase their effectiveness. Richard Clait of Harvard University led a workshop stressing the need to focus on extraordinary not ordinary matters, to deal with top concerns of the President, and to have fewer presentations. Ways to increase contact between faculty, students and trustees were discussed; the issue of a faculty elected representative came up, but Leo Lambert suggested that would lead to a conflict of interest.


VII. Statement of Professional Standards:  Jim Bissett submitted to Council a copy of the revised and reorganized statement of professional standards with changes highlighted. Concern was expressed that the item on making public statements was deleted. After discussion, it was agreed to reinsert some version of it before presenting it to the faculty for a vote.


VIII. Faculty Handbook Process:  Due to the lack of time, Council decided to bring this item back at the next meeting.


IX. Complaints about parking on campus during home football games: Doug Redington discussed complaints and said he hoped that those had been resolved by the policy recently announced over email if it is enforced properly.


X. Scholarship:  Concerns have been raised by a number of faculty that their Dean or Associate Dean is assigning a specific number to the requirement to have peer reviewed scholarship for promotions and tenure. All agreed that the scholarship requirement should not be quantified and that this is against the spirit of the report of the Ad Hoc Committee to Review Tenure and Promotion Criteria which was approved by the faculty. Gerry Francis maintained that all deans had communicated back to him that this quantification was not happening. (The sole exception to this was in the Love School of Business where accreditation requirements mandate a certain number.)  Council members repeated their concern about recent reports that this quantification of publications was occurring. Jim Bissett and Jeff Clark will follow up to resolve this discrepancy.


The meeting was adjourned at 5:23 pm.