Faculty Senate


March 17, 2010, 3:30 PM                 Blount County Campus                    BL 108



I.          Suspension of Rules and Presentations by Olivia Daniel, Rob Whipple, and

            Dr. Mary Monroe-Ellis.

President Mark Fuentes introduced two students, Olivia Daniel and Rob Whipple, who offered a student perspective on several issues. These included the Carnegie Learning Program, the bill in the Tennessee Legislature to increase full-time to 14 credit hours, and academic freedom.  (see Attachments 1 and 2)


Dr. Mary Monroe-Ellis then spoke about the Transitional Studies program and the redesign of developmental courses. (see Attachment 3)


II.        Call to Order: Tom Gaddis

The meeting was called to order by Tom Gaddis. Members in attendance: Mark Fuentes (President), Wanda Scarbro (Past President), Dave Vinson (TBR Rep), Donn King (Parliamentarian), Joe Zitka (BCT), Trent Eades (English), Lawana Day (English), Sydney Gingrow (English), David Key (LA), Marilyn Harper (LA), Anita Maddox (LA), Meg Moss (Math), Ron Bridges (NBS), Michael Lusk (NBS), Jean Jackson (Library Services), Trish Roller (Transitional Studies), Pam Smith(Transitional Studies),Tom Gaddis (Business Officer/Division Street), Ashley Boone (Blount County), Jane Stribling (Magnolia Avenue). Guests: Craig Anderson, Kathy Byrd, Olivia Daniel (St), Suzanne Etheridge, Ed Francisco, Annie Gray, Ryan Jackson (St), Mary Monroe-Ellis, Keith Norris, Bob Stern, Amy Tankersley, Rob Whipple (St),


III.       Approval of Minutes: Tom Gaddis

            Minutes of the February meeting were approved as posted without objection.


IV.       Officer Reports:


                  Secretary: Jean Jackson – No Report


                  Communications: Ken Swayne – No Report


                  TBR Representative: Dave Vinson

The next sub council meeting will be held April 16. The new A-100 guidelines will be on the agenda. Dave will be serving on a committee that will focus on general education requirements.


                  President: Mark Fuentes

§ Send any suggestions for improving the final registration process to President Fuentes.

§ There is interest in forming a Legislative Committee. Those interested in serving on the committee may contact President Fuentes.

§ Shred Bins/Site Campus Locations: Marilyn Harper will check the status.

§ Legislation (HB3542) that would have changed the educational qualifications required for a college or university president in the state system was withdrawn.

§ Remember to behave professionally.

§ Notify President Fuentes of the names of newly elected representatives as departmental elections for Senate are held this month. The new senators will attend the April Senate meeting.

§ President Fuentes asked Dr. Edwards and Dr. Wise about the recent articles in the Jackson Sun regarding consolidation of community colleges and layoffs. They indicated that neither TBR nor the state is looking at consolidating any services at this time.

§ President Fuentes will keep Senate informed of any information related to performance funding.

§ The new Blount County Campus is nearing completion. The moving process is planned for June-July.

§ A section of the Higher Education Opportunity Act that will become effective July 1 will present some challenges. A key feature of this section of the federal law requires schools to provide textbook information, including title and cost, at the time a student registers for a course. President Fuentes will provide further information as procedures are developed for compliance.

§ The college is investigating the possibility of opening an east Knox County campus. A building located in Strawberry Plains is available for $8 million. Dr. Edwards is looking into funding and TBR approval.

§ The official name of the Goins Auditorium is the Goins Building Auditorium.


V.        Committee Reports:

                  Adjunct Faculty: Jonathan Morrell/William Gwin – No Report


                  Student Scholarships: David Key

The book sale is underway. Joan Easterly has done a wonderful job in organizing the sale and in collecting large numbers of books. Site campus locations had very successful sales.


                  Rules: Donn King – No Report


                  Nominating Committee: Jean Jackson – No Report


                  Promotion/Tenure: Mae Jean King (absent)

                  President Fuentes noted that peer meetings are underway.


                  Faculty Development: Ron Bridges

                  The committee is reviewing a draft of an updated Faculty Development Policy.


                  Faculty Lecture Series: Trent Eades

                  Toni McDaniel will present the second lecture in the series tomorrow at 12:15.

The poster announcing the lecture to be presented by Ron Bridges on April 15 is ready. Thanks to Keith Norris who designed all the posters for the series this year. The schedule of lectures for next year is nearly complete.


                  Faculty Bill of Rights Ad Hoc: Anita Maddox – No Report


                  Budget Ad Hoc: Wanda Scarbro – No Report





VI.       Unfinished Business:

                  Academic Freedom

President Fuentes opened discussion on the motion on the floor from the last meeting to accept a draft document (see Attachment 4) to be sent forward to replace Pellissippi State Policy 06:02:03 Academic Freedom and Responsibility.


Ron Bridges made a motion, to amend the text of the draft document.

The motion to amend was not approved.


The question was called on the original motion. The motion passed.


VII.     New Business:

                  Full-Time Student Load Hours

                  Mark Fuentes presented the following motion:


Whereas, Tennessee’s current “full-time status” of 12 hours is equivalent to the Federal Government’s “full-time” status, and


Whereas, Fewer than 20 percent of students at Pellissippi State Community College take 14 or more credit hours per semester; and


Whereas, Community college students, many of whom can be classified as non-traditional students with an average age of 28, hold part-time and full-time jobs, care for children and/or the elderly, and engage in community service; and


Whereas, Homework and study require two hours for every credit hour; and


Whereas, Increasing the full-time load to 14 hours would reduce retention and success rates; Therefore be it


Resolved, That the Faculty Senate of Pellissippi State Community College urges rejection of legislative bills that would increase the full-time load for students from 12 to 14 hours.


                  The motion was approved.


                  “Statute of Limitations” on Academic Credits Earned


                  President Fuentes presented the following motion:


Whereas, Learning is a life-long activity and the State should resist efforts to impose hardships on students wishing to return to College or University; and


Whereas, Academic degrees, once earned, never expire; and


Whereas, The most fruitful portion of a course is rarely the knowledge imparted but the critical thinking skills learned; and


Whereas, Requiring students to retake courses would impose a financial burden on them; Therefore be it


Resolved, That the Faculty Senate of Pellissippi State Community College opposes legislative efforts to impose a statute of limitations on course credits.


The motion was approved.


VIII.    Announcements –


Next meeting: April 14, 2010 – 3:30pm – Pellissippi Campus, Faculty/Staff Dining Room


David Key will present a lecture entitled, In Response to Industrialism, April 1 in the Goins Building Auditorium at 11:00 a.m.


IX.       Adjourned at 5:20 p.m.

Attachment 1


Olivia Daniel                                                                                             March 17, 2010

Council of Student Advocates Liaison

Pellissippi State Community College


I ask that you recognize the value of my perspective as the Council of Student Advocates Liaison, or student representative, but most importantly, as a student. As I researched the concept of academic freedom, it became exceedingly clear to me that this concept is a fundamental ingredient in a high quality education.  With standardization threatening the future of academic freedom, it is vital that we find common ground and unite as an institution; we must establish a solid resistance to standardization before academic freedom makes the transition from reality to our memories.  Perhaps the distractions of business and politics have misled the visionaries in the education system; perhaps the ability to see past an outcome-based model and formula have diminished, leaving only percentages of student "success" with any significant value.  Innovation is essential to the growth of our institution; however, if we lose sight of the basics, the foundation on which this institution was developed, then neither the innovative nor the traditional members of this group will succeed.

I am cognizant of the importance behind improving percentages and retention rates. However, my stance is deeply rooted in the best interest of the students, including myself.  Standardization in education is a threat to everyone; it is a threat to all departments.  If we tolerate a regimented model of education, then we are essentially tolerating the removal of our rights as professors and students.  To remove, or even slightly compromise those rights, is equivalent to removing education itself.  If that is the goal, directly or indirectly, then ask yourself, "Why are we here?"  It does not matter whether you are in favor of the newest programs, or not.  Ultimately, we are all at risk of losing our rights.  Perhaps some of you do not agree; perhaps some of you believe that standardization is best for education.  In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."  Is jeopardizing our academic freedom, a professor's right to teach creatively, a solution to improve education and encourage students to think critically and analytically, or is it a solution to a "numbers" problem, when in fact this issue is immeasurable?  Have we concluded that it is more effective to conform? Are we mass producing graduates now?  Have we finally decided that we are no longer a quality Ma & Pa shop and that it is acceptable to replicate in education the system within "big biz" so that we might produce more "product" at a faster pace, but with lower quality? And does that mean that students are no longer viewed as the scholars of today and the scholars of tomorrow, but simply, and sadly, as an obligation, or a customer, just purchasing a degree as fast as possible? Without academic freedom, and with standardization, that is precisely the future value of my education.

These walls were not built to be aesthetically pleasing; these walls were not built to store chairs and tables; these walls were not built to serve cafeteria food; these walls were built to serve one purpose, and that is to provide a location in which students can grow and learn. I will not be idle and complacent as the "people upstairs" choose to rob me of one of my most treasured privileges as an American: my quality of education.  I will not be told that my right to gain knowledge is limited; I will not be told that the professors who have changed my life through their passion for teaching, will no longer be able to do so and that it is in the "best interest of the student;" I will not be told to stop thinking for myself;  I will not be told to allow individuals who have not seen the inside of a classroom for decades, to tell me how I can best receive my education efficiently.  Stripping students, or any of the professors, of their rights is an injustice to students at Pellissippi State, to students throughout Tennessee, and to students across this free country. If we fail our students, then we will be contributing to the spread of a disease throughout our education system; we will begin the process of advocating predictable, unchanging and uninspiring cookie-cutter models of education inside the classrooms; we will produce high numbers of graduates that successfully passed tests, but never really grasped the concepts; we will directly remove thoughtful thinking, replace it with predetermined opinions, and indirectly begin the devastating destruction of education in a nation founded on freedom.

We will always strive for high percentages and excellent retention rates; I understand that.  TBR focuses on the numbers and the facts; TBR is black and white.  We are not.  We are an institution of gray, just as we should be.  We may be guided by TBR, but we are not them.  We cannot allow division within the departments or the classrooms; we all face the same issues.  We should not be at war with each other.  Students do not deserve to fall victim to the differences between departments that have been divided without legitimate reasoning -- are we not all here for education?  There will always be differences in education, and it is currently our right to have those differences.  With the state trying to implement standardization, we will sacrifice that right and it will not matter if you are in favor of it, because eventually, you too will fall victim.  You do not put your trust in the enemy, or in this case, a strict plan to improve numbers, because I am not a number.


I strongly urge you to protect and preserve what is left of our invaluable freedom; it should not be compromised. Rights are not given, they are taken, and once you have surrendered those rights, it is an unrelenting struggle to regain them.  Why, I ask, would anyone here consider, even for a moment, sacrificing any of that precious freedom?

Attachment 2

My name is Rob Whipple, Vice President of Gnosis, Pellissippi’s independent learning organization. The president of Gnosis, Eric Butcher, was originally placed on the agenda to speak about this, but he could not make it today. Although Gnosis is not taking a formal, “official” stand on these issues, I have spoken with several of our members, and they are in agreement with our position on these issues. Therefore, I speak on behalf of myself, Eric Butcher, and many of our members, though not for the group itself

First, we would like to join Olivia and the Council of Student Advocates in opposition to Senate Bill 3128, proposed by Senator Woodson, increasing the minimum hours for full-time status. If this bill passes, it will be detrimental to students who would need to take additional course to maintain their financial aid status. For many Non-Traditional Students, who make up a large percentage of the student body, those additional hours can mean the difference between success and failure. Most of us have family and financial obligations in addition to our academic commitments. Put simply, we are already stretched beyond our means.

Secondly, we are also in opposition to House Bill 3542, introduced by Representative Maddox that would allow a person to serve as a president of a college or university in the State of Tennessee, without having had any prior experience in education or holding an advanced degree. The problems this can create are somewhat self-evident. Clearly, in order to lead an institution of higher learning, one needs to have a working knowledge of how academia functions, and we feel that only direct experience in education and to a lesser extent, an advanced degree, qualify one to lead a college or university.

And finally, I would like to speak about academic freedom, the issue this body can most directly influence. It has come to our attention that the Tennessee Board of Regents is pushing for standardization of curriculum. This push for standardization can best be seen in the developmental programs here at Pellissippi, where these policies are leaving many students without the tools to succeed in college level courses. Consequently, students are wasting time relearning those remedial skills while in non-developmental courses, rather than on new material.

As a Supplemental Instruction Leader for College Algebra, I have seen first-hand some of the results of relying on software to do the work of a professor. Many of the students I work with recently completed the developmental math program, and these students are able to use techniques to work problems, but simply have no conceptual grasp of mathematical theory, and struggle to apply what they have learned in the more abstract world of algebra. These are bright students, and while software and technology can be a great addition to the learning environment, it is a poor substitute for a qualified, caring instructor.

Standardization, in and of itself, is not so much a danger, as I’m sure we can all agree that it is necessary to some degree. It is necessary for us to be able to take English 1010, for example, and expect it to be essentially the same as taking English 101 at the University level. Certainly, prerequisites must exist in order for us to be prepared to move on to higher levels of knowledge. However, this is not what the Tennessee Board of Regents is advocating. You, the faculty members who work hard to ensure that we are educated and in particular, those of you who encourage critical thinking, debate, and independent learning, are being “encouraged” to teach exactly the same things in exactly the same way to all your classes.

How does this affect us, as students? We all have those favorite teachers… the ones who make us think, the ones who gave us extra attention on the stuff we had trouble with, the ones who teach “outside the box,” and the ones who treat us as the adults we are. These educators are the ones who exercise their academic freedom, which is the ability to recognize that we are all unique and to tailor their curriculum in a way that is most beneficial to themselves and their students; thus creating conditions conducive to a true education. The “cookie-cutter” approach to education, where everyone is expected to learn in exactly the same way is what we oppose. This thinking is the result of the Corporate Model of education, which views us, the students, as customers rather than scholars with a desire to learn and to think. As customers, we would prefer to spend our money on an education from those professors who exercise academic freedom, doing their own research, encouraging us to do ours, and who bring new information into the classroom.

We entreat you, our professors, to fight to keep your academic freedom. We urge you to be our partners on the road to enlightenment. We do not want professors, or worse, robots and computer programs that just go through the motions, pouring information into us that we regurgitate back on exams.

Thanks for your time and consideration,


Eric Butcher, President, Pellissippi Gnosis


Rob Whipple, Vice-President, Pellissippi Gnosis

Attachment 3


Mary Monroe-Ellis       Presentation Notes – Faculty Senate March 17, 2010


I.   Why a Transitional Studies Department?

a.     09F: 70% of first time freshmen needed at least one DSP class—up from mid-60’s

b.    16% of the courses offered at PSCC are DSP/COLL/ESL

c.     Some research suggests a centralized DSP program improves student success

d.    Allows group of faculty to focus on meeting the unique needs of this student

       population in order to improve retention and success


II.   Redesign

a.     Opportunity to critically examine what we were doing and why we were doing it

                         i.    Success rates less than 50%

                        ii.    Low retention of DSP students

b.    Anxious to participate in the pilot because we wanted to be the ones determining

what models worked as opposed to following what other colleges did

c.     Research told us that DSP students need to be actively engaged in activities to

increase learning

                        i.    Courses were redesigned to actively engage the students

                        ii.    Students are also required to work collaboratively

d.    Mandated by redesign to incorporate technology

            i.    Technology is one of the tools we use to help actively engage our students

            ii.    Find best products out there to help students learn what we want them to


            iii.    Never as good as or a replacement for faculty—and never constitutes the

full  curriculum


III.           Redesign Result

a.     Confirmation Tests

                              i.        1/3 of DSPR students test out

                            ii.        Approx. ¼ of DSPW students test into 0801/1010 or 1010

                           iii.        1/3 of math students tests into the lowest level

b.    Increased success in college-level courses

c.     Increased retention to the end of the semester and in some programs from semester to semester.



IV.           A-100 Guidelines

a.     Still in process of being developed

b.    Approved by August 2010

c.     No changes in DSP programs for Fall 2010

d.    Plan to implement changes for Spring 2011


Attachment 4


                                                                                                                            POLICY 06:02:03





Pellissippi State Community College affirms that academic freedom is fundamental to the faculty’s role in preparing students to be independent, critical thinkers equipped to fully participate in a free society.

Academic freedom is essential to fulfilling the ultimate objectives of an educational institution—the skills for enabling the free search for truth—and applies to both teaching and research. Freedom in research is fundamental to the advancement of truth, and academic freedom in teaching is fundamental for the protection of the rights of the faculty member in teaching and of the student to freedom in learning as well as for leading the student to effective critical thinking skills.

Because of the rigorous process by which faculty members become qualified and maintain qualifications to teach in a college or university, they as a group are best qualified to set and determine professional standards.

Academic Freedom and Responsibility:

                  I.    Each faculty member is entitled to freedom in teaching his or her subject, including the right to determine pedagogical techniques, activities, delivery systems, and assignments.

                II.    Faculty as members of departments are responsible for creating master syllabi constructed in such a way that allows individual faculty members maximum liberty in designing his or her own syllabi within the limits or requirements of the master syllabi.

               III.    The faculty member is entitled to full freedom in research and in the publication of the results, subject to the adequate performance of his or her other academic duties.

              IV.    The faculty member is a citizen, a member of a learned profession, and an officer of an educational institution. When the faculty member speaks or writes as a citizen, he or she should be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but his or her special position in the community imposes special obligations. As a man or woman of learning and an educational officer, he or she should remember that the public might judge the profession and the College by the faculty member's utterances. Hence, a faculty member should at all times be accurate, should exercise appropriate restraint, should show respect for the opinions of others, and should make every effort to indicate that he or she does not speak for the College.

               V.    Implicit in the principle of academic freedom are the corollary responsibilities of the faculty who enjoy that freedom. Incompetence, indolence, intellectual dishonesty, failure to carry out assigned duties, serious moral dereliction, arbitrary and capricious disregard of standards of professional conduct—these and other grounds as set forth in the policy on academic tenure may constitute adequate cause for dismissal or other disciplinary sanctions against faculty members, subject to the judgment of peers.

              VI.    The right to academic freedom imposes upon the faculty an equal obligation to take appropriate professional action against faculty members who are derelict in discharging their professional responsibilities. The faculty member has an obligation to participate in tenure and promotion review of colleagues. Thus, academic freedom and academic responsibility are interdependent, and academic tenure is adopted as a means to protect the former while promoting the latter. While academic tenure is essential for the protection of academic freedom, all faculty members, tenured or non-tenured, have an equal right to academic freedom and bear the same academic responsibilities implicit in that freedom.

This policy on academic Freedom and responsibility is consistent with the Tennessee Board of Regents Policy No. 5:02:03:30: Academic Freedom and Responsibility.