Faculty Senate

Minutes

April 20, 2011, 3:30 PM                    Pellissippi Campus                Faculty/Staff Dining Room

 

 

I.          Call to Order: Tom Gaddis

The meeting was called to order by Tom Gaddis.

 

Members in attendance:  Mark Fuentes (President), Ron Bridges (President Elect), Dave Vinson (TBR Rep), Donn King (Parliamentarian), Rick Barber (BCT), Joe Zitka (BCT), Sami Ghezawi (EMT), Ken Swayne (EMT), Lawana Day (English), Trent Eades (English), Sydney Gingrow (English), Charles Cardwell (LA), Marilyn Harper (LA), Mike Rose (LA), Bob Stern (Math), Joan Jackson (NBS), Brad Rose (NBS), Jean Jackson (Library Services), Pam Smith (Transitional Studies), Amy Tankersley (Transitional Studies), Tom Gaddis (Business Officer/Division Street), Jane Stribling (Magnolia Avenue), William Gwin (Adjunct Faculty), Leigh Moore (Adjunct Faculty).

           

Guests in attendance:  Robert Baird, Rick Bower, Robert Boyd, Joan Easterly, Annie Gray, Jonathan Lamb, Sally Lighter, Keith Norris

 

II.        Approval of Minutes: Tom Gaddis

            Minutes were approved without objection.

 

III.       Officer Reports:

                  Secretary: Jean Jackson – No Report

 

                  Communications: Ken Swayne – No Report

 

                  TBR Representative: Dave Vinson

Dave is leaving for a sub council meeting tomorrow. Among items on the agenda are the union, proposed changes in the gun law, and a system-wide academic freedom policy. He will report via email.

 

(See Attachment 1 for the text of the report from the TBR Faculty Subcouncil meeting of April 22, 2011 that Dave distributed via email on April 29, 2011.)

 

                  President: Mark Fuentes

·         Mark plans to discuss issues related to an uneven distribution of the advising workload with Rachel Cragle. Send him any concerns for inclusion within the next week or so.

·         Mark has spoken with Paul McKinney, Melanie Paradise, and Dr. Wise regarding limiting the number of withdrawals/failures permitted and attendance requirements. There are many issues to be considered. They are currently researching procedures at other schools before deciding on a course of action.

·         The Presidential Search Advisory Committee has completed its work. Candidates were interviewed and took part in campus-wide question and answer sessions. The decision rests with Chancellor John Morgan. He plans to extend an offer next week.

·         Most departments have notified Mark of the names of new senators for next year. Those who have not should do so soon.

 

 

 

IV.       Committee Reports:

                  Adjunct Faculty: William Gwin/Leigh Moore

                  Surveys are being discussed.

 

                  Student Scholarships: Bob Stern

Alternatives to the book sale for future fund-raisers are still open for discussion. The Natural and Behavioral Sciences Department is responsible for coordinating the fund-raiser next year.

 

                  Rules: Donn King – No Report

 

                  Nominating Committee: Jean Jackson – No Report

 

                  Promotion/Tenure: Jane Stribling– No Report

 

                  Faculty Development: Ron Bridges

Opportunities for faculty development for next year are still being planned. Fall in-service will be a 2-day event, August 17-18. The program schedule is not yet firm. The committee is also discussing the possibility of adding “Faculty Inquiry Groups” next year.

 

                        Faculty Lecture Series: Trent Eades

The last regular lecture for this year was presented today by Annie Gray. An additional presentation by poet Pamela Uschuk will take place tomorrow at 12:30 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium.

 

There are 6 speakers already scheduled for next year’s series.

 

V.        Discussion:

                        Hiring Process

Several perceived shortcomings and flaws in the faculty hiring process, as administered by Human Resources, were discussed. President Fuentes will invite Karen Queener to a senate meeting to discuss the process.

 

                        Administrative Drops

The issue of student names disappearing from class rosters without explanation was discussed. President Fuentes noted that the Records Office had indicated that this usually happens when students on payment plans fail to pay fees after numerous notifications. President Fuented will look into a solution.

 

                        Cashier Statements

Lack of transparency in the fee process/statement of fees from the Cashier’s Office was discussed. Mark will investigate.

 

V.        Unfinished Business:

            There was no unfinished business.

 

 

 

 

 

 

VI.       New Business:

President Fuentes stated that there are currently bills being discussed in the legislature (House Bill 2016, Senate Bill 339) that would permit full-time faculty and staff with concealed weapons permits to carry guns on the campuses of public state colleges. Another bill would extend the privilege to students with former military or police training.

 

            He made the following motion and it was seconded:

                       

Resolved, That the Faculty Senate of Pellissippi State Community College supports the current state policy prohibiting the possession of firearms on campus, and

 

Be it further resolved, That Faculty Senate of Pellissippi State Community College strongly opposes any legislation that would alter the current policy, and

 

 Resolved, That the Faculty Senate of Pellissippi State Community College urges legislators to vote against any such legislation, and

 

Be it further resolved, That the Faculty Senate of Pellissippi State Community College encourages the General Assembly of the State of Tennessee to give high priority to campus safety and to support additional resources which allow for continued improvements that will aid campuses in their efforts to maintain safety and security.

 

            After discussion, the motion passed with a vote of 21 in favor and 3 opposed.

 

VII.     Announcements –

The next meeting will be scheduled in July, either July13 or 20. Sometime in September, the Senate meeting calendar for academic year 2011-2012 will be sent via e-mail.

 

President Fuentes thanked those who served as officers during his term as president for their assistance.

 

VII.     Adjournment:

            The meeting was adjourned at 4:45 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Attachment 1:

 

Report from the TBR Faculty Subcouncil Meeting of April 22, 2011 as distributed via email by Dave Vinson, April 29, 2011.

 

Hi folks,

This seems like as good at time as any to report on the latest proceedings of the TBR Faculty Subcouncil. I did not send you a report from the October or January meetings. The October meeting was almost exclusively limited to approval of boiler-plate issues, including approval of large numbers of new Universal Pathways agreements and changes to rather routine policy. The January meeting did promise some interesting discussion on issues of importance to faculty, but an ice storm hit the night before the meeting, and only 5 of us made it to Nashville, with the other 14 reps phoning in. But it’s really hard to have any sort of nuanced discussion over the phone system (for one thing, there’s no way to know when people on the phone want to make a comment, so there are ongoing over-lapping interruptions.) As a result, we delayed discussion of non-action items on the January agenda until this April meeting, which was a doozy.

As for this report: I try to indicate who was speaking and/or questioning with parentheses placed before the statement. I cannot be 100% sure of accuracy, but think I got most of them in place. Also, I occasionally insert an editorial comment. Again, I try to insert a note when that is happening.

 

  

 

 

 

  T E N N E S S E E   B O A R D   O F   R E G E N T S

Faculty Subcouncil Meeting

Friday, April 22, 2011, 9:00a.m.

                                         TBR Board Room, Nashville, Tennessee

                                                            AGENDA (D R A F T)

Call to order: Dr. Loretta Griffey, Chair

Linda Null temporary secretary

 

Comments from Chancellor John Morgan

Chancellor Manning is concerned about legislative actions. The State Senate passed a voucher bill on April 21st for K-12 education in Tennessee’s four largest counties. The State (higher ed organizations) has positioned itself well in terms of improving student services, passing the Complete College Act, and joining the American Diploma Project; now energy and resources are being drained towards things like vouchers, gun legislation, and the “creationism” bill (my term, not the Chancellor’s). It’s not a long trip from a K-12 voucher system to a Higher Ed voucher system that would funnel public monies towards paying private college tuition. Legislative budget hearings went a little better than expected. Revenues are a little better than we thought they would be, so there will probably be an orderly adoption of the Governor’s budget. At the hearings, Chancellor Morgan focused on student success measures beyond just “awards, certificates and degrees”, focusing instead on learning outcomes of students and accomplishments of faculty members. At each opportunity the TBR Central office shares the incredible work going on at every institution. Morgan thinks the Legislature overall is happy with where higher end is, and where it’s going, Most legislators see the schools dealing with hard financial times in creative and effective ways. He is optimistic that the good will we are creating in the system will make some deposits in the “good will bank”, and will hopefully allow us down the road to make some withdrawals.

Q (from Nashville State rep): Will micro-managing by the legislature continue? Morgan: A significant ideological shift has occurred in the legislature; this is probably not matched by the public, but this team of legislators has different ideas than have been generally held by legislators in the past. A board staff member sees the bills coming in regarding homosexuality and other sexuality issues in the schools as “muscle flexing” by legislators to try to prove to the constituents that they are going to enact “real change”; it’s hard to say what will actually happen as time passes. TBR is trying to intercede for more reason and less emotion in the public discourse. The concept is described as a “Conspiracy of posturing”. The idea is that the ruling party (Republicans now, but it was equally true under Democratic leadership) will get hot button issues out on the floor to try to judge public response, but then only have the law pass on one side of the state house, failing in the long run for lack of support from the other side. All of this can be sort of mapped out in advance (Now, this is entirely my example, but the impression I got was “You say in the House that we’ll adopt asparagus as the official State food, and over here in the Senate we will say that Aqua is going to be the official state color. We pass our bills by solid majorities, but when your asparagus bill comes to this side, we will vote it down, and you vote down the shift to Aqua, and we will be on the record for promoting these ideas we had no inclination to actually enact.” It was like a little peek for me into Political Science 101.) This sort of stuff happens fairly routinely, but there’s no way to know if it is what’s happening now, or if these are sincere and deeply felt ideological concerns.

Q(ETSU): Our President Stanton is retiring; will faculty be allowed to have input into both the interview committee as well as the crafting of the requirements of the job? The Chancellor comments that we are in mid search at Pellissippi, and that faculty have had a major role in the procedure. I concur, and get in a little joke, along these lines: “I am completely satisfied with the process, especially that 5 of the 18 committee members are faculty members (counting Barry Gidcombe, the Faculty Regent.) Now we are simply waiting for the Chancellor to make the correct decision. (Everybody laughs, and then the Chancellor comes back with “When I make the decision, it WILL be the correct decision. Everybody laughs, with maybe my laugh being a wee bit too loud and/or strained)

 

Comments from Vice Chancellor Paula Myrick Short

Four or five years ago, a Student Success Task Force was formed. It focused on persistence and completion. The resulting document probably needs to be updated, with findings of the new Task Force to be made available on a website. The Task Force will have a conference call at the end of May to explore these issues. Most of the work will be done by phone.

Q(ETSU) Could we enact an initiative to educate the public about the value added to the community by higher education? There are current examples, one of which publicizes the work of a group of associated community colleges in Texas. “If Texas can do it, almost anybody can”, says the ETSU rep, which makes me laugh, until I remember that Dr. Short is a “hook em horns” sort of Texas product (just teasing, she’s a good sport.) Dr. Short:” Something as simple as reporting the numbers of lawyers, teachers, historians, economists we produce can make a big difference with the public.” (I didn’t get who this next question came from.) In embedded assessment, is there some way to share with students what they gain just from succeeding in our Gen Ed core? Dr Short will have someone on her staff look into it.

 

Approval of Minutes

The day it was icy, I got “volunteered”, to take the notes. I did the best I could, but brief is not my strong suit. There was a note added to my minutes explaining why Dr Short was not in attendance (the Chancellor sent her to attend a conference). Approved.

 

 

 

 

Action Items:

Approval of Additional Universal Transfer Pathways (Kay Clark)

(My computer shut down without saving my notes in this section; Pellissippi is involved in talks about the development of an AFA in Theater Arts. There should also be AFA programs in Studio Art and Music in the next year. I am personally hopeful about following up with development of an English AFA with a creative writing focus.) There’s lots of concern from Jackson State’s rep about changes in the AA with an art concentration; this will apparently end a fruitful long-standing articulation from Jackson State to ETSU

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Approval of Revisions to Guideline A-010 and TBR Policy 2:01:01:00 (Approval of Academic Programs) (Paula Short)

In January, THEC enacted substantial changes to the policy on degree program approval; specifically they changed the requirements for how we submit a letter of intent. Under the previous procedure, the first step was to submit a letter of intent to TBR, which THEC subsequently had to approve before progress could begin on the specifics of the program requirements. In the new revisions, the letter of intent must really almost look like the fully completed proposal. So essentially there’s a new level of paperwork added; the campuses have to do all the work for the proposal before they get to find out if the proposal can even qualify for approval. Dr Short agrees with my assessment that this will discourage the development of new programs. It’s like this: if I require a project in a class, and if the student is required to get approval on the topic before writing the project, this THEC procedure change is akin to me saying that the student will have to submit the entire finished project before I decide whether the topic is worthwhile. (Nashville rep) How did the Academic VPs vote on this? A: We have history of letters of content being turned down, and some vanishing into limbo. The Academic VPs actually passed the policy as written with one amendment. Here’s a scenario under the policy as written. Say that U of Memphis has a doctoral program in Seussology. If ETSU decided they wanted a doctoral program in Seussology, U of Memphis has first right of refusal, which would prevent ETSU’s program going forward. The intent of the Academic SubCouncil’s amendment is to require U of Memphis to prove that the similar program at ETSU would be damaging to the existing program; without such proof, ETSU would be free to pursue a “duplicate” program. Faculty SubCouncil also approved this version.

I was surprised to find that before community colleges develop new certificate programs, they must clear it with Tech Centers. (I am assured by local curriculum specialists that this has always been true.)

 

In the ensuing discussion, some general facts were thrown out. “Substantial change” to a program by definition is equivalent to 50% of the curriculum; fewer hours than that do not necessarily require re-approval, that number or more always does. (ETSU) It seems that the Complete College Act is about consolidating and strengthening power at THEC over the UT and TBR systems. If we need new Faculty for new programs, we won’t be able get approval under this new procedure because we don’t have the Faculty already in place (since the letter of intent requires schools to define the requirements of specific Faculty positions in the program.) (My comment; it’s sort of a Catch-22. We want a new program. Which faculty will be involved? Well, we don’t know yet, because we can’t hire them until the program is approved; but we can’t get the program approved until the faculty members are hired.) What’s our option for sharing our displeasure with THEC? A: All we can do is work through our boards and through our Chancellor. Senates can share with the Chancellor their concern with this sort of thing, and then the Chancellor can report that to THEC, but there’s no direct link in the chain of command from Faculty to THEC that doesn’t go through the Chancellor’s office.

TECH CENTERS DON’T HAVE TO GET ANYTHING APPROVED BY THEC (another shocker for me.) (ETSU) Take this back to your Senates. See if they are interested in this idea of having Senates express displeasure with this new policy to the Chancellor. If they are, craft a letter and send it back as soon as possible. 

TBR is working to allow the approval of Community Colleges’ new programs to occur at the TBR level, reporting to those decisions to THEC rather than being required to get THEC approval. It’s an open question as to how this idea will be accepted. Hopefully that would be the first step to loosen some of THEC’s potentially momentum-slowing control over the approval process.

There was a short discussion about THEC’s role in the state’s private institutions. By statute THEC has to give approval to proprietary and for-profit schools, but has no oversight or control over their programs and curriculum. A “Post-secondary Committee” meets and forwards program approvals over private institutions but the private institutions have no duplication-of-programs restrictions. (It seems to me almost like a “you need to let the sheriff know you’re in town before you can open that livery stable” thing, followed by the sheriff just keeping an eye open to see that no crimes are being committed.) THEC exempts most private not-for-profits like Belmont and Lipscomb and Trevecca; they do maintain a limited oversight role over private for-profits, mainly monitoring the school’s fiscal soundness. For-profits get approved if they can guarantee they have funds in place to deliver education without disappearing in the middle of the night before the semester’s finished. Private for-profits are NOT required to have SACS-approval.

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Proposed Revision to Academic Freedom Policy Passed in January (Null)

(MY COMMENT TO GIVE YOU SOME CONTEXT): SubCouncil passed an Academic Freedom Policy last summer that, in the opinion of Legal, needs at the very least a revision, and possibly needs to be dropped altogether. Due to these Legal questions, the SubCouncil-approved policy has not been presented to either the Academic VPs or to the Presidents. Following are notes from a short presentation about the nature of the difficulties. The fundamental concern was related to fallout from the US Supreme Court’s Garcetti decision. Rather than try to get into the specifics of that decision, there’s a nice summary, along with a discussion of possible repercussions on the academic environment at this link (http://www.mla.org/garcetti_ceballos). The Academic Freedom Policy that we tried to pass included new language extending academic freedom to things that Faculty might say in the course of, for example, shared governance activities. While you open yourself to discipline if you are off the campus and criticize the administration (“The Provost is a dimwit”.) It’s an open question about whether you could say such a thing in a Senate meeting without fear of repercussion. It’s finally time for one of my tiresome disclaimers. I followed this and am reporting it to you to the best of my abilities, but those abilities are limited in most cases, and particularly so during a discussion of legal issues. Two of the 19 SubCouncil members are actually attorneys, and this got into some minutiae that made my head spin. One thing I do know, lawyers like to argue.

(Modisher, TBR Legal Counsel) This discussion involves two strains; 1st amendment freedom of speech vs. academic freedom. As public employees, we are free to speak according to Pickering (see http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/conlaw/publicemployees.htm). Faculty members can speak as citizens on subjects of general concern; we can NOT talk about our employment. As public employees, if we are speaking in the context of our employment, we don’t have a 1st amendment protection. Say something the Chancellor finds to be in opposition to the system’s mission, and he is within his rights to dismiss you. Speaking as a private citizen in a public meeting endorsing the same opinion, and you are protected by your 1st Amendment right. The Supreme Court is currently looking at cases dealing with finer points of these broad ideas.

Academic Freedom is designed to protect the search for truth in academic scholarship. Faculty members were being fired in the 40’s for public advocacy of certain policies. Faculty members have full freedom to teach and research. In the 50’s and 60’s McCarthyism and related movements essentially challenged some faculty ideas as “subversive”. The ruling at that time was that a College is free to decide who can teach and what they can teach. In 1967 legislation assured that laws can’t be passed saying universities can’t hire “subversives”. (I am sorry, I don’t know if that was federal or state law.)

SACS accreditation standards are actually helpful for us today. At the moment teaching is really open to withering scrutiny. There was a reference to David Horowitz’s intention to redefine Academic Freedom (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Horowitz). At the moment many state legislatures are attempting to mold curricula. There are many examples of this in our state at the moment, including the teaching of science in K-12 (e.g., requiring the teaching of intelligent design and requiring the teaching of creationism.) A proposed bill (that has allegedly been withdrawn) would prohibit any mention of non-heterosexual lifestyles at levels K-8. One Senator has a proposed a bill about requiring that American History textbooks refer to America as a Republic rather than a Democracy. With regards to shared governance, SACS has stringent policies about the role of faculty and students in decision-making.

In the opinion of the TBR Legal Office, the change suggested by the previously passed Academic Freedom Policy is outside the realm of Academic Freedom, and contains potentially damaging notions, as it opens the institution to all sorts of murky legal problems. (ETSU rep) Garcetti expressed an opinion privately among a small group of attorneys, that opinion got out, and he was fired for expressing that opinion. If someone wants to tell me how we can change the academic freedom policy we just passed so that it takes care of some actual incidents that have occurred, that’s fine, but if not, I want us to strongly hold the line on these changes. The Garcetti ruling says “It’s possible for you to be fired for holding an opinion in your workplace counter to the opinion of people in supervisory positions” (actually, that’s not a quote but my best take on a much longer argument.) We want TBR to say “We know the limits of protection provided by the current interpretation of the law, but we are willing to extend to our faculty an added layer of protection by agreeing in policy not to pursue firing or discipline on the basis of private conversation with our colleagues.” I would like to say to Faculty, “Academic Freedom does not cover your lack of responsibility, and you should not make stupid irresponsible pronouncements”, but that Academic Freedom is strong. We are not well-served by the current policy as we expand our role in shared governance. I am suggesting to faculty that without this level of protection, we should stop participating in shared governance. (Modisher) I am happy to amend the language; we don’t have to throw this out entirely. (Memphis rep, who is one of the two attorneys on SubCouncil) We are working to the best of our ability, using our skills to further what we see as the aims and goals of the school, and as it is, if we say to the President “I think this is a bad idea”, WE CAN BE FIRED. We are simply asking that in our responsibility of providing services to the faculty, or the school, or the public, and we are talking about things that are within the legitimate concerns of our position, we should not be fired or disciplined for such a statement or opinion. It’s a straightforward statement about what should happen in response to our comments when engaging in shared governance. (ETSU) I will be glad to come over in July and craft language to make our point without opening up a legal difficulty. (MTSU) Academic Freedom should fall under the purview of professional duties, rather than being framed as a First Amendment issue. (At this point a motion was made and seconded to take up this resolution further in July after ETSU rep and Modisher have had time to discuss specific language to extend academic freedom without opening TBR or TBR institutions to lawsuits.) Motion passes. (Short) It’s important that we be proactive to address the idea that faculty must have a voice in molding the policies and public perception of the institutions. I am concerned about the loss of voice and being able to speak out without fear of retribution.             

 

Discussion Items:

Out-of-Pocket Maximums, Medical Insurance  (from Roane St) [Preston] (April Preston is new Associate Vice Chancellor for Human Resources.) (Roane St): Our concern is that the idea of out-of-pocket-maximum was designed to prevent a catastrophic drain on personal budgets due to long-term or recurring illness. Our out-of-pocket maximum applies to co-insurance, but it does NOT apply to co-pays, so someone with a recurrent twice-a-week sort of illness, like an extended cancer treatment or ongoing kidney treatment, actually has no upper limit. There is an actual scenario at our school where this is happening. (Preston) Human Resources will look into it. (ETSU) Our benefits are going down; they took a gigantic hit this year. Co-pays are higher, and even if we’re doing everything we are supposed to, we are paying more for medications. All of this was negotiated to save the state money, but the savings are being attained on the backs of faculty and staff. We used to have one of the best benefit systems going; now “even Ohio beats us”. Support staffs in particular are taking an enormous hit to their paltry salaries. (MTSU) I have a question about privacy concerns in the partnership program; the program changes the way our health information might be used by the insurance groups. It’s conceivable that our health information could be stored outside of the US, where the privacy laws are different, so that our health information could become public information. I will not sign into the partnership program until I get assurance that my medical information will not become public. But I am told that I must sign in or risk losing the partnership deal; basically that I should sign in and just expect for the privacy concerns to be taken care of later. (There’s no good answer given to this concern.)

(Preston) In the face of diminishing health care coverage, what is your thought on optional additional coverage? (Most people agreed that it would depend on price and level of service.) (ETSU) Why should we be faced with a choice, in the face of long-term expensive disease, between fighting to stay alive, therefore bankrupting my family, and letting myself “go” so that my family can survive?

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Proposed Pay Raise for Faculty, Staff (Bitter) [David Gregory, Vice Chancellor of something, maybe Lobbying? Anyway, he’s frequently identified as TBR’s lobbyist]

When salary increases are approved, the institutions are only funded for about 2/3 of the increase. TBR needs to address whether there is money in the system to provide salary increases. The legislature will begin discussions about the disadvantages that low-paid staff face with across-the-board % raises. In order to create a 3% pool, it requires about a 2.5% tuition increase. There’s not much chance General Assembly will boost the raises above the Governor’s requested 1.6%. Some schools will struggle with even this; others would be prepared today to deal with it (Pellissippi is singled out as being in a “strong position”. So hats off to Ron Kesterson.) The Chancellor will be requiring resource-poor schools to develop plans for socking more money away. (VOL ST rep) We’re most concerned with gross inequities; we have recent full professors earning less than new hire Assistant Professors. Is there anything approaching in the near future that will address these gross inequities? (Gregory): We are arguing for as much flexibility as possible to allow schools to push money through their equity plans. Legislators hate to announce “I gave you a 2% pay raise”, and then have someone show up at a town hall and say “I didn’t get a 2% pay raise”; it makes the legislator look like a liar in front of his constituents, so legislators are going to tend to opt for the across-the-board raise format. (APSU) Every school is required to develop plans to address equity; the frustration is that we are hiring based on market value, and subsequently compression, and even inversion, is occurring at an incredible rate. We are never allowed to enact our equity plan. Many faculty members question why we even have equity plans if money is never provided to fulfill them. We have questions about how fair the pay plans are from institution to institution. (TBR staff) TBR could post these pay plans. (Memph) If these plans have been submitted, can they be forwarded to Faculty SubCouncil? Can all money generated by the 1.6% institutional increase be given only to certain segments of the college’s workers? (Modisher (Legal)) Increases do not necessarily have to be across the board. (Dave’s comment: I like the idea of a flat percentage AFTER a minimum floor payment. Say, for instance, everybody on campus gets $500, and whatever’s left is distributed on an across-the-board % basis) (VOL ST) There was a very good presentation on salary presented to the board at the last Board Meeting; and after the presentation, which argued the necessity of raising salaries or face “faculty flight”, there was one brief question, and then they moved on to the next topic. I would like a motion that points out that salary inequities can’t be ignored. (Gregory) We are talking about salary issues with the board on an ongoing basis. Don’t get the idea that these issues are going undiscussed. Salary structures are patently unfair, but politically nightmarish, especially at this time, to address. (ETSU) This is all connected to the perception that we work 3 hours a day 8 months a year. (And this myth is being advanced by vocal members of the state legislature.) (Me) How do we deal with this in a poisonous political climate? (Short) Sometimes I feel like we (TBR staff) are viewed from the perspective “Well why don’t you do something about it”? The roadblocks at this time are stunning to me. The way the Completion agenda rolled out, the public discussion made it sound like faculty haven’t done a bit of work in the last 50 years. The public perception of faculty really frustrates me, and now faculty members are being asked to do even more. Every year we see the dollars declining; we feel like throwing up our hands. If any of you have ANY IDEAS, please let us know, because we are nearly at a loss. (At the SubCouncil dinner that I attended the night before, someone coined the phrase “teaching administrator”, which has sadly replaced the term “administrating teacher”. In fact, there’s a rumor going around; several schools are requiring a 2-4 hour MANDATORY TRAINING of every faculty and staff member to train them how to use that little credit card verification machine you see when you go to a gas station; when a faculty member asked why this should apply to faculty, she was told that it was “because we take credit cards, and there’s some industry requirement that anyone who works at an institution that uses this sort of device is required to have the training”. Then she was told that this was coming to every TBR campus. I really doubt it.)

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Guns on Campus, Policy Issue (Bitter) [Gregory]         

House Bill HB 2016, sponsored by Andy Holt, and SB 399 sponsored by Stacey Campfield, allows for faculty and staff with carry permits to carry firearms on campus. This bill does NOT apply to students. The bill has passed in the Senate, and will be up for a house vote on May 3. Institutions can theoretically opt out, but they must “warn everyone who comes on to the campus of the potential danger, and must guarantee the health and safety of all people legally on campus.” In other words, because of the potential lawsuits “opting out” could lead to, it’s really not an option at all. (TN Tech rep) We as Faculty must be prepared to shoot! Is there an assumption that “carrying” faculty must shoot if an incident breaks out, or face legal repercussions? (Gregory): I think this is an issue that will be on our plate for a while. I feel like we got some help this week from the Arizona Governor who vetoed this bill. This will give Governor Haslam the option of referring to her decision to justify his own potential veto. Utah has passed this bill for students. (Nash St rep) Full-time faculty can carry, adjuncts can’t. But at my school, which has a high percentage of adjuncts, outside of my own department, I often don’t know if a person walking down the hall is full-time, adjunct, or student. (Memphis) Are they talking about concealed guns or holstered guns? (Gregory): It must be a concealed weapon. (Nash St) Employees must take a 2-hour course in gun safety, and must go to their local Police force for this training if the institution does not have “carrying” security (Dave comment; apparently several do, which really surprised me.) The Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police is overwhelmingly opposed to this legislation. Faculty senates are weighing in, as are student government groups. The Governor has sent signals that he is opposed to the legislation. (ETSU rep) The Legal at my institution is not going to allow us to opt out, but how about having TBR opt out globally? Is TBR allowed to opt out? (Gregory): The position of the Chancellor is that this bill is a bad idea. You don’t want to “fix” the bill, because then there is an obligation to support the “fixed” bill, so the Chancellor will simply continue to repeat at every public opportunity his opposition to the bill.

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Issues Relative to Unions (Bitter, Vinson) [Modisher]

(ETSU) Our security department made it sound like we were breaking public law if we didn’t inform them that representatives of the union were on campus. Our institution’s Legal Department then told Senate that it was OK for the union to be on campus, but refused to formalize that decision with any sort of written memo. Initially there was a suggestion of a McCarthy-like assertion that there were “certain types of people” that we were prohibited from talking with. This has changed at our campus, but maybe not at other institutions. Many of us like the union as an advocacy group, and now feel free to invite anyone to campus with whom we wish to talk. The union seems much better connected to legislators at this point than any of the officially recognized employees’ associations. (Modisher, Legal) There is an actual state law that permits withholding of dues from payroll for only 2 associations, AAUP and TSEA. It is not possible to set up payment of union dues through payroll deduction at this time without a legislative change. There are laws that allow TSEA and AAUP certain privileges that are not extended to other associations. TBR institutions are “quasi-public”, not truly and fully public. (At this point a handout of TBR's public use policy was distributed.) TBR currently has two campuses that are in litigation with itinerant preachers; PSCC is one of those schools. These lawsuits spill over into the larger arena of the rules that govern public access to school property Because of this litigation TBR is being especially careful about applying the distributed Policy on external groups to itinerant preachers. We have to apply this policy equally to all groups who want to access the whole campus. ANY group can be allowed on campus with the permission of the president, but it also seems that under current TBR facilities usage policies, it may be possible for some groups to meet on campus without the President’s permission. This policy also covers distribution of literature. TBR’s policy on facilities distribution can be found here; http://www.tbr.edu/policies/default.aspx?id=1634&terms=facilities. There must be designated areas where anyone who follows the policy can go to distribute non-commercial literature. TBR is considering a change that would allow “any affiliated personnel” to invite groups to the campus. (MTSU) I distributed leaflets on behalf of the UCW. (Legal) Technically that is not allowable under current policy. (ETSU) If a group of faculty members wants to get together for whatever reason, the President can say “no” with no discretion. (TBR) Our stance is either to develop extensive guidelines for who can come on campus, or allow any affiliated person to decide to bring a group. This is a messy situation, bound up with ongoing litigation about the distribution of religious material. (ETSU) There are many other avenues other than cutting off free speech. If one can speak, all can speak, whether we support their words or not. (Legal) These are recent and fast-moving developments. All of this is recent; TBR is thinking about going to a different plan that opens the campuses up a little bit, particularly outside of buildings.

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Code of Ethics for TBR Faculty (Bitter) [Modisher]

Crap. I lost this to computer shutdown. There was a question about whether, in light of our hope to expand academic freedom, it might be a good idea to establish some sort of non-binding code of ethics, if for no other reason than giving it to prospective or recently hired faculty members.

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Role of Faculty Councils/Senates on TBR Campuses: We were told a horror story at one institution (guess which one?) A PRESIDENT re-wrote his FACULTY SENATE constitution, forcing Senators to serve only one year, and then rotating off of Senate for at least four years. The new President’s Constitution also requires that one of the vice-presidents who reports directly back to him sit in on every single meeting of the Senate. Apparently this President’s representative takes voluminous notes from gavel-to-gavel, with the Senators fully aware that immediately following the meeting, those notes would land on the President’s desk. (Short) I am committed to recognizing the importance of the independent faculty voice in molding the direction of their Senate, as well as the academic initiatives of the institution.  The Chancellor should be a facilitator between the institution’s President and faculty at the campus level. Dr Short will take it up with the Chancellor; all but the school in question reported that their Faculty is in full control of their Senate and Constitution.

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Issues Concerning the Use of Full-time Temporary Faculty (Lutz)

An "FTT" is a 3-year non-tenured position at the 4-year schools. It’s renewable after each year, for up to 3-years, with an option for a 4th year on an "emergency" basis. More and more institutions are increasing their numbers of these sorts of faculty assignments. (MTSU) My student graduated, and with no publications and no teaching experience, was hired and given the exact same salary as his dissertation director. FTT’s are being granted associate professorships rather than “instructor” or “lecturer” designation because of pay scale issues; you can’t get them to agree to work for maximum assistant professor pay levels. In certain cases these are considered “emergency” hires. The FTT is supposed to be a limited 3-year contract, but it has become a de facto permanent non-tenured position. But as the multiple-term FTT’s have established standing in the department, some of them are actually starting to qualify for 3 hours of release time, so that even though they are temporary, they are equal in pay and doing less teaching.  Dr Short will take cases to Dale Sims in Finance and April Preston in Human Resources. One school reported that in one documented case, her school hired two new FTT faculty, let’s call them A and B. At the end of the 3-year “limit”, teacher A was moved into B’s slot, and teacher B was moved into A’s slot, then they were both re-designated as new hires, since they had moved into new positions; at one other school, by design new faculty were intentionally hired into a 3-year FTT position, at the end of which they were moved into tenure-track, but with no credit for the first three years, effectively extending the tenure process into a 9 year ordeal.

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Common Calendar Issues (Siska)

There’s an issue at Columbia State that will be familiar to many PSCC folks; how do you get the number of days of the week to balance out? (Columbia rep) When we start the semester in the middle of the week we end up shorting the Monday classes; this semester we missed 3 Mondays between bad weather, MLK Day, and starting in the middle of the week. (I talked about the solution that we tried for a few years about having a Thursday become a Monday, or some such, but then also pointed out that we had finally abandoned this concept as non-workable, since students wouldn’t/couldn’t make this adjustment due to external commitments to things like work schedules.) (ETSU) Can we look at dropping the common calendar? (TBR) Common Calendar is due to be taken up soon under the normal review cycle. (I reminded newer reps that the primary justification for the common calendar was for faculty teaching both RODP and institutional courses; without a common calendar, those people never get a Spring Break.)

Information Items:

Old/New Business: Grievance policies allow individuals to file a grievance against schools if policy is not being pursued. With regard to faculty hiring, if tenure policy is being ignored at some schools, that’s a violation of Board Policy, and there’s a mechanism to report fraud, which carries a higher investigatory requirement than do grievances.

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RSCC rep is going on post-retirement; he offered a nice word about what an honor it has been to serve in this capacity.

 

 

NEXT MEETING JULY 22