Present: Senators Pearson, Warrick, Zia, Dobbins, Louden, Testa, S. Clanton, Lowther, DiPier, Lyubartseva, Moore, Schroeder, P. Clanton, Paulson, Parnell, Wilson, Shirey, Bryant
Ex-officio and guests: Provost Lanoue, Vice President Allen, Vice President Giles, Interim Dean Bachri, Connie Rogers from Staff Senate
Call to order at 3:42 p.m.
Approval of Minutes
Minutes from November 16, 2017 were approved (motion – Testa, second – Louden).
Special Orders of the Day
Dr. Lanoue informed the senate that AR Governor Hutcheson was on campus 1/18/18 for lunch and a tour of the Engineering facilities. SAU made a good impression on the Governor.
He also addressed the question for the administration regarding how students might benefit from instructors being required to post assessment scores (grades) and other course information in Blackboard. He indicated that as he sees it, a big problem is the “unearned F” which he defined as a student that simply stops trying, stops coming to class regularly, and just finishes out the semester with the expectation of an F grade. Since these students have stopped trying, the typical resources on campus such as the Tutoring Center, Writing Center, and team study sessions will not reach them. He recommends Early Alert for all lapsing students ASAP. He also indicated that assigning midterm grades for all courses rather than just general education courses may be beneficial. Senator Schroeder added that it might be beneficial for all academic advisors to receive reports of all their advisees midterm grades to avoid having to check up on students individually. Senator Lowther inquired as to whether students could be emailed their midterm grades instead of having to check Campus Connect. Senator Parnell shared her granddaughter’s experience of not knowing where she stood in a course since there was no grade information available on Blackboard. Dean Bachri indicated that he would meet students face to face during midterm time to discuss performances. Senator Zia emails underperforming students at midterm and issues a survey of course progress to his students.
Dr. Lanoue also discussed this year’s state funding formula indicating that we had done well under this system in its first year. We will have $150k added to the base funding and about $250k added as one time money. This is based on a three-year rolling average of performances. Other schools did not do this well. Increases were capped at 1%.
President Paulson returned to the topic of grades, asking the body if there was a committee in place to look at the idea of midterm grades for all courses and make a recommendation. Dean Bachri mentioned the Retention Committee. Senator Testa made a motion (Louden second):
Motion that an ad hoc committee of the Faculty Senate be formed to review midterm grades and to request input and information from the Retention Task Force. Motion passed.
President Paulson asked for volunteers from the senate for the ad hoc committee. DiPier, Wilson, Moore, and Zia volunteered.
Senator Testa informed the group that as past President, he would get a list of all items that were discussed and approved during the previous year that had not made their way to their final destinations such as handbook changes.
Dr. Lanoue distributed the results of the fall break survey which indicated a desire to expand Thanksgiving break to a full week, but not to include a separate fall break. It was theorized that the survey may have been a bit biased being distributed on/around Thanksgiving break. The administration feels that there must be some way to create a “decompression” of students stress levels between Labor Day and Thanksgiving. Senator Lowther suggested a second survey with more complete descriptions of the options. Spirited discussion ensued on the Senate floor regarding which days would be given off, where the days would come from, etc. Also mentioned in terms of stress levels was whether or not the scholarship requirements could be investigated to extend the 30 hour per year rule to include summer terms instead of only fall and spring. Carla Bryant made a motion (Lowther second):
Motion to re-survey the faculty, staff, and students regarding the break options we have discussed using a more detailed survey that is still based on the original and includes an open comments section. Motion passed.
Senator Schroeder presented a report from the Senate Budget Committee in the form of a motion:
The Faculty Senate Budget Committee recommends that the fee assessed for a second parking decal for a single reserved faculty or staff parking space be eliminated effective for the 2018-2019 Academic Year. Motion passed.
Senator Testa reported on behalf of the Handbook Committee that the proposed Academic Integrity policy had been referred back to the university committee for review. Expect a report to the Senate in February.
Senator Bryant motioned to adjourn at 4:47 pm (Louden second). Motion passed.