Minutes of the Faculty Senate
November 19, 2020
Present: Senators T. Schroeder, S. Schroeder, Tucker, Fanning, Wilson (proxy for Oden and Stanford), Wise, Overholser, Logan, Huang, Paulson, Schneiderwind, and Moore (proxy for White), Almotairi (proxy for Zhao)
Ex-Officio/guests: Dr. Trey Berry, Dr. David Lanoue, Dr. Kim Bloss, Dr. Donna Allen, Mr. Roger Giles, Dr. Helmut Langerbein, Dr. Jennifer Rowsam, Dr. Gerald Plumlee, Dr. Robin Sronce, Dr. Scott White, Ms. Amanda Anderson, and Dr. Karen Landry
- Dr. Copie Moore for Senator White
- Senator Almotairi for Zhao
- Senator Wilson for Senators Oden and Stanford
- President Logan for Senator Wise
Call to Order at 3:40 p.m.
- Approval of Minutes:
Minutes from October 15, 2020 [motion – S. Schroeder; second – Overholser]
- Special Orders of the Day
President Logan recognized Dr. Zhao will be retiring and thanked him for his service. Dr. Shane Warrick will serve the rest of his term.
Updates from Dr. Berry:
As of July 6th 2,100 COVID tests have been administered. He thanked the faculty for their diligence and hard work. Currently, students are finishing up finals and leaving. There will be more leaving after graduation. We will be discussing with the Task Force about testing faculty and staff for spring as they return to campus. SAU has approximately 4,000 tests remaining. He is hearing different reports about the vaccine. The success rate is promising. SAU will graduate over 200 students.
Senator S. Schroeder suggested sending out an announcement to students encouraging them to be safe over the break and as they return to campus in the spring.
Senator Tucker asked to confirm the number of tests as being 4,000 and Dr. Berry confirmed that number.
Dr. Lanoue updates:
He stated that he echoed what Dr. Berry said. He also thanked the faculty, staff and health services for doing an amazing job. He was happy that protocols held up, and he attributed that to the faculty. He again thanked the faculty for enforcing the rules.
Dr. Lanoue said that SAU has had about the same number of academic integrity issues as previous semesters.
Questions to the administration:
- The University Handbook mentions tenured faculty are to have a peer evaluations in the classroom every 3 years. However, this year, all were required. Is this a new policy?
Dr. Lanoue explained that changes were made to the Handbook. According to law, faculty members are to be evaluated by their supervisor, students and peers each year. So, those updates have been made.
- Is it possible for faculty to receive the tenure and/or promotion portfolios after the process is complete and a decision is granted?
Dr. Lanoue confirmed that as soon as it is scanned, the portfolio can be returned to faculty.
- Can administration provide an update on the movement to online Search Committee training?
He hopes to have online training in January 2021.
- Would the administration consider adding back the special funding for Professional Development that was cut last year out of COVID-19 concerns?
He explained that $16,000 was set aside for travel. The Foundation will set specification on first come, first serve basis. Requests will open up in January.
Senator Tucker asked if some of this money could be used for the Teaching with Technology grants. He explained that there is great need that exceeds the $7,600 allocation.
Dr. Berry said that this is a possibility for this area since individuals aren’t able to travel.
- Given the large enrollments SAU has had this fall, when will funds be restored to areas we have cut such as supplies, employee retirement, and health insurance? Any chance of a COLA or raise this year?
Dr. Berry explained that we are going to adhere with the budget that the finance committee approved. We are 140 students down in undergraduate enrollment, and Housing will be down in the spring. Many classes are online; so, some students may be considering staying at home and taking their online classes. SAU is preparing for these scenarios. There is a downturn in enrollment across the nation. We are down 500 applications from last year. Since this is unchartered territory, there really is no “apple to apple” comparison. We are hopeful that students are waiting before they start thinking about college. Fortunately, the junior and senior class sizes are large. The sophomore class size is average. The freshman class size is smaller than previous years–that will continue to affect enrollment.
A priority is to restore the retirement match. However, SAU is going to remain conservative, and continue to research and study trends.
Senator Tucker asked how SAU compares to other universities.
Dr. Berry said that, anecdotally, we are seeing the same thing at other universities. Students are struggling to make it through the semester due to COVID. Hopefully, we will see an increase in applicants, but there are similar trends all over the nation.
Senator S. Schroeder said that the Handbook Committee is getting close to finishing. The proofreading process is well underway.
Senator Tucker pointed out a discrepancy in the SAU Policy regarding instructional use of Zoom.
Senator S. Schroeder suggested adding definitions.
Senator Tucker said that we should consider including different platforms other than Zoom. He mentioned, for example, Blackboard Collaborate.
Dr. White said that we should consider only professor-approved technology.
Senator Landry said that on page 13 of the Return to Campus Guide–it stated “Zoom”.
Dr. Lanoue agreed that we need to include other technologies.
Senator T. Schoroeder said to include that faculty members are not required to post lectures. If students assume that all class lectures are posted, then they may not want to attend class.
Senator S. Schroeder said that there is a best practices portion of the faculty senate document that should be noted.
Dr. Lanoue said that the document is intended for students and that the best practices portion is for faculty.
Senator Schneiderwind asked if there was similar language in the Student Handbook.
Dr. Lanoue said that he will look into that.
Move to adjourn 4:28 [motion – A. Overholser, second – T. Schroeder]