Minutes of the Faculty Senate
March 18, 2021
Present: Senators T. Schroeder, S. Schroeder, Tucker, Fanning, Wilson, Oden, Stanford, Wise, Overholser, Logan, Huang, Paulson, Schneiderwind, White, Almotairi, Warrick
Ex-Officio/guests: Dr. Trey Berry, Dr. David Lanoue, Dr. Kim Bloss, Dr. Donna Allen, Mr. Roger Giles, Ms. Reed, Ms. Almand, Ms. Sheryl Edwards, Dr. Trent Wells, Dr. Helmut Langerbein, Dr. Jennifer Rowsam, Dr. Gerald Plumlee, Dr. Robin Sronce, Dr. Scott White, Ms. Amanda Anderson, Dr. Bachri, Ms. Barbara Hudgens, Ms. Mia Cheatham, and Dr. Karen Landry
Senator S. Schroeder for Senator Boumtje
Senator Oden for Senator Petty
Call to Order at 3:41 p.m
Approval of Minutes:
Minutes from February meeting [motion – Oden; second – T. Schroeder]
Special Orders of the Day:
Updates from Dr. Berry:
COVID-19 update: There are no positive on campus and none off campus. There have been some no-shows to get the vaccines, and they were rescheduled and then didn’t show up. He said he is very pleased with the progress of the vaccinations. There have been 70% of faculty and staff vaccinated. As of this afternoon, we have now given the vaccine to 400 students. The students who have received the vaccine are student workers, GAs, and/or those live on campus. If the supply is maintained, then there will be a possibility of all students living on campus vaccinated by the time of graduation.
Ransomware attack update: The consultants feel that there was no data compromised. They are going to continue to meet with IT staff to upgrade everything. Carbon Black has been purchased to help detect malicious activity.
There is a plan to administer a survey on campus to determine what is needed with regards to technology.
Recruitment update: We are experiencing the same pattern–500 acceptances down. The admissions staff is doing an amazing job to be innovative in recruitment efforts, which has been challenging this year. A positive note is that campus tours are increasing. The tours average 6-7 per day. There was an exceptionally high day last week when there were 12 campus tours. The graduate school enrollment is trending in a positive direction.
April begins the budget process and looking forward to having everyone’s input.
Updates from Dr. Lanoue:
Based on feedback, including faculty senate officers, the more traditional calendar will be used in the fall.
All faculty evaluations and tenure and promotion processes will move to Mentor.
Dr. Plumlee added that he will be offering sessions through the Academy to help prepare faculty and staff.
Questions for the Administration and responses:
- The recent shift to virtual content delivery has exposed weaknesses in our campus technological infrastructure. Given this transition is likely to persist, what steps is SAU taking to pivot budgeted and donated resources towards increasing communications and computing capacity campus wide?
Dr. Lanoue explained that he is seeking feedback from the faculty and is motivated to meet their needs. He is working the IT to continue to plan for the upcoming year.
- What rules/regulations does SAU have to protect faculty & staff from email solicitations? What safeguards are in place to protect privacy?
Dr. Berry explained that SAU has an aggressive firewall through Barracuda. It catches a lot, but not everything. Dr. Berry discouraged anyone from clicking on attachments that look suspicious.
- Given the uncertainty of the fall, virtual class days in lieu of fall break, vaccine roll out, and Dr. Fauci’s recommendation of masks probably until 2022, will administration consider virtual meetings in the fall (committees, advising, etc)?
It’s a little too early to tell. But, it will be monitored very closely in the next 4-5 months. Probably around July 4, there will be much more solid information. He encouraged patience.
- What is the campus policy on departmental tours with potential students? Are departmental tours with potential students mandatory or voluntary across campus?
Dr. Berry explained that he views everyone as a recruiter. He hopes that there would be motivation by all faculty and staff to assist in this effort.
- Is it possible to move the speed bump by the Wesley Center down closer to the crosswalk to improve safety?
The speedbumps were based on a study that lasted 2 years. There will be additional speedbumps added for student, faculty, and staff safety. It has been reported that there are cars that go around the speed bumps, which is causing a greater danger to pedestrians. So, that is currently being analyzed.
- The administration has expressed concern about future enrollment numbers, requiring a very cautious outlook when considering the reinstatement of pre-Covid retirement contribution levels and salary COLAs. However, the University has added buildings and programs in these times. Would the administration offer a description of how it is finding increased funding for these new operational expenses of buildings and programs?
Dr. Berry explained that the restoration of retirement funds is a priority and is being considered by the budget committee. The R and R funds are used for the upkeep of the buildings. Also, there is new classroom furniture was a donation from a private donor and so was the new athletic practice facility. Academic programs are very important and there have been feasibility studies to ensure that programs added will attract students. SAU is interested in programs that no one else has because it makes us unique. It will not stop to continue to think and innovate.
- Committee Reports:
Handbook Committee: no report
Budget Committee: (see report —Appendix A)[motion–White; second–S. Schroeder]
Senator T. Schroeder discussed the budget report.
President Logan called for a vote to accept the changes presented by the budget committee.
President Logan asked that the Budget committee report be submitted to the Handbook committee.
Ad Hoc committee–Faculty Sanctions: (see report – Appendix B)
President Logan explained that the Ad Hoc Faculty Sanctions committee report was emailed to the senators on March 16 for review.[motion: S. Schroeder; second: Oden]
Senator S. Schroeder discussed at-large elections.
President Logan assigned the following senators to conduct elections in their colleges:
Senators T. Schroeder, S. Schroeder, Petty, and President Logan
Move to adjourn 5:02 [motion – White, second – Overholser]