Minutes of the Faculty Senate
April 15, 2021
Present: Senators T. Schroeder, S. Schroeder, Tucker, Fanning, Wilson, Oden, Stanford, Wise, Overholser, Logan, Huang, Paulson, Schneiderwind, White, Almotairi, Warrick, Petty
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
Call to Order at 3:42 p.m.
Approval of Minutes:
Minutes from March meeting [motion – T. Schroeder; second – S. Schroeder]
Senator S. Schroeder shared the floor with Senator Logan, who let us know that the ad hoc committee for the sanctions policy had decided to pull the document and continue their work into the Fall 2021 semester, so that they can address questions. She then introduced the Handbook Committee’s recommendations for the merit pay (Budget Committee) document. The Handbook Committee recommended language for headers, and the language was approved. Roger Giles and HR should have a completed version of the Faculty Handbook (13th ed.) soon. Some electronic versions of documents will not yet be available, but our expectation is to replace the appendices entirely with hyperlinks or electronic versions. She invited discussion and there was no discussion.
President Logan called for a vote
Budget Committee: No report
Parking Committee: No report
- Special Orders of the Day
Updates from Dr. Berry:
Fifteen days left of the semester. He appreciated the faculty and staff coming together and giving opinions, expertise, and work.
COVID-19 update: There are no positive on campus; taking 2 positives off campus; 1 student in quarantine off campus. According to Dr. Allen’s calculations 966 vaccinations 334 faculty and staff, which is 78% of faculty and staff. There have been 551 student vaccinations, which is 23% of the student body. Email from Task Force to ask students who have taken the vaccine off campus. We received 10 responses from students who have received the vaccine off campus. SAU is doing really well compared to other campus. Some institutions have not given any student vaccinations. Dr. Allen and Health Services is doing really an amazing job.
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. The graduate school enrollment is trending in a positive direction. There have been 32 new doctoral students have been accepted in the Ed.D. SAU students are having 100% acceptance to medical school. Rankin College of Business 26 awards from PBL and outstanding chapter. The budget committee has met twice. They are meeting again tomorrow. There are a lot of important decision to make. He hopes to have the final decisions made by graduation.
Updates from Dr. Lanoue:
Dr. Lanoue said that he appreciated the work of the faculty during a difficult year.
NC grades as an option for students. This has been a difficult year and would like to encourage faculty to consider NC grades.
Mask optional in the fall with caveats. We are trying to create normalcy and keep students safe. There are some who have auto immune problems and need to wear a mask. We also know that there are some classes were in students in close quarters. There is also the importance of providing information about the vaccine.
Senator T. Schroeder—Encouraged caution in messaging. He said that it would be difficult to say that masks are not required and then ultimately need them again.
Dr. Lanoue said that he agreed and that we are going to need to watch the science. SAU will need to monitor. Students will respond better to optimistic message, but may change as circumstances warrant.
Senator Tucker asked if we could offer incentives for vaccines. We encourage students to getting the vaccines so that we can have a more normal fall semester.
Dr. Lanoue said that he agreed. Students getting vaccinated will be key as we move forward and incentives are being considered.
Senator Landry stressed that we need to continue to test. That will be critical. Testing supplies should be there for us.
Dr. Lanoue thanked her for the good point. He wants to do what is right by our students.
Dr. Berry added that SAU has messaged the CDC statement to students that if they are vaccinated and come in contact with a COVID 19 individual they do not have to quarantine.
Dr. Rowsam reported on the Quality Executive Council updates.
President Logan had a virtual passing of the gavel to President-elect Dr. S. Schroeder
Election of 2021-2022 Officers (slate below):
President: Dr. Shannin Schroeder
Vice-President: Dr. Connie Wilson
Secretary: Dr. Tim Schroeder
Parliamentarian: Dr. Jennifer Logan
President-elect S. Schroeder called for a vote to accept the slate of officers. [Motion – Stanford; second – Wise]
President-elect S. Schroeder called for discussion
There was none
President-elect S. Schroeder called for a vote
The election of the slate of officers passed unanimously
Comments from the incoming Senate President-elect, Dr. S. Schroeder:
As I look forward to the beginning of our 2021-22 academic year, I’m reminded of a few things…I want to forget, several words among them.
I’d like to forget the term “pandemic,” for example. Despite my love of oxymorons, I’m going to need new language to describe “social distancing” and “new normal.” I also don’t want to be told I’m living in “uncertain times”—because, honestly, when haven’t we all been uncertain about the future, unless one or more of you is psychic? Because I’m squeamish, I wish I could banish my knowledge of what “intubation” means. I join Dr. Berry in wishing no one had ever coined the term “threat actors” for the much more appropriate cyber attackers or terrorists.
And friends, the word “unprecedented” might have to be thrown out entirely.
Then, there are the things I’d like to remember from this past year. The patience and strength of the Heath Services staff. Dr. Daniel McDermott’s enthusiastic and informative explanations of how our T-cells work. The administration’s commitment to masks, especially for our students, when not even Bath and Body Works can keep them over people’s noses (have you smelled that place? We need something to buffer that sensory overload!). I also think about our colleagues, who rose to the challenge of learning new-to-them technologies, who reached out to others in their departments and across the University and found ways to gather or share that knowledge, whether through The Academy, via videos, from tech-savvy students, or in informal calls or Zoom meetings.
I’d even like to remember the apathy among our students these past three semesters—their distrust of the Zoom process, their reduced participation, our lessened ability to engage them in our courses—because it reminds me of what we do well here at SAU. Some teachers are absolutely able to be their best selves in the virtual classroom. Others of us are incredibly eager to return to our face-to-face settings, even as we prepare for possible challenges, like impending spikes in COVID cases or even the continued need for masks or random testing. As a body, SAU is ready to return students and faculty to the types of learning they prefer, whatever those may be.
I’d also like to keep moving forward with this renewed vigor in our shared governance. Next year, a few items will be at the forefront of our efforts as a Senate—including questions about the layers of administration on campus; our need as faculty to be even more present in the early advising of students, especially those who have already declared majors, and in the long-term retention of those same students; the continued need for transparency in our procedures and policies; and articulating faculty qualifications. Some of these topics have been brought forth by faculty, some by administration. But today, after a year where we’ve been separated by distance and computer screens, I hope we remember the term “shared” and build on a renewed commitment to working together in order to move forward.
Move to adjourn 5:04 [motion – White, second – Overholser]