January 2014 Minutes

January 16, 2014


The Faculty Senate met on Thursday, January 16, at 3:40 pm in Reynolds 205.  Senators in attendance were Shannin Schroeder, Sara Day, Shane Warrick, Stacy Clanton, Pat Clanton, Matt Lammers, Marek Dojs, Tim Daniels, Scott White, David Sanson, Charles Keller, Karen Ferneding, Abdel Bachri, Jennifer Logan.

The following senators were absent with proxies: David Sanson served for Copie Moore and Scott White served for Abdel Bachri.

Ex-officio:  Dr. T. Berry, Mr. Roger Giles, Dr. D. Allen 

Visitors included:  Mr. Cledis Stuart

 Call to Order

Pres. S. Schroeder called the meeting to order at 3:40 p.m.  Proxies read.

Approval of Minutes

Motion to approve the minutes by M. Lammers, K. Ferneding seconded.  The motion passed.

 Special Orders of the Day

Reports by the Standing Committees of the Senate:

  • Budget Committee – S. White reported that the committee plans to meet with Mr. McLendon and Dr. Berry soon to discuss various budgetary matters.
  • Handbook Committee – S. Clanton reported that the committee would meet soon to discuss various matters. 
  • Parking Committee – J. Logan reported that the committee had not met. 

 Reports by Liaisons to University and Academic Committees

  • Academic Suspension and Appeals – S. Clanton reported that the committee met before the semester began.  The voting members of the committee agreed to the reinstating of approximately 50% of the written appeals.  Additionally, S. Clanton shared the concerns of the committee in regards to an email sent by Student Affairs that was received by Dr. Shehada.  This email was targeted at one of the students’ appeal efforts, asking the committee not to reinstate the particular student.  The committee wanted a public record of this email to highlight the discomfort felt by its inclusion.  S. Day moved that the Faculty Senate accept this committee report.  P. Clanton seconded.  The motion passed. 
  • Library Committee – K. Ferneding distributed a handout highlighting some recent recommendations from the Library Committee.  Due to increasing costs, lowered revenues and an ever-changing market for library resources, the Library Committee is recommending a $2.00 per credit hour fee increase to sustain current programs and continue to support the library needs of the University.  S. White moved to accept the committee’s report.  T. Daniels seconded.  The motion passed and discussion ensued.  S. Clanton then moved to charge the Library Committee to further investigate ways to protect the budgetary baseline from further cuts and maintain a minimal level of needed support for the library.  N. Dobbins seconded.  The motion passed with 11 yes votes and 3 no votes.  A copy of this handout is provided at the end of the minutes.           

Reports by University Administration:

  • Update on Enrollment– Dr. Berry distributed a handout showing registration numbers for the spring 2014 semester.  Student enrollment has outpaced spring 2013 numbers, showing a modest but steady increase over the past year.  A copy of the handout is included at the end of the minutes.
  • Report by Mr. Cledis Stuart and Mr. Roger Giles regarding diversity initiatives – Mr. Cledis Stuart shared recent plans to implement Diversity Excellence Awards for a faculty member, staff member, and student group on campus.  These awards would be given out at their respective award ceremonies at the end of this spring semester.  The committee hopes that these awards will help to improve diversity on campus.  S. White moved to accept the report and recommend these awards to the administration.  T. Daniels seconded.  The motion passed.
  • SAU website redesign update – Pres. S. Schroeder reported that Mr. Josh Jenkins had worked with faculty regarding ideas/suggestions to redesign the university website.  Faculty presence has been improved on the website as many had requested previously.  The process is moving forward with feedback.
  • AQIP “Connect the Dots” Feedback Event Wednesday, January 22 from 11-1:30 pm.

Pres. S. Schroeder asked the senators to remind their colleagues to attend the Connect the Dots Party to help the university prioritize the opportunities that should be addressed.   Refreshments will be provided and participants will have a chance to win one of several door prizes.  This event provides faculty and staff the chance to have a voice in university actions and to play a role in the continuous improvement opportunities we all face.

 Old Business

Summer pay

S. White reported that some of the Budget Committee’s recommendations had been met from the 2012-2013 year, but other recommendations had not.  The Budget Committee requested that the university administration revisit and reconsider these other recommendations, allowing time for their discussion and implementation prior to the summer 2014 semester.

New Business

Question for the Administration: Will numbers from student surveys be used for any evaluative purposes?  The numbers are too small to be valid.  How has the administration decided to handle the course evaluations that were linked to the wrong courses, an issue raised last semester in Faculty Senate?

Mr. Giles explained that the recent shift to online course offerings as well as the university initiative to reduce paper has led to the use of online student surveys for course evaluation.  Although the overall response rates are still reportedly the same as before the use of online surveys, student response rates are still relatively inconsistent across classes.  Mr. Giles acknowledged that this issue should be discussed among administrators and faculty to determine how to best deal with the issue.  The Action Project Committee may also provide suggestions on the matter since they have been discussing ways to improve the current process for Annual Faculty Performance Reviews as well as Peer Evaluations.  Discussion ensued.  S. Clanton pointed out that the new system of online student surveys contradicts the current version of the Faculty Handbook.  Pres. Schroeder suggested the Faculty Handbook Committee may want to meet and discuss possible changes to current policy language regarding the distribution of student surveys.  S. White then moved that the Faculty Performance Committee be requested to review the current Faculty Handbook language and align the policies for student surveys.  Pres. Schroeder added a request that the Faculty Performance Committee be in communication with the Action Project Committee.  Recommendations from those committees should then be shared with the Faculty Handbook Committee.  J. Logan seconded.  The motion passed.

 Other Matters As May Come Before the Senate    

            S. White reminded senators that SSCHs (student semester credit hours) are currently being calculated and reviewed.  Be sure your classes are reviewed in the correct category because the size of the various categories affects the funding formula for the university.  He encouraged senators to share this news with their constituents and to stay mindful of our production.


The motion to adjourn was made by S. Clanton and seconded by T. Daniels.

Submitted by Jennifer Logan, Faculty Senate Secretary, January 28, 2014.

The next meeting will take place on Thursday, February 20, 2014 in Reynolds 205.

DATE: December 9 2013

TO: Dr. Trey Berry, Vice President for Academic Affairs

FROM:  University Committee: Library

RE: Recommendation for an increase in the library fee

Note: The information below provides an account of a meeting held on Thursday December 5th 2013.  Attendees were as follows:

Members: Helmut Langerbein, Brian Logan, Caroline Waller, Patty Strickland, James Cody Burkham, Mallory Wooten & Karen Ferneding (chairperson)

Ex officio:  Del Duke & Betsy Hall

Guests:  Margo Pierson, Julie Metro & Donna McCloy

 Background and Concerns

The Library Committee met on December 5, 2013, and received an update from Del Duke concerning the library’s recent projects and activities to support student learning and research.  In this meeting, Mr. Duke focused on the financial challenges that the library is facing in purchasing print and electronic materials. The Committee learned that despite the library staff’s best strategic efforts, the library’s budget does not adequately support the purchase of all the materials needed for our campus research and learning needs. The cost of resources increases 5-7 percent annually. Due to these increases over the last several years, combined with decreases in the library’s materials budget, the library’s ability to purchase and provide resources is critically strained. These challenges are compounded by the need for more resources to support the developmental needs of transitional studies students, new degree programs, shifts to online course offerings and requirements set forth by AQIP’s review regarding SAU functioning as a one-hundred percent on-line institution.

Decreases in the Library’s Budget

The Library budget and materials expenditures were discussed. Below is a chart providing an overview of Magale’s resources budget for the past 8 years indicating the continued decrease in resource funding.

In 2012-2013, the library spent a total of $175,325 for print resources and $277,966 for electronic resources. Using these numbers as baselines, the library staff recognized that the funding provided by SAU for the 2013-2014 of $135,000 for print and $265,917 for electronic resources left a deficit of approximately $52,374. In order to reconcile this shortfall, the library staff were forced to strategically cut spending to minimize the loss of critical resources for SAU’s research needs.

SAU’s Library Fees Compared to Other Arkansas Universities

Other universities are facing similar challenges and have worked to meet their financial shortfalls through supplemental library fees.  SAU’s library fee has been $1.00 per credit hour since 2005. Below are current library fees of comparable and related Arkansas universities:


Institution: Library Fee:
Southern Arkansas University $1.00 per credit hour


Henderson State University $2.50 per credit hour
University of Arkansas – Monticello


$4.00 per credit hour
Arkansas State University- Jonesboro $6.00 per credit hour
University of Central Arkansas $3.00 per credit hour

The Committee recognized that SAU has significantly lower fees than other Arkansas universities, including its most comparable institution, Henderson State University.

 Committee Discussion and Recommendations

The Committee discussed library fees in terms of how such fees could support a standard of quality that matches SAU’s current and projected needs. Two student members of the Committee, Ms. Wooten and Mr. Burkham, were asked for their input concerning the importance of library resources and library fees. Both members acknowledged how the resources provided by Magale Library were critical to their education.  In addition, they explained that although the desire to keep educational expenses as low as possible is important, an increase in the library fee is necessary in order to maintain access to quality library resources for both current and future students.

Other committee members concurred and added that SAU provides access to quality library resources for an entire region of southern Arkansas and for a growing number of online students as our university continues to add online and hybrid-based programs.  The committee further discussed that, as a result of the recent AQIP visit, SAU needs to be proactive about preparing its library facility to meet the needs of realizing its stature as a one-hundred percent online campus.

Recognizing the essential importance of securing quality library resources and services for the future of SAU, all committee members voted to support an increase of the library fee.

The next step was to determine a recommended amount for an increase.  The committee discussed three possible levels, ranging from adding an additional $.50 to $1.50 using the FTEs of Fall 2013 (2917) and Spring 2013 (2639).  At one point Mr. Burkham suggested an increase of $2.00 in order to better insure sustained support for library resources over the next several years. The chart below indicates each level of possible increase in fees and estimated annual resource funding.


Library Fee Increase Amount Estimated Annually Generated Resource Funds
$.50 $41,670
$1.00 $83,340
$1.50 $125,010
$2.00 $166,680




The Committee voted as follows:  A minimum of a $1.50 per credit hour increase is essential:  A $2.00 per credit hour increase is highly recommended in order to help counteract the projected annual increases in the cost of resources.