Faculty Council Minutes - February 2022

Behrend Faculty Council Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, February 2, 2022
1:30 p.m. via Zoom

  1. Call to Order – Edward Evans, Faculty Council & Senate Chair
  2. Approval of minutes from prior Faculty Council Meeting
    1. Carol Putman and Linda Hajec
  3. Welcome and comments from the Chair
    1. We had a task force look at a review of First Year Seminar (FYS) classes looking at the goals, compliance, etc. and came up with 15-16 items that should be in all FYS classes. The goal is to establish a standard course and run it by FS. Scott Stroupe and his team built an FYS class with really complete content and nice structure. We are moving forward with this as a master course and still have room for the discipline-specific material. Master includes DEI, mental health, studying, and all the other basics the students need and will afford consistent delivery across our schools. Watch for more information on this at the April meeting presentation.
    2. Promotion and Tenure policies BCF10 and BCF24 were reviewed to include procedures for nominations and clarify the promotion process. These will be shared with Sara L. and the Faculty Affairs Committee looking for their input on any issues they might see. Faculty Affairs is asked to return their review/comment to Pam and Ed within two weeks.
    3. Academic Integrity (AI) task force is proposing changes to the current procedure. There have been issues with scheduling hearings in a timely manner, especially with the pandemic spike in cases. Behrend is unlike most other PSU units. Many other units went to a paper-based evidence review.
      1. The task force suggested changes include:
        1. Slimming the quorum to two faculty
        2. Remove the tenured chair requirement
        3. Best practice for school representation is not mandatory
        4. Standardize a paper-based review
        5. Preserve the process to request a live review
          These changes preserve the integrity of the AI process, remove the gridlock, and bring us more in line with peer units.
        6. Q: Can AI committee members be assigned or elected for a year and schedule specific times for reviews and not have these scheduling issues?
          A: The big concern is the scheduling. You still have to work around two students' schedules and faculty schedules which change every semester. Other questions can be sent to Sarah Whitney (sew17).
  4. Report from Sara Luttfring, Chair of Faculty Affairs, re: Faculty Survey
    1. Strong responses were noted in areas of:
      1. Workload, particularly workload/support and workload equity
      2. Salary disparity and raises not reflecting pandemic workload.
    2. Workload was not specifically defined in the survey and could mean different things (e.g., class prep, grading, converting a class, number of students per class). It just is not clear.
    3. In terms of support, the faculty felt more supported locally than by administration.
    4. There seems to be a discrepancy between review periods. More people felt a five-year review was more favorable than an annual review, but the meaning of this is unclear. Results are uneven since not everyone has done a five-year review.
    5. Use this as a starting point for an open discussion at Faculty Senate meeting on 2/11/22.
    6. In addition, we recommend some action items be implemented in the near term. These items received a lot of support on the survey:
      1. Allow more voting and input at Faculty Senate meetings
      2. Separate P&T seminars for tenure track and non-tenure track
      3. FS meetings hybrid or zoom, not in-person only. At hybrid meetings, assign someone to monitor the chat to adequately represent remote attendees
      4. More timely meeting notices
      5. Make this survey an annual occurrence so we can analyze over time for comparative data
    7. Sara will send results out to the faculty from the Faculty Affairs committee.
  5. Report from the representative to University Senate, Matt Swinarski
    1. There is nothing new to report beyond what has been released by the University Senate.
  6. Report from the Chancellor, Ralph Ford
    1. Welcome to Alicyn Rhoades, who is our new Interim Assistant Dean of Research and Graduate Studies. A national search for this position is coming.
    2. The new Penn State President is Dr. Neeli Bendapudi. She starts in March and will overlap current President Eric Barron. President Barron will retire after commencement in May. Dr. Bendapudi is expected to visit Behrend at some time.
    3. The new Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses is Dr. Kelly Austin. He is replacing Madlyn Hanes, who retired. Dr. Austin is focusing on affordability of college.
    4. The search for a new director of H&SS is underway; Dr. Corty is retiring.
    5. The annual State of the College address/in-person event is planned for February 16, 2022.
    6. Covid dashboard shows our vaccination rates are very good – 80% for students and 93% for FT faculty/staff. We are in a holding pattern regarding the federal mandate due to the related court rulings. Testing continues on campus and rates are dropping in general.
    7. There is no announcement yet about the fall 2022 semester format.
    8. Winter weather is coming tomorrow. It is expected to be worse in the afternoon; use the remote option for class if needed.
  7. Report from the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Pam Silver
    1. Grade forgiveness requests are coming in. Students are struggling.
    2. Faculty are working hard and dealing with unprepared students.
    3. Qi Dunsworth (CTI) and Jon Gunnell (e-learning) are available to help faculty deal with technology in the classroom and online. They are on campus and ready to help.
    4. Student learning issues may be long-term; we will have to figure out how to manage this.
    5. Questions
      1. Q: What is the status of the Canvas access/testing link – has the error been fixed?
        A: Yes, it was the result of a data feed problem and was fixed within hours of it occurring. The Canvas access loss system is working correctly. Quarantine and Isolation times have changed, and notices will be sent out, but this must be managed.
      2. Q: If students are locked out of Canvas correctly, should faculty be providing them with the information they cannot access but need for class? The faculty is the face of the penalty.
        A: It is within your purview to give them access, but students have one get-out-of-jail-free card where they can call the control center and get reinstated. Students are the ones that put themselves in that situation and are adults who can deal with the consequences. The system is working, so a student can re-gain Canvas access quickly by testing. As soon as they log in and complete the test, the system returns access quickly.
      3. Q: Letters from the University simply state the maximum amount of time a student can be out. What is the process to tell the faculty when the student can be back?
        A: We know you need better info and are working on it.
  8. Report from the Interim Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, Alicyn Rhoades
    1. We are currently accepting nominations for Behrend Faculty and Staff Awards. These mean a great deal to those who are nominated. Please consider your co-workers for this.
    2. The Council of Fellows Undergraduate Student Research Awards applications are open and due on February 14, 2022. Nominate your student researchers.
    3. The Summer Undergraduate Research Grants are open. These are 10 weeks in the summer and funded at $4,000. These are great opportunities to pair your faculty and students on research projects. Students can take summer classes at the same time.
  9. Dates/times for upcoming meetings:
    1. Faculty Senate – Friday, February 11, 2022, at 3:30 p.m. on Zoom.
    2. Faculty Council – Tuesday, March 1, 2022
  10. Motion to adjourn