Faculty Council Minutes - October 2021

Behrend Faculty Council Meeting Minutes

Friday, October 8, 2021
1:30 p.m. in Reed 114 and via Zoom

  1. Call to Order – Edward Evans, Faculty Council & Senate Chair
  2. Approval of minutes from prior Faculty Council Meeting
    1. Linda Hajec & Carol Putnam
  3. Welcome and Comments from the Chair
    1. The next Senate meeting to be scheduled for late October/appx 2 weeks
    2. Wintergreen Gorge tree harvest has ended, fallen trees will be left for wildlife habitat
    3. The Covid contact tracing process is underway and seems to be working
  4. Report from the Chancellor, Ralph Ford
    1. Re: Contact tracing, our people have been doing it here but are now transitioning it back to University Park
    2. Part of the Strategic Plan is to create a Chancellor’s Council on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Charter is now being drafted to include: track metric, hold accountability, collaborate, coordinate committees, make recommendations. When it is ready, Ralph will present it to the associated groups and the Faculty Council.
    3. H&SS Director search is underway
    4. Ralph is meeting with all departments regarding enrollment
    5. Federal House update – it is on its way to completion, which is expected by end of calendar year. Expect a February/March grand opening
    6. Erie Hall is coming down
    7. Covid update: 
      1. Student vaccination rate is about 75%, faculty/staff is 83%, and the positivity rate is 1.7%
      2. We are working hard to get the non-compliant (three strikes) students into compliance, originally over 500, this is now down to four
      3. Q: If a student missed two tests then tested, does this reset them?
        A: No.
      4. Q: Will exemption process repeat for next year?
        A: Yes, but the process needs to happen sooner
      5. Comment – Federal regulations for contractors may be updated and this could affect the Penn State System
  5. Report from the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Pam Silver
    1. We are in the process of data-driven curricular planning – starting with reviews of each program to verify they are up to date and meeting the needs of the students
    2. This involves a college-level strategic view of data regarding curriculums
  6. Report from the Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, Ivor Knight
    1. We are reviewing sabbaticals
    2. We awarded 50+ undergraduate research grants at $1,200 each
    3. At Faculty Senate, there was a request for tours of the new bio-med lab; three tours were offered with little turnout
  7. Committees and Charges discussion with Chair, Ed Evans
    1. Proposed charges sheet was handed out to committee chairs
    2. Retention is a priority – retention of both students and faculty: Faculty Affairs, Student Life, and Student Affairs can work on this
    3. The six-year graduation number needs to improve
    4. We need to identify Behrend majors that can meet student career goals, as well as the University Park majors that can
    5. There are 280 Senate members – do we consider a representative/elected Senate to open dialog and encourage participation? Faculty Affairs to look at that. Compare our structure to comparative campuses and determine the pros and cons.
      1. Comment – our participation is not an outlier – it happens similarly at other campuses
      2. Comment – lack of participation is because we are down by several faculty members and the service part falls off
      3. Comment – lack of participation exceeds the last five years of short staffing
      4. Comment – gender disparity in salary could reflect retention also, look at promotion and tenure reports
      5. Comment – Chancellor’s office offered any data they have to the Faculty Affairs committee and requested any recommendations they can make (e.g., mentoring)
    6. Committee chairs are asked to refer to the page of charges listed to start their committee’s discussions. All this is on Teams or will be added to Teams. 
    7. Review your committee charges and decide what you want to work on this year and report back at next meeting
    8. Discussion – format for Faculty Senate meeting as in-person, Zoom, or hybrid
      Comment – All Zoom is preferred as an equity issue
  8. Dates/times for upcoming meeting to be determined
  9. Motion to adjourn
    1. Matt Ciszek and Matt Swinarski