Faculty Senate Reports - April 2022

Behrend Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, April 20, 2022
11:00 a.m. – 114 Reed and via Zoom

  1. Call to Order – Ed Evans, Faculty Senate Chair @ 11:03 a.m.
  2. Approval of minutes from March 24, 2022, Faculty Senate meeting
    1. Luciana Aronne and Matt Swinarski
  3. Report from Pam Silver, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
    1. Commencement this year will celebrate two graduating classes, 2022 and also the 2020 graduates who had their graduation canceled due to Covid.
    2. Come to Academic Convocation at the start of the new academic year to show your support for our new students. It is Saturday morning, August 20.
  4. Report from Alicyn Rhoades, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies
    1. On May 9, the early tenure track faculty will have a meet up at the brewery at 6:00 p.m, to kick off the summer research endeavors. This is open to other faculty in the spirit of getting to know these early TT faculty and building the research community. Email Margie Sargent and Alicyn Rhoades for details and to RSVP.
  5. Report from the representative to University Senate, Matt Swinarski
    1. The last Senate meeting is April 26, and the extended agenda is posted at senate.psu.edu.
    2. There is a vote on the proposed Preamble.
    3. Two legislative reports are coming up for vote: 48-40 deferred grades and 44-40 proctoring exams.
    4. Advisory report on Principles of Designing a Health Care Plan from Faculty Benefits.
    5. Informational reports include Financial impact of Covid, Impact of Covid on Tenure, Two Flow reports (tenure and non-tenure), and a CWC Research report. From 2018-2021, Behrend was second in awarded programs in CW.
    6. There have been some emails about Altoona budget issues and program changes, but there is not enough info to talk on it. Ralph might know more about this?
    7. C: Ralph Ford - Altoona has had a really tough time and is dealing with some challenges. Behrend also faces challenges and I will talk on this briefly later.
    8. C: Matt Swinarski - Senators seek more of a forensic session about these budget issues. The consensus from Faculty Senate is there should be a discussion about removing parts of programs for budget reasons and its effect on students’ academic progress.
  6. Report from the Chancellor, Ralph Ford
    1. Thank you all for showing up for the Dr. Neeli Bendapudi visit. She was truly impressed and pleasantly surprised at the turnout. She also engaged our students over lunch.
    2. Admissions – Thank you all for a great Open House. Year over year we are doing well. We are up in paid accepts; we work hard at meeting with the new students and families.
    3. Federal House and the Core Building Open House is next week on April 27. I encourage you all to attend. Everyone is welcomed.
    4. Commencement speakers – Charisse Nixon, Professor of Psychology. She was supposed to be the 2020 speaker and will be our 2020+2022 speaker. Our other speaker is Dr. Ala Stanford, a CNN Heroes finalist, 80s Behrend student, and Hershey Medical graduate.
    5. I want to announce the conclusion of the HSS director search and we have selected Dr. Melanie Hetzel-Riggin. A campus email was just sent out announcing this.
    6. I want to thank the Faculty Senate and Council members for all their hard work.
  7. Presentation from Dr. Sam Mason on Sustainability Activity
    (Email Lisa Nelson to request Sustainable Behrend Update Powerpoint.)
    1. Behrend has joined STARS: Sustainability Tracking Assessment and Rating System.
      1. This provides a framework of campus, lets us compare within campus and with other similar schools, and lets us work to improve our sustainability.
      2. We completed our first assessment in 2020 and were awarded the Bronze level.
      3. Next year is our next STARS report assessment.
    2. A Sustainability Council was established comprised of faculty, staff, students, and administrators. There are six sub-committees.
    3. With the Sustainability Council, we developed a Sustainability Strategic Plan of three main goals, 11 objectives, and 46 specific actions to accomplish.
    4. If anyone wants to be more involved in sustainability, please contact Sam Mason to be added to one of the sub-subcommittees of interest.
    5. Moving forward, in regard to student demographics and sustainability.
      1. There is a lot of information showing that students are focused on sustainability career paths.
      2. They are interested in adding sustainability awareness to their chosen majors, even to the point of it affecting their school choice.
      3. This is a recruitment/retention issue.
  8. First Year Experience Update
    1. This is moving ahead and we have plans for the next year. The goal is a consistent presentation. The task force report was sent out with the last meeting announcements.
    2. The original charge was to review the FY Seminar guidelines and syllabi, review best practices, how to integrate them, and propose a FYE course.
    3. The original goals were to engage student learning in a way that would bridge to later experiences in their major and also to facilitate student adjustment to college transition.
    4. Objectives were to introduce them to Behrend, the resources available, support mechanisms, their faculty, as well as their responsibilities as part of the University.
    5. Originally it was TT faculty, but we have an (Advisers) teaching exemption since 2009.
    6. Required for all incoming students, class size is to be small, should include some academic content, and should address all the mentioned objectives.
    7. Recommendations are that it be a stand-alone, 1 credit course of 3 hours a week - 1 hour field of study, 1 hour of skills learning, and 1 hour of engagement.
    8. Topics to include what is a land grant mission, AI, resources, Tech Academy, ACPC, positive relationships, portfolios, as well as engagement topics like DEI, anti-bias, sustainability, growth mindset, financial literacy, counseling, student affairs, and more.
    9. The Task Force's current recommendations:
      1. Add specific faculty to the task force from each school.
      2. Modify the Black School of Business FYE model.
        1. Adopt it out to the whole College.
        2. There will be a meeting at the end of the semester.
        3. The Goal of FA2023 for a Canvas model with a lot of information to share. We will try to get away from the embedded course model.
    10. The Task Force's next steps are:
      1. Align the new model with the recommendations
      2. Create a Canvas master
      3. Provide mentor training
      4. Train-the-Trainer session for working groups
        1. C: FYS is the place to get our students involved and retained, so we should put our best faculty on it.
        2. C: Having consistency will add value; there are vast differences right now
        3. C: For incoming freshmen, it can be overwhelming and it will help to give them all the same well-prepared class.
        4. C: The objectives are passive and unmeasurable. Is there a way to make learning objectives more clear and measurable and consistent yet with some flexibility for different schools/majors? To ‘Introduce’ a topic/something is objective.
        5. C: If all schools do this, there can be a campus collective to have joint sessions to cross over majors/schools.
        6. C: There is a benefit to mix up students who might not be in the same major and can be exposed to those other majors.
        7. C: FYS is embedded in some courses – and the FYS topics get subordinated.
        8. C: There are challenges to faculty and faculty demand at the start of the semester, need to think through these challenges. Balance the early semester load.
        9. C: Long term, we might need something in the second half of the semester, and a follow-up in the spring semester.
  9. Closing Comments – Ed Evans
    1. Provost Nick Jones is coming to Behrend. Open session for faculty is at 9:45 a.m. tomorrow in 180 Burke. Are there any questions for him?
      1. Q: We see loss of positions in schools with short notice and no opportunity to seek other positions. Where do these decisions come from? At least let them know sooner so they can look at options with more than a two-week notice.
      2. C: There is a planned 3% recision to the budget. What does that mean to us?
    2. Commencement - Please attend and show support for our students.
    3. Academic Convocation in August – If we don’t show up, what are we telling our students? Please go to that.
    4. Chairs – Please submit your reports and charges to Ed Evans, LJ Elliott, and Lisa Nelson.
    5. Thank you all for the past year, and welcome to new Chair, LJ Elliott.
    6. C: At the baseball game on April 26, there will be a celebration for the Conference’s 25th anniversary, and – weather permitting – there will be cake.
  10. Adjournment
    1. Luciana Aronne and Matt Ciszek