Faculty Senate Minutes - August 2021

Behrend Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes

Thursday, August 19, 2021, noon
180 Burke

  1. Call to Order – Edward Evans, Faculty Senate Chair
    1. Welcome back. We are on campus and in person!
    2. New Rule: When recognized by the chair, please begin with your name and your unit.
    3. Approval of minutes from April Faculty Senate Meeting
      Motion – Mike Nabor, Second – Kathy Noce
  2. Welcome and Comments from the Chair
    1. I applaud you all for the good work this past year, and especially thank Emily Cassano for her Chair efforts last year.
    2. We face serious issues with student retention. Behrend enrollment is down significantly over the past 4 years.
    3. Our students are joining us or returning to us, facing many challenges from remote learning and alternative grading. Please utilize Starfish and referrals.
    4. For our students that are UP bound, we need to communicate with them any Behrend degree options that can help them to achieve their career goals.
    5. Regarding Covid, approximately 73% of Behrend faculty and staff have shared their vaccination status to date.
    6. The 24% Rule: Up to 24% of an in-person class can be offered remotely. Meant to be used to adjust for absences due to illness. There are serious financial aid and accreditation issues associated with deviations in the scheduled delivery beyond 24%.
  3. Ralph Ford, Chancellor
    1. Thank you to Emily Cassano for chairing last year and Ed for taking the chair this year
    2. Thank you all for your contributions to get us this far.
    3. We are at a critical junction, facing challenges unlike any we have experienced.
      1. Students need our help, studies show they have suffered
      2. Enrollment is down significantly over the past four years
      3. We need to focus on retaining the students who are already here.
    4. We developed the Strategic Plan; it was accepted by the University
    5. We planned and handled Covid testing, surveillance, and quarantining.
      1. We lost no immediate Behrend community to Covid, but we have lost several community members in the past year due to other circumstances.
      2. Our best tool is vaccination, please consider it.
      3. There is a vaccine clinic to be held on campus next week
    6. Progress on many fronts last year.
      1. Started new majors
      2. Erie Hall replacement
      3. Federal House addition
      4. Knowledge Park is growing
    7. Fundraising: We are in a 6-year/$60 million capital campaign and passed the goal already.
      1. 46 new scholarships – PASSS and Erie Insurance Accelerate program
      2. Magee-Womens Research Institute Partnership
      3. Biomedical Translational Research Lab
      4. Endowment book value is up
    8. Reminders: Ice cream social today and Convocation is Saturday.
    9. Questions
      1. Q – Jay Amicangelo: Will BioMed lab have an internal Open House?
        A: Yes, in groups
      2. Q – Jay Amicangelo: There is a lot of tree cutting in the gorge – comment?
        A: These are dead and diseased trees, and this was done in concert with DCNR.
  4. Pam Silver, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
    1. Details of coming back to campus
      1. Focus attention on the students, support them
      2. Meet the learning outcomes
      3. Find ways to help students succeed without compromising course integrity
    2. We need each other. Faculty Senate meetings are important. Bring a friend.
    3. Three Rules: Take care of yourself, take care of your campus community, take care of Behrend
  5. Ivor Knight, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies
    1. We had more research this summer; about 100 students
    2. The solicitation for undergraduate research grants goes out today
    3. We closed the FY with $8.5 million in funds for research and outreach
    4. Q – John Rossi: Last year's research was compressed to the spring semester; will this change?
      A: This year, grants can be started as soon as they are reviewed and awarded.
  6. University Faculty Senate Updates – Matt Swinarski
    1. On August 13, two resolutions were passed
      1. (128-32) A vaccine mandate for all faculty, staff, and students. Masking, twice-a-week testing, and restrictions. Delivery options
      2. (109-57) A vote of No Confidence in the University Covid-19 Plan
      3. The Senate Chair wrote to the University President to call for more shared governance
    2. Questions
      1. Q – John Rossi: Was there any response from the University?
        A: Yes, the Board responded, backing the President with full confidence
      2. Q – Elisa Bondar: How vigilant is testing in light of the fall cold/flu season?
        A: Any symptom means you get tested. For surveillance testing, there is a spit kit. The Health and Wellness Center has rapid result tests for symptoms.
  7. Introduction of new faculty by School Directors
    1. Eric Corty, HSS. One new offer, they resigned on Saturday
    2. Greg Filbeck, BSOB
      1. Yaa Nithithanatchinnapat
      2. Muhammad Odeh
    3. Tim Kurzweg, SOE
      1. Kyeiwaa Asare-Yeboah
      2. Kate Chan
      3. Feng Qian
      4. Mark Rubeo
    4. Marty Kociolek, SOS
      1. Meg Ferri
      2. Dustin Hemphill
      3. MK recognized SOS retirees Jonathan Hall and Antonella Cupillari
  8. Presentation of Faculty Awards
    1. Teaching – Massimo Verzella, School of Humanities and Social Sciences
    2. Outreach – Paul Lynch, School of Engineering
    3. Research – Ozgun Demirag, Black School of Business
    4. Advising – Mike Nabor, School of Science
  9. Closing Comments and Adjournment – Ed Evans
    1. Motion – Matt Swinarski
    2. Second – Mike Nabor