Behrend Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, December 6, 2022
4:30 p.m. via Zoom
I. Call to Order – Lisa Jo Elliott, Faculty Senate Chair
A. Approval of minutes from October Faculty Senate Meeting
Dawn Blasco; Ed Evans
II. College Updates
A. Ralph Ford, Chancellor
Chancellor Ralph Ford: Commencement is scheduled for December 16. It is important to participate.
1. The council for diversity, equity, and inclusion is operative. We had a meeting today. We are starting with three points:
- We are looking at the University-wide community survey conducted in 2020 (publicly available). There are some good things about the culture at Behrend and things we need to improve.
- Mentoring. We want to understand what is happening on campus. We have many active groups, especially student groups, on campus.
- Best practice identification. We want to understand what other universities are doing to help us develop new initiatives.
The two chairs are Dipo Onipede (School of Engineering) and Lindsey Hopkins Hall (Student Affairs). We are working with Hanover (the company that helps us with strategy). Hanover will also facilitate the DEI workshop, probably in February.
2. Associate Deans searches: We have two Associate Dean searches looming at some points in the future. Pam Silver will step down at the end of the academic year. Alycin Rohades has been serving as interim Associate Dean for research; she will also step down at the end of the academic year.
We would like to change some of the titles. We want to use “Deans” for School Directors. At that point, for the Associate Deans searches, we can use the title of Vice-Chancellor and Associate Dean. This new title will pair up with Dr. Ford’s title of Chancellor and Dean.
We will have:
- a Vice-Chancellor and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and
- a Vice-Chancellor and Associate Dean of Research.
The term Chancellor carries more weight in the external world. This change will allow us to attract a better candidate pool. These are the sort of changes President Bendapudi is bringing. Search committees will start in the next few weeks.
3. Erie Hall is scheduled to open in the early spring.
4. Budget model update: There is a Presidential town hall tomorrow. The budget model working group developed a new model. It’s a multi-year process to develop a model-based approach on how to allocate budgets. Bendapudi will explain the model; there will be a larger news release next week that will detail some of the information. The campuses are going to do fine; the allocation should be about equal to what we had this year. The larger variances will be in other places.
B. Pam Silver, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs
We started organizing the PaSSS program in 2017. PaSSS has always been funded centrally. We no longer have that funding. However, Behrend has funding from Erie Insurance. We will continue with PaSSS this summer with slight modifications.
C. Alicyn Rhoades, Interim Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies
Dr. Rhoades shares the webpage for the grant writing workshop organized in May. Behrend is hosting a grant writing workshop with guest speakers. Faculty can submit a draft so that the grant team can find experts to help with developing, expanding, and revising the drafts. Faculty can meet research leadership and faculty from across the Commonwealth and share ideas or collaborate on research projects.
III. Brief Report on the last University Park Faculty Senate meeting, November 29
- President Bendapudi suggested that the two Law Schools combined.
- She urged the leadership of all colleges to start to use faculty as consultants instead of hiring outside consultants.
- A visitor code of conduct is being developed in response to the Proud Boys’ founder visit.
- There was a presentation on the elements of effective teaching. The committee asked for comments on the framework for elements of effective teaching by Jan. 20. The question is how to evaluate teachers going forward. Access the document.
- Commonwealth campuses have drafted a letter addressed to President Bendapudi about concerns on the new budget model. The last Senate meeting (Nov. 29) contains a presentation on how Penn State is redoing the budget model. If you want to sign the letter drafted by the Commonwealth campuses, you can add your name to the list of other faculty members.
Under Senate committee updates, Matt Swinarski is creating a list of top items all committees are working on before the Senate agenda comes out so we can all know what the committees are working on. All the committees are listed in this document with Senators’ assignments. Contact the senators or me so that I can direct to the right person to contact if you have questions or concerns.
Lisa Jo Elliott: Other senators: anything to share?
Molly Monahan Lang: She is involved in the committee for the visitors’ code of conduct. If we have anything to share, faculty members can let her know.
There was a town hall this morning with two members of the search firm that will move forward with the provost search.
Faculty members brought up concerning points: The neoliberal goals and approaches related to the new enrollment management position; the fact that a lot of decisions seems to be made without faculty input; the fact that the Race Center plans are being scrapped. Faculty stressed the importance of promoting diversity.
IV. Project RESOLVE- Amy Bridger
Project Resolve: Amy Bridger reports.
Amy: Why do we care about the community (Erie region)?
Resolve starts with a recognition of the role that manufacturing plays in the economy and community. A survey conducted by Resolve asked the Northwestern PA constituency to rate the health of the regional economy pre-Covid. 43% responded below-average; 41% responded average.
How is the region rated across different areas?
- Job and population growth is not well.
- Wages levels also rated poorly.
- The college and university system was rated highly.
Economic priority: recruiting new businesses to the region; creating higher paying jobs and raising income levels. This aligns with Behrend's Open Lab strategy.
- Developing already present manufacturing jobs, which is currently at 17% (declining but above national average).
- Manufacturing is the largest employer of New Americans in Erie.
- Plastics industry is strong in the Erie region but it is changing and other regions will overtake our region if we don’t pursue innovation and adopt new technologies.
Plastic pollution and waste pollution are connected to poverty and people of color; we need to talk about the negative sides of manufacturing and how to make manufacturing more sustainable. We need to reduce waste and plastic pollution.
Erie is uniquely situated because of its positioning close to Lake Erie and freshwater
The case of Plastikos. This company is hiring New Americans (from the country of Nepal especially) and their strategy is working. They work with the Multicultural Center in Erie to recruit new employees.
Dr. Ashley Yochim has been working with Port Erie Plastics and their use of safety signage and directions. Dr. Yochim collaborated with speakers of diverse languages to translate signage and transform the workplace.
Amy Bridger concludes by illustrating the 10-year vision for Resolve.
Question: Is Resolve an acronym?
Answer: Not an acronym (It’s the resolve to end plastic waste in the Great Lakes; that was the original idea.)
Question: How long have you been working on the project?
Answer: We started in 2010. We have been working on the plastics side for a long time. The collaborative vision was further developed during the pandemic.
V. First Year Seminar: Task Force Recommendations vote
Lisa Jo Elliott asks Ed Evans if he has anything to add before we take the vote.
Ed Evans: These recommendations will help faculty; consistency is good for students; faculty could identify what is appropriate for their schools.
Lisa Jo Elliott invites questions and comments.
Question: What are we voting on?
Answer: Lisa Jo Elliott shares screen and shows the first-year seminar recommendations; reads the six recommendations:
- Create a Spring Boot Camp for First Year Seminar instructors across all four schools.
- Create a First Year Seminar Master Class in Canvas that instructors who teach First Year Seminar may use as a template for their course (similar to this Canvas Pride page).
- Devote resources to create a First Year Seminar model course that FYS instructors can use
- Create a standing committee (two representatives from each school with two-year staggered appointments and a chairperson) that is dedicated to First Year Seminar and Student Retention issues.
- *Adopt a model syllabus, course objectives, and learning goals for First Year Seminar as recommended by the committee.
- Adopt recommended activities for inclusion in all First Year Seminar courses at Behrend. These activities are in the document "First Year Seminar Curricular Activities" located in this folder.
Lisa Jo Elliott explains that nothing is mandatory, then illustrates points from the file entitled First Year Seminar Recommended Curricular Activities.
Amy Bridger: The ACPC will work on aspects related to their duties.
We are voting to support these recommendations, inspire faculty, and put some funding behind these ideas.
Move to put this to a vote
- Charlotte de Vries
- Ed Evans
Faculty members start voting.
Votes take place:
- 87% yes
- 3% no
- 10% abstain
The motion passes
VI. New Business
Lisa Jo Elliott: Please, nominate yourself or others for positions in committees.
There is a coffee event for non-tenure track faculty: December 8 at 9:30 a.m.
- Molly Monahan Lang
- Ed Evans