Faculty Senate Reports - March 2022

Behrend Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes

Thursday, March 24, 2022
12:00 p.m. – 114 Reed and via Zoom

  1. Call to Order – Ed Evans, Faculty Senate Chair @ 12:01 p.m.
  2. Approval of minutes from February 11, 2022, Faculty Senate meeting
    1. Becky Frausel and Emily Cassano
      1. C: If we are going hybrid, Ed Evans (or someone) should set up a poll to get approval. Minutes are not a big deal, but other issues need a correct vote.
  3. Report from the Chancellor, Ralph Ford
    1. Dr. Neeli Bendapudi is coming to Behrend on Tuesday. All are encouraged to attend the open meeting in McGarvey Commons starting at 9:30 a.m.
    2. The Director of HSS search is progressing; we are ready to bring in candidates.
    3. The Topping Off ceremony for Erie Hall is today.
  4. Report from Pam Silver, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs – no report
  5. Report from Alicyn Rhoades, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies
    1. The Sea Grant research deadline has been changed to April 15, but do it sooner if you can.
    2. The position for the new Director of Graduate Studies has been posted.
    3. Q: What are the qualifications for the position?
      A: You must be qualified for consideration as graduate faculty.
  6. General Discussion on Faculty Workload
    1. Carrie Payne (speaking with permission to represent several others as well)
      1. Issues:
        1. Senate meetings are held during classes and many cannot attend.
        2. Emails from Lisa Nelson are going to spam and not being read. Can a reminder be sent from the Director or Program level?
        3. We get too many emails and we are missing some.
        4. Improve the clarity of emails and start with what you want and deadlines.
        5. We have to choose between what jobs we have to do; there are so many.
        6. We are in recovery from trauma, the trauma of Covid19.
        7. We need to refine titles and workloads.
      2. Suggestions:
        1. Conduct an individual analysis of skills and jobs to determine the percentages (teaching/ research/ service). Focus on strengths and interest areas.
        2. Women, especially of color, feel alone, not being heard, being ignored.
      3. There are communication and workload issues. We are being asked to do more with less but, in reality, we need to do less better with less.
    2. Comments
      1. C: Let’s affect change.
      2. C: Scholarship is not narrowly defined; it is narrowly applied.
      3. C: Workload is too much and it needs to be streamlined.
    3. Charlotte Marr De Vries – Technical suggestion, it might be good for these hybrid meetings to have someone taking live minutes on a document the readers could access (I’m not sure if people are comfortable with that, so probably best to save for the next meeting) but sometimes it is a little hard to hear.
    4. Matt Swinarski, re: performance review and compensation – I’ve noticed a huge discrepancy in AFAR for NTT. It is hard for NTT to be listed in the top 1/3 due to the research weight.
      1. Redesign of a course is a creative accomplishment.
      2. Professional development and outreach should be equal to conferences
      3. A 3-5% raise for NTT vs. TT is not equal
    5. Abdallah Abdallah
      1. C: NTT metric is not as qualitative as TT. On Digital Measures, details must be added to quantify entries.
      2. C re: Workload: I would like to see a policy re: Buyout. The motivation for TT to write proposals is to get buyout, but department workload demands might not let them.
    6. Tracy Halmi – I thought Science had evaluations for NTT and TT separately.
    7. Melanie Hetzel-Riggin
      1. Be consistent on workloads across schools.
      2. Service – How to meet this?
      3. What are action steps that can be taken?
    8. Kristy McCoy – Are the NTT valued? If so, then how can the University provide job security with contract renewal? For NTT faculty, is this a retention issue?
    9. Ralph Ford - A: We anonymize NTT and TT reviews, so there is data we can look at. Are we being fair?
    10. Emily Cassano – Contract renewal is now tied to all campuses, hence why it is later.
    11. Carrie Payne – Be cautious of data. Build a bigger culture of mentoring. Digital Measures only counts something in one place.
    12. Ralph Ford – Perhaps a discussion on how to record Professional Development.
    13. Greg Dillon – If TT and NTT are being evaluated, side-by-side to identify discrepancy, it should be done at similar times of service (two year vs. two year, etc.).
    14. Eric Robbins – I agree with the comment about needing to change the contract length for NTT faculty. This is especially needed at first- and second-level promotions. Since all employment is subject to termination upon violation of University policies, it makes sense to re-evaluate this. However, this is likely a UP-driven constraint, not a Behrend-level constraint.
    15. Kristy McCoy – But it still applies to Behrend faculty regardless?
    16. Eric Robbins – It does. I am NTT and would support changing the contract lengths to properly value our cohort. I meant Pam could relay that concern to UP, but I think that ultimate change is up to UP.
    17. Tracy Halmi – Regarding the logistics of the Faculty Affairs survey – was the data discussed? Be diligent of data and collection. I took the survey two times. I could identify many colleagues by the way the data was presented, even though there were no names attached.
    18. Charlotte Marr DeVries – Tracy mentioned the faculty survey identifying faculty; I think that may become more true the less represented someone is. (I felt that while filling out the survey since school and gender were both asked)
    19. Melanie Hetzel-Riggin – Due to the demands (%s) for recruitment and retention, do the numbers need to be tweaked to get where we need to be?
    20. Pam Silver – TT is constrained regarding what counts and how. Schools can write their own criteria. Regarding NTT – there is a movement to tailoring a review to what the faculty was hired for. School Directors must specify what research NTT were hired to do. This might also be applied to NTT teaching faculty. The other problem is for those who serve. For NTT, there is no culture for it; it is very individual. BCF10 was revised this year. Criteria at the unit level must be consistent at the college level, and that’s hard. Plus, Commonwealth Campuses are different, and that makes it harder. Leadership cares about you and needs a constructive dialog from all. Think about how we are governing ourselves. Self-evaluation is valuable, but time is costly. Prioritize the small things that can be done and who can do it. How do we start these small conversations? We need actionable items. How do we get feedback from faculty on the process? Look at the process to bring issues to light. What barriers are you afraid of – mistrust, worry, perception? How do we as a community make our employees feel safer?
    21. Abdallah Abdallah
      1. How fast can we take action? This needs to be prioritized – the speed to fix it vs. the speed it is declining.
  7. Evaluate exit surveys of employees leaving and see why
    1. C: When the staff isn’t trained or experienced, the faculty have to double-check their work, and it increases our work. Having quality staff who stay forever makes faculty jobs easier.
    2. C: Also, when faculty are not nice to staff, it makes them more likely to make an error.
    3. C: I don’t think our focus needs to be on new staff, but really on the old staff making sure they are happy enough to stay.
    4. Office hours are turning into crying sessions.
    5. Are we investing more in buildings than in faculty and staff (metaphorically)?
    6. Drop boxes on campus to collect anonymous input
      1. C: Have drop boxes in various places around campus to capture anonymous comments that can be aggregated and considered.
      2. We should capture thoughts from staff, NTT, and TT separately to understand the needs and concerns of the various stakeholders.
      3. Possibly a template asking for employee category (not school or gender) and thoughts on several topics plus an area for unconstrained comments.
    7. Ed Evans
      1. Ralph and Pam have our best interests at heart.
  8. It is We, not Us and Them.
    1. Send your comments on the Zoom mixed format.
      1. C: Please have a person taking live minutes.
      2. C: The settings on Zoom should be auto-mute
    2. The next meeting is April 20 at 11:00 a.m.
    3. Final reminder that Dr. Bendapudi will be here next Tuesday.
  9. Adjournment
    1. Matt Cizek and Carrie Payne