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Minutes for February 1, 1999

The Faculty Senate of Eastern Kentucky University met on Monday, February 1, 1999 in the South Room of the Keen Johnson Building.  Senate Chair Karen Janssen called the fifth meeting of the academic year to order at 3:30 p.m.

The following members of the Senate were absent:

R. Huebner* M. LeVan* J. Vance*

*denotes prior notification of absence to the Faculty Senate Secretary

Visitors to the Senate were: Joseph Biesinger, History; Ann Chapman, Administration, Counseling & Educational Studies; Richard Chen, Accounting; Carrie Cooper, Library; Joyce Creek, Library; Charlotte Hubbard, Special Education; Kirk Jones, Mathematics, Statistics & Computer Science; Steven Konkel, Environmental Health Science; Paula Kopacz, English; Jeff Long, Athletics; Stephanie McSpirit, Sociology; Tom Myers, Student Affairs; Robert Rogow, College of Business; and Dena Tackett, Eastern Progress


Senator Janssen called for additions or corrections to the minutes. Hearing none, the minutes from the December 7, 1998, meeting were approved.


President Kustra focused his report on two items. First, all of Kentucky's public universities are working with the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) staff in developing a new budgeting formula referred to as benchmark budgeting. The university presidents will be working with the CPE staff in establishing a list of fifty institutions of higher education outside of Kentucky to which Kentucky's universities can be compared. Ultimately the list will be reduced to twenty-four benchmark institutions which will serve as the basis for comparison in budgeting. CPE President Davies wants to implement the benchmark budgeting process during this year. President Kustra wants to hear from faculty about schools which might be considered as benchmarks.

The second item concerned the implementation by the Fall 2000 semester of the Y2K compliant Banner program. The Banner program does not support flip Fridays. Senator Kustra mentioned that Eastern is one of a very few universities that still uses flip Friday scheduling. The transition to the Banner program is complex, costly, and time consuming.

President Kustra responded to several questions. Senator Bright asked if the Early Retirement Option (ERO) might be reinstituted? A committee has been formed to study reviving ERO and alternatives. Dr. Kustra would like to take an early retirement plan to the Board of Regents for approval as soon as possible. The president has appointed a committee to be chaired by Dr. Dominick Hart to study the future of General Education on campus. During this year a series of open forums about this matter will be held.


Senator Janssen reported that the Executive Committee met on January 11, 1999, with all members present along with Senator McCord of the Rules Committee. Recommendations and motions from the Ad Hoc Committee on Grade Inflation were discussed. Some faculty have expressed concern about the +/- grading system and confusion about its implementation.

Also discussed was the need to move forward on Post-Tenure Review. The Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) must report to the General Assembly what policies and procedures are in place at each state university by late spring or early summer.

A request has come to the Executive Committee for the Faculty Senate to look at a policy which appeared in the most recent Faculty/Staff Handbook (page 104) that restricts teaching load of staff. The Executive Committee discussed this new policy and recommended that it be studied further.


Senator Thompson reported on the January 16, 1999, meeting of the Board of Regents at Corbin. Since this was her first meeting as a Faculty Regent, Senator Thompson noted several items of interest to her. She was pleasantly surprised at the extent to which Board members had done their homework prior to the meeting. They had very specific questions about academic proposals and seemed very involved and committed to excellence. She also mentioned that the people of Corbin, (including legislators, business people, and other community leaders) turned out in impressive numbers and responded positively to the Board's holding its meeting there. The Board took a bus ride to the site of the planned new building, which will be very accessible to students and faculty.

Except for a few items, the Board meeting seemed to be rather routine. Three items of note were approved: 1. proposal for a University Wellness/Activity Center, 2. the authorization of bond sales to finance the building of six Greek houses and to renovate Combs Hall, 3. and approval of the 1999-2003 Strategic Plan for the University. One item of interest to the faculty within the Strategic Plan is seed money for a teaching-learning center. Vice President Davis already has appointed a committee, chaired by Dr. Bonnie Gray, to make recommendations about the Center and other needs in faculty development.

Senator Thompson stated that she was working Mr. Ron Yoder, in Academic Computing and Telecommunications Services, to develop a Faculty Regent's web page through which faculty could readily access documents and discuss issues. Senator Thompson encouraged faculty to offer suggestions about the Faculty Regent's web page. There will be a Board retreat on February 19th and 20th. In March, Senator Thompson hopes to attend a meeting of the national association of governing boards at which President Kustra will be presenting a paper.


Senator Jones reported on the two most recent meetings of COSFL. At the first meeting on December 12, 1998, Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) representative Merl Hackbart reported that the budget for the Commonwealth Virtual University (CVU) has been approved for the current and next fiscal year. Funds are to be used for infrastructure, access to library services, faculty development, software, and support efforts. Many concerns and questions were expressed by COSFL representatives about policies and procedures and implementation of the CUV. The Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) is working with some regional universities to establish postsecondary education centers in several locations throughout the state. The KCTCS recently named Dr. Michael McCall as its first president. Headquarters for KCTCS will be located at Spindletop Research Facility in Lexington. Other issues discussed included tuition policy guidelines, benchmark budgeting, post-tenure review, and fire and safety issues at universities. Karen Janssen distributed information on Kentucky Teachers Retirement System comparison with Kentucky Employees Retirement System. More data will be gathered about the retirement systems.

At COSFL's meeting on January 16, 1999 considerable discussion focused on the method of establishing benchmark institutions for budget comparisons and how benchmark budgeting should be implemented. Each university is working on post-tenure review policies. On March 4 and 5 the University of Kentucky will host a workshop on post-tenure review. Tom Hughes of Kentucky State University presented a comparison of KTRS in public schools and universities as well as KERS contributions and payouts. Sentiment was expressed that a faculty member needs to be on the KTRS board of directors.


Mr. Back reported that the Student Government Association is looking into greater use of the Colonel Card. An Ad Hoc First Weekend Committee, chaired by Kathy Kustra, has been formed with the purpose of exploring ways and means of keeping more students on campus during the weekend.


Ad Hoc Committee on Grade Inflation.  Dr. Jones presented a series of revised recommendations from the Ad Hoc Committee on Grade Inflation. Members of the Ad Hoc Committee were present and responded to numerous questions.


The Ad Hoc Committee recommended that the University "Change the criteria for graduation with honors and membership on the Dean's List to a percentage-based system rather than the current GPA-based system." Senator Rink moved approval of the recommendation. Senator Bright seconded the motion. Considerable debate ensued in which both positive and negative positions were presented. Issues discussed included whether low graduation rate should be of more concern than possible grade inflation, grade indexing, difficulty of the course or instructor, whether improved instruction has led to higher grades, whether the percentage system will penalize students, what effect will withdrawals have on GPA and grade inflation, difficulty in evaluating cooperative education credits and internships, and whether the percentage system is the best hedge against grade inflation or is the Dean's List more meaningful as a true academic honor. Senator Tyson moved that Motion 1 be amended to say membership on the Dean's List requires at least a 3.5 GPA and graduation with honors is to be based on a percentage. Senator R. Thompson seconded the amendment. After some discussion the amendment was rejected. The original motion was rejected by a standing vote of 26 to 32.


The Ad Hoc Committee recommended that "After the conclusion of each academic term, a 'course report' containing the percentage distribution of course grades (A-B-C-D-F-W), the mean GPA for the course, and the mean aggregate semester GPA and average composite ACT score for all students enrolled in the course should be readily available to all faculty within a given department." Senator Rink moved approval of the recommendation. Senator Johnson seconded the motion. Senator Feltus asked if the planned Banner system could generate the type of information mentioned in the motion. Senator Dunston stated that the ACT should not be included in the course report. Senator Flanagan questioned the relationship of ACT scores to grade inflation. Dr. Jones responded that the purpose of the motion is to give faculty an overall view of grading practices over a period of time. Senator Miller favored the motion because it would provide useful information to the faculty.

Motion To Set Aside the Rules.    Senator Butler moved to set aside the Senate rules to go past 5:00 p.m. adjournment time to 5:30 p.m. Senator Murray seconded the motion, which the Senate approved.

(Continuation of Discussion on Motion 2)

After further discussion Senator Anderson called the question. The Senate approved Motion 2.


The Ad Hoc Committee recommended that the University "Place a moratorium on the use of IDEA forms (or departmental equivalent) for a period of at least three years for the purposes of merit pay, and tenure and promotion decisions starting with the academic year 2000-2001". Senator Rink moved approval of the recommendation. Senator Butler seconded the motion. Senator Sowders stated that her department (English) had a problem with the last part of the motion (the tenure and promotion decisions). Her concern was that it would be unfair to faculty members seeking tenure and promotion to suspend student evaluations and thus change the process in the middle of the stream. Senator Anderson wondered if the university council had been consulted concerning the legality of a faculty member being hired under one policy of tenure and promotion which is suddenly suspended. Senator Anderson stated that according to university policy the IDEA evaluations are part of a faculty's portfolio. Senator Miller mentioned that the university does not require IDEA to be used. Senator Mackinnon felt that if a moratorium was imposed, those who have to make decisions need something other than hearsay and class visitations to evaluate the instructional effectiveness of faculty. Senator Anderson moved to postpone the motion until the March Senate meeting. Senator Sowders seconded the motion, which was approved.


The Ad Hoc Committee recommended that the University "Institute grade indexing (the process of appending to each student's official University transcript the average GPA for each course taken as well as exhibiting the percentage of the time the student's grade exceeds the 'typical' grade) for classes enrolling eight or more students." Senator Chambers moved approval of the recommendation. Senator Miller seconded the motion. Senator Feltus felt the motion discriminated against good students who take difficult courses and does not adequately address the differences between lower division and upper division courses. Dr. Jones stated that the motion, if implemented, would give the prospective employer or graduate school more information about a student's academic achievement. Senator Denham moved to table indefinitely committee recommendations 4 and 5. Senator Feltus seconded the motion, which was rejected. Senator Dunston wondered if grade indexing might be similar to the old bell curve. Dr. Jones responded that grade indexing was merely reporting what the typical grade would be in a class for someone evaluating a student's transcript. Mr. Back was asked to respond to this motion. He stated that the motion was informational in nature and felt the underlying issue of grade inflation is accountability and thus the more information available would tend to promote better student and faculty accountability. Senator Miller favored the motion and felt that grade indexing with proper checks and balances is a tool that can be utilized effectively to address the issue of grade inflation and be useful in providing information to the faculty. Senator Butler moved to postpone the motion until the March Senate meeting. Senator Miller seconded the motion, which was approved.

Ad Hoc Committee on Post-Tenure Review: Senator Murray moved the following process for the implementation of post-tenure review:

  1. The procedure for post-tenure review commences after tenure has been granted and is required of all faculty and administrators who hold academic rank. All due process and other personnel policies must be followed.
  2. The specific guidelines for the review process should be developed by the academic units with endorsement at the college level by deans and should be consistent with University policies and practices. These guidelines must take into account the unit's mission as well as unit and faculty responsibilities.
  3. A faculty member receiving two annual evaluations within five years that are overall below the established standard of the academic unit must complete a comprehensive post-tenure review. Non-participation in the annual merit review system will be considered to be below the established standard. The comprehensive evaluation report must be reviewed by a committee consisting of faculty members selected by the academic unit. The review will be based on the available records of the faculty member's performance.
  4. If the committee decides that the faculty members need to be engaged in a formal development plan, the individual will be required to participate in the formulation and implementation of the plan to remove identified deficiencies. The plan will include goals and objectives to be attained by the faculty member as well as identification of specific responsibilities of the faculty member during the review period. The committee must identify appropriate resources to support implementation of specific recommendations. This plan must be approved by the chair and the dean.
  5. The faculty member will provide the committee with a summary of accomplishments and future plans 30 days prior to the end of the designated review period. Successful completion of the development plan, as determined by the original review committee, will initiate a new five-year review period.
  6. If a faculty member has been promoted to the rank of associate or full professor or recommended by a college for the Foundation Professorship during a five-year period, the faculty member will have fulfilled the requirements of the post-tenure review process for that five-year period.
  7. A written record of all committee decisions and recommendations will be maintained.
  8. Failure to complete the development plan requirements successfully or to achieve the departmental standards over a period of two years would initiate a recommendation for a terminal appointment contract as specified in the Faculty/Staff Handbook.

Senator Flanagan seconded the motion. Senator Miller moved to postpone the motion until the March Senate meeting. Senator Harley seconded the motion, which was approved.


Report from the Council on Academic Affairs: Senator Davis moved approval of proposals from the Council on Academic Affairs. The Senate approved the following proposals:

  • Joint proposal for a new degree program from the Departments of Environmental Health Science and Health Education: Master of Science in Health Science (Chemical Abuse and Dependency Counseling, Community Health, Environmental Health, and Wellness);
  • Option name change (Floriculture and Floristry TO Floriculture/Greenhouse Management) in the Associate of Science in Technical Agriculture degree program in the Department of Agriculture;
  • Option suspension of Ornamental Horticulture in the Bachelor of Science in Horticulture degree program in the Department of Agriculture;
  • New options (Floriculture/Greenhouse Management and Landscape Horticulture) within the Bachelor of Science in Horticulture degree program in the Department of Agriculture;
  • Option name change (Interdisciplinary Early Childhood TO Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education) in the Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Studies degree program in the Department of Human Environmental Sciences;
  • New option (Child Development) within the Bachelor of Science in Child and Family Studies degree in the Department of Human Environmental Sciences;
  • Minor suspension in Journalism (Teaching) in the Department of Mass Communications;
  • Reorganization of the College of Business;
  • New options (General Business and International Business) within the Business Administration in General Business degree program in the Department of Management and Marketing;
  • Option suspension (Business Logistics) within the Business Administration in Marketing degree program in the Department of Management and Marketing;
  • Departmental name change: Department of Correctional Services TO Department of Correctional and Juvenile Justice Studies;
  • New certification program (Youth Work) in the Department of Correctional Studies;
  • Option suspension in Chemistry (Teaching) within the Bachelor of Sciences in Chemistry degree program in the Department of Chemistry;
  • Minor suspensions in Computer Science (Teaching) and Mathematics (Teaching) in the Department of Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science;
  • New options (Applied Economics, General Economics, International Economics, and Public Policy) within the Bachelor of Arts in Economics degree program in the Department of Economics;
  • New option (Human/Land Relations) within the Bachelor of Arts in Geography degree program in the Department of Geography and Planning.


Senator Davis moved that the Senate adjourn.  It adjourned at 5:26 p.m.

Charles C. Hay III Faculty Senate Secretary
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