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Minutes for September 13, 1999

The Faculty Senate of Eastern Kentucky University met on Monday, September 13, 1999 in the South Room of the Keen Johnson Building. Senate Chair Phyllis Murray called the first meeting of the academic year to order at 3:30 p.m.

The following members of the Senate were absent:

O. Feltus* C. Lewis M. McAdam
N. McKenney* M. Patrick R. Thompson*
M. Wasicsko*    

*denotes prior notification of absence to the Faculty Senate Secretary

Visitors to the Senate were: Andrea Brown, Eastern Progress; Doug Burnham, Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work; Rita Davis, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management; David Gale, Dean of College for Health Science; Marta Miranda, Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work; Denise Roberts, student; Elizabeth Schmidt, student; Dennis Stutsman, Kentucky Fairness Alliance; Elizabeth Wachtel, Acting Associate Vice President of Planning and Program Coordination

Remarks from Senator Murray

Senator Murray welcomed the new senators. She reminded the senators that the Faculty Senate will be engaged in discussion of important issues. Senators have a responsibility to their constituents to keep open communication with them on matters and issues brought before the Faculty Senate. Senator Murray stated that in order to improve the Faculty Senate's image as a body which can influence major campus issues, there needs to be adequate conversation among the faculty-at-large before the issue comes to a vote in the Senate. The Senate needs to spend energy moving forward, not repeatedly revisiting issues because of alleged lack of awareness.

Approval of the Minutes

Senator Murray called for additions or corrections to the minutes of May 3, 1999. There being none, the minutes were approved as distributed. 


President Kustra reported on continuing efforts to improve academic quality on campus. In addition to internal forces which affect academic issues, the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) has and continues to exert significance influence. The President stated that the number one issue from his perspective is how can EKU improve student retention and graduation rates. The CPE has asked Eastern to make commitments for improvement in these areas. For example, Eastern's current graduation rate is 26.6%. By 2002 the CPE would like to see the rate at 29%. On the retention side, the one-year retention from freshman to sophomore year needs to be improved from 63% to 66% by 2002. Currently the Vice Presidents for Academic Affairs from Kentucky institutions of higher education are gathering and discussing standards for admissions policy. President Kustra observed that apparently the days of so-called open enrollment are over in Kentucky. It is essential for Eastern to develop a constructive policy that finds a way to deal with the most seriously challenged students (those with very low ACT scores). The President has asked Dr. Karen Janssen to coordinate visits by Eastern faculty and staff to high school freshmen and sophomores in our region so that students will see the importance of education and learning in their choice of careers and learn the need to plan early to go to college.

President Kustra observed that another major challenge facing Eastern is faculty development. The new Center for Teaching and Learning will oversee faculty development activities. Dr. Kustra expressed specific interest in seeing faculty integrate computer skills in their course work and teaching and learning situations. Closely allied with faculty development is the need to enlarge university advancement activities and create linkages with academic departments so that sufficient resources can be provided to insure Eastern's continuing quest for quality.

President Kustra reported that the final stages in implementing academic reorganization and the review of general education curriculum continues. In all likelihood there will be between a 5 and 10 percent tuition increase which will be needed to meet the challenges of improving academic quality on campus. The President reiterated that he has been spending considerable time in Frankfort presenting Eastern's need for more resources.

Finally, Senator Kustra reported on his feelings concerning his role in the Faculty Senate after membership of administrators was greatly reduced in the 1998 reorganization of the Senate. He mentioned that, since he viewed himself an equal partner with senators, he will no longer sit at the head table but sit with the Senate body. The president stated that he and Senator Marsden, the University Provost who will be working regularly with the Senate, look forward to continuing the fine working relationship with the Faculty Senate.


Senator Murray reported that the Executive Committee met on August 30, 1999, to consider several matters. One item of business was related to the motion for adding the two words "sexual orientation" to the University's non-discrimination clause. Other items discussed included: using current technology to disseminate Senate materials to all faculty and staff via e-mail and the Senate's Web site; need for a more consistent mechanism of reporting information from the Provost's office has necessitated the motion under new business to add a Report from the Provost as a Standing report; and changes in the method of operation of the Powell Student Center cafeteria which have affected full Faculty access.


Senator Thompson reported on a two-day Board of Regent's retreat held in July. The Board has hired a nationally prominent consultant, Dr. Ed Pinson, to develop an evaluation process of how EKU's President and Board function as compared to colleges and universities around the country. The Board will also be developing a procedure for evaluating the President. President Kustra presented a series of major tasks he wants to address this coming year. The President and Board thoroughly discussed the tasks and developed an agreement as a team which led in part to the President's issuing an "Action Agenda for Eastern Kentucky University." As a result of the intense, thorough, and open discussion at the retreat, Senator Thompson felt the Board is not a "rubber stamp" body, but one that is committed to facing the issues that affect EKU and working cooperatively with the President in a team environment. She encouraged faculty to attend Board meetings.


Senator Harley reported on actions at the May COSFL meeting which was held at the Council for Postsecondary Education (CPE) offices in Frankfort. The entire morning was devoted to a presentation by Dr. Marybeth Susman, President of the Kentucky Commonwealth Virtual University (KCVU), on activities of KCVU. Dr. Susman noted that KCVU is one of the largest efforts in place at the present time. She discussed the use of technology for education. And she mentioned the impact of technology on the workload of a faculty member and the importance of establishing intellectual property policies concerning the use and ownership of technology-based courses. A general discussion ensued which concentrated on intellectual property policy, current difficulty in developing Internet courses, how to evaluate online teaching when it comes to tenure and promotion, and the need for incentives for participation in distance learning.

The business portion of the COSFL meeting was conducted in the afternoon. Ms. Sue Hodges Moore of the CPE staff presented Vision 2020 and a draft of CPE's Action Agenda for 1999-2004. Mr. Mark Wattier presented information regarding choice of retirement plans for faculty at the five comprehensive schools not in TIAA-CREF (Eastern, Western, Murray, Morehead, and Kentucky State). Newly hired personnel at these institutions now have a choice of retirement plans. Senator Bob Jackson is willing to sponsor a bill in the upcoming legislative session that will allow a one-time option for Kentucky Teachers Retirement System faculty to transfer into another retirement plan. A motion to support such a bill passed unanimously. Mr. Wattier also provided some information and comparative statistics about benchmark institutions. How bench marking will effect funding of Kentucky institutions remains to be seen.


Committee on Committees:  Senator Taylor reported that he was selected as chair of the committee. The committee will be recommending changes to the EKU Faculty Senate Internal Procedures Manual concerning procedures for the Committee on Committees. The committee has prepared a revised 1999-2000 committee assignment list based on the recommendations if approved by the Faculty Senate Executive Committee.

Committee on the Rules: Senator Chambers reported that he had been elected chair of the committee. He stated that the committee is currently verifying that changes approved by the Faculty-at-Large have been accurately incorporated in the internal procedures and rules of the Faculty Senate.

Committee on the Budget: Senator Anderson reported that she had been elected chair of the committee. Prior to the organizational meeting of the committee, the committee met with Vice President and Provost Mike Marsden, Vice President James Clark, and Vice President Doug Whitlock to discuss budget materials that were to be presented at the University Forum on Tuition on September 9.

Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities: Senator Steinbach has been elected chair of the committee.


Motion to amend nondiscrimination clause to include "sexual orientation".  Senator Murray presented for discussion a motion that Senator Flanagan had presented at the May 3, 1999, Senate meeting. The motion, which had been postponed at the May 3 meeting, reads "move that the university amend its nondiscrimination clause to include the phrase 'sexual orientation' in all appropriate locations in university documents." Senator Strong supported the motion and stated that EKU would be joining the ranks of several Kentucky universities, hundreds of universities nationwide, and numerous professional organizations which have already added sexual orientation to their nondiscrimination policy. She also mentioned that sexual orientation was basically a fairness in the workplace issue. Mr. Doug Burnham, professor of Anthropology, Sociology and Social Work, stated that the proposed motion will benefit all faculty. It is compatible with EKU's mission and goals and teaches students respect for persons who may be different from the majority. Mr. Burnham related his experiences as an openly gay man during his twenty-five years at Eastern and some of the anxieties and fears that young gay and lesbian faculty have encountered on campus. Ms. Elizabeth Schmidt, student, presented a homosexual student perspective of open discrimination and harassment she and others have encountered at Eastern. Senator Rink opposed the motion. He felt that current university documents already address the issue of sexual orientation and that if harassment takes place it is the responsibility of the administration to resolve the situation. Senator Rink cited several others reasons such as conflict with religious beliefs and difficulty in enforcing the addition to the university's nondiscrimination clause for his opposition to the motion. Senator Goodwin felt that it was right, just, and ethical to support the motion. Senator Flanagan felt that EKU must be a campus safe for everyone to come to. He stated that the motion is an issue of protection. The motion was approved. 

Motion to establish an Ad Hoc Committee to study the issue of equal benefits for all domestic partners for faculty and staff at EKU.   Senator Murray stated that the motion (that the chair of the Faculty Senate appoint an Ad Hoc Committee of five members to study as well as make recommendations on the issue of equal benefits for domestic partners for faculty and staff at EKU and report to the Faculty Senate by late Fall of 1999) had been postponed to the September meeting for the purpose of addressing the earlier motion of amending the university's nondiscrimination clause to include sexual orientation. The motion was approved without discussion. 


Election of Institutional Planning Committee Representative.  Senator Murray stated that before she was elected chair of the Faculty Senate she was representing the Faculty Senate on the Institutional Planning Committee. Since the chair of the Faculty Senate is automatically a member of the committee there is a need to elect a new representative from the Senate to fill out Senator Murray's term. Senator Janssen was nominated. Senator Taylor moved that Senator Janssen be accepted by acclamation. Senator Janssen was elected. 

Motion to amend standing reports to include a Report from the Provost.  Senator Flanagan moved that a Report from the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs be made a regular part of the Faculty Senate agenda. Senator Kilgore seconded the motion. The motion was approved without discussion.


Senator Marsden moved to adjourn.  It adjourned at 4:50 p.m.

Charles C. Hay III
Faculty Senate Secretary  

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