Skip to main content

Minutes for October 4, 1999

The Faculty Senate of Eastern Kentucky University met on Monday, October 4, 1999 in the South Room of the Keen Johnson Building. Senate Chair Phyllis Murray called the second meeting of the academic year to order at 3:30 p.m.

The following members of the Senate were absent:

L. Collins P. Elrod M. Hodge
D. Jackson K. Janssen* M. Patrick*
M. Robinson* J. Thomas R. Thompson
J. Vance*    

*denotes prior notification of absence to the Faculty Senate Secretary

Visitors to the Senate were: Andrea Brown and Shawn Hopkins, Eastern Progress, and Rita Davis, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management


President Kustra reported on two items that will be brought before the October 9th Board of Regents' meeting: the addition of the phrase sexual orientation to the University's non-discrimination clause (approved by the Senate in September) and the recommendation for a 7.5% increase in tuition for the next biennium. Senator Kustra elaborated on the topic of tuition. He pointed out that to the best of his knowledge this would be the first time ever in Eastern's history the University will be able to set tuition. During the last two months a committee with faculty, staff, and student representation solicited feedback from the campus community about tuition issues and the need for a progressive base budget that will allow for continued growth and pursuit of excellence in academics and other arenas. As a result of information obtained from two open forums held by the committee, the president will recommend to the Board of Regents a 7.5% tuition increase for the first year and 7.5% for the second year of the biennium to help ensure Eastern will have adequate resources to move forward with major initiatives. The president expressed confidence that the Board of Regents will accept the recommended tuition increase. Upon approval by the Board of Regents, the recommendation will be forwarded to the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE). Eastern's tuition increase is in line with most of Kentucky's other public institutions of higher education and should be acceptable to the CPE.


Senator Marsden began by expressing his appreciation for the for the friendly welcome extended by all to Madonna and himself. He indicated that they are looking forward to becoming a real part of the Eastern Kentucky University community.

Senator Marsden discussed the plans for the Fall Commencement ceremonies. He indicated that there is the possibility of a breakfast for Cum Laude, Magna Cum Laude, and Summa Cum Laude graduates. He extended an invitation to all faculty to participate in each of the three yearly Commencements, emphasizing that participation in at least one is strongly encouraged. To give recognition to faculty choosing to participate in commencements, the names of those marching will be listed in the program. Senator Marsden responded to what was reported in the Eastern Progress regarding the reading of each graduate's name. Contrary to what was reported, the ceremony will move along nicely because there will be a graduation rehearsal prior to the actual commencement and there will be two announcers reading names. Dr. Marsden also announced that in the future, the December commencement will follow final examinations

A third item reported was the announcement of the establishment of a special $20,000 faculty and staff development fund. Details of this special fund will be available in the near future. Applications will require some match from the faculty or staff members' department and college office. The effort is an experimental, and it is hoped that it will evolve into a major resource for the continued professional development of our faculty and staff. Senator Marsden stated that we can only reach the next plateau in the University's history if we invest in our faculty, staff and students.

October 12th is the deadline for Phase II proposals. Information about all submitted proposals will be available on the Academic Affairs web site. Appropriate open consultations and open hearings will be arranged. Dr. Marsden will be asking a small group of individuals, including representatives from the Faculty Senate, the Chair's Association, and the Provost's Council, to work with him on the initial assessment of the proposals. He is still planning on being able to announce decisions on the proposals by December 6th.

Dr. Marsden has had a chance to review the impressive report dealing with the issue of grading practices at Eastern Kentucky University. He noted, however, that the matter of grade changes was not included in the report. The Provost's Council will be addressing this matter in the near future and will be bringing recommendations to the Faculty Senate for consideration.

Senator Marsden will be planning to begin hosting a series of luncheon seminars to highlight the professional development efforts of faculty and staff. Individuals will be invited to share their work with their colleagues in an informal setting.

Dr. Marsden also indicated that he is continuing his efforts to meet with all of the departments and offices in Academic Affairs this year. He would welcome invitations from any area for informal discussions of key issues and concerns.

On a final note, Dr. Marsden offered his congratulations to the Theatre Program for a wonderful Saturday evening of Rogers & Hammerstein in the production of A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING. It was clear that there was an interdisciplinary effort on stage which drew upon both the Department of Music and the Theatre Program. His only regret was that more of faculty and students did not find their way to the Gifford Theatre.


The Executive Committee met with full representation in the Robert R. Martin Room on September 20 at 3:30 p.m. An additional meeting of the committee was held on September 29 in Conference Room E of the Powell Building. Senator Harley was unable to attend the latter meeting due to class.

The first meeting focused on discussion surrounding the child care facility on campus. The Ad Hoc Committee will be giving a final report at the November meeting. A myriad of other issues was discussed, some of which will be presented for consideration at a future date.

At the second meeting, Senator Marsden submitted a proposal for a policy on the awarding of posthumous degrees for the Senate to review. The committee recommended that the revised proposal be placed on the October 4 Senate agenda.

The committee discussed changes in graduation ceremonies. The committee expressed support of the changes, which is to give due recognition to students for their accomplishments. Therefore, the Executive Committee has asked that Senators encourage their colleagues and students to support the spirit of other changes by being in attendance at the ceremonies.

Mr. Dave Freeland, Director of Catering Services, will meet with the Executive Committee on October 18 to discuss options for more flexibility for faculty desiring to use the Powell Cafeteria's facilities. . .and not having to pay at the door.


Senator Thompson reported on several matters. First, the Board of Regents will meet on October 9th at 2:30 in the Faculty Club. Two items of particular interest will be the recommendation on tuition increase and the proposal to add sexual orientation to EKU's anti-discrimination clause. Senator Thompson reminded the Senate that the Board meetings are open.

The second matter was about the development of a Faculty Discussion web page. Senator Thompson has been working with Ron Yoder of Academic Computing and Telecommunications to set up a Public Discussion web page that will link with several pertinent and relevant campus home pages. The vision for the page is to have a place where faculty and the rest of the campus community can post messages and responses regarding issues and opportunities the University is exploring or could explore. The focus will be on topics, not people, and the hope is to get comment from people who have wisdom or experience, or creative ideas that haven't been thought about in a particular light, and at the same time empower people to have their voices heard and hopefully contribute to a sense of community.

Senator Thompson suggested several topics for discussion that might be appropriate for the new discussion web pages. One pertains to enrollment criteria and ways to meet the special academic needs so many students have. A message will be posted on that topic, along with a report on enrollment and retention which likely will go to the Board on the 9th. A second topic is a look at the role of scholarship and service in Eastern's mission statement. Dr. Marsden has agreed to post an article he has written on scholarship as a way to begin the discussion.

Senator Thompson reported about a recent meeting COSFL representatives had with Governor Patton at conference on Post Secondary Education held in Covington. Senators Thompson, Murray, and Janssen represented EKU at the conference. The purpose of the meeting was to affirm the Governor's support of higher education. The Governor clearly stated that his first priority was investment in the intellectual capital of faculty. In response to a question from Senator Thompson, the Governor expounded on criteria used to select members to the boards of postsecondary institutions. The Governor also mentioned the pros and cons of collective bargaining.

As an addendum, Senator Murray announced that there will also be a web page for Faculty Senate discussion.


Committee on Faculty Rights and Responsibilities: Senator Steinbach reported that the committee recently met to review last year's work and to discuss several new issues. The new issues include: health care costs, hiring practices, and clarification of eligibility for faculty scholarships. However, the primary issue discussed was faculty workload and how numerous technological changes and heavier weekend and graduate level teaching have affected faculty workloads.

Motion to establish an Ad Hoc Committee to Study Faculty Workloads.  Senator Steinbach moved to establish an ad hoc committee to study current faculty workloads. Senator Taylor seconded the motion. Considerable discussion ensued concerning the role and scope of the committee, the process the committee plans to use in gathering information, how workloads will be calculated, the need to compare EKU's faculty workload with its benchmark institutions, and questions about variability of departmental activities and equity. Senator Falkenberg offered an amendment to the motion to include information from benchmark institutions in determining how faculty workloads are calculated. Senator A. Jones seconded the motion, which was approved. 


Ad Hoc Committee on College Credit for Workplace Training.  Senator Murray reported that Dr. Cherilyn Nelson is no longer a member of the Senate and has assumed different responsibilities within the University. When contacted regarding unfinished business of the committee, Dr. Nelson indicated that she preferred not to continue as Chair of the committee, but would continue to serve as a member. Senator Murray's efforts to contact another member of the committee to serve as chair yielded no results. Senator Murray will pursue this issue and hopes to have a committee report at the November meeting.

Ad Hoc Committee on Tuition Wavier for Faculty/Staff Dependents: Senator Kilgore reported on methods the committee plans to use in gathering data.


Nominations for Honorary Degrees.  Senator Murray announced that nominations for honorary degrees to be awarded at the May and August commencement ceremonies can be sent to her, since she is a member of the Honorary Committee of the Board of Regents. Senator Harley asked if there was an honorary degree nomination for the December graduation. Senator Kustra mentioned that any nomination for an honorary degree for December commencement had to be made immediately since the Board of Regents would be meeting very soon. Senator Kustra also stated that since a formal December commencement had recently been established, the need for granting an honorary degree had been anticipated and that Father Ralph W. Beiting, longtime director of the Appalachian Christian Project, has been recommended as a worthy recipient. Discussion ensued about how the honorary degree policy works. Senator Thompson explained the current procedure and the need for an institutionalized process where faculty routinely have input. Senator Harley moved that the Faculty Senate recommend to the Honorary Degree Committee of the Board of Regents that Father Ralph Beiting receive an honorary degree at the December commencement. Senator Taylor seconded the motion. Considerable discussion ensued concerning issues such as the role of the faculty and Faculty Senate in the nomination process for honorary degrees, qualifications of degree candidates, and the need to establish a formalized process. Senator Marsden suggested the need to establish an ad hoc committee to study the process. The motion was approved. Senator Sowders moved to establish an ad hoc committee to study the Faculty Senate's role in nominating honorary degree candidates to the Board of Regents. Senator Dunston seconded the motion which was approved.

Proposal for Policy on the Awarding of Posthumous Degrees.  Senator Marsden presented the following proposal:

Eastern Kentucky University recognizes the importance of acknowledging significant student achievement at all times, including following the tragic death of a student who has made substantial progress towards the completion of a degree and who has made noteworthy contributions to the University community.

It is therefore proposed that posthumous degrees be considered by the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The student is nominated by the Chair of his/her major department.
  2. The student had achieved senior standing/or was within one year of graduation in the case of a Bachelor's degree and fourth semester standing or within one semester of graduation in the case of an Associate's degree at the time of his/her death.
  3. The student had been in good academic standing in their program of study at the time of their death.
  4. Documentation is provided of the student's noteworthy contributions to the University community during his/her tenure at the University.

Nominations for posthumous degrees should be forwarded to the Chair of the Faculty Senate and copied to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research. The Faculty Senate Executive Committee will forward positive recommendations on to the Faculty Senate, unless there is an emergency situation. The Faculty Senate will forward positive recommendations on to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research for implementation. The appropriate degree would be awarded at the Commencement at which the student would have been otherwise recognized. The student's family will be asked to identify an appropriate person to receive the diploma when the student is recognized at the appropriate time in the Commencement ceremony. Except for the fact that the individual receiving the diploma on behalf of the student would not be attired in cap or gown, there would be no other changes in the ceremony.

Senator Harley moved that the proposal be approved. Senator Powers seconded the motion. Senator Harley mentioned that the proposal did not mention graduate degrees. Senator Falkenberg mentioned that faculty has not had time to discuss the proposal and therefore moved to postpone the motion for consideration until the next Senate meeting. Senator Rink seconded the motion, which was approved.

Nomination for Representative to the Senate Budget Committee.  Senator Murray reported that since Senator Feltus could no longer serve in the Senate, a vacancy had been created in the Budget Committee. She called for nominations to the Budget Committee. Senator Falkenberg nominated Senator Flanagan. No other nominations were made and Senator Flanagan was appointed by acclamation.


Senator Dunston read the following statement:

In Spring 1999, the Committee on University Retirement Alternatives submitted a recommendation report to the then Acting Vice President, Rita Davis. The University community has received no word as to the content of and/or the proposal in that report.

There are approximately 300 faculty members at EKU who are within the 27 - 30 year range of service. Those of us in this situation desperately need some word as to the Committee's findings and/or the Administration's decisions so that we may begin to plan the direction of our professional lives. We cannot do this based on speculation and rumors about buy-outs, ERO possibilities, or case-by-case decision-making! Additionally, Departments at the University will not be able accurately to project their faculty needs unless and until some information is forthcoming.

We are not asking for a formal report (interim or final) now because the preparation of that report would take too much time. We are urgently requesting a definitive statement from the Committee or from the Administration, even if that statement reads, "The Administration will not be considering the matter further until August 2000, or "There will be no Retirement Option plan(s) in place until after August 2001,, etc. We are requesting that such a statement be made as soon as possible so that we may make our personal decisions before late notifications of retirements put an increasingly heavy burden on the hiring timetables and practices at this University.

Senator Murray stated that the statement would be brought before the Senate Executive Committee for consideration.


Senator Marsden moved that the Senate adjourn.  It adjourned at 4:43 p.m.

Charles C. Hay III
Faculty Senate Secretary  

Open /*deleted href=#openmobile*/