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Minutes for September 12, 2016

The Faculty Senate of Eastern Kentucky University met on Monday, September 12, 2016 in the South Ballroom in the Keen Johnson Building. Senator O'Brien called the first meeting of the academic year to order at approximately 3:30 p.m. 

The following members were absent:

K. Gray-Denson E. Li E. Morrett
B. Ruhfel* B. Young*^  

Indicates prior notification of absence to the Faculty Senate Secretary
^ ALT Sandy Hunter attended for B. Young


The May 2, 2016 regular and organizational minutes were unanimously approved as written.


Senator Benson noted that it was a miracle no one was injured when a truck struck the Lancaster pedway last Friday. Unfortunately, that section of Lancaster Avenue will need to remain closed for a while to allow for debris removal. It is unclear yet if the towers can be saved or if the entire structure will need to be reconstructed.

As we enter this new academic year, there are many reasons to be optimistic, even in the face of some challenges and, at times, frustrations.

Never in the history of our University has the need for private support been so great. We finished Fiscal Year 2016 with $8.9 million in gifts and commitments, a nearly 100 percent increase over the previous year, which was our best since 2001. Below are a few major gifts that will directly impact academic quality:

  • A $1 million pledge from alumni Ron and Sherrie Lou Noel, the same couple whose gifts made possible our wonderful Studio for Academic Creativity and Reading Porch. The Noels earmarked $600,000 of their most recent gift to support our efforts to engage students in faculty research.
  • A $1 million pledge from Maribeth and Louis Berman to support a combination of academic and student-focused initiatives.
  • An anonymous $1 million bequest for undergraduate student scholarships. 
  • A $500,000 gift from Paul and Deborah Chellgren to endow the Chellgren Success Series at our new Student Success Center. 

This record level of private support speaks to the confidence our alumni and friends have in the direction of the University and, more specifically, the high quality of our academic programs and faculty. 

Secondly, of course, is the continued progress on several construction fronts. Much of this will come online for or during the 2017-18 academic year, including Phase 2 of the New Science Building, two new residence halls, a new dining hall, the Scholar House for single parents, and even a pedestrian overpass across the Eastern By-Pass that will better connect our north and south campuses and enhance safety.

During the summer, the University received two significant honors:

  • Eastern was one of only two institutions in Kentucky and 83 nationwide to receive the 2016 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from Insight into Diversity magazine.
  • Eastern was once again named a “Great College to Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education. 

A new academic year brings another outstanding Chautauqua lecture series. The theme this year is “Order the Chaos,” and Chautauqua Director Dr. Erik Liddell has lined up some of the nation’s leading scholars and other notables to address the topic from about every possible angle.

Homecoming and Reunion Weekend is scheduled for October 20-23. The theme this year is “Golden Opportunities,” in recognition of our 50th anniversary of achieving university status.


Turning Point Technology Training. Jonathan Sikora, Professional Development & Academic Services Coordinator, provided training on ResponseWare software which will be used for the new Senate voting system. Anyone with problems downloading the software should contact him at

LMS Evaluation Update. Dean Betina Gardner gave a brief history on the LMS process to date. Three systems have been reviewed: Blackboard, Canvas, and Brightspace. Currently, the review is in the “sandboxing” stage which means selected faculty are pulling their classes into the three different systems. At some point faculty will be invited to presentations to see how the data displays in all three systems. The pilot stage should begin in the spring. It has not been determined yet which systems will actually be used in the pilot phase.

Check the website for updates or to learn more about the process at


Academic Budget Review Sub-Committee. Senator O’Brien announced that the report was submitted for first review only today but will return for action in October. The following chairs and/or coordinators were given 15 minutes each to present materials in support of retaining programs recommended for suspension.

At approximately 5:15pm Senator Corley moved to suspend the rules to continue beyond the regular meeting time as long as needed to complete the presentations and any other Senate business. Motion carried.

Senator Howell moved, seconded by Senator Irvin, to postpone further discussion until October so that CAA and the budget analysis committee would have time to collect requested data (i.e. cost of the programs, revenue generated from programs, the charge of the committee, and enrollment in courses versus programs). As there were still some glitches to work out with the online voting system, Senator O’Brien called for a voice vote. The majority was in favor and the motion carried.

Executive Committee Motion: Senator Kopacz moved to postpone discussion until the October meeting, seconded by Senator Winslow. Motion carried.



Opportunities exist for us all to forge new work patterns and relationships, respecting traditions, yet being mindful of the world in which we exist. Shared governance is present and continues with tasks that definitely qualify as challenges. I, along with the Faculty Regent, and the Chair of the Chair’s Association, represented faculty this summer at about 20 meetings of the Joint Budget Committee and the Academic Budget Review Subcommittee.

Thank you to the Senate Transparency Committee, spearheaded by Senate Vice Chair Deborah Givens, for efforts to help Senate comply with the state’s Open Meetings Laws. On the Senate website located under Standing Rules, there are useful committee checklists. Please take time to become familiar with these expectations for compliance as well as other materials on the Senate website.

Increased attention to Open Meetings laws also has led us to make voting in the Senate transparent. Beginning now, Responseware software will be used for voting purposes. Voting practices will be recorded, by member and total responses and, these will be attached to the Senate minutes.

A search committee for EKU’s Part-Time Faculty/Staff Ombud has been formed, along with a drafting team to develop the EKU Ombuds policy. Thanks to Senator Mason for her willingness to serve on both committees.

President Benson has asked me to chair the Workload Reassign Time Committee. Additional members include Senator Polin from Academic Quality Committee, Tanalee Wasson from Institutional Research, and one faculty member and one chair from each college. The committee meets every Wednesday at 1pm in Library 208 or 201. The committee’s timeline is to submit a report by October 24.

The Senate bylaws state that every standing committee should submit a written report to the Executive Committee one week prior to scheduled meetings. Please plan to follow this process so that proper vetting is possible before materials come to the Senate.

In addition, if senators are unable to attend Senate meetings and plan to have an alternate attend, please notify the chair and the secretary no later than 10am on the Monday morning before the 3:30pm meeting. With the new voting procedures, notification has to be made earlier so that adjustments can be made in the voting materials prior to the meeting.

The Academic Quality Report of May 2, 2016, called for training and support for online courses. Kudos to Dr. Steve Dwinnells, Dr. Nedim Slijepcevic, and Ms. Megan Jones for their quick response in making available supports for all faculty to use in courses. Ms. Jones developed a “standard course template” along with video tutorials. Check out the Instructional Design Center’s Faculty Resources for more information:

Policy updates anticipated in the coming year include but are not limited to: Anti-Bullying, Academic Travel, Faculty Grievance, Intellectual Property, and Library Faculty Evaluations.

At the beginning of this report I mentioned challenges. Appropriations from the Governor and Legislature continue to decrease yearly, a situation this year equating to a $7.4 million dollar shortfall. The work of the Academic Budget Review Subcommittee was a response to this reality, and Faculty Senate has received that group’s report and recommendations. As you have seen on the agenda, each of the programs recommended for suspension has been invited to present to the regularly scheduled September Senate Meeting. Some programs have chosen not to present, as they are in support of the recommendation. The Senate response to the Subcommittee’s recommendations and the programs’ presentations will be considered by the Board of Regents. Academics is not bearing the burden alone. Athletics, health benefits, the consolidation of regional campuses, and the potential outsourcing of grounds and custodial staff are among other considerations of the Staff/Student Budget Subcommittee. As noted in my August 29 letter to the Faculty at Large, the timelines for decision-making in some areas are different than the policy driven timelines of academic affairs; in all cases, however, things are happening quickly.

It was wonderful to see so many colleagues at Convocation and the Faculty-at-Large Meeting on August 16th. By parliamentary review, all motions in the Faculty-at-Large meeting passed, with no parliamentary inquiry noted during the formal meeting. The Senate’s Rules Committee has been charged with developing further procedures to clarify procedural concerns raised after the meeting.


The Board met on August 18 and passed a couple of policies on Affiliated Adjunct Faculty and Staff Evaluation. The next meeting will be on September 21st at 10am to discuss health care. Action is expected.

As everyone knows, EKU is currently dealing with a 4.5 percent budget cut for the 2017-18 academic year, and some number of jobs will surely be affected.

This past spring, the Board of Regents directed the president to cut $7.4 million from the 2017-18 budget. To address that problem President Benson created the University Budget Review Committee, with its two subcommittees: Academic (51% of the budget) and Student/Staff (49%). The group met 16 times.

EKU offers more programs than most of its peers, but worse, nearly a third of our programs have averaged graduation rates of less than 10 students over the past three years. That is very expensive to maintain. No matter the program, costs are directly tied to the number of sections offered, particularly sections with low enrollment.

Thus, our program reviews began with a basic strategy: to streamline the number of programs (majors, minors, certificates) and the number of offerings in Gen Ed. The biggest criteria (among several) was degree production since it is a direct reflection of what our students chose to study and complete.

Savings are accrued through institutional efficiencies at the margins. It recognizes that as much as one-third of our incoming students have not chosen a major by October. (The incoming freshman class of 2,600 will have about 1,600 major specific students, 600-700 Exploratory and about 350 Associate of General Studies (AGS) majors. This means that we will have as many as 900 to 1,000 students who are undecided about their major or program - the AGS students being restricted from declaring their major for the first year, due to their need to complete developmental coursework and demonstrate academic success). Our students chose Eastern, but many of them wait to decide a major. At the same time, we offer many choices – more than most of our peer institutions, and more than our reduced budget can support. The strategy calls for fewer choices. Instead of choosing from among 161 program choices, students would choose from 140 different options. The strategy also calls for streamlining General Education options and reexamining class sizes.

In the end, we reviewed 47 programs and came to a consensus on 21 that the group recommended for suspension. But that does not end the debate--it only serves as a starting point for a broader discussion that will occur in the Senate and CAA this fall.

Ultimately these decisions must be made by the President with the consent of the Board of Regents, but having thirty percent of our programs graduating relatively low numbers of students ought to be a concern to everyone. As a community, we have to make determinations about what priorities will be sustained into the future.

Perhaps the most contentious issue among the faculty has been the expense of intercollegiate athletics. We have a strong sense that some of the faculty do not support intercollegiate athletics, but have no sense of how many members of the faculty may share that opinion. Sometime this fall, the Faculty Senate plans to follow up with a panel discussion on the related philosophical issues.

Reductions being considered (or already acted upon) include: administrative reorganization; outsourcing building and grounds, and perhaps some other administrative services; regional campuses (Somerset is closing and review continues); athletics (Cut $400,000 or about 5% of O&M); cell phone use; the impact of our scholarship model on the budget; and healthcare.

These and other issues must be engaged between now and November when the president has to make his recommendations for addressing the shortfall. And make no mistake, we must find $7.4 million in cuts. So everything we “save” in one area must be offset by other reductions. The Board of Regents plans to take final action at its December 5th meeting.

At EKU we have chosen the road seldom taken – one that involves the faculty in participatory decision-making. Like democracy, it is a messy and time-consuming process. If the faculty lends its sensitivities and expertise in a constructive manner, I believe the university will emerge in a stronger position moving forward. But if those energies prove to be counterproductive, it will leave an indelible mark on the campus that is sure to marginalize faculty and leave the institution in a much weaker position for the cuts yet to come.

The future cuts I am referring to are the performance-based budget cuts on the horizon. If the governor’s proposal goes into effect, and performance-based cuts reach 25% of the state allocation, EKU stands to lose another $16.1 million in the not-too-distant future. But negotiations are underway to reduce that percentage to as little as 5%, but at the bottom end, we may still be looking at another multimillion dollar cut in a couple of years, and that will only be mitigated if the state pumps more money into higher education overall for the 2018-20 budget, or our underrepresented minority population increases dramatically.

In the meantime, I encourage the faculty to get involved in helping us figure all of this out. If shared governance is good governance then the faculty must lend its participation to the process.


Since 2012, the Provost’s Office has made supporting on-campus professional-development opportunities for faculty and staff a priority.

Ongoing, on-demand professional development is also a priority. My thanks to the EKU Faculty Innovation Workgroup. Since its formation in the Spring, the Workgroup has created the Developing Excellence in Eastern’s Professors (DEEP) system, which provides a voluntary, campus-wide professional development opportunity. Located in Blackboard, the DEEP system guides faculty through a self-paced, four-level process: Learner, Practitioner, Advocate, and Scholar. For more information about the system, go to

EKU submitted our SACS Compliance Report on September 1. The next step in the reaffirmation review is the SACSCOC On-Site Visit scheduled for February 21-23, 2017. Thanks to Vice Provost Sherry Robinson and Dr. Gill Hunter for leading the SACSCOC Leadership Team. They have worked diligently to compile the report and to prepare us for this very important reaffirmation process. Members of the SACSCOC Leadership Team are:

Laurie Carter, Richard Day, Gill Hunter, Bryan Makinen, Rose Perrine, Barry Poynter, Matt Roan, Sherry Robinson, Amy Thieme, Janna Vice

The implementation of the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan coincides with reaffirmation of EKU’s accreditation by SACSCOC.

Last spring, the Academic Planning and Assessment Committee provided feedback to programs related to the objectives, measures, results, and use of results (meaningful change). This feedback identified areas for improvement in our programs’ assessment process. The Office of Institutional Effectiveness is following up with identified programs to review the 2016-2020 Strategic Plan for their program and discuss opportunities to strengthen the assurance-of-learning cycle. These meetings are anticipated to be completed prior to the October 14 Annual Planning and Progress Report deadline.

Summer School enrollment, which had declined steadily (about 13 percent) from 2009 to 2014, has seen a 6 percent increase over the last two years. While some colleges have experienced overall declines in summer school participation, enrollment has increased 44 percent in the College of Justice and Safety and 19 percent in Health Sciences. Additionally, the number of degrees awarded during the summer term has increased 11 percent between 2009 and 2015, comprising about 18 percent of total degrees awarded in an academic year since 2009. This suggests that more students are using summer term to complete their degree requirements and graduate. For Summer 2015, 56.7 percent of tuition was generated by e-Campus programs.

For a breakdown of summer enrollment trends since 2009, including enrollment trends by college, please see the attached charts.

With grants from the Council on Postsecondary Education, EKU began implementation this semester of a pilot co-requisite model for Math, Reading, and English.

Four co-requisite MAT105 sections will enable students to satisfy developmental MAT requirements while earning credit hours in MAT105 sections. These sections are designed to provide supplemental instruction and additional contact hours. The outcomes of these sections will be compared with a cohort of randomly selected MAT095 students with a Math ACT score between 16 and 18, who will populate four pilot sections of 25 students each. The Math Department will analyze the results of the pilot program through Spring 2018 to determine its effectiveness.

Similarly, English has developed ENG095R, an accelerated, developmental integrated reading/writing course, and ENG101R, a developmental/co-requisite course in which students meet developmental reading/writing requirements while earning credit for ENG101. ENG 090 and ENR 090 are now only offered through the Summer Bridge program.

Below are several important dates for calendars:

  • Monday, September 12, 2016 – Faculty are asked to update profiles and data in Digital Measures
  • Thursday, September 15, 2016 – Council on Academic Affairs – Program Review Meeting 12:30 p.m., Jaggers Room, Powell Building 
  • September 22-23 – CPE Meeting hosted by EKU; the regular CPE meeting will begin at 9 a.m. on Friday, September 23, at the EKU Center for the Arts. 
  • September 23 – CPE’s First Annual Campus Safety Summit, hosted by EKU. 
  • Friday, September 30, 2016 – Assurance of Learning Day. Classes resume at 4 p.m. (See attached ad.) 
  • Monday, October 3, 2016 – Faculty Senate – Program Review 
  • Friday, October 14, 2016 – Annual Planning and Progress Reports (Academic Programs) due via TracDat. Updating TracDat for our SACSCOC visit is critical. 
  • Monday, October 17, 2016 – Programs’ Annual Institutional Effectiveness Reports due to IE. 
  • Monday, October 24, 2016 – Board of Regents’ Quarterly Meeting 
  • Monday, November 28, 2016 – eXplorance Blue Survey Distribution 
  • Monday, December 5, 2016 – Board of Regents’ Special Meeting 
  • Wednesday, February 15, 2017 – Please update Faculty Profiles and Data in Digital Measures 
  • February 21-23, 2017 – SACS-COC On-Site Accreditation Visit


Mr. Potter shared the following SGA highlights:

  • SGA Student Senate elections will be held on Tuesday, September 13. Student Court and Student Activities Council have begun recruiting members as well.
  • A Diversity workshop led by Dr. Cleveland is scheduled for Thursday, September 29 at 6:30 pm in Powell Underground.
  • SGA will be having a membership orientation and joint branch meeting on Friday, September 30. Members will be trained for their perspective branch and work alongside other SGA members to plan events and initiatives for the year.
  • SGA social media has merged, please follow to keep up with the SGA news:
    • Facebook: EKU SGA (@ekusga)
    • Twitter: @EKU_SGA
    • Instagram: @eku_sga
  • SGA Executive Vice President, Sebastian Torres, has been appointed by Governor Matt Bevin as the Student Representative on the CPE.

Student Senate Report:

  • Student Senate committee chair elections took place on Tuesday, September 6.
  • The Information Technology Committee will be working with Dean Gardner and the LMS committee to select a new LMS for EKU. Last spring the Student Senate passed legislation in support of Canvas. The IT committee will continue to work to find the best program for EKU students.
  • Student Senate will be developing two ad-hoc committees, a campus parking committee and a mental health and safety committee.

Student Activities Council

  • Upcoming SAC events include:
    • September 15 – Comedian: Eric O Shea
    • September 24 – Movie Night: The Shallows
    • October 6 – Musician: Nelly’s Echo
    • October 8 – EKU Family Weekend Tailgate

Student Court:

  • Student Court is currently seeking students to fill open positions including Student Court Justices and a Student Court Clerk.


Academic Quality Committee. Senator Hunter reported that the committee met immediately before Senate, and Senator Howell was re-elected as chair of the committee.

Elections & University Nominations Committee. Senator Mason reported that the committee has met twice already this semester. The committee’s fall meeting dates have been posted to the Senate website.

The committee met today and completed the recommendations for faculty vacancies on university committees. The recommendations will be forwarded to Dr. Sherry Robinson and the President for their review.

Rights and Responsibilities Committee. Senator Mason reported that the committee met on August 29 and Senators Fitch and Mason were elected to serve as co-chairs.

Committee meetings for fall have been scheduled and posted on the Senate website.

Senator Fitch introduced the following resolution from the Rights and Responsibilities Committee and moved approval:

Whereas, the Faculty Senate Rights and Responsibilities Committee shall make recommendations to the Senate on faculty matters including, but not limited to, promotion, tenure, grievance, and workload.

Whereas, the findings and recommendations of the Academic Budget Subcommittee as found in its report of August 15, 2016 appear to rely upon incomplete financial information and contain indications of subjective judgments based on speculative criteria by members of faculty and administration, such as “The expectation is that enrollments will increase,” “Potential for program growth with the New Science Building,” “Difficult to justify not offering [this degree.]” “Recommended that the program look to go fully online—much growth potential there,” “A general review of the secondary education programs is needed to understand why so many produce a low number of graduates.”

Whereas, the findings and recommendations of the Academic Budget Subcommittee as found in its report of August 15, 2016 have not provided detailed evidence of cost savings through reductions in academic programs.

Whereas, to date no evidence of significant reductions to areas of university operations other than academics have been forthcoming from the EKU administration or governing board, including, but not limited to, EKU Athletics.

Whereas, the reduction of several academic programs will result in the termination of a number of full-time, tenured faculty.

Whereas, such a reduction is an additional hardship on the faculty of EKU, compounding the hardships found in recent actions, such as the termination of advising pay for faculty, proposed reduction to benefits including faculty tuition scholarships, dramatic increases in health insurance premiums, reduced opportunities for reassigned time, lack of salary adjustments for cost of living increases, and lack of merit pay.

Whereas, the sudden reduction of academic programs at EKU without equitable reductions in other university areas would result in permanent damage to the academic integrity of the university, the morale of the faculty, and the relationship between the faculty and the president and EKU Board of Regents.

Be it resolved that the Faculty Senate calls for an immediate discontinuation of suspensions to any and all academic programs recommended by the Academic Budget Subcommittee as found in its report of August 15, 2016 until equitable reductions in other areas of university operations are identified and implemented.

The motion was defeated. 

Rules Committee. Senator Skubik-Peplaski announced that committee meetings have been scheduled for the third Monday of the month at 9am in Wallace 111.

Faculty Welfare Committee.  Senator Spigelman reported that the University Welfare & Benefits Committee met through the summer to review recommendations proposed to the Board of Regents by the Vice President of Financial affairs, Barry Poynter. These recommendations included replacing the high plan with a high deductible plan with an HSA, but retaining the standard and economy plans. The University’s contributions would be at a set rate of $450/single and $600/ families. It was further recommended that tobacco surcharges be enforced and faculty utilize the incentives provided by the Healthy EKU program. The BoR has not formally approved these recommendations.

Additional information on health insurance was shared with the Senate today.


Athletics and Academics. Senator Carpenter reminded that the committee gave the final report at the May Senate meeting. The committee members are currently exploring possible formats for the open forums that would provide a productive way to discuss the relationship between academics and athletics and specifically ways that athletics might articulate how they fit into the academic admission of EKU.

Senator Hartch moved, seconded by Senator Fitch, to require the Athletics Department and University administration to address the requests made by the committee in the May Ad Hoc Committee on Athletics and Academics report. The motion unanimously carried.

Senate Transparency. Senator Givens announced that the committee is working closely with all of the Senate standing committees to help them follow the standards required by law for open meetings.


Ombud Search Committee. Senator Mason announced that the committee met for the first time on Friday. Notification of meetings will be sent to EKUToday and may also be posted on the Senate website.

The committee discussed the job description and the role of an Ombud at EKU. The next meeting will be on September 19. It is anticipated that the job description should be ready to post by September 23rd and the review of applications will be in early November.

University Parking Advisory Committee. Senator Howell shared the following in his written report:

  • The committee met on Thursday, August 25, 2016.
  • A new parking structure for 325-350 spaces is under construction in the lower left quarter of the Brockton Lot (anticipated opening in 2017).
  • Other parking lots going away:
    • Part of the Case Lot (new dining center)
    • Crabbe Street may go away (depends on the city)
    • Long range, there may be 250 additional spaces on Summit Street
    • Next parking structure might be part of College of Education/Model complex connecting Alumni to Lancaster to Park Drive
  • Another parking survey may come forward sometime this year.


Senator Vice moved to adjourn at approximately 7:20pm.

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