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Minutes for November 2, 2020

The Faculty Senate of Eastern Kentucky University met on Monday, November 2, 2020 via Zoom. Chair Ciocca called the third meeting of the academic year to order at approximately 3:30 p.m.

The following members were absent:

J. Arneson*^ A. Cizmar*^ A. Gossage
J. LaPlante* E. Meiners L. Squicciarini

*Indicates prior notification of absence
^ ALT Laura Edwards attended for J. Arneson
^ ALT Matthew Howell attended for A. Cizmar


Senator Crosby moved approval of the October 5, 2020 minutes as written, seconded by Senator Woodruff. Motion carried. (YES = 46 votes | NO = 0 votes | ABSTAIN = 3 votes) (See Also:  Individual Votes)


    Finish strong. These are two words that should be our guide for the end of this most unusual semester. We are just weeks away from our planned end to on-campus instruction. If we can all remain vigilant and adhere to all the guidelines we have to limit the spread of COVID-19 within our campus community, we will truly have so much to be thankful for as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday.

    We are closely monitoring reports from the local health department and so far, Madison County has not entered the highest level of transmission as a red zone county. We are very encouraged to see from our EKU dashboard that cases continue to remain manageable. To date, we have not encountered any known transmissions within classroom settings among students and faculty. We are also encouraged to see that after an initial spike in our population's cases earlier this month, the numbers are trending downward again. These next few weeks will be crucial to adhere to our recommended protocols both at work and in social settings. While it is tempting to let our guard down and resume some sense of normalcy again, with infection rates surging in Kentucky, our commitment to health and safety for ourselves and others will be paramount in finishing this semester as planned. We will hold another virtual commencement honoring our December 2020 graduates with more details to come in the next week.

    As we look at academic progress this semester, we know both our students and our dedicated faculty have overcome incredible adversity. Whether it is offering flexibility in the course and assignment delivery, seeking alternative locations for classes, offering virtual meetups and advising, or just encouraging your students and colleagues to stay the course, these collective efforts, however big or small, do make a difference. We have seen an increase in students requiring additional support. Please continue doing what you can to help them finish strong! Retention is an essential piece of our enrollment goals. We will do what we must to advise and assist our students as much as possible.

    In other enrollment news, we see a positive change in winter term enrollment that is up significantly year-to-year. It is one of many ways we are hoping to increase enrollment and stay laser focused on recruitment goals. Tuition revenue will be one of the few economic variables we can harness to position our future. We must be architects of our success. I know the uncertainty of looming budget questions can be taxing. Please understand that we are approaching these decisions thoughtfully and strategically while still looking for opportunities to reinvest in our people and areas of potential growth.

    The University will observe Election Day as an official holiday for the presidential election this Tuesday, November 3. If you have not cast your ballot already, don’t forget to vote.


    2022 Strategic Plan. Drs. Jennifer Wies and Bethany Miller met with Senate for an interactive listening discussion on the 2022 Strategic Planning process. Once feedback has been compiled from all the listening sessions, a survey will be posted online which will have similar questions but will allow for much broader input. Once available, please encourage faculty to complete the survey.

    Stage II of the process will begin in Spring 2021 and Stage III in Fall 2021. The finished plan will be presented to the Board of Regents in January 2022 for approval. From January to May 2022, unit level plans will be developed and reporting cycles and expectations will be established. The formal strategic plan will launch in August 2022.

    General Education Update. Dr. Jennifer Wies provided a brief history of the ongoing process. In Spring 2019 a review group was convened to look at general education and those discussions continued through Fall 2019. In Spring 2020, a larger group retreat was formed to examine possible changes to our general education program. In Fall 2020, three task forces were created and charged with identifying ways to strengthen our current general education curriculum as well as articulate and showcase the program from recruitment to graduation for our students. The task force recommendations will be reviewed and approved in Spring 2021 and the updated program should be ready to launch in Fall 2021.

    Diversity and Inclusion on our Campus. Dr. Roger Cleveland was invited to speak to Senate about his new position in the Diversity office. In September, he returned to Eastern as the Director of Faculty Development and Diversity Initiatives. One of his primary roles in that position is to provide training and support for faculty. Faculty may contact him at to learn more.

    Student Government Association. Eyouel Mekonnen reported the following:

    • As SGA president, Mr. Mekonnen is participating on a student advisory group with the Council for Postsecondary Education to discuss a timeline for tuition and asset affordability setting.
    • If students have the opportunity to lobby in Frankfort in the spring semester, their focus will be on performance-based funding and funding for higher education in general.
    • SGA is working with EKU Housing and EKU Public Safety on a bike security initiative. If approved, a room with security cameras installed will be available in South Hall for approximately 30 spaces which will be accessible by key fobs. 
    • SGA is working on a student resolution addressing classes and assignments that are due on Election Day. 


    Policy 4.3.7 – Dual and Joint Degree Agreements between EKU and Other Institutions. Senator McCardle moved approval of Policy 4.3.7, seconded by Senator Walz. Motion carried.
    (YES = 47 votes | NO = 0 votes | ABSTAIN = 3 votes) (See also: Individual Votes)

    Policy 9.3.4 – Protection of Minors on Campus. Policy 9.3.4 was presented as first read at the October meeting. Since it is a non-academic policy, it should be reviewed as an information only item.


    New Programs for Consideration. Chair Ciocca announced that the following new programs are presented for approval today with the caveat that if Senate does approve and then CAA makes any major changes to the programs at the November 19 meeting, Senate would need to meet on December 7 for further review. (Please note: The December 7th meeting will be cancelled if there are no major changes made to these programs and if there are no other pressing issues.)

    College of Health Sciences (See: Agenda)
    Applied Human Sciences

    1. B.S. Global Hospitality and Tourism
    2. New Program – Create a new E-Campus program with 2 Concentrations (Gastronomic Tourism & Sustainable Hospitality) and each concentration as a University Certificate 

    College of Letters, Arts, and Social Sciences
    Art & Design (See: Agenda)
    [NOTE: The following are also PENDING Graduate Council Approval]
    Sara Zeigler announced that the items below were approved by the Graduate Council earlier today.

    1. M.S. in Instructional Design and Learning Technology
    2. Certificate in User Experience Design
    3. Certificate in Online Learning Design

    Senator Crosby moved approval of items 1-5, seconded by Senator Woodruff. Motion carried. (YES = 45 votes | NO = 0 votes | ABSTAIN = 2 votes) (See also: Individual Votes)

    Report from Council on Academic Affairs. Associate Provost Wies presented the following materials for consideration.

    Program Revisions

    Curriculum and Instruction

    1. MAED Secondary Education: Preparation to Teach Dual Credit Instructional Computer Technology - Update the language in admission requirements to be consistent in online department programs. Adjust program options for instructional technology preparation option.
    2. Master of Arts in Elementary Education
      Update the MAEd in Elementary Education to provide a non-certification route. This new route does not utilize any new courses but does provide a general education Master’s degree option for candidates from a variety of disciplines. Specifically, it meets a need for potential international students as well.

    Recreation and Park Administration

    1. B.S. Recreation and Park Administration
      Change the concentration name from Therapeutic Recreation to Recreation Therapy.
    2. (B.S.) and (M.S.) Recreation and Park Administration Accelerated 3+2 Dual Degree Program
      Change the concentration name from Therapeutic Recreation to Recreation Therapy.

    Languages, Cultures, and Humanities

    1. Minor in Spanish - Revise number of 300 level or higher credit hours required.


    School of Nursing

    1. Departmental Post Masters Nursing Administration Certificate


    1. College of Business and Technology, Memo - School of Business Reorganization, Merging AFIS and MMIB Departments

    Senator Walz moved approval of items 1-6, seconded by Senator Schilling. Motion carried. (YES = 45 votes NO = 0 votes ABSTAIN = 1 vote) (See also: Individual Votes)

    Item #7 was presented as information only.



    Given that by December 7th the semester is officially over (grades are due and graduation will have already occurred), the decision has been made that this will be the last meeting of the Senate for the Fall Semester. This is contingent upon our and CAA approval of two new programs. This will also mean that the November 23 Executive Committee meeting will be cancelled as well.

    Chair Ciocca has been asked to serve on two new committees, the President’s Leadership Council and the President’s Council for Institutional Excellence and Innovation. These two committees will meet monthly and are viewed as places of frank discussion, sharing of ideas and hopefully fertile ground for innovations and ideas. I will ask your support to communicate ideas and solutions from the faculty perspective to move EKU forward.

    Given the latest Covid updates, it is highly likely that all the spring meetings will continue through the Zoom platform.


    The Board of Regents has not met since September 10. The next meeting is scheduled for December 10.

    Since the last Faculty Senate meeting, the Regents were apprised of the following informational items.

    New Colonel Commitment Scholarship Model

    The Board was given a news update on a change to the university’s scholarship model. The new Colonel Commitment Scholarship aims to improve scholarship access for students without a qualifying ACT score. There are still scholarships that EKU offers that do recognize ACT scores. You can learn more about this informational item, including the dollar value of the various GPA-based scholarships, through the EKU Stories link.

    Higher EDQuity Symposium – November 9-10

    • Dr. Aaron Thompson’s newsletter to Regents and other Kentucky higher education stakeholders on behalf of the Council on Post-Secondary Education (CPE) included detailed information about the upcoming Higher EDQuity symposium.
    • The symposium has been named “The Urgency of N.O.W.” for ‘No Opportunity Wasted’
    • The focus will be on equitable strategies and services that support enrollment and degree completion among low-income and underrepresented minority students.
    • Speakers include Dr. Neeli Bendapudi (President of U of L), Dr. Aaron Thompson (CPE President), Dr. Tia Brown McNair (VP for Diversity, Equity and Student Success at AACU), and our EKU colleague, Dr. Roger Cleveland.
    • The program/forum is open to faculty, staff, students, administrators.
    • To learn more or to register, visit this link:

    Beyond these informational items, I joined several members of this body for the first virtual meeting of the newly invigorated statewide Coalition of Faculty & Senate Leadership (COFSL). As Faculty Regent, at the time of this meeting (November 2), I presumably would have attended the follow-up EKU Enrollment Summit today (Monday, November 2). In regards to the COFSL meeting, Dr. Ben Woodruff did an excellent job setting up the meeting and providing a lot of coordinating/leadership services. EKU was well-represented. From the meeting, a key takeaway was for each university’s faculty group to strive to identify three key higher education issues impacting their university (and other public universities) that they perceive may have statewide interest in being addressed by COFSL. 

    REPORT FROM COSFL: Senator Woodruff

    The next COSFL meeting will be this coming Friday. Our guest speaker will be Dr. Aaron Thompson, CPE President.

    REPORT FROM PROVOST: Senator Pogatshnik

    Academic Affairs Leadership Updates
    Dr. Rusty Carpenter has been appointed as Assistant Provost. Since joining EKU as the Executive Director of the Noel Studio, Rusty has broadened his areas of responsibility to include New Faculty Orientation, Professional Development Programs for faculty, oversight of the Summer term, and now, oversight of the expanded Winter term. His portfolio of responsibilities has shifted over the years to the point where a direct reporting line to the Provost is the most appropriate. Rusty will retain dotted-line reporting to the Dean of the Library and maintain oversight of the Noel Studio.

    Dr. Ryan Baggett has been appointed as Interim Dean of the Graduate School. Ryan has taken over day-to-day operation of the Graduate School since his appointment as Interim Associate Dean in February. He has done a truly exceptional job in that role and has had a very significant and positive impact on the Graduate School in a very short period of time.

    Strategic Planning Process – Department/College Realignment
    As noted in last month’s update, the Council of Deans has been looking at various options for repositioning some of units under Academic Affairs. The goal is for us to find areas of mutual collaboration that will position EKU to establish additional academic programs and centers of excellence going forward, while at the same time, minimizing disruption to the campus community. As we begin to coalesce around different models, we will begin sharing those ideas to the broader campus. I will update the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the Senate as a whole as these discussions move forward.

    End of Fall Term
    I want to take a moment to express my deepest appreciation to all the faculty for all you’ve done to get us to the end of our first full semester under the covid pandemic. The semester has gone much better than we could have possibly imagined back in August. Because of the extensive and outstanding work by all who developed, implemented, and followed our classroom protocols, I believe we have successfully demonstrated that we can meet the academic needs of our students while still maintaining the safety of faculty and staff. I’m hopeful that our experience this semester will lead to a greater sense of confidence and a willingness to increase our face-to-face offerings wherever that is appropriate.


    Academic Quality Committee. Senator Jones stated that the committee created a survey asking faculty what worked and didn’t work with the transition to online classes. The survey should be finalized next week and hopefully will be distributed before the end of the semester.

    Budget Committee. Senator Woodruff announced that the committee is still waiting on some budget information from the Athletics Department. A committee update should be available in early spring.

    Elections & University Nominations Committee. Senator McCardle announced that Sheri McGuffin has been elected to serve as the part-time representative for the next two years with Tracy Stephanyan and Debbie Felts serving as alternates.

    Rules Committee Report. Senator Kay announced that the committee is examining potential voting methods for when face-to-face meetings begin again. In addition, we are reviewing potential updates to the Faculty Handbook.

    Also, it’s time for our internal procedures to be reviewed again for updates. So, committee chairs please review your internal procedures and direct any revisions our way.

    Chair Ciocca noted that Senator Winslow has some information about using a different platform for voting and suggested that Senator Kay should contact him to learn more.

    Faculty Welfare Committee. Senator Gremp stated that one of their charges is to look at faculty mental health coping strategies during the pandemic. At first we considered creating a survey to send out to faculty, but given that tons of surveys that have been distributed this semester we decided to not stress the faculty out by sending one more. Instead, we are exploring resources that may be available on campus to help faculty cope during this stressful time. If there are campus mental health resources that you are familiar with, please share those with the committee. Our charge will be continued into the spring semester.

    Ad Hoc Committee on Open Textbook Resources. Senator Woodruff reported that at the last meeting, the members broke out into smaller groups to work on areas such as funding, streamlining the process with the bookstore, and streamlining our administrative process. Our overall goal is to increase funding so that we can award more grants as well as to get more faculty involved in low cost textbook options.


    Senator Pogatshnik moved to adjourn at approximately 5:30pm.

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