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Minutes for December 6, 2021

The Faculty Senate of Eastern Kentucky University met on Monday, December 6, 2021 via Zoom. Chair Crosby called the fourth meeting of the academic year to order at approximately 3:30 p.m.

The following members were absent:

J. Arneson* D. Fifer* T. Jarvis
J. Mayer* J. McCardle*^ G. Spira
E. Underwood    

* Indicates prior notification of absence
^ ALT Peter Edwards attended for J. McCardle


Senator Winslow moved approval of the November 1, 2021 minutes as written, seconded by Senator Manning. Motion carried. (YES = 47 votes | NO = 0 votes  ABSTAIN = 0 votes) (See also: Individual Votes)


    Strategic Plan
    The final draft of the Strategic Plan will be presented to the Board of Regents this week.

    Economic Impact Highlights
    At this week’s Board of Regents meeting, I will be presenting the hard work of our colleagues. Our researchers estimate EKU generates $580.63 million dollars in university, student, and visitor expenditures each year, supporting more than 6,600 jobs and $247.01 million in labor income in Madison County and the surrounding region. Thank you to Dr. James Maples, Dr. James Blair, and Kobe Perry for their work on this excellent report. At your convenience, review The Economic Impact of Eastern Kentucky University 2021 Edition.

    Performance Distribution
    In appreciation for your hard work and dedication, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic emergency, I will be recommending to the Board of Regents a $1,000 distribution for every full-time employee hired before September 30, 2021. If approved, the distribution, excluding required withholdings, will be issued on your final payroll in December 2021.

    Healthy You Incentive Payment
    Additionally, I will be recommending to the Board of Regents a $500 incentive payment, excluding required withholdings, through the EKU’s Wellness Program available for all benefit-eligible part- and full-time employees who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

    If you have been fully vaccinated and have uploaded your vaccine status by November 30, 2021, you will receive this incentive payment in January 2022. Please note, if you are not vaccinated and want to take advantage of this opportunity, or if you have been vaccinated and have not uploaded your vaccination status, you have until February 28, 2022, to show proof of vaccination to receive the $500 incentive payment in the spring.

    Mask Optional Status
    We will continue with masking indoors on campus through December 5, 2021. From December 6, 2021, through January 14, 2022, masks will be optional for employees and students in both indoor and outdoor settings. In addition, events hosted on campus during this time will also be mask optional. Due to the continually changing environment of the virus, we will reevaluate masking policies for the spring semester and release a plan before January 16, 2022.

    Domestic and International Travel
    In other COVID news, domestic and international travel on behalf of EKU is now reauthorized. For international travel, full vaccination is required unless an exemption is approved. Visit the travel site at the EKU Travel Regulations page for details on the updated travel policy.

    Winter Term Enrollment
    This year Fall Semester was moved back a week early to put us in line with the standard 16-week semester that is seen by our sister institutions. The Winter Term enrollment increased in total enrollment over the last year by more than 43%, with total hours of classes enrolled at approximately 50% more than last year.

    Optional Retirement Account
    For those that participate in EKU’s Optional Retirement Program (ORP), you should have received a memo via email indicating that effective January 1, 2022, the University’s contribution rate to the ORP will be increased from 8.74% to 10% with your employee contribution remaining the same at 6.16%. This change will be applied automatically. This is a correction to the 2022 Employee Benefits Guide.

    Below are accomplishments we have made together to make 2021 a year to remember:

    • Every undergraduate student received free textbooks through EKU BookSmart.
    • We experienced the biggest year of giving in school history, which will allow us to provide more opportunities to students as they pursue their educational goals.
    • Students are better equipped to pursue those educational goals through EKUOnline, which offers more programs and more flexibility than ever.
    • Our work with student veterans is recognized again as EKU was ranked 9th in the nation as Best for Vets.
    • The EKU Nursing program celebrated 50 years of training Kentucky nurses.
    • EKU ranked first in placing bachelor’s graduates in the Kentucky workforce.
    • We remain the premier aviation flight program in the Commonwealth, including national recognition for our flight instructors.  


    The deans and I are working on the budget build for next year. We are meeting briefly tomorrow, and will be scheduling a half-day budget retreat for early January. One of the items for discussion will be the different aspects of e-Campus work, including the issue of face-to-face versus online programs, as well as the facilitator issue.
    Progress is being made on the deans’ searches.

    • We now have a dean for Justice, Safety, and Military Science.
    • The CLASS dean candidates visited campus last week. Hopefully, we can identify a candidate and make an offer before winter break.
    • For the College of Business dean search, finalists have been identified and background checks and reference checks are being conducted by the search firm now. There are four finalists at present, and they will be interviewed very early in February.
    • Once the leadership profile for the Health Sciences Dean has been approved, the ad can go out again before winter break.

    The president shared a note last week about some new travel regulations that are helping us get back out there in the pandemic environment. So, please monitor those carefully. There are extensive requirements to make sure that we're following all regulations and taking care of our students. There is also a web form available to gather the appropriate permissions, especially for international travel.

    The cross college and interdisciplinary request for proposals is out there. The deadline for proposals is December 31. The web form is available on the Academic Affairs website.

    I would like to gather your feedback on the calendar structure. The six-week winter term has been wildly popular with our students, and enrollments are extremely strong. Students are using that as an opportunity either to remedy something that went wrong in the fall or to get a little bit ahead for spring. So, we do want to keep that six-week winter term, but we need feedback on how things worked for the fall semester.


    Faculty Advocate. Dr. Beth Polin gave a brief history on the creation of the faculty advocate position which was created in Fall 2020. While this does not take the place of all the tasks fulfilled by the Ombud position, it has helped to fill the gap for the university and provide an additional outlet for conflict management. The advocate is considered to be an informal and private source for faculty experiencing conflict within the workplace. If there are formal areas of conflict that faculty are experiencing, they should contact our legal department or contact human resources.

    It has taken awhile for faculty to become aware of the services available through the faculty advocate, but requests are starting to increase. For assistance or to learn more, please contact


    Report from Council on Academic Affairs. Associate Provost Wies presented the following certificate programs for approval.

    College of Business
    New Programs

    1. Certificate in Corporate Communications
    2. Certificate in Marketing Research & Analytics
    3. Certificate in Sales

    Senator McGuffin moved approval of items 1-3, seconded by Senator Nachtwey. Motion carried. (YES = 45 votes | NO = 1 votes | ABSTAIN = 3 votes) (See also: Individual Votes)

    Associate Provost Wies reminded that there will be fewer items coming from CAA to the Senate and the Board of Regents as a way to streamline the process. All program-level actions, including new programs, will always be presented to the Senate for review.



    The Executive Committee met a couple of week ago. We have completed our work on the evaluation of President McFaddin and forwarded our report to the Chair of the Board of Regents.

    As covid levels are still high, the Executive Committee meetings and Faculty Senate meetings will continue through Zoom for the spring semester.

    The Elections & University Nominations Committee shared information on the upcoming Faculty Regent Election in the spring semester.


    The next meeting of the Board of Regents will be on Thursday, December 9 at 9am in Powell 219. The draft agenda can be viewed at the following link: Included on the agenda are as follows:

    Action Items for Board Approval Consideration:

    (1) Performance Distribution Payment & Healthy You Incentive Payment: The administration is recommending to the Board a $1,000 per full-time employee Performance Distribution to be issued on the final December payroll, which is a $2.1M expenditure. Furthermore, also recommended is $500 through the Healthy You program per all-benefit-eligible part- or-full-time employees who are fully vaccinated. Employees vaccinated prior to November 30 will receive the payment with required holdings in January and persons wishing to take advantage of this opportunity are encouraged to upload their vaccination status prior to February 28. The total expenditure is estimated to be $1.3M.

    (2) Approval of Regularly Occurring Items: Up for approval consideration will be the most recent audit report, Model Lab School tuition and fees, Board minutes, conferral of degrees, personnel actions, and sabbatical program participant approvals.

    (3) Strategic Plan Approval: The emerging strategic plan that will replace the existing plan, Make No Little Plans, is at a point in the drafting and revision process whereby the executive summary will be presented, and whereby the President is seeking Board approval to have the executive summary of the new plan approved which focuses on experiencing excellence.

    (4) Approval of Athletics Sports Sponsorship: As the university has joined the ASUN Conference, the administration has been reviewing which sports we currently sponsor and have existing financial and facility capacity to sponsor. Research into the ASUN demonstrates that the ASUN sponsors all the same sports as the prior conference (OVC), and also sponsors several sports not currently sponsored. EKU had sponsored tennis until very recently and still maintains tennis facilities. The written recommendation is not on the Board agenda at this time, but it is anticipated that a recommendation will be presented.

    (5) Discussion/Acceptance of President’s Performance Evaluation: The contributing evaluation reports were received by the Board Chair from the Faculty Senate, Executive Committee, and Staff Council. Summary reports were also generated in my role using a similar approach for External Stakeholders and University Boards (Regents, Foundation, and Alumni) as well as the students. The Board Chair has been able to review and has the ability to consult with or share those reports with the President. Furthermore, an Executive Summary based upon the aggregate of all reports will be provided to the full board for discussion and/or action.

    Information Items on Board Agenda:

    • Prior to presentation of the action items, the beginning of the meeting will include a rich set of presentations/university reports. Included in this meeting will be reports on construction updates (including the bypass pedway), a report on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and Diversity Recruitment/Retention, an economic impact presentation on the value of Eastern Kentucky University to the Commonwealth and our local Richmond community, along with the usual updates on development (funds raised), university finances in relation to the prior approved budget, and an academic affairs update. These are likely some of the more impactful reports that have come before the Board in recent years for informing strategies and effectively educating the citizenry on the benefits EKU and higher education to their lives whether or not they attended or attend EKU.

    CPE Update: Not part of the Board of Regents meeting, but worth noting, the CPE recently approved the statewide strategic agenda for Kentucky’s postsecondary education, Higher Education Matters 2022-2030. To see the draft document as presented at the November CPE meeting, feel free to view this link. The statewide goal is to have 60% of adult Kentuckians with a high-quality postsecondary credential by year 2030. To achieve this goal, the statewide priorities as led by CPE will be affordability, transitions, success, talent, and value.

    I have received strong encouragement from colleagues to continue to serve in this role. For these reasons, including encouragement from some faculty leaders whom I respect immensely, I’ll seek to stay on in this role during this next term should that be the collective will of our colleagues. 

    REPORT FROM COSFL: Senator Burns

    COSFL will be meeting sometime in January. The date will be shared once available.


    Academic Quality Committee. Senator Sands reported that the committee continues to work on their charge. We have gathered interview data from Dr. Matthews, e-Campus, and Dr. Carpenter, Noel Studios. Senator Kay has also pulled some footprint data, so we can historically look at what courses have been offered and the enrollment numbers.

    Our next meeting will be in late January. A final report should be available to present to Senate in April.

    Budget Committee. Senator Yow announced that the committee is on target to present a final report to Senate in February.

    Elections & University Nominations Committee. Senator Schilling shared information on the Faculty Regent election which will occur in the spring semester. (See: sample petition form, criteria and procedures, timeline)

    The forums will be available on Zoom to eliminate the need for gathering in-person. Voting will occur at the end of February.

    Information Technology Committee. Senator Hight announced that Blackboard now includes a course tool called ILP Integration which can be used to push grades from Blackboard into EKUDirect which eliminates the need to input grades in both places. Please let her know if additional training for faculty should be offered.

    Rights & Responsibilities Committee. Senator Nachtwey reported that the committee met on November 18th. The primary item discussed was the issue of faculty work on open educational resources and the need for recognition of this for tenure purposes. OER Chair Kelly Smith shared an informative article from the New England Board of Higher Education entitled “Practitioner Perspectives: The DOERS3 Collaborative on OER in Tenure and Promotion."

    Rules Committee Report. Senator Kay stated that the committee met on November 15. So far only a couple of committees have forwarded updates for their internal procedures. Please forward updates to Senator Bishop-Ross by January 31.

    The committee continues to work on updates to the Faculty Handbook. The next meeting will be in January.

    Faculty Welfare Committee. Senator Blair reported that the committee has developed a list of questions for a faculty survey to gauge the sentiment of faculty benefits at Eastern. The survey will be distributed during the spring semester. The committee is also still working on the compensation data received.

    Ad Hoc Committee on OERs. Senator Marion announced that OER Chair Kelly Smith has been working on a draft proposal to create a university standing committee housed through Academic Affairs which will replace the current Senate Ad Hoc Committee.


    Senator Grabeel moved to adjourn at approximately 4:45pm, seconded by Senator Nachtwey.

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