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Academic Leadership Council Minutes

Academic Leadership Council Minutes

Student Center Ballroom

September 28, 2011


NOTE:  At times, issues of confidentiality may require that some items discussed in meetings be excluded from these minutes.

ALC MEMBERS:  Robert Glenn Allen, Austin Asgill, Tom Ball, Bill Barnes, Richard Bennett, Renee Butler, David Caudill, Lance Crimm, Tom Currin, Venu Dasigi, Ameen Farooq, Alan Gabrielli, Steven Hamrick, Bob Homer, Ruston Hunt, Sonny Kim, Andrew McMorran, Joyce Mills, Thomas Nelson, Julie Newell, Mark Nunes, Ilseok Oh, Jeff Orr, Nikki Palamiotis, Phil Patterson, Dawn Ramsey, Jeffrey Ray, Nancy Reichert, Han Reichgelt, Ronny Richardson, Richard Ruhala, Becky Rutherfoord, Khalid Siddiqi, Denise Stover, John Sweigart, Zvi Szafran, Andy Wang, and Tim Zeigler

MEMBERS ABSENT:   David Caudill, Ronny Richardson, Denise Stover

GUESTS:  Brichaya Shah for David Caudill, Max North for Ronny Richardson


Item 1. Updates

Dr. Szafran updated the Council on the following:

  • Open Forum – recently there was an open forum on campus to discuss the change in the Board of Regents’ policy on promotion which now requires a terminal degree or the equivalent.  It was suggested that this may be an error - Dr. Szafran will check with the System Office on this.  A list of terminal degrees will be prepared and distributed to the Council.  Because of this change, any affected faculty in the process of submitting promotion packages should be allowed a couple of extra weeks to get them in if needed.
  • Lecturer/Senior Lecturer – must lecturers go up for promotion to senior lecturer?  Szafran responded according to the Board of Regents policy, lecturers can go up for promotion in their 6th year and can be reappointed without promotion after six years only under extraordinary circumstances.  Per Alan Gabrielli there is no clock on lecturers per the BoR upon creation of this classification.  This needs clarification.  The Faculty Senate is also looking at this issue. 
  • Teacher Education – approximately 38 students have expressed interest in our new program and our goal is to have 50-60 majors for the Spring 2012 semester.
  • Library – the chiller is being replaced in the Library and will probably take several weeks to repair/install.  Joyce encouraged everyone to use the Library remotely until this is completed.
  • Comprehensive Program Reviews – Bob Homer announced that SPSU has been drafted to review our Comprehensive Review Process and asked the deans to review our P&P to make sure it matches what we are actually doing.  Homer is reviewing what other schools are doing and stated that we need to make sure we are in complete compliance – review our P&P and make changes as necessary.  Becky will bring a draft of the P&P to the Deans Council for review.
  • INTERFACE Lecture Series – Julie Newell briefly talked about the first INTERFACE lecture and encouraged everyone to attend
  • SACS – Becky reminded the Council that the SACS fifth year report is due in 2014 and asked that everyone do their FCARs, keep student data (mostly applies to A&S), planning templates, etc. 
  • IDC – will be closed tomorrow for a retreat.
  • Polytechnic Summit – the planning committee will meet on Thursday at 2:00


Item 2. Searches – Advanced Advertising

Szafran reminded the Council to get their search paperwork in ASAP if they want to take advantage of early advertising deadlines.  All paperwork must be submitted and Form A approved by Mary Ellen McGee before any advertising can begin.  Documents needed include:

  • Hard copy of the faculty personnel job request form
  • Form A – attach hard copy to above and send electronically to Mary Ellen
  • Ad – send electronically to Szafran


Szafran will send an email back to the originator with the approved ad attached stating that it is alright to advertise as soon as Ms. McGee signs Form A.  Approximately 15 searches have been suggested but there is no information yet on budget and no information on formula funding.  There will be no interviews until further down the road and he reminded the Council that he is allowing advance advertising only under the condition that there will be no pressure placed on him to fill positions and that if and when money becomes available for hires he will let the departments know.


Item 3. Proctoring

Szafran briefly discussed one department’s concern that students are cheating in their on-line courses.  This has been discussed at the Deans Council meetings and it was decided that departments who choose to use proctors for their on-line courses will have to pay for this service after this semester.  This procedure will also have to be clearly stated in the course syllabus and the departments will have to work closely with Extended University well before the semester begins.  Funds to cover this will have to come from the department’s distance learning fees or some other source.  Those interested should proctor randomly and collect data and if it supports that cheating is happening more in on-line than in live courses, the Deans Council will revisit this issue.  It was suggested that having to use departmental distance learning fees will take money away from course redevelopment to which Szafran responded that how departments spend their fees is a choice that they need to make.


Item 4. Advisor Goals

Our P&Ps state that faculty must advise and that the deans and chairs must evaluate faculty on advising.  The Deans will develop a list of minimum expectations for their faculty in the area of advising.  Departments may add to this list but not take any of them away.  Comments from the Council included:

  • How do we motivate students to seek advisors?  Address this in orientation courses or SPSU 1001.
  • Complaints from students that advisors are not available are not always a good indicator that the faculty member is not reasonably available – the student may have waited until the last minute to seek the advisor.
  • P&Ps don’t agree on where advising falls.  The Deans Council decided it will fall under “teaching” but the Faculty Senate can take up where to place it.
  • Students admitted without orientation – should we stop this practice?  We could lose 5-7% of new students which would ultimately result in loss of revenue and faculty.
  • No orientation may be part of the problem but the bigger issue may be our culture of advising for both students and faculty.  Need to find a way to create meaningful relationships.
  • IET has online orientation available for those students who cannot attend in person.
  • CSE places advising holds or alternate PINS to require students to meet with advisors.
  • Assess how well we’re doing on advising in a few years?  Perhaps SACS will look at this.
  • Using comment field in Banner to enter information about advising session is a great record for faculty and chairs.  Julie types in comments as she meets with students.
  • If this list of minimum expectations for faculty advising is approved, chairs will need to send it out to their faculty.  The Deans will send out the minimum expectations list to the departments to adopt or add to.
  • Szafran asked the Council if this is a reasonable start and the majority voted yes.


Item 5. Increasing Efficiency

Szafran talked about the attachment distributed by email that talked about:

  • Consolidating low enrollment courses
  • Space utilization issues
  • Need to become more efficient


  • What specifically are we talking about?  Departments must use the classrooms they are allocated and sometimes have to use large classrooms for small numbers of students.  Need another way to allocate classrooms globally.  AdAstra may be able to help with this but would require setting priority of courses and technology needs.
  • We’ve become too large to use the old system of having set classrooms assigned to departments.
  • Getting rid of low enrollment (consolidating) will free up space; we could also start classes at 7:00 AM or on Saturdays.
  • Poll of night students indicates that approximately 97% of them could take classes during the day.
  • Look at 8:00 AM, Fridays, and after 8:30 PM.
  • Turn this issue over to scheduling software.
  • Cannot fill 7:00 AM, 8:00 AM, or evening core classes.
  • Lab conflicts occur between departments; departments need to work together to schedule them at different times to avoid conflicts
  • In reviewing class sizes, Szafran stated that courses could perhaps be divided into three categories (referring to lectures only):
    • Classes that are small for a specific reason (25 or less) – composition or math classes
    • Classes that can’t be huge (for which we would determine a standard size)
    • Classes that can be very large (i.e., introductory chemistry or physics)
  • Don’t restrict lecture by lab size – create additional labs
  • Major issues are likely to happen this year because of an anticipated 5% increase in enrollment – can’t afford to hire significant numbers of additional faculty so we must look at ways to increase capacity without spending additional money.  This may be easy in some areas, harder in others.  Each department will have difficult decisions to make.
  • Use software but allow small changes
  • Pedagogical issues with large numbers of students as well as workload issues for faculty
  • Szafran agrees that some personal interaction may have to be sacrificed by offering larger classes.  Choices and decisions will have to be made based on disciplines, etc.  Some possibilities might include:
    • Use graduate assistants to help with large classes
    • Count large courses more toward faculty workload
    • Offer extra pay or some other incentive
  • Small class size is a big draw and distinguishes us from other institutions and is still emphasized in our Open Houses
  • Multiple labs per lecture are not always an option – departments will have to look at these closely and if critical limit the size and try to make up elsewhere.
  • If running multiple sections, can they be combined and what would be the cost/harm?
  • There are currently no incentives for chairs/deans.  Give them a target of credit hours to be generated and money
  • All Physics classes are double or triple sections with no extra compensation.  Give extra compensation to these faculty.  Zvi agrees something should be done.
  • Look for efficiencies and offer departments some incentives – all agreed
  • Recitations causing some scheduling problems for students
  • Look at pedagogy issues with large classes
  • Submit additional points to the deans


Item 6. Reducing Costs

Szafran suggested he has received suggestions that a great way to reduce costs campus wide could be by eliminating paper copies of syllabi, handouts, etc. and requiring they be posted in Vista, etc. instead, and asked for feedback.  Comments:

  • Wireless issues in classrooms prohibit pulling up Vista in class to see materials and until that is resolved we can’t take this forward
  • Network data and storage capacity issues – students may have to plan ahead and download in advance of class
  • Be careful requiring of freshmen – already have a lot to keep up with and by requiring them to get all materials on Vista may be too much.
  • Won’t work in some classes
  • How to move toward this without banning printing
  • Have this as our “philosophy” and encourage the use of technology
  • Szafran suggested if you hand it out, you should put it on Vista (or other website) and asked if this is reasonable.  All agreed.  The Council will let their faculty know about this.  He also agreed that money saved by cutting down on copying would be retained in the departments to use elsewhere.

Meeting adjourned at 4:30 P.M.