VP of Academic Affairs

» SPSU Home / Vice President Academic Affairs / Meeting Minutes / Deans Council

Deans Council

Deans Council Meeting


August 24, 2011


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

Members:  Bill Barnes, Dave Caudill, Tom Currin, Steve Hamrick, Ruston Hunt, Joyce Mills, Tom Nelson, Jeff Orr, Nikki Palamiotis, Jeffrey Ray, Han Reichgelt, Zvi Szafran

Members Absent:  

GuestsSylvia Carson


Item 1. Updates

Dr. Szafran updated the Council on the following:

  • Possibly more budget cuts to come in the near future
  • Conflict of Interest Policy – will forward information when received
  • Ethics Exam – information regarding this is showing up on Vista – all employees will have to take this again
  • New Programs – from the new Interim Senior Vice Chancellor four programs were approved then tabled.  An explanation was released today and will forward.
  • TCSG – Anthony Parker, President of Albany State, wants to market the articulation heavily (Sylvia Carson will call him) and doesn’t want to miss any window of opportunity.
  • Education Program – going well, two faculty have been hired already
  • ELI – selected participants have been notified; 12 applicants (6 faculty and 6 staff) only 2 slots were available
  • Benefits – costs are going up for next year
  • Graduate Enrollment – total enrollment for the fall is 727 which is a 3% increase.  New admits are flat per Nikki.
  • Undergraduate Enrollment – is at approximately 5,700 which is approximately 4-5% increase over last fall.
  • M.S. Civil Engineering – proposal is in the President’s Office for review.  Currin reported over 1,200 engineering students currently.
  • Establishing New Departments, Divisions, Schools – Dr. Rossbacher is reviewing the procedure for establishing these.
  • Donations – Kawasaki donated $4.5 million dollars worth of robots to the Division of Engineering establishing our largest donation ever.
  • CSE – approximately 1,320 students in their school which is a 20% increase
  • A&S – growth in Biology and ETCMA – approximately 10-20%


Item 2. Start-Up Issues

Szafran asked the Council for feedback on how the new academic year is going so far.  Comments from the Council:

  • CSE – minor issue with a Saturday section of SPSU 1001 for Architecture – approximately 10-12 non-architecture students were able to register for the course and thought it was actually being taught on Saturday.  This caused some confusion.
  • Nikki – make sure that the students you are registering for graduate courses are actually graduate students.
  • Chinese Students – student showed up without the minimum TOEFL requirement and we need to watch out for this in the future.  Rich Bennett is working on this.
  • Cohorts – Szafran will call a meeting soon to look at what went wrong, what worked, and any other issues that need improving.
  • Technology Issues - Vista problems, Website launch problems – lots of broken links, etc. that had to be fixed.
  • Course Listing Errors – a lot of problems with cross listing courses incorrectly
  • *Future Agenda Item – still have some departments/programs reserving classrooms with zero capacity just to hold the space in case they need it.  This is becoming a widespread problem and needs to be addressed.


Item 3. Faculty Workload

There are some issues this semester that need to be addressed:

  • Extra Compensation – Extra compensation requests will be held in the VPAA’s Office until Szafran is sure that the classes will make
  • WSFR 0400 – Web report for faculty workload – Szafran discovered it has some errors and has been corrected to show both faculty assigned to single courses, theses, etc.  Some faculty were still not assigned to the courses or labs they are teaching and this is being corrected.  By correcting these issues Szafran is able to determine if faculty are teaching the correct number of credit hours.  He reminded the Council that the standard workload for faculty is as follows:
    • Lecturer – 15 credit hours per semester
    • Standard Faculty – 12 credit hours per semester
    • Extended Release Faculty – 9 credit hours per semester

Other issues/reminders:

  • Courses with very low enrollment were not canceled
  • Chairs are not teaching their required loads
  • Some faculty under loaded  – those under loaded in the fall will have to make up the credits in the spring or summer
  • Chairs need to review these early
  • Proliferation of course releases going on – need to review these
  • What do we do to correct this and make loads more transparent?
  • Review low enrollment courses and see how often they are being taught
  • Chairs – workload is 12 - 15 credit hours per year (fall, spring, summer)
  • Program Directors – receive 1 course release time each fall and spring and $5,000 stipend for the summer
  • Program Coordinators (including graduate program coordinators) – receive 1 course release time per year.  Look at graduate coordinators – most are not around in the summer.
  • Need to review department chair job description

Deans will talk to their chairs and faculty about these issues and to tighten up/find ways to be more efficient while preserving the quality of education we provide.  It was suggested that Szafran institute efficiency policies fairly across the University.  Szafran responded that there has to be some flexibility as not all courses can be treated exactly the same way.  He also stated that he wants to hear ideas from all on how to increase efficiency.  Those faculty with large classes can get help from graduate assistants.  We should look at learning outcomes before and after, look at part-timers versus full-time faculty, and work toward a goal of 25-30% of credit hours being delivered by part-time faculty.


Item 4. New Faculty Positions

Szafran stated that we currently have no budget for new faculty for next year but this may change.  Not all retirees will be replaced automatically and there will be a need to review every position carefully and determine where the need really is.  He asked the Council to let him know as soon as possible those faculty leaving, retiring, not being reappointed, etc.  Szafran will set a deadline this year for having paperwork in for new faculty and those who don’t meet the deadline will forfeit new hires.

Traveling abroad – Some faculty are attending international conferences, many in their homeland, and that limits on covered travel abroad should be set and travel requests scrutinized.


  • Talk to chairs about workload for full-time faculty; set appropriate salaries for part-time faculty
  • Increase efficiency – submit ideas by Labor Day
  • Identify transitioning faculty
  • Traveling abroad – consider limiting international travel and carefully scrutinizing requests


Item 5. New Business

Becky Rutherfoord stated a need for clearer expectations for our professional advisors as she is hearing discrepancies from them about their duties/responsibilities.  Becky also stated that:

  • There shouldn’t be an expectation that all schools do exactly the same thing with their professional advisors but they shouldn’t be wildly different.
  • Advisors should be following the chain of command for complaints.
  • She is hearing from some faculty that they do not do advising.

All faculty are to do advising and should be evaluated on it. 

  • Advising should be addressed in the faculty members’ annual reports to their chairs. 
  • All students should have an assigned advisor in Banner and that it is possible to list both their professional advisor and their faculty advisor
  • Faculty can provide feedback about advising in Banner
  • We need to identify ways to measure advising effectiveness

Tom and Becky will work on a form to help evaluate advisors and for faculty expectations regarding advising, and update the P&Ps that reference advising.


Meeting adjourned at 4:20 P.M.