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March 22, 2011

FACULTY SENATE MINUTES #11

March 22, 2011

The eleventh meeting of the Faculty Senate 2010-2011 was called to order by Chair David Miller on Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 1:15 PM in the Hall of Fame Room, Park Center.

SENATORS AND MEMBERS PRESENT:  D. Miller, T. Phillips, R. Vigars, R. Grantham,  D. West, W. Miller, D. Berger, R. Kendrick, J. Ouellette, O. White, R. Borden, K. Pristash, E. McCabe, T. Slack, J. Walkuski, E. Owens, P. Schroeder, J. Campanaro, W. Michael, E. Bitterbaum, M. Prus, G. Sharer, A. Fitz-Gibbon, S. Anderson, G. Clarke

SENATORS AND MEMBERS ABSENT:  D. Driscoll, J. Alemzadeh, I. Vincent, S. Rayl, S. Wilson, B. Buxton, K. Hempson, J. Peluso, M. Chandler, J. Hendrick, A. M. Rossi, R. Franco, W. Shaut, K. Stearns, A. Thomas, R. Spitzer, M. Connell

GUESTS PRESENT:  H. Wilson

I.  APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES:  The Minutes from March 1, 2011 were approved.

II. SENATE ACTIONS:   

There was a vote for a roll call vote on the “Resolution in Support of a Rational Fiscal Plan for SUNY Executive Committee of the University Faculty Senate” (Not Approved)

There was a vote to endorse the “Resolution in Support of a Rational Fiscal Plan for SUNY Executive Committee of the University Faculty Senate.”  (Approved)

III. VICE CHAIR:  T. Phillips – No report.

IV. TREASURER’S REPORT  R. Grantham – The Treasurer encouraged everyone to continue sending in their dues.

V. SECRETARY’S REPORT:  T. Vigars –  No report.

VI.  PRESIDENT’S REPORT:   The President gave a brief report.

VII.  STANDING COMMITTEE REPORTS:

Student Affairs Committee  - M. Connell, Chair – No report (absent)

Academic Faculty Affairs Committee  – A. Fitz-Gibbon, Chair – No report.

Long-Range Planning Committee – No report

Educational Policy Committee –  R. Spitzer, Chair – No report (absent)

Professional Affairs Committee  – G. Clarke, Chair – No report.

 VIII. OTHER COMMITTEE REPORTS:

 

Committee on Committees – T. Vigars read the report from the Committee on Committees.

College Research Committee  – P. Ducey, Chair – No report.

General Education Committee – A. Thomas, Chair – O. White reported that the GE Committee is drafting a proposal to revise the timeline of GE assessment in different areas which will eventually go through the

Committee on Committees.

IX. AREA SENATOR’S REPORTS:  E. Owens reported on an upcoming function regarding the budget. D. Berger reported on a parking matter.

X. SUNY SENATOR’S REPORT – J. Hendrick – No report.

XI. STUDENT SENATOR’S REPORTS:  The students gave a brief report.

XII. OLD BUSINESS:  The recommendation from the Academic Faculty Affairs Committee “That each department be explicably clear in its personnel policies how often CTE’s should be administered and whether or not and in what ways they will be used evaluatively to consider personnel matters” was discussed and endorsed.

XIII. NEW BUSINESS:

Chair Miller introduced emergency new business regarding the “Resolution in Support of a Rational Fiscal Plan for SUNY” from the Executive Committee of the University Faculty Senate” which was discussed and endorsed.

Respectfully Submitted,

Barbara Kissel

Recording Secretary

The following reports are appended to the minutes in the order they were submitted:

(1)    Committee on Committee’s report submitted by J. Barry, Chair

(2)   Recommendations from the Academic Faculty Affairs Committee regarding CTE’s

(3)   The SUNY University Faculty Senate Executive Committee’s Statement and Resolution on the Proposed New York State Executive Budget

APPENDIX 1

                                    Committee on Committees – Report to the Faculty Senate

                                                                        March 22, 2011

Item #1

The Committee on Committees conducted an election for the consultative search committee for Director of Field Experiences and School Partnerships.  The results are:

*Tim Davis (102)

*Amy Anderson-Harr (94)

*Andrea Lachance (91)

*Linda Foster (86)

Karen Seibert (80)

Cindy Benton (74)

Michelle Gonzalez (1 write-in)

Renee Potter (1 write-in)

Thomas Spanbauer (1 write-in)

*denotes elected

There were 165 ballots cast out of 496 eligible voters (34%)

Item #2

A call for nominations will be issued this week for Faculty Senate officers, committees and senator vacancies beginning Fall 2011. 

Respectfully submitted,

Joanne Barry

Chair

                                                  APPENDIX 2

          Recommendation from the Academic Faculty Affairs Committee

                                         Regarding the use of CTE’s

                                     submitted by A. Fitzgibbon, Chair

III. CTE Component of the Teaching Evaluation System

I. General Recommendations

1.1 All faculty and administrators should be evaluated on a regular basis. Part of the evaluation of faculty should be the regular systematic collection of information from colleagues and students as the basis for judgments about their teaching effectiveness. …

1.2 The teaching evaluation system will consist of two components: (a) the administration of a Course Teacher Evaluation (CTE) form, and (b) materials and information submitted by the teacher. Note: If a teacher does not wish to use a CTE form, an alternate procedure of visitation is possible.

1.3 Teachers will be evaluated, at a minimum, at least once every third time they teach a particular course. Departments will be responsible for establishing a time schedule for evaluating teaching. (Under exceptional circumstances, the recommended time schedule may be inappropriate. In such cases the department in question should submit to the Teaching Effectiveness Committee for approval an alternative in keeping with the principle of regular, systematic, longitudinal evaluation of faculty.)

3.4 The detailed procedures for collection of CTE data will be determined by each department, approved by the "Committee on Teaching Effectiveness,"…

The AFAC was asked to look at the issue of whether CTEs should be used for evaluative purposes or are rather for the use only of the instructor.

We discussed this at length and talked to a variety of people on campus. Among faculty of long-standing there was no consensus or clarity about the “original intent” of CTEs. In any event, to establish “original intent” is problematic as institutional cultures evolve. Newer faculty members seem to assume that CTEs are required and that they are used for evaluative purposes.

Paragraph 3.4 from the Handbook suggests that it is the prerogative of each department to establish the use of CTEs. We assume that “procedures” includes both the way data is collected and the purpose and uses of the data so collected. In other words, in a department personnel policy it can say how often CTEs should be administered (in compliance with the Handbook) and whether CTEs will be used to assess faculty teaching effectiveness.

CTEs remain the property of the faculty member. As only the faculty member concerned may place information in a portfolio, she/he could choose to omit CTEs, though this may be problematic. A department PC, chair or sub-school PC in the event of omission of CTEs could conclude that there was insufficient data to evaluate a candidate’s teaching ability. Presumably, this would be inadvisable for someone seeking renewal of contract or promotion. However, a candidate may elect to include evidence of teaching ability other than, or in the absence of, CTEs, though this is rarely seen in personnel matters.

Recommendation: That each department be explicitly clear in its personnel policies how often CTEs should be administered and whether or not and in what ways they will be used evaluatively to consider personnel matters.

                                                                APPENDIX 3 

                                        The SUNY University Faculty Senate Executive Committee’s

                     Statement and Resolution on the Proposed New York State Executive Budget

                                                              Submitted by D. Miller, Chair

On Tuesday, February 1, 2011, Governor Cuomo released his Fiscal Year 2011-2012 budget, in which he recognized the pressing need for New York State to change the way it conducts its fiscal business.  For the first time in many years, the Governor submitted a budget that actually cut total spending, rather than merely lowering the rate of growth.  

The State’s public universities (SUNY and CUNY), like other state agencies, received a 10% cut to their operating budgets.  If this were the first reduction in state support for its public universities, it would not be unwarranted, especially given the looming $10 billion deficit facing the state.  But, it is not.  This reduction is the fourth in as many years, leaving SUNY with a billion dollars less (well over 30% of state support) with which to run its core operations.  

This budget proposal continues recent cuts in state support for community colleges, the gateway to higher education for so many of New York working citizens, and further eliminates all state support for SUNY’s teaching hospitals.  The loss of $130 million in public support to the hospitals, which is in addition to the 10% to the SUNY operating budget, will significantly reduce their ability to serve patients in their respective regions, who are often the poorest in the area.  Additionally, these cuts will quickly result in the loss of thousands of jobs.

Despite the current dire state of public finances, reductions of this magnitude are not wise policy.  Unlike all other state agencies, public universities constitute investments in our collective future, and as such are as important as continuing investments in infrastructure.  The public university system educates people from all walks of life, enriching their lives and, because better educated citizens earn more, and hence pay more taxes, they enrich the state's coffers.  In this way, the public earns compound interest on its investment in higher education, a claim that can be made by no other public investment.

Yet, there is a remedy for these cuts, a remedy first endorsed by the University Faculty Senate almost a decade ago, and now embraced by the SUNY Student Assembly as well as CUNY (CUNY Compact): it’s called a rational fiscal policy for public higher education In New York.  Such a policy must have three components: 1. The state’s commitment to maintaining its support for public higher education at predictable levels, levels sufficient to cover the core mandatory costs; 2.  An aggressive campaign by the universities to generate new streams of income (such as government grants and contracts, foundation and alumni gifts); and 3.  Mandatory, and moderate, annual tuition increases.

When combined with the Governor’s recognition that the universities need regulatory relief in order to operate more efficiently, this policy can create the resources necessary for our campuses across the state to continue to serve well the three quarters of a million students who are currently enrolled in CUNY and SUNY and the millions more who will be seeking a post-secondary education on our campuses in the decade ahead.

Without some restoration of public funds in this budget year, especially for the hospitals, and a five-year plan of modest tuition increases, students on some campuses will soon find fewer options available to them, both in terms of programs (a number of campuses have already announced the discontinuance of programs) and the number of sections offered.   Between Fall 2009 and Fall 2010, SUNY lost approximately 2700 course sections, which translates into many thousands of seats that were unavailable to students.   And more will be lost again by Fall 2011.

With fewer resources – over a billion dollars in state support lost without tuition increases – the public universities have often been forced to replace retiring full-time staff, both professional and teaching, with part-time employees.  In some cases, they have increased class sizes and in others have recommended the elimination of academic programs.  Balanced budgets have been replaced by structural deficits on almost every SUNY campus, and without budget relief this year, these deficits can only be addressed by further reductions in staff and programs.  This will translate into fewer opportunities for students, including in some cases the opportunity to graduate on time.

SUNY and CUNY must do their part to address both the short-term fiscal problems and the long-term possibilities by working ever more efficiently to examine closely how each dollar is spent, at the same time safeguarding those expenses essential to the continued delivery of educational opportunity to students.   And, they must also aggressively pursue every possible means for increasing funding from external sources, whether through public-private partnerships consistent with their educational missions and respectful of traditional personnel patterns or through grants and gifts.  

But, the state must also do its part, through regulatory relief, a firm commitment to maintenance of effort and a responsible long-term tuition policy. 

A responsible fiscal policy for higher education asks students to do their part as well, by funding a bit more of their educations each year through modest tuition increases.  Make no mistake; we need the increase now, beginning this fall.  Modest annual tuition increases would provide the means needed to deliver educational services and would eliminate the need for the sudden, large increases that have so often come without warning in the past. 

This is precisely what the Chancellor promised with a tuition policy that is “fair, predictable and responsible.”  And it is what CUNY has pledged through its support of the CUNY Compact.   And finally, it is what the SUNY Student Assembly has supported in each of the past two years, and it is what the University Faculty Senate has supported for a decade.

As taxpayers, we appreciate the Governor’s pledge not to raise taxes, since any increased burden could complicate an already difficult economic situation for many families.  Yet, we note that to continue the modest (2%) additional burden currently levied against incomes that exceed $250,000 hardly constitutes a “burden.”  Nor would its continuation for another year be a “new” tax.

Finally, we share the Governor’s judgment that tuition is not a tax.  It isn’t.  If anything, it constitutes a fee for services.  But it is more; tuition represents the investments that students, their families and the public make in the future.  The community college system, which came late to New York State, was modeled on such a funding plan, with the state paying a share, localities paying a share and the students themselves paying a share – each share representing an investment in increasing the human capital necessary for productive and fruitful lives. 

Today, we believe that the failure to invest in our collective future through a system that funds public higher education rationally may seem wise to some, but it is really being penny-wise and pound-foolish.  Education pays dividends, both monetary benefits to the individuals who attain it and countless others to the larger community, through the accumulation of knowledge, skills, and understanding that are required for full participation in the economic, social and cultural life of the 21st century.  SUNY committed itself decades ago when it adopted the motto, “to learn, to search, to serve,” a commitment it renewed last year through its strategic planning process.   New York’s public universities are poised to meet the complex educational needs of its citizens, but to succeed, they need much more reliable funding, and, they need it now. 

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF A RATIONAL FISCAL PLAN FOR SUNY 

                     Executive Committee of the University Faculty Senate

                                                       March, 2011

WHEREAS, the mission of the State University of New York is to educate students and, in so doing, to support the economy and culture of New York State, and

WHEREAS, SUNY’s tuition is only $4,970 per year, the lowest for public universities in the region and among the lowest in the nation; and

WHEREAS, SUNY tuition raises have been historically unpredictable, with 13 raises over the last 48 years ranging from 7% to 43%; and

WHEREAS, SUNY, the largest comprehensive university system in the United State, has the potential to create unprecedented opportunities for current and future college students and their families, for businesses and industries, for educational, social, and cultural agencies, and for the workforce of the State of New York; and

WHEREAS, SUNY campuses need fiscal stability to realize this potential; and

WHEREAS, a five-year tuition plan that is fair, predictable and responsible for students and that keeps all tuition revenues at SUNY campuses will provide current and future students and their families the ability to plan adequately; and

WHEREAS, a Rational Fiscal Plan for public institutions of higher education would entail a commitment by New York State to cover the mandatory operational costs, and to maintain that support in the future;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the SUNY University Faculty Senate Executive Committee strongly supports the State University’s proposal for the enactment of a five-year rational tuition plan,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the maintenance of effort by the state throughout any given year is an essential element of a rational fiscal plan,

AND, BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the SUNY University Faculty Senate Executive Committee commends this proposal to the Governor and the State Legislature in the hope that it will be enacted quickly and signed into law.