Minutes of the Academic Senate

Minutes of the Academic Senate

April 29, 2015

1. The meeting was called to order by Chairperson Valerie Burke at 1:00 p.m. on April 29, 2015. Roll was called and the following Senators were present: Chairperson Valerie Burke, Vice Chairperson Hisham Ahmed, Past Chairperson Keith Ogawa, Berna Aksu, Steve Cortright, Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo, Ronald Olowin, Chris Ray, Suzy Thomas, Aaron Sachs, and Parliamentarian Mark Lingwood.

Also present were: Vice Provost Richard Carp, Deborah Brumley, Zach Flanagin, Peter Freund, Elizabeth Hamm, Emily Hause, Jennifer Heung, Makiko Imamura, Helga Lénárt-Cheng, Dean Zhan Li, Claude Malary, Sue Marston, Barbara McGraw, Mary Kay Moskal, Maria Ruiz, Jim Sauerberg, Vice Provost Chris Sindt, Lori Spicer, Mindy Thomas, Ted Tsukahara, Dean Roy Wensley, Paul Zarnoth and Joe Zepeda.

2. Minutes of the April 8, 2015 meeting were approved as submitted.


3. Chairperson’s Report – Chair Burke introduced the Consent Agenda item from the Undergraduate Educational Policies Committee: Modern Languages Proposal – Lower Division Language Courses. The proposal changes the course from four hours per week to three hours per week plus a separate .25 credit practice course. The proposal was accepted on the Senate’s Consent Agenda.

Chair Burke reported on the Campus of Difference Workshops. In 2007/08 WASC was critical of increased incidences of incivility on campus. The Senate approved a resolution to create mandatory workshops to be attended by all students, staff and faculty; in order to create an inclusive community.

As a result, the Campus of Difference Workshops were developed, which are all day workshops. The Senate action recommended mandatory attendance every three years. Faculty are not complying. What message are we sending if we do not comply? Chair Burke met with Grete Stenersen to discuss a few ideas to encourage faculty attendance; scheduling the workshops when classes are not in session, tracking attendance and sending a personal reminder. The next session is scheduled for June 4; please sign up through Human Resources. The schedule for 2015-16 AY is 10/22/15, 12/11/15, 1/21/16, and 6/3/16.

Faculty Salary Policy - At the last meeting Ted Tsukahara presented the FWC annual salary report. This is also the third year of the review of the policy focusing on evaluation of the implementation. There are issues regarding the goal for scale as well as funding for hard-to-hire positions. The task force will meet with members of the Board of Trustees in May. She spoke with the President and asked him to make sure the Board understands what they have committed to and answer why they are not meeting it.

Student Well Being – The issue of student well being is much more problematic in the spring. Vice Provost Carp and Jane Camarillo have information about the resources available to students. Counseling services have been keeping track of the numbers of students using counseling services; they are planning on hiring new staff to better serve students. Faculty are reminded to use the Student Success Portal, accessible through GaelXpress, to report on students who may need help.

Vice Chair Ahmed asked for any updates on the Core Curriculum Committee chair position and the Faculty Handbook coordinator position. Chair Burke had no new information at this time.

Jim Sauerberg commented on Chair Burke’s report that the President will discuss with the Board why the salary policy goals are not being met. Is the College proposing to the Board an annual budget to fully implement the policy and the Board declines the budget request, or does the College not propose a budget that would fully implement the Faculty Salary Policy, and if so why? Chair Burke did not know the answer but will address the question through the task force.

4. Report on Faculty Elections – Vice Chair Ahmed reported that the faculty election process is underway. The final ballot is open until Thursday, April 30th at midnight. Please vote and encourage your colleagues as well. Following are the percentage of faculty that have voted by school:

SOLA - 46.9 SOLA

KSOE - 22.6% KSOE

SOS - 46.5%

SEBA - 24.6%

Contingent - 10.5%

TOTAL = 36.1% voter turnout

Vice Chair Ahmed announced the six positions already decided:

Grievance SEBA rep – Norm Bedford

Grievance KSOE rep - Laura Heid

GPSEPC Chair - Linda Herkenhoff

GPSEPC SOLA Rep - Rebecca Concepcion

Senator, SEBA - Tomas Gomez Arias

Parliamentarian Mark Lingwood

Vice Chair Ahmed announced Mindy Thomas as the next Vice Chair and expressed his deepest gratitude to her for accepting this position.

Important lessons that we can and should draw thus far from the election process. 1) we need to modernize the program, the current system is obsolete. 2) we need to make hard to fill positions more attractive to faculty.

Keith Ogawa commented on the process for selecting a candidate, that a candidate could be selected from just a few votes. Vice Chair Ahmed said it is an important question; it is important to secure the necessary measures should such a situation arise. Chair Burke reported that CoC discussed this question during 2013-2014, and decided even a small number of votes coupled with a willingness to serve was acceptable, but CoC may wish to revisit this.

Senator Cortright distributed a report to the Senators re: Section Actions S-13/14-46 and

S-13/14-48 and asked that the report be appended to the official minutes. The report from Senator Cortright is attached.


Once in each long semester the Academic Senate reserves time on the agenda for items coming from Department Chairs and Program Directors. The meeting on the April 29, 2015 was specified as the Spring semester for Chairs’ and Directors’ issues.

5. Advising of Transfer Students - Senator Cortright introduced the following Resolution from the Chairs and Directors:

"Whereas the faculty has the right and duty of undergraduate student advising at SMC,

"And whereas transfer students need particular care in choosing appropriate courses upon entering, so that they can complete their major course of study and core curriculum requirements in as efficient a manner as possible,

"Be it resolved that, henceforth, each incoming transfer student will be referred to the chair of the department of the student's chosen major, or to the chair's faculty delegate, who will (1) approve the student's initial SMC class schedule and (2) outline, in light of the student's transfer credit, a program of studies leading to timely graduation."


Peter Freund Jennifer Heung Bill Lee

Patrick Downey Kim Clark Ellen Rigsby

Steve Cortright Hisham Ahmed Tomas Gomez-Arias

Carol Beran (who also wants to add an Dana Lawton Chris Ray

assurance that this would happen for all Steve Miller

students, since many of our non-transfer Berna Aksu

students manage to register without speaking John Ely

to a faculty adviser, too) Maria Luisa Ruiz

A MOTION was made by Senator Cortright and SECONDED by Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo to accept the Resolution as written.

Senator Sachs expressed appreciation for the spirit of the resolution. He has many transfer students in his department and he is concerned that the resolution may add more work for the faculty. The college must address the inequality across departments re: advising.

Senator Cortright responded that as written, no student who would not otherwise find a way to a given department will, under this resolution, be added to the burden of a given department. Certain departments are over impacted by a burden of advising. He does not think this resolution would exacerbate that situation, nor would it remedy it.

Chair Burke asked if the student’s class schedule and in particular transfer credits will be developed by the transfer office. Senator Cortright answered that the resolution presumes the current procedures in the Registrar’s office will continue. When a student transfers in with a declared major, the Registrar’s office does a degree audit. That would continue. Chairs are aware that a great deal tends to slip through the cracks. The point is to cut down on special requests by bringing attention to the chair of the department involved as soon as they are admitted.

Vice Provost Carp said it is a welcome recommendation; it corresponds to the process of the Registrar and Admissions now being followed. The difficulty is the unavailability of chairs for the students when they need to register. Students receive transfer evaluation and assessment of courses needed. They should not receive a program of study; they should be sent directly to a chair. Much of this happens in January and July when chairs are not available. Senator Cortright inserted that the resolution has the words “Chair or Chair delegate” to accommodate this issue. Vice Provost Carp requested that the Senate record indicate that it is the Senate’s expectation of chairs pursuant to this action that chairs or their delegates will be available all of the time.

Barbara McGraw added that some schools/departments have program directors in this role. Senator Cortright explained that the word “chair” covers a multitude of words in various schools. It was decided by the Chairs group not to attempt to accommodate the many dialects.

Chair Burke added that the language does not say that a transfer student cannot register, it just states that the student, after meeting with the transfer office in the Registrar’s office, must meet with a faculty in the department in the near future. Vice Provost Carp responded that does not set up the most coherent experience for a transfer student, they need to connect with someone in the department.

Paul Zarnoth stated that the proposal may work for departments with a small number of transfers. If there are only three to five transfers in the summer a chair could schedule to meet with all of them. However, a large number would require the department members to be available all summer. He doesn’t see anything in the language about meeting the students.

Vice Provost Carp agreed that it is a real problem, most transfer students come into four departments: Communication, Kinesiology, Psychology and Business Administration. If the student’s don’t get the interaction with department faculty more issues will fall through the cracks.

Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo said the conversation ties in with what was spoken about at the last meeting, the chronic enrollment imbalances year after year.

Past Chair Ogawa commented that it seems that the chairs are becoming more of a leadership role. The contract should reflect an 11 month contract, not a 9 month contract.

Senator Sachs said the college needs to address the faculty sufficiency and workload balancing issues. The proposal seems to address a symptom. Perhaps we need to try to balance the number of majors students are being recruited into. If he just spends time with advisees he would not have time for research.

Chair Burke questioned whether the Senators want to try to address the symptom through the current changes or wait until we can face the larger issues? A roll call vote was taken as follows:

Hisham Ahmed Yes Ronald Olowin Yes

Keith Ogawa Abstain Chris Ray Yes

Berna Aksu Yes Suzy Thomas Yes

Steve Cortright Yes Aaron Sachs Abstain

Gretchen Lemke-Santangelo Yes Valerie Burke Abstain

The motion was approved by a vote of 7-0 with three abstentions.

Senator Cortright requested that a paragraph or two in the order of the questions being raised be added to the Senate’s report to the Provost. Senator Sachs agreed to write such a paragraph.

6. Faculty Handbook Revision; Department Chairs – The second issue brought to the Senate from the Chairs and Directors is a revision to Faculty Handbook section, Department Chairs. The purpose was to accurately describe the duties of the chairs, both undergraduate and graduate, and maintain sufficient detail. Senator Aksu introduced the following proposed FH language prepared by the subcommittee which included Berna Aksu, Steve Cortright, Zach Flanagin, Becky Proehl and Emily Hause.

The chairpersons of departments that are composed of undergraduate faculty Department Chairs are appointed by the Dean of the School for a three-year term, normally after consultation with at least the senior members (i.e., full professors and tenured members) of the department and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Academics. Department chairpersons Chairs may be reappointed by the Dean after confidential evaluations have been solicited from all members of the department and consultation has taken place with all senior department members and others whose opinions the Dean deems may be helpful. The terms of the department chairpersons should be staggered so that approximately one-third are considered for reappointment each year.

A Chair is a ranked faculty member, typically with tenure, chosen to provide collaborative leadership to academic departments by integrating their unit across the College, taking responsibility to ensure the integrity and quality of the SMC educational experience, and promoting productive and professional working relationships. The duties listed below reflect general areas shared by all department chairs. These duties are sometimes delegated to others, as appropriate.

Duties of a Department Chairperson, Undergraduate Department Chair

1.  Departmental Organization

a.  Organize instruction (course assignment, course scheduling) and develop instruction (new courses, teaching effectiveness) within the department for the academic year;

b.  Ensure that the College's policy on final examination scheduling is followed by faculty;