Southeastern Louisiana University Faculty Senate

Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, November 3, 2004

Alumni Center

 

I.                    Senate President David Wyld called the meeting to order at 3:02 p.m. in the Alumni Center. Membership Secretary Mary Sue Ply called roll. Senators absent were: Ahn, Armenta, Blanchard, Burns, Depoy, Diez, Hite, Jeansonne, Johansen, Kirylo, Root, Saeki, Schulte, Valentino, and Vidrine.

II.                 Minutes from the October 6, 2004 meeting were unanimously approved.

III.               Dr. Wyld introduced two invited guests to the meeting: President Randy Moffett to report results of the testing office audits, and Dr. Bea Baldwin to provide an update on SACS.

A.     Dr. Moffett told senators that approximately eighteen months ago he made a presentation to our Board of Supervisors resulting from internal audits of Southeastern’s testing office conducted with the assistance and cooperation of the Legislative Auditor’s office in Baton Rouge.

1.      The first audit focused on GED testing that validates high school credentials. This audit resulted in findings of certain misappropriation of funds. After this audit, the director of testing resigned.

2.      With the cooperation of the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s office and at the recommendation of Dr. Paul Riggs, interim director of the Testing Office, a second internal audit was conducted that dealt with the procedures and testing/credit functions of the office of testing including PRAXIS, GRE, LSAT, departmental and other examinations.

a.       After several months of examining records spanning a twenty-year period, this second audit revealed concerns about the CLEP exams. These concerns were reported to the Board, along with the discovery of additional misappropriation of funds and inappropriate use of state equipment, materials, and supplies. It was further determined that twelve students over a period of several years had been given unsubstantiated credits, the legitimacy of which could not be validated by our Records and Registration office or by ETS. Of those twelve students, six had been awarded college degrees from our University.

b.      The Board then directed that the investigation continue so as (1) to clarify and make recommendations pursuant to the unsubstantiated credits and (2) to deal with the misappropriation or improper utilization of university equipment.

c.       Southeastern turned over information to the District Attorney’s office and to the State Legislative Auditor’s office. After examinations of the legalities pertaining to fraud and other matters, the DA decided not to pursue criminal charges.

d.      In the meantime, Southeastern (having received several favorable judgments in federal court) continued to work with the students who had received unsubstantiated credits.

3.      Six months ago, Southeastern entered into a civil suit against the former director of testing who had resigned during the first audit. As a result of the civil suit, Southeastern was able to conduct formal depositions of others that provided cross validation that some credits had been obtained inappropriately and had resulted in the awarding of several degrees without students having the proper credit.

4.      Southeastern has worked over the past months with several attorneys and has been involved in several court cases, arriving at the following outcomes:

a.       Of the original twelve students that received unsubstantiated credits, five students have surrendered those credits.

b.      Additionally, two students have surrendered their degrees admitting that they were obtained inappropriately.

c.       Throughout the process, Southeastern Louisiana University has given all of the involved students appropriate notification and an opportunity to present their sides. A faculty panel was recently convened to afford those students who had not yet presented evidence on their own behalf the opportunity to do such. None of the students chose to attend. Therefore, the administration has now recommended to the faculty panel via attorney that the credit and degrees be revoked from students who failed to appear and, further, that they be ineligible to return to this university. Dr. Moffett said that the administration is currently awaiting final recommendations from the panel.

d.      President Moffett noted that a number of the parties involved had cooperated and either made or are in the process of making financial restitution to the University.

5.      Throughout this important process, Dr. Moffett noted valuable lessons were learned. Southeastern has now implemented additional checks and balances, new controls have been put into place, and the administration has dealt with the issues of those credits and degrees granted in an inappropriate manner.

6.      Dr. Moffett thanked a number of campus employees who have worked diligently throughout this two-year process to be fair and to secure the return of credits or degrees inappropriately obtained.

7.      Dr. Wyld commended Dr. Moffett, Dr. Crain, and the Controller’s Office and Auditing staff who have worked on this matter. He then opened the floor for discussion.

a.       Senator Mirando asked what we are doing to make sure this problem does not happen again?

b.      Dr. Moffett said that procedures are now in place that require additional documentation and double and triple checks. More signatures are now required from different parties, and there are better procedures for collecting and recording fees.

c.       Senator White said that she had read about some of this matter before, but had not heard of the misappropriation of credits.

d.      Dr. Moffett said he was disseminating the information to the University community.

e.       Dr. Wyld thanked Dr. Moffett for the report and for his work in the matter.

B.     Dr. Wyld then introduced Dr. Bea Baldwin, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, to provide an update on SACS. There are two parts to the SACS reaffirmation process: Compliance Certification and Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP).

1.      We have now finished the Compliance Certification report, which involved addressing twelve core requirements and 53 standards that dealt with such issues as the institution and its relationship to its the management board, standards on governance’s effectiveness, educational programs, faculty, library, facilities and resources, and student affairs. The university also had to show compliance with federal regulations that govern higher education. The Compliance Certification team found Southeastern to be in compliance with all of the available standards and presented copious documentation of such. The in-house team includes Dr. Mike Kurtz, Dean, Graduate School; Dan McCarthy, representing Department Heads; Steve Soutullo; Frank Pergolizzi, Director, Athletics; Stephen Smith, Vice President for Administration and Finance; Dr. David Wyld, for Faculty sections; Dr. Joseph Miller on the university’s relationships with Development Foundation and Alumni; Dr. Mike Budden, areas relating to Deans; Dr. Hunter Alessi, Chair of Committee for Institutional Effectiveness; Dr. Brad O’Hara, Student Affairs issues; and Dr. Eric Johnson from the Library. Eight outside reviewers from institutions in the Southeastern United States were assigned to look at individual pieces (based on individual expertise) of our Compliance Report. They will meet in Atlanta, November 8 through 10, to determine whether we are in compliance, not in compliance, or not able to determine for all core requirements and standards. We should have verbal feedback within two weeks afterwards. The documentation and report in its entirety may be viewed at:

http://www.selu.edu/sacs/

2.      With regard to the Quality Enhancement Plan, Dr. Baldwin said that a preliminary report was given from the QEP team at the Provost’s Summit on September 28. The QEP report is due in Atlanta on January 10th. Another Provost Summit will be held to review action plans and QEP report. The final report will be approximately 75 pages long and, once finalized, will be posted electronically. An onsite visit of seven reviewers is scheduled for the week of March 14, with two of the seven looking at nothing but the Quality Enhancement Plan. After we receive their report, we will have the opportunity to respond if needed.

3.      We will not know the status of reaffirmation until the December 2005 conference where it will be announced.

a.       Senator Faust asked why they were not giving a written report for the off-site compliance.

b.      Dr. Baldwin said that perhaps it was because things were still tentative, and reviewers would be working exclusively from a written report and the documentation.

c.       Dr. Wyld asked how we fared compared to our sister institutions in Louisiana.

d.      Dr. Baldwin said Tech was the only institution going through the project on the same timeline; and added her belief that we are in really good shape.

e.       Dr. Wyld thanked Dr. Baldwin and her staff, and particularly Cheryl Breaux for all of their work.

IV.              Old Business:

A.     Dr. Wyld recognized Judy Coxe, Chair of the Constitutional and Bylaws Committee.

1.      Senator Cox asked whether the Senate wanted the Constitutional and Bylaws Committee to proceed with a review the Bylaws and requested a motion. Senator Ply so moved and Senator Bonnette seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. Senator Coxe said that the committee would report any needed changes back to the Senate.

2.      Senator Coxe then presented the following resolution to the Senate:

WHEREAS the College of Basic Studies has been changed to the College of General Studies and;

WHEREAS budget is not spelled budge;

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the Constitution and Bylaws Committee requests that the Faculty Senate approve changing the College of Basic Studies to the College of General Studies throughout the bylaws, and that on page 8:14 of the bylaws, under A.2.of the Budget Committee, the word budge be changed to budget.

This motion to approve the resolution was seconded by Senator Bonnette and approved unanimously.

3.      Senator Coxe said there were other changes besides editorial changes that were needed in the Bylaws and Senator Lewallen asked for Senate approval that additional procedural changes were warranted and wanted. Senator Coxe requested that each senate committee meet to look at the scope of their committee work as currently outlined in the Bylaws, to discuss these tasks, to see what changes (if any) were necessary to update the document. She asked that suggestions ‘to let stand’ or ‘suggested changes’ be emailed to her at jcoxe@selu.edu. Senator Coxe suggested that committee meetings occur before December meeting. President Wyld suggested that committees meet by the January meeting, if not by the December meeting, and make recommendations. Senator Wyld added that the officers would do the same concerning their roles, as their duties had likewise changed over the course of time.

4.      Senator Ramsey asked for protocol clarification regarding observations that senators might have about the Constitution/Bylaws not related specifically to their committees. Senator Coxe said those comments should be forwarded to her as well.

B.     Senator Wyld recognized Senator Ramsey, Chair of the Academic Committee, for purposes of discussing student responsibility in relationship to the narrative portion of the SOTS. Senator Ramsey turned the floor over to Senator Mark. Following up on Senator Ply’s proposal at the last meeting, Senator Mark presented the following resolution for the Senate’s consideration:

WHEREAS the Narrative Response Form of the Student Opinion of Teaching survey is reviewed only by the faculty member leading the course in question, and

WHEREAS the current version of this instrument includes questions regarding issues over which the faculty member has little or no control, and

WHEREAS the purpose of the Narrative Response Form would be better served if questions were phrased to elicit constructive and useful comments from students:

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED THAT the Faculty Senate recommend that the Narrative Response Form of the Student Opinion of Teaching be rewritten to address the above concerns. Questions should be directed toward students’ learning, including suggestions for enabling students to take responsibility for their own academic success.

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Senate recommend the following free-response prompts for inclusion in the Narrative Form:

·                    The instructor’s main strengths are . . .

·                    I could have improved my learning in this course by . . .

·                    My learning in this course would have improved if the instructor had . . .

1.      After a lengthy and lively discussion about needed and/or potential edits to the proposed prompts, a majority of attending senators, by show of hands, voted not to include prompts on the Narrative Response Form related to student reflection/assessment of their own strengths and weaknesses.

2.      Senator Ply said that a major purpose for her initial request for a resolution was to provide students with a sense of responsibility for their own learning, and such would necessitate self-assessment and self-reflection. She then moved to withdraw the resolution. Senator Bonnette seconded the motion. The motion to withdraw was passed.

3.      Dr. Wyld said that any other proposed changes related to the SOT narrative forms would need to be introduced as new business at the meeting or at some point in the future.

C.  Senator Nelson, Chair of the Faculty Welfare Committee, reported back on parking issues raised at the last meeting. He said that he could make an appointment with Chief Merrick to talk about enforcement. Parking down does not seem to be a solution and no one has emailed him about problems except for Senator Ply. Senator Wyld said that he too has not received any further emails detailing problems with parking, but was open to additional input. The issue will remain open for another month to see if some specific issues come to light. He added that some added enforcement has taken place in wake of the Senate’s input.

V.                 New Business:

A.     Dr. Crain presented the Senate with a modification recommendation for our academic honors policy that would allow those students who were sometimes prevented from participating in academic honors when completing a practicum or ungraded course the opportunity to receive academic semester honors in certain circumstances. Mr. Soutullo added that semester hours earned had sometimes also been an issue in summer (see Addendum A).

1.      Senator Li asked how students received recognition for having earned academic honors. Dr. Crain said that they received a letter and their names were posted on our website.

2.      Senator Yeargain moved that the draft be sent to Academic Committee. Senator Simoneaux seconded the motion. The senators voted unanimously to send the issue to the Academic Committee.

B.     Dr. Wyld suggested and said that it had been recommended to him that the process for applying for internal grants through the Center for Faculty Excellence could be streamlined. Senator Wyld drew agreement when he stated that, in some instances, faculty were putting in more than a $500 effort (in time costs) in order to obtain a $500 grant to support their teaching and research programs. He asked for a motion to send the issue to the Faculty Welfare Committee for purposes of making friendly suggestions regarding the quantity of required documentation and the process for submitting materials—perhaps seeing if the entire process could be done online. Senator Titard (proxy) so moved. Senator Ramsey seconded. The senate voted to send it to the Faculty Welfare Committee.

C.     Senator Simoneaux noted that the library had recently had difficulty in attracting large applicant pools for available positions. She believed that more and better-qualified candidates might be identified if the quantity of initial application materials required were lessened.

1.      Dr. Wyld said that, in terms of the initial screening, Southeastern sometimes had hurdles that perhaps other institutions did not.

2.      Senator Simoneaux said she had researched requirements from around the state and felt that, although each discipline had different needs, we needed to make the initial application process easier whenever possible. She also cited the impact that such hurdles might have on our minority faculty recruitment efforts.

3.      Senator Wyld added that the Chronicle of Higher Education makes it possible for schools and applicants to move their entire application process online. In the wake of such competition, Southeastern’s standards seem especially out of step.

4.      Senator Yeargain moved to send the issue to committee. Senator King seconded. The Senate voted to send the issue to the Professional Rights and Responsibility Committee.

VI.              Announcements:

A.     Senator Ply announced that the Provost has appointed a committee to study withdrawal rates on campus. This committee is chaired by Steve Soutullo and has representatives from the various colleges as well as two faculty senators (herself and David Wyld). She said that they would report back as more information becomes available. She encouraged the senators to forward any suggestions or comments on the withdrawal issue.

B.     Dr. Crain announced that, while smoking areas have been designated, sufficient signage is still not available on campus. He said that, while it is taking a long time to get appropriate signs in place, they are in process. The University is going to have new, larger signs to clarify smoking and non-smoking areas, along with more receptacles and seating areas to encourage smokers to use designated areas. A number of senators asked about enforcement. Dr. Crain responded that, while the policy is still a voluntary one, faculty should feel it is within their rights to politely point out the proper areas for smokers to use.

C.     Senator Wyld asked how many people had recently received a bill from the University. A number of senators had received bills, including Senator Yeargain who said that he had received a mystery bill for $11. Dr. Crain said that the university recently switched Accounts Receivable to PeopleSoft, which handles these accounts differently from the old software. Over the last couple of years, the Controller’s Office has discovered potentially unpaid bills and items not billed properly. In an effort to clear up the matter, they recently sent out a large number of outstanding bills only to discover that there had been a number of bills sent in error. Therefore, there is an ongoing analysis of the bills and appropriate follow up correspondence will be issued to those who have received bills.

D.     FAC Representative Bostic presented a report on recent FAC and BOS/BOR meetings (see Addendum B). In addition to the report filed below, she told senators that when the Board of Supervisors recently met on the Southeastern campus, eight members of the council attended and all gave her unsolicited comments on the positive impression that Southeastern’s campus and Dr. Moffett had made on them. Representative Bostic added that she has been in contact with a group representing schools in our 1-AA athletic division, who are interested in having a Southeastern representative in their organization. She has given information on this to Senate President Wyld, who will work with the Executive Committee to look into this possibility.

E.      Senator Stahr provided the SGA report. SGA is going to vote on adding a student senator for the Honors College. She noted that SGA has grant money to spend on campus. She encouraged any senators interested in attending SGA meetings on Monday at 5 p.m. to contact her or Senator Hite.

F.      The meeting was adjourned at 4:40 p.m. The next meeting is scheduled for December 1, 2004.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Jayetta Slawson

Recording Secretary

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ADDENDUM A

 

 

                                                                                                                     9/30/04

 

DRAFT           DRAFT           DRAFT           DRAFT           DRAFT           DRAFT

 

(CURRENT ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA)

Semester Honors. At the end of each semester, academic semester honors will be issued to all undergraduate students who earn 12 or more semester hours with a grade of A, B, or C with a semester grade point average of 3.000 or better. Students who receive grades of D, F, U, or I in the given semester are not eligible for the honors.  Effective Summer 2003, the semester grade point averages for academic honors before graduation at all universities in the University of Louisiana System are as follows:

a.       President’s List       3.500 – 4.000

b.      Dean’s List 3.200 – 3.499

c.       Honor Roll 3.000 – 3.199

 

 

 

 

(PROPOSED ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA)

Semester Honors. At the end of each semester, academic semester honors will be issued to all full-time undergraduate students who earn 12 or more semester hours in the Fall or Spring (6 or more in the Summer)  with grades of A, B, or C and a semester grade point average of 3.000 or better. Students who receive grades of D, F, U, or I in the given semester are not eligible for the honors.  When an "I" grade is changed to a regular grade, students may qualify for honors at that time.  Students who are enrolled in fewer than 12 hours in the Fall or Spring (6 hours in the Summer) but are classified as full-time students may also qualify for semester honors if they meet the remaining criteria.  (See definition of full-time students.)

 

Students whose full-time enrollment includes a course or courses in which a grade of P is earned (excluding developmental courses) may also receive semester honors under the following conditions:

 

The semester grade point averages (or cumulative for students with P grades) for academic honors before graduation at all universities in the University of Louisiana System are as follows:

a.       President’s List       3.500 – 4.000

b.      Dean’s List 3.200 – 3.499

c.       Honor Roll 3.000 – 3.199

 

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ADDENDUM B

 

 

To: Faculty Senate

From: Louise Bostic, FAC  representative

Re: Report of October 28, 29, 2004  FAC and BOS/BOR meetings

 

The FAC met at 3:30 in the Cate Building, Hammond, with seven

representatives present, UL-Lafayette, LaTech, Southeastern, Grambling,

Northwestern, McNeese and  UL Monroe. Four items were brought before the

committee as concerns:

 

1. The Council of Presidents' Master Plan for Retention and Completion: The

Faculty Advisory Council  representing the seven campuses above continued

to express concerns regarding the emphasis on retention/recruitment which

were brought before the group in the last meeting. The chairman had

prepared a written summary of the concerns as he had understood them from

the last meeting. It was agreed that the committee should have time to

address the concerns as written, add to the list if necessary and would be

prepared to discuss and help compose a resolution at the December meeting

if the committee felt a resolution were needed . Some members of the

committee felt a memo or resolution at this point might seem

confrontational and could be counterproductive. The three-page summary

which Dr Bruder had prepared was "long" in more ways than the physical

single-spaced, ten paragraphs. I personally felt that the busy individuals

on the BOS (If they read past the first two paragraphs) might find the

document verbose or pretentious or even offensive and condescending. The

entire committee agreed to review the chair's document and give input in

writing at the next meeting.

 

2. As funding is more heavily based on enrollment figures and Screened

Enrollment is being mandated, concern that enrollment will decrease and

funding at the same time was expressed. Would this not affect each campus

negatively by less appropriation as a result of our compliance with BOS

requirements. Sort of "Do what we demand and we will punish you with less

monies for operation." This was generally the concern. Southeastern's

representative pointed out that the enrollment there has remained the same

or slightly higher with the implementation of the higher standards for

entrance. The could be attributed to higher retention rates and the

attraction of more traditional college prepared freshmen. The Lafayette

representative argued that Southeastern's growth and continued higher

enrollment should be attributed to two decades of population and industrial

wave "crest" in the New Orleans and northshore area and that that SLU is

bound to feel the trouph soon. The Grambling representative asked what

exactly are the Screened Enrollment parameters on the campuses represented.

Most campuses have implemented a 2.5 GPA high school in the college prep

curriculum and/or a 20 ACT with other exceptions. LA Tech with highest

retention/graduation rate in the state has higher entrance requirements as

well as 22 ACT.

 

3. The UL Monroe representative asked if our Faculty Senates have been

approached by the Coalition of Academics and Athletics to join their

membership. He explained that this is a grassroots organization formed by

faculty senates to council with NCAA to assure academic standards among

athletes consistent with other students on the same university campus. No

one else in the meeting had heard of the organization. The Monroe

representative recommends support of the organization through membership

and credits some of the reporting and public improvements academically to

the efforts of this organization.

 

4. The question of public prayer at university functions (also from UL

Monroe) was addressed by the committee by simply bringing those present up

to date as to the current procedure at graduation, athletic events, and

other public occasions on each campus. This varied from having moments of

reflection (silent) moments of reflection (orations) omission of ministers

from formal or official participation in public events to nothing

philosophical or inspirational included. Later, at the BOS meeting, the

meeting was opened with all standing "for a word of prayer led by board

member..."

 

BOS Report: 

Three items of particular interest to Southeastern was on Friday's agenda.

 

1. Southeastern's request for approval to offer options, as opposed to

concentrations, within the undergraduate Kinesiology program and to change

the current degree in Kinesiology from a Bachelor of Arts to a Bachelor of

Science, was granted.

 

2. Southeastern's proposed MS of Applied Science in sociology has been

reviewed in its current stage, changes have been suggested and action has

been scheduled tentatively for the December meeting of the BOR. Acceptance

or Rejection was not implied.

 

3. Two personnel actions were relevant: Dr. Kay Kirkpatrick was appointed

Vice President of administration and general council to the President of

the BOS. Dr. Charlie Teemer was appointed to the Board of Supervisors.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Louise Bostic

FAC representative