Minutes of the December Meeting of the
I. The meeting was called to order by
Senate President David Wyld at Senators
Prescott, and Ratcliff.
II. The minutes of the November meeting were unanimously approved with clarifications made in one section.
III. Invited Guest: Dr. John Crain, who spoke on several topics:
A. Liability Issues: Dr. Crain gave the senate a brief background of the issue of insurance coverage for students involved in non-compensatory out-of-state internships. The Office of Risk Management will not be responsible for insurance coverage for these students; therefore, the university thought it prudent not to send students on out-of-state internships unless they are compensated and therefore covered on the company’s insurance. This is a change in policy, since we do have a few campus programs that sent students out of state for internships. Though Crain appreciates the fact we should have access to as many internship sites as possible, the lack of insurance coverage is a potential risk to the student, faculty, and university. This decision is not an internal one but a reaction to the rule by the Office of Risk Management. Dr. Crain asked if any had questions.
1. Senator Gillan commented this decision will affect many of his students. He asked if students could acquire liability coverage on their own and still travel out of state or country on internships. In his department, some courses encourage students to go out of the country on internships as part of the course. Crain responded that some internships are in more high-risk environments than others. Perhaps private insurance coverage is something the university could investigate, though it would probably be fairly expensive for the student.
2. Senator Yeargain verified that even signing a letter releasing the university from liability would not help—anyone could sue the university for sending the student. Dr. Crain asked Sen. Gillan to get information on other universities who allow students to purchase their own liability insurance.
B. Crain then reviewed items discussed and adopted in the Academic Affairs Council (see handout). Discussion:
1. The issue of appeal and change of grade was prompted by the fact that presently, a timeline is in place for responses to a student’s appeal for grade change from the faculty member, department chair, and dean, but no timeline now exists for the student’s response. Thus, a student could delay a year and still continue to the next step in the appeal process. This change mandates a deadline for student response. Discussion:
a. Senator Ply commented that the 30-day limit might be too brief a period over the Christmas break. Crain responded that the senate could suggest retaining the present 45-day deadline.
b. Senator Neuerburg mentioned that the present wording states “or soon thereafter as practical,” so adjustments can be made. Crain agreed.
c. Wyld added that these suggested changes are going before the Senate and the Council of Department Heads for approval.
3. Crain reviewed the longer and more complex issue of Academic Dishonesty. The suggested change attempts to clarify which dean should be involved in the issue of academic dishonesty: the dean of the course involved or the dean of the student involved. Also addressed is the situation in which the student commits repeated acts of academic dishonesty in various classes—at some point, a more significant sanction should be imposed for repeated acts. This policy “cleans up” the process by which the Office of Judicial Affairs maintains a file on students found guilty. Also, in the old catalogue there is a reference to the Dean of Students, a position we no longer have. Discussion:
a. Senator Rossano mentioned that presently, if he has a student who plagiarizes, he gives him or her an F on the assignment; must he now file a report? Crain responded that faculty should file a report even with the present rules.
b. Sen. Holmes asked if students have a right to appeal with the present process. Crain said that, presently, the student can appeal to the department head and the dean.
c. Sen. Stewart asked if the faculty member can block a student’s graduation if he or she has been accused. Crain answered that if the student falls under the judicial process now in place, the sanction is imposed at the time of the incident. If the penalty is suspension, the student is suspended immediately. Stewart replied that she now has a student who is appealing accusations and should graduate in 10 days. Crain said since a faculty member cannot assign a grade until the appeal process is completed, the student must be held from graduating.
IV. Old Business
A. Online Elections: (Elections Committee) Sen. Corbello, who had not yet arrived, sent word that he has been working with Computing Services; at the January Senate meeting he will have specific changes to allow the election process for Senate to be held online, similar to the present SGA elections.
B. Textbook Rental: (Budget Committee) Sen. Carruth presented a resolution dealing with the suggestion for increase in student rental fees to accommodate a 2-year text selection cycle. Discussion:
1. In response to the comment that $15 should be enough of an increase, Sen. Yeargain clarified that the $25 increase brings the rental fee per course to $25, not an additional $25 increase. The resolution wording was changed to clarify that point.
2. The resolution was unanimously approved.
C. Academic Potpourri (Academics Committee) Sen. Ramsey presented several resolutions from his committee (handouts):
1. Transfer Credit: Sen. Higginbotham related that he called Enrollment Services and several there did not know of the rule that a student who fails a course at Southeastern must make up the course at Southeastern. After reviewing the resolution for senators, Higginbotham moved approval; Sen. Nelson seconded. Discussion:
a. Senators Ramsey and Boulahanis suggested friendly amendments to the wording of the resolution.
b. Sen. Ply moved to add a “Whereas” to the resolution stating that Southeastern has articulation agreements with other institutions. Higginbotham seconded. In response to the question of how many articulation agreements Southeastern has, Crain explained we have more of an overall articulation agreement; thus the words “with other institutions” was eliminated. Ply’s amendment was unanimously passed.
c. Sen. Blanchard moved to strike the present “Whereas”; Sen. Root seconded. Sen. Simoneaux agreed that the line does not serve a purpose but rather seems “mean-spirited.”
d. In a voice vote, the ayes carried the amendment to the resolution.
e. An unidentified senator questioned whether we should accept just any credits from any institution. Higginbotham replied that the rule would state that if we would accept the credit before a student failed the course at Southeastern, we would accept the credit after.
f. Sen. Gillan commented he understood the purpose of the resolution but wondered if it might affect a level of achievement we have set in a course—we’ve raised the bar, and this gives up an amount of academic control. He believes the situation once a student fails is different from before the student fails. Sen. Bostic mentioned that we do have controls of the schools from which we accept courses; this is to protect students who might just not get along with an instructor. She related a personal anecdote to illustrate.
g. Sen. Boulahanis added that an F at Southeastern should not change the quality of a course at another institution.
h. Ramsey said some courses are just difficult, whoever teaches it. A situation could exist in which one faculty member teaches a needed course; if there is some conflict that a student cannot control, the effect of the present policy is to drive that student to another university and not to come back.
i. The vote on the amended resolution was unanimous approval.
2. Students Following Multiple Catalogues: this issue will be deferred to the January meeting.
3. Ability to Drop Classes Online: Sen. Leonard moved the resolution; Nelson seconded. Discussion:
a. Sen. Nelson passed out a proposed procedure that will how how we could implement online drops in Peoplesoft. The procedure could feature built-in safeguards that would inform students about the consequences of withdrawal. These safeguards are not available in the present withdrawal procedure.
b. Sen. Wyld said we will discuss this issue more specifically at the January meeting.
c. Sen. Higginbotham commented that the online procedure will provide valuable statistics to the university. The present 4,500 withdrawals a semester is significant and results in lots of wasted seats. In this suggested procedure, each student has to “talk” to somebody, even if it is a computer.
d. Sen. Holmes mentioned that if he were a student, he would want something to come back verifying the procedure was done. Nelson responded that students register online now and can print their forms out; they could probably also print a receipt of a dropped class.
e. Sen. Noto asked if the procedure could be individualized, since in nursing students can only register for some courses twice. Nelson did not think that would be a problem.
f. Sen. Ramsey added the Academics Committee is considering another resolution limiting the number of withdrawals a student can have. He also offered a friendly amendment to the wording of the resolution.
g. The resolution was unanimously approved.
3. Rankings of Southeastern in National Surveys: Sen. Neuerburg presented the resolution, prompted by the fact that U.S. News and World Report recently ranked Southeastern in the bottom tier (4th) of all masters-granting institutions in the southern region. However, within this 4th tier, we rank fairly highly. If we could be ranked in the 3rd tier, we would be the only MA-granting public institution in the state in that tier. This would help us to attract faculty, better students, and resources. He moved approval of the resolution; Leonard seconded. Discussion:
a. Sen. Bancroft questioned the capping of student numbers in courses to 49. Neuerburg explained that it is an enrollment game: the journal rates schools that do not have courses over 50 students. If we can balance our student loads in courses to make them more even, we would improve in ranking.
b. Sen. Rossano asked why we would want a lower acceptance rate. Neuerburg responded that a lower acceptance rate implies many applications, again raising an institution’s rating.
c. Sen. Edwards thought that an important aspect of all this is to correct the problem of reporting accurate data. Neuerburg agreed: we were one of only 4 or 5 of 135 universities in our section that did not report requested data correctly.
d. Sen. Carruth queried whether the suggested lower acceptance rate would mean we would turn qualified students away. Neuerburg said no, but we should not feel we must accept every student who applies—they must meet out standards of admissions.
e. Sen. Ramsey moved to amend point #5 to recommend the administration should continue and bolster its screened admissions policy. Sen. Wyld agreed this, along with Neuerburg’s complete report, should clarify the issue. The wording of the resolution will be adjusted for the amendments.
f. The amendment was unanimously approved with one abstention.
g. Sen. Bancroft wondered if we should be manipulating statistics rather than improving the educational quality of Southeastern. Sen. Leonard responded that we are not manipulating statistics but simply giving the correct information.
h. Sen. Holmes asked whether the ranking process looks at our policy of admissions or just at our rate of acceptance. Neuerburg said it’s just the rate of acceptance. Holmes then asked, “So, do we care?” Sen. Simoneaux countered that we should care. Students who don’t know anything about us are looking for some type of information, and these reports give them easy, across-the-board comparisons.
i. Sen. Wyld added that not only international students but also the colleges with which we are trying to partner internationally look at these types of reports.
j. Sen. Boulahanis commented that reality is what people construe to be real. We do need to appear to be as good as we are.
k. Wyld wondered if there should be an annual reporting mechanism from Institutional Research to guarantee correct data. Ramsey responded that we do not know if Institutional Research is the source of the information sent to the journal.
l. Sen. Ply called the question. The resolution was passed unanimously.
D. Parking Potpourri (Facilities and Planning Committee) Sen. Gonzalez-Perez presented resolutions on several issues (handouts):
1. Parking Area Changes: unanimously approved.
2. Parking Down: Discussion:
a. Sen. Bancroft requested a “Further Resolved” addition to deal with the situation that, if a faculty member’s car also has a student decal, the faculty tag should take precedence. Presently, if the faculty member borrows a family member’s car with a student decal, the student decal takes precedence and the faculty member receives a ticket. Sen. Burns seconded.
b. Sen. Rossano requested we make these two separate issues so as not to destroy the purity of the present resolution, an issue the senate has long fought for. Bancroft withdrew his resolution.
c. The senate strongly and unanimously approved the resolution to allow faculty to park in student-designated places.
3. Alumni Parking Tags: Discussion:
a. Sen. Ply was not aware that graduate students were getting these tags; she thought it was alumni children who were abusing the tags. Wyld mentioned that every graduate receives a free alumni sticker at graduation; after that, they must pay their alumni dues to continue to receive stickers. At least we should specify those with these free stickers should not have the freedom to park anywhere.
b. Sen. Corbello moved we allow alumni to park only in student lots. Ply seconded. The amendment to the resolution was approved with one nay vote.
c. The amended resolution was unanimously approved.
4. Handicapped Parking: discussion:
a. Sen. Mitchell suggested a change in the first “Whereas” to “Whereas handicapped places are limited.” We really cannot visibly confirm whether students are worthy of handicapped tags or not.
b. Sen. Bonnette mentioned he was on crutches and couldn’t be issued a handicapped tag until he had gone to the state office and acquired one, so it appears the university police do not have much control over this. Sen. Root offered that this issue came up during her senate presidency—the university must follow the state rules. If anyone shows a state handicapped tag, he or she must be issued a university handicapped tag. Dr. Crain added that the university has very little control if a student has a state-issued tag.
c. Sen. Titard asked if state police have to give a student a handicapped tag for a year if their condition is only temporary? Wyld mentioned that the third “Be it therefore resolved” is to give campus security an idea of the number of handicapped tags issued for space considerations.
d. The resolution, with the friendly amendment, was passed with one nay vote.
5. Carpooling: unanimously passed.
6. Speeding on
a. Sen. Ply commented that, to slow down traffic, past committees have recommended installing a 4-way stop at Tennessee and SGA Drive (which is really a 3-way stop but cars exiting the student parking lot should be considered, also). She moved that action be recommended. Gonzalez-Perez seconded.
b. Sen. Bonnette received comments from faculty that speed bumps are problematic.
c. Sen. Ramsey reminded that we are discussing stop signs first. We don’t need the stop signs constantly, but just during class time; however, we can’t make them temporary.
d. The 4-way stop amendment was approved unanimously.
e. The original resolution was discussed. Sen. Gillan thought there were also other areas on campus where speeding is a problem. The overall thought, though, was that introducing other areas would slow down this particular resolution.
f. Sen. Ramsey said he has a personal problem with taking a smooth road and putting bumps on it.
g. The resolution was passed with a majority of ayes and one abstention.
V. New Business
A. Sen. Ply moved to amend the agenda to add Dr. Crain’s two academic issues to New Business, then to send the issues to the Academic Committee. The motion was approved.
B. Sabbatical Leave Policy: Sen. Neuerburg moved to send this issue to the Faculty Welfare Committee; Rossano seconded. The motion was approved unanimously.
C. On-Campus Daycare: Sen. Simoneaux moved to send this issue to the Facilities and Planning Committee. Unanimously approved.
D. Sen. Ramsey requested that the issue of limited withdrawals be placed under New Business at the January meeting.
A. There was no SGA Report.
B. BOS/FAC Report: Louise Bostic reported that the meeting was set for the next day, Dec. 4; however, she sent the minutes before these minutes went out, so they are included at the end of the attachment section, including two letters from congressmen in response to our concern with the Patriot Act.
C. Sen. Wyld announced that it was Senator Holmes’s last senate meeting, since he is retiring after this semester. Though Holmes had to leave earlier, Wyld expressed our appreciation for Holmes’s years of dedicated service in the Faculty Senate.
D. Wyld also
announced that the Spring Football Game has been scheduled for
VII. The meeting adjourned at Next meeting: