FA/Adm Meet and Confer
February 22, 2001
Faculty Association: Judy Foster, David Mork, Andrew Larkin, Kathleen Maloney, Theresia Fisher, Judith Kilborn, Terry Peterson, Ravi Kalia, Jayantha Herath Sunshine Shaney, Note taker
Administration: Roy Saigo, Suzie Williams, Lin Holder, Ali Malekzadeh, John Burgeson
Jackie Zieglmeier, Notetaker
FA: I would like to acknowledge Suzie’s announcement of her retirement and thank her for her contribution to SCSU and wish her the best. I would also like to put out a reminder of our phantom ten-minute time limit.
TASK FORCE TO DEVELOP A PROPOSAL ON PROCEDURES TO REDUCE GRIEVANCES, DISRESPECT AND TO INCREASE COLLEGIALITY, SYNERGIZE TEAM SPIRIT AND WORKING FOR UNIVERSITY AND STUDENTS
Adm: We are putting forth a task force to develop procedures to help reduce grievances and conflicts. It may be a time to look at other universities and how they address these problems. Is there a better way for us to do this? I’d like to have your thoughts on that.
FA: Certainly all ways that we have to address the many challenges that this represents are welcome. I have a little concern about the current request for mediation that is being worked on. Hearing how you react to this and considering ways we can work on this will certainly help.
Adm: A lot of planning, assessment and involvement of FAC apparently has to take place. If we have a procedure in place that can assist communication hopefully we can do that. I wonder if there is something in the system that causes more friction than resolution.
FA: I think it is a good idea to have a task force but we would like a proposal of some kind of systemic analysis of how our organization works. I think we have people who are trained in this and it would be an opportunity to tap those resources.
Adm: I think there is expertise across the campus but some may not be full share members of the union. I think we should look at those with expertise who are full-share members.
FA: If you could give us a specific proposal we will take it to the Senate and consider it.
Adm: I certainly can bring you a draft if you would like.
FA: First of all we are going to be replacing item no. four “New initiatives funding” with “Assessment of Prior learning draft policy and procedures”
FA: With regard to the AAC, basically I was informed that the issues I wanted to bring were not appropriate for the mission of the committee and it was not appropriate for me to attend.
Adm: I have sent Laurel your letter and I will get back to you on that.
Adm: I have seen some of your concerns with the search process and it parallels some of our concerns so next time we have a meeting we would be more than happy to invite you to attend. We do think there are some places we could improve in the search process.
Adm: We have a copy of a letter regarding the student complaint process. What the letter brought to mind was that there is certainly every intention that the faculty and students rights be protected. I think that every faculty member has a right to know if a complaint has been made but the policy itself is silent. Students approaching a faculty member for a complaint can occur in many ways and step one has occurred. Right now there is no way for a professor to know that a complaint has been made. I would encourage you to take a look at the complaint policy and make any suggestions you may have. If we said in the policy that a copy of the written complaint would be given to the professor then the student would be aware of the consequences of the complaint
Adm: We might want to look at our policy on discrimination. There it says that the person being complained against should receive a written copy of the nature of the complaint, not the complaint itself. Maybe some language to that affect is needed here.
FA: I agree that the faculty should receive a copy of the complaint. This has not been the practice in the past.
Adm: There is an enormous power issue that exists between a professor and a student; that professor may retaliate against a student for making a complaint. It’s a delicate balance between whether or not a student truly believes that they can use the policy and it will work for them and whether professors should be informed of the complaint. I think we really should take a look at how to protect both sides’ rights.
FA: In anticipation of your request to review this we already have a subcommittee duly appointed to research this and bring a recommendation
FA: I think it is important that we consider the various sizes of departments. I think perhaps our interpretation would be different from yours. In my department we have gone outside of our department for mediation. The student specifically requested an outside mediation and that no members of the department be present. I think it may be difficult to have an all-inclusive policy to include every situation. To assist the individuals who have been fortunate enough to be charged with the responsibility to research this. Would it be possible to ask the Dean’s to send a copy of their departmental procedures?
Adm: We can do it but it may be better for you to ask yourself. If you don’t want to I can ask them.
CONTRACT DISTRIBUTION AND ORIENTATIONS
FA: I’m going to put number three with it since they go together. Both of these are local concerns and are IFO concerns. We are looking at some continuity on it. In some instances we have been informed that fixed terms do not get the contract other times we have been informed that they do. In our department the fixed terms have a copy of their contract.
Adm: My response at this point is we’ll have to look into it. I’m not sure when faculty are provided with a copy of their contract. I know we are obligated to provide them. They get them before orientation is done.
FA: That led into orientation. In some departments the person is never informed that they have the right to professional development funds and has no idea that they had any access to those monies.
Adm: All full time fixed term individuals are invited to orientation. We would be glad to discuss what we cover at orientation. If there are things you want covered with the adjunct or anything else we have not covered we would be glad to cover those. There is a suggestion of an ongoing orientation at least through the first year If you let us know the kinds of things you want incorporated we will consider it.
FA: First thing I want to say is in my notes I am going to refer to contract as “bargaining agreement.” The Faculty Senate passed the motion and our concern is that someone put together a new University seal and they put language that doesn’t make sense in Latin. It looks like Latin, but it’s not. The faculty would prefer that it be put in English. I’m going to refer you to a sentence on the memo…”To use ‘Excellentia et oppportunitas’ is in fact to show disregard for history and for cultural difference. SCSU would be publicizing ignorance of foreign languages altogether, as though we assumed that any foreign words that sound roughly like English must mean what the English words mean.”
Adm: We’ll take this into consideration.
FA: I’m following up on concerns that have been shared with me. There have been a number of concerns such as meeting board impeachment requirements. I would like to ask some questions about these in-specific points. There is an issue broadly about how does assessment of prior learning differ from credit by examination? They seem to be very much the same. Well which one is credit by examination and which is assessment of prior learning?
Adm: I agree with you but we have a policy that I think has been stretched over time. It seems to me that the policy is designed to say that if students believe they have enough background they could challenge a course to pass the course without actually taking the course. They would then take a comprehensive exam that will determine if the student must take the class.
FA: If there is a comprehensive exam then it works. If a student says that they have enough background but if there is no exam then the student cannot get credit by examination.
Adm: In that case the professor may have to design something equivalent to a comprehensive final and the student should get credit for the course if he or she passes. I think the exams should not focus on the student’s prior knowledge but on their existing knowledge. It looks like an exam policy that includes exams. But that should not be the only way to examine a students existing knowledge. If we recognize that there is a variety of ways a student may demonstrate knowledge it would allow for a broader way for faculty to decide how to examine the students. I think we need both policies.
FA: If there is a comprehensive exam, can the student request to be tested? How is it going to show up on the transcripts?
Adm: It is still the same on the transcriptions.
FA: With assessment of prior learning there is also concern about can this be applied to areas where there is not a comprehensive exam?
Adm: We discussed that in our office. Part of it is that we have seen some practices that have stretched credibility a little. I have seen a transcript with credit of Firefighter I, II, III and IV even though we don’t have any expertise in that field on this campus. We want to make it specific to a course. We have a course description and if a student is assessed on prior knowledge according to that description.
FA: There is an array of disciplines in which we have said we are committing ourselves to teach. We may have configured our courses differently in a way that particular topics and areas are grouped in this course or this course. What the student wants to do is demonstrate their knowledge of pieces of this course and pieces of that course. They want to demonstrate their knowledge in pieces and not be responsible for the remainder of the course that we have in our bulletin.
Adm: We go through an entire process before we agree on the amount of credit per course. How would we go about deciding the amount of credit due for part of the course?
FA: That’s what we are asking; How do we respond when a student asks permission for this?
Adm: When a student asks for transfers of credits that don’t match our curriculum. We offer them as university electives.
FA: If they have been working on the east coast in saltwater ecology we have people who know that area but we don’t have any courses in it. Putting it down as a topics course would that be possible?
Adm: Broadly saying we are going to award whatever credit for whatever course is too broad. We arrive back to linking these to our curriculum. If you can come up with a way to do this we are open to your suggestions.
FA: It has been brought to my attention that there is a person who deals with nontraditional policies who may have some solutions to offer. There is a piece of this that is relating to the Board of Teaching. Do we have mechanisms in place for students to demonstrate any and all competencies specified in the board of regulations? There is a real challenge in recognizing that, because all of a student’s competency may not be captured in a particular course. Moreover there is in the draft policy that a student may earn a maximum of 16 credits from assessment of prior learning. We are concerned that students could demonstrate all competencies for all courses through credit by examination.
Adm: We are certifying that we say that this person has a level of knowledge and skill that is appropriate to that field. We have always placed some limits on how much credit can be earned by credit by examination or other non-classroom instruction. If 16 is not the right number fine, but we need to figure out a specified number for classroom instruction hours in order to be able to certify that they have the proper amount of knowledge.
FA: I think we need to specify only a certain number of the extra 30 credits may be earned by non-classroom kinds of evaluations. The people who I have been talking to are not opposed to having a minimum number they are concerned about who gets to deliver the bad news.
Adm: I think a recommendation from faculty would be appropriate.
FA: I think these are the major questions and concerns that I had annotated after speaking to people in my department and my colleges.
FA: We’ll also be distributing this to the senate and asking them to take it to their departments. I’m concerned about the University getting into the business of rewarding credits rather than teaching the students. I think it is becoming an issue that the students will be considering how fast can I get my diploma rather than how much can I learn.
FA: It may be a good idea to come up with a list of our concerns and considerations for the Administration to take a look at it.
Adm: We would also like any recommendations you may have on how to deal with this.
FA: Given some of the challenges about credits and experiencing courses in fairly direct means what might be the administration’s willingness to help to encourage the Board of Teaching to consider accepting assessments of prior experience related to the Board of Teaching rules without the University’s giving its stamp of approval collectively and letting the Board of Teaching to make the decision to certify a person.
Adm: I think if someone working in that area came to us with some ideas on how to do that we would certainly consider that.
FA: The Board of Teaching situation is a situation where the Board of Teaching is making a decision to evaluate previous experience.
FA: Individuals from out of state or who have lapsed licenses in Minnesota are instructed by both that they will not exam in any fashion and that the individual must go to a higher institution. In some cases we have their transcripts but don’t have any direct knowledge of their prior experience and those become our representatives without stamp of approval.
FA: This was brought to Faculty Senate. There was a concern about the department chair “approving” and the feeling was that this was not in accordance with department policy. The recommendation of the Senate was that this form be revised to say the department chair “acknowledges” instead of “approves.”
Adm: My understanding is that department chairs recommend personnel actions so would it be appropriate for us to change that.
FA: A chair is in a position to recognize it but not recommend it. Some of us may recall that the personnel actions that the department’s chair is involved with are not the instance that is connected to the disconnection of individuals from the institution.
FA: First I want to point out a little history. In the late 80’s we had a problem with a form like this one. The chairs were writing some remarks on a proposal. At that time the president said please remove the approval for the chair form all forms. I would suggest that under department chair or supervisor the supervisor must be removed and approved or not approved must be removed.
Adm: It is certainly not clear in the contract and it is appropriate for the recommendation form the department be made through the chair.
FA: I think the key word from our perspective is the department recommendation. This suggests the department’s chairs recommendation. I think according to what the Administration read that is what we would see as the department recommendation.
Adm: Maybe at this time with this discussion we need to come back to you with our reaction to a revision.
FA: Our practice is that the chair can have a separate recommendation than the department but the chairperson has no rule on deciding on retiring and resignation. It is the dean who plays the role of recommendations for these issues. Is there a concern that people approaching retirement should anticipate needing approval of retirement rather than they are retiring?
FA: Under Article 25, Section B, sub-section 2 in that case we do have a recommendation coming from the chair
Adm: We will take your comments under advisement.
FA: We have completed our official agenda items so with your permission I can provide you with some information items we discussed prior to coming in here. We would like to have a time frame for written ballots for the Academic VP search. We will have faculty names for you by March 7. There is also an issue of the resignation for the fall director of the British Studies program. We would ask the international studies to put out a call for a replacement.
Adm: I am concerned about that because students will be registering soon and we need to know the curriculum so if you would fast track that it would be helpful.
FA: We will most definitely try to do that.
Adm: We are all acutely aware of the strict timeline for finding a replacement for the fall Alnwich director. It is a short period of time until the fall registration book comes out.
Adm: MnSCU this year had three awards they were giving for outstanding performance and St. Cloud walked away with two of those awards.