Final Approved 12-13-07
Meet and Confer Notes
November 15, 2007
Administrators: President Potter, Provost Spitzer, Steve Ludwig, Kristi Tornquist, Mitchell Rubinstein, Wanda Overland, John Burgeson, Rex Veeder, Nancy Jessee, Patty Dyslin (notetaker)
Faculty: Judy Kilborn, Balsy Kasi, John Palmer, JoAnn Gasparino, Fred Hill, Bill Judson, Michael Connaughton, Frances Kayona, Annette Schoenberger, Mike Tripp, Dave Warne
Approval of Minutes: 11/1/2007 – Approved
1. Announce, Discuss, and Bulletin Boards (FA-09-07-2006)
· Policy for E-mail as a Means of Communication for Employees, St. Cloud State University
FA: Senate hasn’t actually done anything with that document that you gave us last time. They looked at it, and we had a discussion, but they just didn’t come to any conclusions. I’d like to point out, though, that we did pass a motion that says that except for confidential materials, the Office of Academic Affairs and the Office of the President may communicate with Faculty individually, or in groups, or as a whole by e-mail. We’d like you to know that and remember that. I don’t think we’ve had any response on that motion.
AD: Is a response expected?
FA: I don’t know.
AD: It just says you can use e-mail.
FA: Right. We’re not sure we need anything more than that. If we do, we’d like to know why.
AD: I guess the question is: we’re just sharing a document that I think is consistent with that motion.
FA: One of the issues in the document and part of the discussion was that it makes a statement about e-mail essentially being official, that people have to read their e-mail in some sort of timely fashion. I don’t know what happens to you folks, but we have a master’s program, and there are weeks when I get e-mailed six or eight master’s theses as attachments, which fills my mailbox up, and then I can’t get any e-mail at all. If I’m supposed to read e-mail and am required to read e-mail that comes officially, there can’t be any artificial limit on the amount of memory. If I have a wooden mailbox that fills up, the secretary will get a bag and start putting things in it for me. But that doesn’t happen with e-mail, so there are these operational problems with the electronic e-mail that doesn’t exist with the other kind. The other problem; I was on a state-wide committee, and the chair of that committee would send out the documents at 8:30 a.m. when the meeting started at 10:00 a.m. I was already on the road, and there was no way that would get that material. The difficulty here is that there doesn’t seem to be anything in that. Once you start using the word “official,” then you have to guarantee that people have….
AD: I do believe that we removed the word “official.”
FA: It’s in there in the statements about… you have to read the document.
AD: I think there’s an expectation there that people will read their e-mail in a timely way and if you can’t …
FA: If you can’t or if you’re traveling – if you have someone who’s…
AD: Just add: insofar as possible.
FA: The discussion hasn’t finished. We’ve just started. It was short and lively. One of the words that came up fairly often was the word “quota.” There was a concern that if people hit their quota they wouldn’t get things they’re required to read, and then that would be a problem. We’ll come back to this. We don’t have an official response except for our earlier motion, which we’re seeing as our position until Senate tells us differently.
AD: Does the system tell you when your mailbox is getting close to being full?
FA: Not close. It’s when we’re full.
FA: It will give a percentage. The issue comes with – it seems to me that if you have a week that things are going in quickly into your account…. Literally, I can narrate a situation of when I was down at the IFO this fall not teaching, fortunately, because I would have been having to worry about students sending me papers I was literally worried that I was going to get locked out of my e-mail because I was getting all kinds of attachments from MnSCU. I knew that you have to go in and literally delete them. I didn’t know who was going to be sending me things, and you never know when you’re teaching when you’re going to get big documents from students. I guess the quota is – you’re right, you get a percentage. If you pay attention to that, like some of us do very religiously, you can maybe manage it, but not always. We’ll just do more conversation. Faculty need more conversation about this and we’ll come back with specific responses.
AD: There is a process for having the limit on your e-mail increased as well.
FA: I know. I’ve done it multiple times – we won’t talk about the size of my account. The technology folks are very fast in increasing peoples’ quotas, but I think also that a lot of people don’t know that can happen. We’ll come back to this next time and hopefully have a response for you.
· Article 22 Taskforce (FA – 2/1/2007)
FA: We have 6 people named to the Article 22 Taskforce, and it hasn’t begun its work yet.
AD: I think the first meeting has been scheduled.
Notetaker: I have the invite out.
FA: Oh… I need to point something out about that.
Notetaker: And I have to reschedule because I did get a call from Dr. Tademe this morning….
FA: A lot of the Faculty do not have their entire schedules on that Outlook.
FA: I think what happened is that we had a conversation during our meeting on the Academic Plan that then prompted some instruction about getting a meeting set up. I don’t know how the mechanics of the offer of a meeting on a Wednesday morning at 8:00 a.m. happened in your office, but I’m not on Outlook. I can’t speak for Annette.
FA: I think I may be the only one except the Provost on that. I don’t think any of the faculty on that committee use it.
AD: I believe I requested that the meeting be set up last week. Patty was out for several days and didn’t get to do that. As soon as we can get the meeting scheduled, we will meet.
FA: I think that time is a problem for at least one member of the committee.
Notetaker: Yes. I did speak with Dr. Tademe this morning.
FA: It’s really important that we get this moving. I’ve had inquiries recently about what we’re doing in terms of PDPs and PDRs for next year. Who knows? Right? We don’t have a calendar yet. We don’t have this discussion started. It’s a really important discussion for everybody involved. Thank you for taking care of getting that moving forward. I’m assuming we’re taking that off the agenda until we’re ready to have a progress report or the committee is ready to bring something back.
· Return to Title Four (AD - 8/30/2007)
FA: A few Meet and Confers ago, we had a brief report of what the ad hoc group was working on. I’ve checked with the Academic Affairs committee, who is bringing forward those two policies to the next Senate, which happens right after Thanksgiving. That’s where we are with that.
· Report on the Budget (AD – 10/18/2007)
FA: Michael, you indicated that you’ve got an updated version of the Regulatory Affairs…
AD: I have a revision of the budget for the Regulatory Affairs Master’s Program that I can distribute. I had given John and Judy copies the other day. Since then, it’s been modified to make some corrections. There are also some adjustments that have to get made to the second budget that I gave you for the Higher Ed Ed. D. and we’ll present that at the next Meet and Confer more formally, but I’ll give you a copy in advance of that after we’ve had a chance to do some reviews. There are some changes that need to be made.
FA: General comment: we know that a number of enrollees in the Ed.D. are IFO members because they’ve contacted us talking about the result of the arbitration on tuition waiver. Are you factoring that into the economics here?
FA: We’re told that the arbitrator’s likely to render an opinion in December…
FA: Mid December.
FA: and depending on the number of students here that are IFO members, if the arbitrator rules as we expect they’re going to rule, that the waiver applies, that’s certainly going to have an effect on this revenue amount.
AD: That’s true. I’m trying to remember having met the first class of students that started the semester. I know there were several MSUAASF members, but I don’t remember how many, if any, were registered in those classes.
FA: There are two Aviation Faculty who are part of the cohort.
FA: I suppose that’s ¼ of the number.
AD: Two out of fourteen?
FA: The reports that we’re getting is that the number is declining – that people are dropping out.
FA: It’s at about nine now.
AD: Is it?
FA: We are concerned that the number… we thought that last spring, the program was only going to be launched if there was sufficient enrollment, that is, the enrollment targets were met.
AD: The approval of the program came relatively late, and therefore the capacity to recruit students into that program was abbreviated moreso than was anticipated. Students who did want to start the program, from my understanding, indicated that they really wanted to get started right away. I know Mankato was in a somewhat similar situation with their program. They started their doctoral program with a total of four students who originally signed up for their first classes. We thought we were in pretty good shape. We thought there would be about 15, and that was a decent number. If the number has dropped, I don’t know. I haven’t heard that.
FA: We are concerned about meeting the budget that was projected to turn positive. Obviously, the longer we are negative, the harder it will be to turn positive and then have funds available to invest in other programmatic areas. We’ll look forward to seeing the new numbers.
AD: I’ll just mention one thing about how the budget was presented in the proposal and the differences between that and what we have here. The budget was predicated on an annual system. In the original budget, they thought about fall, spring and summer. But summer is really in the next fiscal year. Therefore the numbers are going to be different than they were originally projected in the proposal. We’ll make some modifications to this and bring it back to you next time.
FA: You mentioned the Mankato program. I spoke to the Faculty there. The one difference is that their university is providing funds for their program, so they weren’t expected to use tuition revenue to support and sustain the program. That is a fundamental difference. They could start with any number because they’re not worried about tuition sustaining that program.
FA: I have a question. I know that some of what might impact numbers on that is not having accreditation. How soft are these numbers that are projected for next year? Are you assuming a continuation of part of this cohort into the numbers for FY ’09?
FA: Okay. You’re assuming the numbers are going to go up based on our receiving accreditation?
AD: We’ll begin another group.
FA: When will that group begin?
AD: In the fall, I believe.
FA: Okay. So the summer projected enrollment is of current students?
FA: Not a new cohort?
FA: Okay. That helps clarify. Did we want to review the Regulatory Affairs budget, and did you want to talk about changes that you want us to notice in this?
AD: Originally, I had some fees included in the numbers.
AD: Because the program doesn’t benefit from the fees, there’s no reason to have the fees in there, so I took the fees out because they would have been in the revenue and also in the expenses. It was a wash, so I left them out. That was the primary difference between these two.
FA: There are a number of other things that we had asked for at prior Meet and Confers. I visited with Steve, and he and I are going to get together on exactly what those things are and when we might be able to see those reports.
FA: Do we have any questions about the Regulatory Affairs information?
FA: I can make the observation that it’s a lot nicer to see a positive number at the bottom than a negative. Have we actually started the program?
FA: So we have the students…
AD: Fourteen students are currently enrolled.
FA: Who’s in charge of the program? Is there a director?
AD: A lot of it is being organized through the Dean’s office. Ben Baliga is working on it to some degree and Bruce Jacobson as well.
AD: Just a note: this varies somewhat from the original budget. There’s somewhat less enrollment, and there’s also some reduction in expenses to reflect that and keep it in balance. The budget is a projection, and you have to work as you go. These are long-term expectations rather than just a single term. We make our best estimates, and in this case, there were some changes.
FA: What department or departments are offering that degree?
AD: It’s offered through a center that was established for it.
FA: Do you actually have 29 students registered?
FA: So we actually only have a net revenue if we have 29 students which would mean we’re going to double the enrollment by spring.
AD: They’re expecting to enroll another group of students for the spring.
FA: Another 14?
AD: Another 15.
FA: So the 29 assumes that all the students we have this fall stay for spring.
AD: Correct. This program got started even later than the Ed.D. because of when it was approved.
FA: Would you talk briefly about the differences between this year and next year in terms of staffing and how it’s reflected in the budget?
AD: The faculty for this program, at least for this first year and into part of next year, will be primarily Adjunct Faculty who are working professionals in the discipline. For the second year, assuming the budget works the way we see it, there will be a Faculty member hired as a program director, and that person will organize those activities that are being now done by the three people I mentioned earlier. A secretary will be hired to work with the program as well, assuming that the enrollment numbers are what we’re projecting them to be here.
FA: So that Faculty person would literally be a center director?
AD: The Faculty person who would be housed in the center – that sounds reasonable. Yes.
FA: Okay. Thank you for the clarification. Any other questions regarding this?
· Joint Letter (3/30/2006) from bargaining units and presidential response (5/8/2006) concerning Recommendations for Search Committee Procedures (FA – 10/18/2007)
FA: I simply wanted to make two comments about that. I think that the joint letter that came from the bargaining unit was a gesture of joint concern about timely notification when searches were coming up. Part of what we’re requesting wasn’t really contractual in the same sense that this letter discusses. As you know, we’ve complained in the past, as whiners, that we don’t often get enough advanced notice for search committees. The other bargaining units were concerned about getting enough notice for meetings. That was a part that wasn’t addressed here. We just wanted to point that out, and it would be useful for everybody involved. If you heard that request as a collegial request about schedules and being able to participate in the process that is contractual, we’re fine with that, and we’re glad to take this off.
AD: We’ve been working to provide as early notification as we can in the cases of searches. We want them to work smoothly, so we’ll redouble our efforts.
FA: We certainly all have a lot invested in that. Since a lot of the documents related to processes are being revised, it seems to me that could be a piece of that.
· Taskforce on Diversity (a.k.a. Motion from Teacher Development (FA – 9/22/2005)
FA: Last time, if you’ll remember, we talked about the dissolution of the taskforce on diversity, and we talked about what we might do to write a diversity plan. I’m wondering if we know anything more about that at this point.
AD: I have received a draft of a charge from Susan Moss and Larry Chambers. I need to make significant amendments and should have it by the next Meet and Confer.
FA: Is there any information or feedback you would like from us at this time?
FA: We will leave this on the agenda.
4. Administrative Searches (AD – 10/4/2007 and 10/18/2007)
FA: We want to provide you with some information on a variety of searches. As you know, we have fully populated the COSS Dean search committee now. You have those names. I believe we are at the point of convening a meeting now with those Faculty and you to talk about the possibility of using a search firm and other options other than academic tenure that might encourage good applicants. Patty, you’re convening that meeting?
AD: After the Thanksgiving holiday.
FA: I’ll let people know that they should expect to see something after Thanksgiving. In my discussion with the search committee, they weren’t particularly interested in using a search firm although I think it’s important to discuss that. The search committee for the Special Advisor for the President. We’re just wondering when that’s going to be convened. My understanding is that nothing’s happened yet. I don’t know if that’s accurate or not. Annette, you’re on that. Has something happened since we last talked?
FA: I’m wondering who is supposed to convene that search committee and when I might tell people to expect something.
AD: Larry was handling the paperwork on that. I need to follow-up with him.
FA: So Larry might be the one to convene that committee?
FA: I’m assuming at this point that nothing will be coming forward until after Thanksgiving. This is a search we feel is really important, and we would like to move on it.
FA: Can I go back to the COSS Dean search? At the meeting where you and I talked to that search committee and we talked about the search firm, is that where you got the impression that they didn’t want to have a search firm?
FA: That they might not be interested – yes.
FA: I think it’s important to say that part of the reason for that was that they felt the search firm that handled that search was less than helpful. I wasn’t convinced that they were adverse to any search firm at all – they certainly did not want it to be the same one or to have the same experience they had with the last one. It could be the same one, but a different person working with them. They did feel not that this person earned their money.
AD: When we decide to use a search firm, they are selected through the RFP process. We have less control over which ones are chosen. I think we can do that search without a search firm. That’s my own view, and I would like to talk to the search committee members about it and some other issues that proved to be factors in that particular search.
FA: As you can see, we’ve only come forward with one faculty member for the search committee for the COB Associate Dean position. There was a flurry of questions leading up to the deadline for submitting names. The two questions were primarily this: Is this a national search? I could answer that question that it was; the second was, are we going to use a search firm? Apparently the COB really liked using a search firm for the Dean search. COB Faculty at Senate indicated that they are interested in using a search firm for this. I know we haven’t used them for associate deans before. Bill, do you want to say something about that?
AD: I remember when we searched for the Dean’s position in 2005, we didn’t use a search firm, and the search failed. A year later, we conducted the search using a search firm, and I felt like we were able to generate a much broader candidate pool. My thinking is, if the funds are there, maybe we would get the same benefits for the associate dean position.
FA: What he’s saying is what I’ve heard from quite a few people – they think it would help the quality and depth of the applicant pool. I’ve communicated that to Dean Lawson. Obviously, it’s not up to us whether or not a search firm is used, but she indicated that she would be willing to have conversations about it.
AD: We do need to talk about it. The reason the first search failed are for reasons that we talked about before. There are two primary reasons: one had to do with salary and the other had to do with tenure. The search firm we used when we had a successful search did a phenomenal job as opposed to the other search firm. There is that difference. I would like to talk to the Dean about the possibility of doing that, but I’m not sure that we can overcome those two issues.
FA: I will say that I am willing to put out another call. I don’t know if we will get additional Faculty volunteering or not, but I can try and drum up business.
FA: I was holding off to see if anyone else from my department might want to do it. I’d be willing to do it. (Bill Hudson indicated willingness to serve on the search committee.)
FA: I will put out another call. You don’t have to respond because I already have your official affirmative response. We have provided names for search committees for the AVP for the Center for International Studies, the Student Services Coordinator Search Committee for the American Indian Center, and the MSUAASF person to assist the COB Dean. Those are all taken care of, and we’ve cleaned up this need for staffing search committees. I just want to point out one item that I discovered last week when I was making a report to the IFO. We’ve populated more search committees and more committees in the time leading up to the end of last week then we did all of last year. If we’re feeling that the workload’s a little tighter, I know everybody is – not just Faculty, I have statistical data that supports that.
FA: I think part of the reason is that we’ve gotten the requests in a much more timely manner.
FA: Yes, and we certainly appreciate that. It helps us get the searches started earlier.
5. Academic Plan (AD – 10/18/2007)
AD: We’ve been meeting to identify individuals who can serve as co-chairs and as members of the various workgroups. Patty, have those invitations to serve been sent out?
Notetaker: No. They haven’t been sent out. They will be sent tomorrow.
AD: We’re sending invitations to each of these individuals to find out if they are willing to serve on these workgroups. If there are people who have declined, we will meet again to determine some replacements. We will also have some meetings with Wanda to talk about staff from Student Life and Development and will consult with MSUAASF about that as well. We’ve got some names of people external to the university who might be willing to serve on some of those workgroups also. I think that there were some instances in which some materials were accidentally released prematurely with regard to two different documents: one having to do with a tentative list of membership and the other having to do with a draft of the document for developing departmental plans. The dean who sent that out just forgot that I asked that it not be sent out until after we’d had a chance to get some feedback and look at it some more and make some changes to it before giving it to the departments. Other than that, I think the process is moving forward and is pretty close to being on schedule. I know there are some people, like the person sitting to my right, who would prefer that it was a little bit ahead of schedule. We’re trying to move it along as quickly as we can. Are there any questions?
FA: I was one of those people who received the draft inadvertently. Having a quick chance to look over it, the timeline strikes us as short given the fact that the deans have more time than the departments to look this material over – that is, the entire month of February. I realize that you’re shaking your head and thinking that February 1st is a long way off. In Faculty time, it really isn’t. Not a lot is going to get done over the next few weeks. We have a lot of important things to do with our students and so forth. I’m sure you didn’t envision this being done over the semester break on non-duty days. That dean that forgot indicated that he wanted the departments to report by January 15th ,which seems really premature to us. I assume the department plan template and department plan guide are the same thing.
AD: We will take into consideration your suggestion that the dates are a little too early. That’s one of the reasons it hasn’t been disseminated yet. We are still working to clarify some inconsistencies and to get the dates right. In a way, I’m glad it got out early because we got that feedback.
FA: There needs to be a response from us folded into this before it moves forward because we’re going to catch things as Faculty that others might not see. I would hope that this would also go to Strategic Planning for response.
FA: Has it?
FA: Not the document that Michael’s referring to.
FA: Perhaps this should be shared with the Assessment Committee as well so that we are not duplicating assessment efforts.
FA: We appreciate being folded into the process, and I appreciate that the Dean is going to pull back that document and tell them that we’re not ready yet. I look forward to this coming forward to the Steering Committee, Strategic Planning and the Assessment Committee.
AD: I would just note that as I’ve been meeting with departments, this is something I’ve been asking departments to think about and work on so it’s not as though people aren’t processing their thoughts about programs and directions.
FA: I think that some departments will be in a very good place to respond to this fairly quickly. The timing is an issue. It’s hard to respond if we’re not here.
FA: Michael, we can expect the invites to the co-chairs to be arriving late this week/early next week?
AD: Patty has all that information to send out.
FA: Those requests are going to go out to Faculty who will have the option to say yes or no. We will probably have to repopulate some of the spots. We have a scheduled time to meet, and we’re moving forward on that.
6. The Processes for Appointing FA Representation to College and University-level Committees under the IFO/MnSCU Master Agreement (FA – 10/18/2007)
FA: We have had conversation the last few Meet and Confers about the process for representation for both university and college-level committees. As a result of part of that conversation, and as a result of a search this summer that inadvertently did not include Faculty – I’m talking about a MSUAASF search – I received the MSUAASF search packet from the Office of Affirmative Action. I want to point out that there’s no step about representation in this search packet. As a Dean, you could follow this, and if you were new, for example, never know that you missed an important piece. I want to point out in the particular search from this summer, that MSUAASF didn’t have representation selected by them either. This was not a purposeful thing. Having something in these documents from Affirmative Action that includes steps for requesting representation would be very useful. We’re requesting that the steps for requesting representation and what those steps are be included in the Office of Affirmative Action search packets for the various bargaining unit positions. I think this is a fairly easy way we can help educate new people especially, about these processes. MSUAASF searches are odd in terms of Faculty representation. There is only one Faculty representative, and as Faculty, we don’t do them very often. Academic Deans don’t do them very often, although obviously, there are lots of MSUAASF searches in other parts of the university. For something that’s done rarely, that would be particularly helpful.
AD: You’ll remember, Larry Chambers is working with Susan Moss on one place where all the processes and requirements for constituting a committee and conducting a search are gathered. They’re meeting every Friday, and that document is developing and proceeding. One of the reasons we’re doing that is because the Office of Affirmative Action has always only looked at affirmative action requirements for searches. Frequently, people have presumed that Susan or the person in that office knew search staffing requirements or expectations. As a result, only limited information and some misinformation has been provided. The place to resolve pulling everything together is in the work they’re doing to create that web site and any other documents that reflect changes that we agree to have to be drawn from that. I’m asking them to continue, and they are making good progress on that document.
FA: I certainly appreciate that process. This is just one piece of it. I would hate to have people inadvertently omit something when just filling in a couple of lines in a search packet would help. We look forward to seeing that information. I understand that it may not show up in this document for a while and that there might be a different document than this one that comes out of that process. It certainly helps me understand how things like that can happen. Thank you.
7. Early Notification System (FA – 10/18/2007)
FA: We talked about this at Senate, and we have questions about the documents that we received regarding those. I can provide these in writing for you. I can just give them in a hurry and then go through them more slowly. What is the effect of the system on student performance? What is the effect on student retention? After students are identified and notified, did it change student behavior? Are they able to identify students at risk through the system? Can the system identify students having difficulty in more than one course to ascertain a pattern? What is the intervention to help these students identified by the early notification system? The purpose of the system is to reduce attrition and increase retention. Were these purposes served? What is the evidence? In other words, we’re wanting to know a lot about that system. This was just a quickly generated list that showed up as the motion that we’re bringing forward. I had hoped that Avelino would be here today. Perhaps we need to send those questions to him.
AD: Yes. I’m not sure he can answer them based on the prior pilot. But for the current pilot, these are questions that need to be attended to. I’m not sure how much data he has from the last iteration of this or whether the sample size is sufficient.
FA: They got this system from some place, right? Where did the system come from? Did they write it themselves?
FA: Okay. You’d think they’d have some sort of… We’re looking for assessment information on the system itself.
AD: There is literature that suggests that this sort of approach is helpful in addressing the issues that you are asking about. We don’t have specific information yet on the impact of what we’re doing here because we’ve only done it on a very limited basis. Those are pieces of information that we do want to collect about the influence of this activity on students who are currently engaged in that process.
AD: If I could address the literature for a second. The System and the Board, after a search of the literature, identified five practices that are effective in retention, and they’re the ones being supported by the access and retention monies being given to the campuses. Those five are: learning communities, comprehensive first-year experience program, bridge programs, supplemental instruction, and intrusive advising. Generally speaking, the early warning system is part of the intrusive advising strategy. An early warning system, in those places where the research has been done, does contribute to student success. But also, in looking at all of that research, the effective implementation and quality follow-up is really key. There’s a tendency on campuses, and this I have from my conversations with John Gardner, to put a program in place with the right label and not do the careful study that your questions outline and not get the results. The board is really attentive and demanding of the campuses that they answer these questions for the money that’s being put into these various initiatives. We have not documented or done that on this campus, so I consider the questions to be very friendly and important.
FA: There’s also concern about time. You’re asking people to do something that they have not had to do in the past. It’s hard ….
FA: It’s time connected with results. If I put in this time, what does it mean to the student?
FA: How is this information used? I think there are some concerns about data privacy. There are concerns about whether the person who gets the information is in a position to do anything about the student.
FA: I have an advisee who basically refuses to come on campus. I don’t know how to help them. I think Faculty are willing to do just about anything, but they really do want to have a feeling that the results are there.
AD: I think you deserve to be informed of the effectiveness of the program and results.
FA: There is interest in supporting students. I think it becomes difficult if we don’t know ahead of time what courses are going to be involved, so we can help build up interest and participation if we keep the conversation going.
AD: We should keep it going.
FA: I can e-mail these questions to Avelino. We don’t expect the answers tomorrow, but we do need to have the information.
AD: I think he should be able to answer how he will approach answering these questions and how the findings will be shared.
AD: I think Winona is a bit further along on this. I don’t know if you have good contacts there, but you might want to ask them about it. They demonstrated a system a couple of weeks ago that people were very impressed with. That might be worth taking a look at.
FA: They’re so different in size that I’m wondering if there are connections that would be useful. We certainly know folks at Winona that we can talk to about it.
AD: I don’t think institution size matters. I think the question to ask would be whether or not they are getting answers to the questions that were just asked. Is the system they’re using providing answers to those questions. I saw the program. It was impressive.
AD: It would be good to see if Faculty thought it was impressive. We don’t know.
FA: Thank you. We’ll leave this on and come back to it next time.
1. School Closing/Cancellation Procedures (FA – 11/15/2007)
FA: We, as you, are concerned with the safety of our students and all of the people who work here at St. Cloud State University. The one thing that we, as human beings, like to do is talk about the weather. Perhaps it’s because we can’t change the weather, but it certainly is interesting to talk about. We are forced by the weather to adjust and accommodate our plans. One of the things that we in the upper Midwest have is prevalence of winter storms that move rapidly through our area, wreaking havoc with the transportation systems that our Faculty and staff and students rely on to get to campus. We are very concerned about how decisions get made. The document that was circulated sometime in the early fall that outlines the school closing and cancellation procedures says the right things about how these decisions are to be made, provides the advice, but if one looks at the last sentence in the document, it does create a problem for our students and for our professors. What it says is: “Contact your professor if there’s a need to consider alternative arrangements.” The presumption is that the professor is in a position to even be contacted. Often what happens on these days, if there is no one there to receive the phone call, there is no one to available to provide the information. Faculty who might have access to electronic communication will not, in all likelihood, have access to the most contemporary information about the road systems nor what the status of the campus may be for parking and so forth. We think that at a minimum, that sentence should be altered to not encourage students to contact their professors. We do believe we need to avoid the wink and nod that school is open, but really it isn’t. That occurs and there are some pressures for that to occur because of requirements regarding compensation to people when the place closes as opposed to keeping the place open, report to work or file a leave slip. Faculty are not in that position as employees, but our colleagues are. We need to be sensitive to how that plays out, particularly sensitive to what happens in classrooms and what happens with Faculty in that relationship. We’re hopeful that you’ll take what we have to say under advisement and modify the policy so that students aren’t sent to a dead end for information, and if they do reach someone, the information they’re given is consistent and accurate.
AD: Whose document is this?
AD: The university’s document.
AD: I know. But who?
AD: Public Relations and Publications drafts it. It’s similar to the document that goes out each year, but that’s who drafts it and distributes it to everyone.
FA: In addition to what John said, there have been some questions from Faculty about this. This came out early in the fall, and it was supposed to go into Faculty department mailboxes. Faculty are unsure about the statement in the second to the last paragraph that says: “Employees who cannot report to work must use leave time.” Faculty are asking if they have to fill out a leave slip if they can’t make it in because of snow.
FA: If Faculty are required to be available to answer questions about whether or not class will meet, then it shouldn’t matter whether or not they can make it to campus because they have to answer questions. I think that’s where the questions come in. If I’m supposed to answer questions and make myself available no matter what, how can I be expected to fill out a leave form if I can’t get to campus? They don’t know what they’re supposed to do.
FA: This was forwarded to me because one department in particular had questions about what this meant for faculty.
AD: Two things. One, the statement about the professors isn’t just about whether the university cancels classes or the university is closed. Our students are distributed over a large geographical area, and students may be influenced by the fact they can’t come to class because where they live or stay they cannot make it to campus. What’s being suggested in that case, where we’re not closed and the student has weather issues, is just like in other cases of having to be absent from class, that the student contact the professor. That may be by telephone or e-mail, etc. This isn’t solely to cover the case of campus closing/class cancellation. Students may contact professors at other times when they have weather-related issues. The same is true of employees because of their locale. We’re open, but because of weather conditions where they are, they can’t make it in, and we tell them to talk to their supervisors. That’s one issue.
AD: That’s not clear in the document. We need to fix that sentence.
AD: I think that’s fine.
FA: The other issue that comes up sometimes is that classes are canceled and students are already on the road. If I don’t know 1.5 hours before class, then they can’t be reached. I know it’s hard, but we really need to think about how we communicate with them.
FA: Because of the mix of students that St. Cloud State has. The mix is: residential on-campus, residential close to campus, and then a large population of students that are residential remote from campus. It’s difficult to give one message that conveys the information that each one of those groups needs. I would hope that what we learn to do is get better at it through our experiences. I remember when it was very difficult for superintendents of school districts to determine whether or not a school district would close early, would start late or would be closed. There is a pattern here. I think we can work together to improve on it. I do believe that if we simply recognize the realities; that there are going to be students and employees that are not going to be able to report to work, and should probably not even attempt to report to work, and be sensitive to that. That will makes us a better place to work, study and do our business.
AD: With respect to evening classes, our goal has been to cancel evening classes before 3:00 p.m. We attempt to give at least three hours notice. That’s been the pattern for the 6:00 p.m. classes – to attempt to close for evening classes beginning at 6:00 p.m. by 3:00 p.m. The conditions change when we’re talking about weather. It can be difficult. We make the decision for day classes in the morning – at 4:00-5:00 a.m. That has been our goal in the past. I recall when we once canceled classes and the storm never materialized and we had the same series of calls that we get when we don’t cancel soon enough when the storm becomes more intense. It’s a very difficult situation. With respect to the compensation or the use of leave, that is not our peculiar policy, that’s included in the MnSCU policy and we are bound by that policy which is the Weather/Short-term Closing Policy 4.4. I have a copy. It says: “Employees of the college, including Faculty, may take personal leave, vacation leave or use compensatory time when classes are canceled and they choose to be absent from work.
FA: We don’t get compensatory time.
AD: I can’t worry about how you feel about the language. It is just the language we are trying to work under.
FA: It really needs to be clear here though who you’re including in that. Literally, that’s one of the places I’ve had a lot of questions. I remember the first year I was here. There was a blizzard after Thanksgiving and we had a registration day. I remember that faculty, it was a duty day, and we were actually getting phone calls at home to see if we were working to prepare for class. I remember also, employees at that time, and I believe it’s still true, that are outside of the FA bargaining unit, when they can’t come into work because of snow, they have to fill out a leave slip.
AD: This is true.
FA: So if this is shifted and the faculty are included in that, faculty need to be aware of that so they’re doing what they’re supposed to do.
AD: First paragraph, last sentence.
FA: I’m wondering if there’s another option given the contract does not specifically require that a faculty duty day is on campus. In other words, there are other things that could be done; research, contacting students, those sorts of things that are a part of the contract.
FA: One other thing I wonder about. I remember that friday before Spring break when this came up, I was teaching an on-line course that semester, and was there activity with that. The kids couldn’t go anywhere and there was really active discussion. Technically, I didn’t need to come to campus because I didn’t have a class scheduled, but of course, on-line courses are often 24/7. I think it gets difficult in those situations. I was at home. I had tons of e-mail that were dated on D2L that showed work. I think that when we move into this territory, it gets unclear. We certainly, at least, need to be clear about whether or not faculty who cannot report to work must fill out leave slips.
FA: The statement is in the context of when classes are canceled and it says “may.”
FA: Where are you reading?
FA: The last sentence in part 1. “Cancellation of classes does not excuse any employee from work. Employees of the college, including faculty, may take personal leave, vacation leave, or use compensatory time when classes are cancelled and they choose to be absent from work.” Well if you’re not teaching and your work is scholarship, you’re not absent from work. So as a practical matter, if classes have been canceled, it would be nearly impossible to determine that a faculty member is not doing their work because our work is much broader than just teaching classes. What’s more interesting is when classes are not canceled. The policy doesn’t address that.
FA: For example, that friday before Spring break last year, we were in session, and we talked about how we were going to respond to how to get the word out earlier and how notification came late. Literally, classes were in session, some faculty who could get here were here, they were herding cats around, answering questions from students who were here trying to figure out if their classes were meeting and so on. That is the situation that I’m hearing you say, John, that is not covered by this policy.
FA: No, at least not in part 1.
FA: We can get caught up in the specifics of the language. I tried very carefully in comments that started the conversation to speak about our shared interests. Our shared interest is in the safety of our colleagues and of our students. When we engage in our practices, we don’t want to overwhelm or confuse those that are making decisions. What I know is as a Faculty member, it’s easy if you have many students to communicate with, to not get information to students in a timely manner. The document does say what is really best. It says: “Use good judgment.” That’s what we advise – to use good judgment. As long as that’s what we’re doing, I’m comfortable that our community can find a way to exercise good judgment within the existing policies.
FA: We’re obviously asking for a little bit of revision of this notification.
2. Request for Evaluation of Emergency Procedures on Campus (FA – 11/15/2007)
FA: There was a motion that was actually part of the discussion of the school closing/cancellation procedures at Senate. It’s a very simple motion, but I think it’s in regard to…
FA: The motion is that we request an evaluation of the emergency procedures on campus. One of the issues here is it’s not clear how that emergency information is disseminated to people – how they find out about things. There’s some concern surrounding what the actual procedures are. Is there one? If there is one, is it working? Are people finding out about things in a timely manner? Those are essentially the questions. We’re wondering: is there an emergency procedure for telling people when there is an emergency on campus, and given that there is, is it working or does it need to be revised?
AD: There is a current emergency procedure for faculty and staff. As we stated at the fall convocation, we’ve revised that ,and that document will be in the classroom, outlining what actions individuals should take, by spring semester. It will also be put in all faculty and staff mailboxes so that each person has a copy of it – each employee – by spring break. That’s the goal. It’s in its final draft right now. We’re also going to distribute cards that people can have so they have the fundamentals for personal action. In terms of our notification, as you know, for the one emergency procedure concerning severe weather, we have a drill that we do each fall. We also have notification procedures…
FA: We have a drill that we do each fall?
AD: There’s a tornado drill every fall on campus. It’s a state-wide drill at 1:00 p.m. in October.
FA: The sirens are activated state-wide.
AD: The sirens go off every first Monday here. There is a tornado drill every fall on campus. There has been for the last 20 years.
AD: We empty our building down to the basement.
AD: We’ve also posted in the buildings this year, exit paths and areas of refuge for storms. This information is in all the buildings now. Our communication procedures depend, to a certain extent, on the emergency. We have several methods that we use, including contacting building coordinators, using maintenance personnel during the hours when there aren’t building coordinators on campus, weather radios that are monitored 24/7 on campus, and we are looking at those responses and communication methods. Since Virginia Tech, there’s been a bunch of advocacy for different methods – some more effective than others and some not very effective at all. The things that are available to us are public systems like radio and television, e-mail is a possibility, campus-wide televisions, the use of posting of notices because we need to consider events where electronic systems may not work. We have the potential of using MySpace as a place to post notices which has proven at some places to be a very effective way of communicating with students when you have notices of issues. We’re looking at those things. There are several methods of communication that vary from a siren to e-mail to calls to personal contact. That’s what we have in place on campus.
FA: Where’s this policy at? If I wanted to look at it and read it, how would I do that?
AD: The new one will be red and black and will be coming out in the next month.
FA: There’s been some conversation at the state-wide Meet and Confer concerning these same issues as a response to the shootings. One of the issues that’s been raised has been concern for training in terms of response. If I’m a faculty member and I’m in a building, what do I do? We’re not going to be looking for a red or pink book, we’re going to need to know what to do at that moment. Will there be any immediate emergency training for the sort of thing that has been happening on campuses with more frequency, unfortunately? There was some discussion about having some person who the Chancellor knows who was involved in the assessment after Virginia Tech who might be brought out as a speaker. I think some of this might have come from the “incident” that didn’t happen behind the Business Building.
FA: In my building, Headley Hall, the faculty have talked about being able to lock the door from inside so nobody from outside can get in. It would be wise for there to be consistency in campus-wide policy so that each building is not going and doing their own thing. I don’t want one building to do one thing and another building to do another thing.
FA: We do need to keep in perspective the relative risks that all of us encounter in our lives. The events we’ve just described and have been concerned about, fortunately, are very rare. It’s the ordinary risk, the day-to-day risk, that’s more likely to cause harm to us. There is a commonality between the exceptional risk and the ordinary risk and that is to have a planned response that individuals act out. I’m pleased to be reminded that we’re going to have that information in our classrooms that gives us our guidance that we don’t have to guess about. If you go back in the minutes, I think you will recall that I bemoaned that you’re taking away a teachable opportunity for my students in safety ed because I used to have them go around and do that kind of inventory, and they’d find that certain things weren’t there. There is another piece here. If we’re responding to these rare events, we really do not want to have a large number of people know the specifics of what our strategy and tactic will be because the kinds of people who engage in these behaviors, if they came into possession of that information, defeat our strategy and tactic. It’s a matter of trust and conversation. I believe the Faculty Senate members and the faculty in general are curious and want to be assured that we have a plan and we have a means for controlling these risks.
FA: I assume that part of the new red book would be a revisiting of the procedures for handling bomb threats. We haven’t had many in the past years. Apparently the finals that prompted them are not being given (laughter). I am concerned that, and I may be mistaken in my perception, we got to a certain point where I can lecture, but if you, as students want to leave, I can’t stop you, go home. Is that accurate?
AD: There was a time, 17 years ago when we had bomb threats with some regularity. We developed procedures around those bomb threats that we still follow: we evacuated the building, we posted things in the vicinity of the building, but at a distance to not go in, and we also managed to, if we had some reasonable notice, to be able to schedule classes with exams in another location so that particular motivation was not successful. We also undertook to visit with students in those classes, and bomb threats ceased when someone was arrested and charged. It wasn’t funny, and students objected too. Since the advent of Caller ID, that seems to be another thing that’s discouraged bomb threats because it’s easier to find out who did it. So bomb threats have declined precipitously, but we still have the procedure there. We did review the procedure. This document is tabbed so you can pick by disaster, what procedure you want to look at. We’ve also added 911 capability for campus phones, including those that are in classrooms. The call doesn’t go to Public Safety, but they are immediately aware, and they respond more quickly than the police or fire or others. We have managed some threats. We’ve had some drills on campus - the one at Halenbeck based on a chlorine leak. We had a gas leak last summer that we responded to. In the last few years, we did have a report of a person with a gun on campus intending to shoot (on two occasions), and we managed that. In terms of locking the buildings, we have the capability of locking the buildings, but locking the buildings is not a very good strategy. At Virginia Tech, had they used that strategy in a timely fashion, they would have put perhaps even more people at risk. Had they done that right away, the individual would have been out in a very crowded mall and the areas of refuge would have been locked down. We’ve also looked at our entrances and the potential for locking our entrances by those who are not authorized to lock entrances. That was something that was done at Virginia Tech. We’re going to be making some changes over time to make that possibility less likely and give people more options for leaving the building. It’s proved to be very complicated. How things played out and how decisions were made was very chilling. With the information they had at the time, they made a lot of really good decisions and still had a negative result.
AD: One of the things I would like to suggest is that Faculty Forum Days in January might be a good topic for a workshop, especially with the new document coming out. I would recommend that we do that. We have been getting many more calls at our office from faculty concerned about behavior in the classroom, and we have been responding to that. I know that we had a team of people who did a session last January and had 40-45 participants. We did a session this fall, and we are talking about doing it again in January.
AD: I want to talk about the need for conversation between the faculty and Administration to think about these things more so than any red book or whatever. The issue of violence, anger management, early recognition – these things all come into play in terms of everybody’s safety. I know from some experience, you can read all the books in the world, and it’s not going to do you any good. You can have all the policies in the world, and it’s not going to do you any good unless you do have a plan and at least mentally rehearse it so that everyone has mentally rehearsed what they’re going to do. That takes some sort of organization because nobody’s going to just go to a tab in a book when the emergency is actually taking place. I think some work with the CETL to talk about how we might approach this thing as a community is a very good idea.
AD: I have looked around the room and didn’t see anyone who is on all three of these committees with me, so I just want to be sure you all know that we do have a team that meets every Tuesday to discuss anything that might be on the horizon as far as students who might need help. Steve covered the critical incident response team project, and also there is another committee that has spun off from the behavioral intervention team, and I think it’s called Student Welfare Committee. We’re trying to develop some policies and procedures for that kind of thing. I’m saying this to let you know that there are people working on it, and any input is welcome.
FA: It’s good to know that there are groups of people working on these, and we’ve heard about some of them earlier. It’s good to have them mentioned in this venue.
FA: At one time we heard that there were documents floating around concerning pandemic planning. Is that one of the tabs in the red book? I’m just curious as to the status of that.
AD: The pandemic plan is not one of the tabs because that is not an immediate emergency that you’re faced with. We submitted our pandemic plan to the Office of the Chancellor as required, and they have submitted it to the State and are awaiting a final response to that. We have our pandemic plan as we drafted it, and it’s available on campus. We’re also developing, according to a template, with the Office of the Chancellor on a Continuity of Operations Plan to bring us up after a disaster – a return to service plan that we’re also developing. There’s a lot of work around disaster planning, and we do have the Pandemic Plan still out there, and we haven’t gotten a response back from the State.
FA: Thank you.
FA: Any other discussion? I really appreciate this conversation. I think we’ve generated some good conversation about how to engage the campus community in these kinds of conversations. I believe the request came forth as a result of many things you’ve narrated. Thank you.
1. COE Climate Task Force (separated from Task Force on Diversity at the 8/30/2007 Meet and Confer) (FA – 9/22/2005)
FA: I wanted to briefly report on the College of Education Climate Taskforce. They’ve invited me into their meeting on Monday to talk about internal and external co-chairs. It’s my understanding that the external co-chair is likely to be back after Thanksgiving, so I’ll be conversing with that group on Monday.
2. Intellectual property and releases from PR (FA – 8/30/2007)
FA: We got the document from you on the PR release and authorization form, and we’re sending that up to IFO for a response and will bring that back to the next Meet and Confer.
AD: I have a second piece to that – not for consideration today, but at least I can pass it around for you all to take a look at. One deals with intellectual property, and one deals with image only.
FA: Is this replacing the one we got?
AD: No, it’s not. It’s separate. I think there was some confusion voiced when we started this progress over what rights people were giving up by signing that form, so we have completely separated it out to have one release that deals only with your image; the other release deals with intellectual property for a very specific, limited use. That’s the one that’s being passed around.
AD: The other one was confusing. It was just cleaned up and is specific to the use of your image or picture. It does not, in any way, give release for content of the address or content of any kind. This current document is specifically for intellectual property – the content of what a person says.
FA: Any questions or responses? We obviously will have to take it back.
FA: One of the things that occurred during the conversation in Senate on that other document was some more examples of people being aware that they were going to be taped of photographed, and there were long conversations about it, but they weren’t aware, until the day they showed up, that they were going to have to sign a release. There’s this additional concern that people are not being told in advance about having to sign a release form until the day they get there. In one instance, it was a person who had traveled from off-campus, from China. There were 3-6 months of negotiation with this person about taping and recording this person, and then when they show up on campus, they find out they have to sign this release, and they were going to talk about something that was dangerous.
AD: You’re confusing it again. If I take your picture and use it without your permission, that’s wrong. I use a video clip of somebody speaking and use that video on a web site, that’s wrong. What he was saying was never covered by that old form we used.
FA: It was confusing. I don’t think that was the issue. It was the fact that the confusion might not have existed if he had had the form in the very beginning, and the person who was arranging for this knew that he was going to have to sign the form. It could have been sent to him, and he could have had time to think about it and any confusion would have been …
AD: They probably still would have been confused. The form was really a mess. We have now created two forms that are distinctly different. He absolutely should have had the form in advance.
FA: That’s what we’re asking – that we can have that incorporated into the process.
AD: Yes. Sure.
FA: The Senate did pass a motion to send the one form to Pat. They declined my motion to send both. It would have been nice if they had because both should go down to Pat Arsenault. We’re much closer to having this matter resolved than we were a month ago.
FA: If we can figure out how to get that other piece in there – the incident she was talking about, I wish we had it on tape because there was translation involved and difficulty in communicating what was happening and why because there was literally a different language involved, so it became more complicated.
FA: The people who are doing the recording must know they need a release.
AD: If you can go all these years with a form that was a piece of garbage and everybody used it without any problem…
FA: I don’t think we used it before a couple of years ago.
AD: A couple of years then.
AD: Eight to ten years.
AD: We’ve been using this form for ten years that’s a piece of junk. And then we spent 20 minutes trying to determine: what does this thing really say and, pardon my…
FA: It’s probably because nobody ever asked me to sign the form. (laughter)
FA: We’re making progress here, and if we can figure out the advance warning, that would be good too.
AD: People doing the videotaping are thrilled this is being discussed.
FA: We’re happy to entertain suggestions from other people about how we can work better together.
FA: Are we done?
AD: The event sponsor is the one who talks to the speaker. If they call us to videotape, we tell the event sponsor that the speaker needs to sign that.
FA: They are not doing that.
AD: I have been clear, and they have assured me they are doing it every single time. That doesn’t mean the event sponsor is conveying that to the speaker.
FA: No. The person we are talking about was an event sponsor, and that person was not told that the speaker would have to sign a form.
AD: Since this came up?
FA: Not since this came up.
AD: I can’t promise before that, and I can promise that they didn’t talk to one of our folks. People do ask other groups, like Mass Comm.
AD: So the issue is after we get the forms right, there is a format for interaction with event sponsors to make sure they understand their responsibility too.
FA: I am serious about what I was saying before. People have things they want to bring to us that aren’t working, and we’re happy to look at them. We don’t have to initiate them.
FA: I think we have set some kind of a record here in terms of finishing up early.
Adjourned 4:42 p.m.