ACADEMIC SENATE MINUTES

 

 

DATE:         October 9, 2003

 

PRESENT:    St. John Robinson                             Audrey ConnerRosberg

                  George Madden                               Keith Edgerton

                  Randall Gloege                                 Alan Davis

                  Connie Landis                                    

                  Janie Park (ex-officio)                        George White (ex-officio)

                  Tracy Jo Schweigert (ex-officio)

 

ABSENT:     Doug Brown – excused                       Sandie Rietz – excused

                  Paul Bauer – excused                         Mark Hardt – excused

                  Matt Redinger – excused

                                                                    

                  John Cech (ex-officio)                        Joe Michels (ex-officio)

                  Randy Rhine (ex-officio)                     Dan Zirker (ex-officio)

                  Terrie Iverson (ex-officio)                    Curt Kochner (ex-officio)

 

GUEST:       Darla Tyler-McSherry

                 

PRESIDING: Keith Edgerton, Chair

 

 

Keith Edgerton called the meeting to order at 3:38 p.m. in the Chancellor’s Conference Room.

 

The minutes of October 2 were approved as presented.

 

I.       Campus Tobacco Statement – Darla Tyler-McSherry, Student Wellness Program Coordinator

 

Ms. Tyler-McSherry stated that there have been several complaints about smoke at entrances of buildings and the litter of cigarette butts all over campus.  The Great Butt Hunt (a collection of cigarette butts littering campus) was held November 6, 2002, at which a huge container of butts was collected to raise awareness to litter and smoking issues, as well as to promote two open forums that were held in the days following the Hunt.  As a result of those forums, a policy was drafted, defining the need for the statement, making it achievable, and making the policy inclusive for all MSU-Billings students, faculty, and staff.

 

The policy (handed out to Senate members) states that there will be a smoke-free zone 50 feet around all buildings, with the following exemptions:

 

1.  East entrance to the Academic Support Center – this area was designated to keep the main entrance smoke-free.  This area cannot be moved to 50 feet from the building, because the smokers will be too close to the Tennis Bubble.

2.  Southwest door in the LA-Library Corridor, second floor – this is the most used smoking area on campus.  Due to the pressure of out-flowing air in the LA Building, no smoke comes in these doors.

3.  West entrance of the COT – there is already an area established here (with a small hut), and it is almost 50 feet from the building.

 

Tracy Jo Schweigert, Student Senator, noted that the Summer ASMSU-B passed this policy with the exemptions because they did not want money spent to move the COT smoking area.  The ASMSU-B also noted that the Corridor area is the most used and their have not been complaints of smelling smoke in the building.

 

It was also noted that if smokers at the COT are pushed any farther away (out into the parking lot), they may end up smoking in the bathroom or other areas of the building.

 

Ž Motion by Randall Gloege, seconded by George Madden to support the statement and recommend elimination of the exemptions.

 

Ž Motion failed:  3 For, 4 Against

 

 

Ž Motion by Audrey ConnerRosberg, seconded by Dan Yazak to accept the statement as it is presented.

 

Ž Motion carried:  5 For, 1 Against

 

It was also noted that Facilities Services has a “breakroom” within the building which is considered a smoking area.  It should be added to the exemption list.

 

II.      DISCUSSION ITEMS

 

A.  Provost Park’s Best Practices Memo with Regard to Grade Confidentiality, August 25, 2003:  Dan Yazak.

Dr. Yazak stated that as the memo is written, he cannot obey it, because it is in conflict with the FERPA law.  FERPA was passed in 1974 to protect educational records, and the Buckley Amendment now allows parents to access their children’s student information.  If students give their written permission (as required by FERPA), the grade records can be left outside an instructor’s office or shared with others in class.  However, according to the Best Practices memo, if these graded materials are left outside an instructor’s office, they will be seized.  The Best Practices do not allow for students to give their written permission, which is a violation of their rights.

 

It was noted that even if the permission of the entire class is gained and materials are left outside an instructor’s door, there is no way for a passer-by to know.  Someone who is aware of FERPA rules would have to pick up that box and find the instructor to confirm that each and every student has signed permission to leave such materials.  Also, if the entire class agrees except one student, that student may be pressured to sign as well.  Now, that student ought to have the “gumption” to decline if it is not wanted, but if the student accepts under pressure, we will hear from that student in the future.  However, getting written permission will make it legal to leave the papers out.

 

It was cited that the Best Practices memo is one step tighter than the FERPA law.

 

It was noted that there is a professor who, at the request of the students, will mail out their final tests and scores, so they do not have to wait the two weeks to find out their grades and there is no need to post the grades.  The student provides a self-addressed, stamped envelope (big for the whole test, small for just a grade slip) which is mailed as soon as the tests are graded.

 

It was cited that papers and materials left outside an office can be stolen.

 

It was decided that Dr. Yazak and Dr. Park will meet and discuss this disagreement and report back to the Senate.

 

B.  Short-Term Hiring Update:  Janie Park.

Dr. Park stated that the last time she spoke to the Senate, we had funding for 7 new lines.  She presented her case to the Chancellor’s Cabinet, and received funding for 14 lines, total.  One reason for this optimism is we are up 180 FTE for this fall, hopefully due to our efforts and not just a flash in the pan.

 

The list of hires was not ranked according to University priority (only by College priority), as there was not time for that.  The need to get the ads out as soon as possible came before the list was worked out.  Hopefully, we will not need it, but if there is a huge FTE drop this spring, we will not have the funds for all 14 lines.  Then the lines will have to be cut according to University priority.  However, as soon as search committees come up with a candidate, letters of offer will be sent, and if they go out before the 15th day of the spring semester, they cannot be cut.  In a sense, if we have a big FTE drop in the spring, it will be a first come, first served basis.  That will not be the case if the FTE holds up as it has in the past.

 

It was noted that in the past, we did not get our ads out soon enough, and were often stuck scraping the bottom.  With early hiring, we are taking a risk, but it is worth it.

 

It was stated that Dr. Park’s work in explaining the hiring process is greatly appreciated by the Senate.

 

C.  MSU-B Graduate Committee Bylaws:  Proposed Changes – Grad Committee

George White, Director of Graduate Studies and Research, noted that the College of Business no longer has a graduate program, but according to the Bylaws, they still have representation on the Graduate Committee.  The Committee requests that the bylaws be revised to say:

 

6. MSU-B Graduate Committee (11/88)

 

         a)       Composition

The MSU-B Graduate Committee shall consist of one (1) graduate faculty member from each College having a graduate program to wit:  College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Education and Human Services, and College of Professional Studies and Lifelong Learning, and one (1) graduate student.  Each faculty member shall have an alternate who attends all meetings as an ex-officio member.  The alternate will have a voice in discussions, but will not vote unless acting as the representative.  Deans of Colleges offering graduate courses will serve as ex-officio members; the director of Graduate Studies and Research will serve as an ex-officio member.

 

         c)       Terms of Membership

 

                  Faculty members shall serve three-year terms and shall be appointed by the Academic Senate from a list of nominees provided by the Committee on Committees. New members shall be appointed at the last meeting of the spring semester to ensure a smooth transition in the fall.  The list of nominees and the subsequent appointments shall insure the representation for college and units as specified. Student representatives shall be designated by the Graduate Student Association and appointed by the Academic Senate. Any vacancies shall be filled in the same manner as initial appointments.

 

The new phrasing will apply no matter how many colleges have graduate programs.  It was noted that the alternate is not because of an attendance problem, but to get more representation on the Committee to encourage more discussion.

 

Ž Motion by St. John Robinson, seconded by Audrey ConnerRosberg to approve the changes (listed above) to the Graduate Committee bylaws.

 

Ž Motion carried.

 

Ž Motion by St. John Robinson, seconded by Audrey ConnerRosberg to waive a second reading of the changes to the bylaws.

 

Ž Motion carried.

 

 

It was cited that the alternates need to be appointed by the Senate.

 

D.  Senate Initiative On Faculty Attendance at Graduation

A memo has not yet gone out to the faculty, but it’s not to late.  Keith Edgerton stated that he will draft a memo and the Senate will make arrangements to meet with Sue Hart, Chair of the Commencement Committee.

 

E.  Student Health Insurance Changes

It was noted that the Senate is not concerned with the changes, but with how they were implemented and how students are treated when they were confused about the changes.  It was noted that our customer service is sometimes spotty when dealing with students.

 

F.  Courses with Same Number and Course Description

It was cited that there are two courses, one in Human Services and one in Business, that have the same number and exactly the same course descriptions.  It was noted that there is no policy against such a practice, but it is a waste of resources.  The College of Business is worried it may impact their accreditation prospects.  It was cited that the College of Business and College of Education and Human Services need to work it out between themselves.

 

 

The meeting adjourned at 4:58 p.m.

 

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