skip to main content
Indiana State University University Faculty Senate

Approved  .
April 8, Minutes.

Indiana State University
Faculty Senate 2007-08


Time:                3:15 p.m.

Place:               HMSU, 2007

Present:            V. Sheets, Chairperson, A. M Anderson, J. Fine, H. Halpern, J. Hughes, M.

                        Miller, S. Pontius, D. Worley

Ex-Officio:        J. Maynard

Absence:          T. Sawyer

Guests:             G. Bakken, R. Lotspeich, M. Miller, Shannon,S. Barton, N. Hopkins, P. Bennett



I.          Administrative Report (Jack Maynard)

a.         Extended Leadership Learning consultants have reported to the Provost.

J. Maynard stated that the administration needs to do a better job working with consultants in addressing issues involving faculty and students. Scheduled events: 

b.         ISU may have a new U.S. Presidential candidate on campus this week.  As

 of now, this is not confirmed, but the administration may have as little as24 hour notice to prepare for this.   The event will probably be held in Heritage/Tilson  auditorium. .

c.         Faculty Awards Banquet - Wednesday evening, April 16th

d.         Thursday, April 17 - campus reception/dinner for President Benjamin.  The reception will

 held at Heritage/Tilson auditorium and will begin at 2:30 a.m.


II.         Chairperson’s Report.    (my notes in case need to include anything else)

The next full Senate meeting will be held on April 17, 2008 at approximately 3:45 p.m. (after the President Benjamin’s reception/speech).  A full agenda

 is expected.      


Election ballots are due back in Senate office by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 9, 2008.   SAMy and J. Hughes have agreed to review/count the ballots at 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 10 with V. Sheets.Board of Trustees agreed to extend ISU’s Presidential Search.  V. Sheets read his letter of responding to Tom Seiger report on the merger of Socialogy with Psychology. (letter to be attached). Virgil’s Report pasted below:

Welcome today.  Next week, SAMy and I will be at an Accreditation Leadership Conference on Monday and Tuesday.  Thus, this is the last regular Executive Committee meeting that we will have together this year.  I want to thank each and every one of you for your diligent work this year.


I expect to see you all at the Faculty Recognition Banquet next Wednesday, then also at the President’s Reception and the Faculty Senate meeting next Thursday.


Some “business” things I want to report:


I have notified the Chairs of Standing Committees—as I previewed to you last week—that we would not hold a “reporting meeting” this year due to scheduling conflicts.  I have asked each to generate a final report to be put on the Senate website.


I will ask that we begin our Senate meeting about one-half hour late next week to allow people to attend the President’s reception.  We will have a full agenda so hopefully we can move efficiently.


The ballots for next year’s Executive Committee have gone out to the Senators. We will need to count them this week.


The Committee Volunteer forms should go out in the next couple of days.  I have added a couple of committees (IRB and WAC) to the list as we’ve been requested.  We will draw volunteers from those lists as needed.


III.       Approval of the Minutes of April 1, 2008                                                                                                                   

            The minutes of the Meeting of April 1, 2008 were approved after two corrections.

            (AA/DW) 7-0-1 Dr. Sheets called a question…8-0-1.


IV.       New Business


a.         T. Rathburn requested to step down from the Presidential Search Committee due to research obligations.  AAC identified an alternate, .   It will be Dr. David Worley.  A motion was made ….all in favorto accept the nominee (DW/SP)  78-0-11.


b.         Graduate Council - questions regarding graduation issues.adding plus grades.   Shannon…..S. Barton was asked to speak to the committee regarding apresented the Graduate

             Council’s proposal forresponse to grade adding minu plus and pluses as it pertains to general education classes (e.g. B- or A+),  grade appeals issues, and GPAs.   There is a need for a better method of interpretation.  Information concerning FAC could potentially be restricted.  The proposal for this should be moved forward ASAP.    A motion was made to accept the

 proposal.  (MM/AA) 8-0-0.


c.         Personnel issue – Tenure for Richard William, new Dean of Health and Human

Performance.  A motion was made to accept his position at tenured full professor/ Dean status level. (DW/SP) 8-0-0.


d.         L. Bennedict discussed issues related to the website for marketing. Mulkeye and M. Miller willwere nominated to serve on the marketing web

site committee (only these two members).    All in favor(AA/DW) 8-0-0.0.




e.            Patrick Bennett’s report on SAC regarding the recommendation on addition of plus/minus grades  as it relates to the FAC report.   P. Bennett presented the SAC report regarding the  recommendation on addition

             of  plus/minus grades. AGO/Admissions and Registrar’s office want ISU to conform with other institutions throughout the country/state in the way they approach this.   V. Sheets mentioned that trying to implement this procedure created problems within the system for FAC, SAC and Grad Council.  He stated that a motion is needed on whether or not to accept the minus/plus grade procedures.   Dr. Halpern stated that he had some concerns related to the plus grades  (e.g. A+).   For example, an A+ grade appears to be more symbolic than definitive. There may be an opening towards “shifting of scales.”  He had concerns related to the value of plus grades being a risk factor towards grade inflation.  (minus grades are usually sifted out).  V. Sheets felt that Dr. Halpern made a good point and stated the policy concerning this should be discussed further at the next full Senate meeting with the potential of adopting this policy by the Fall 2009 semester.  All in favor – Marsha Millers seconded the vote(MM/AA).  8-0-0.


f.          On the basis of reports from three committees, the Executive Committee

             recommends acceptance of their plus/minus grade system, creation of a working

 group to address values and logistics of implementation, and to communicate

 them to faculty, students and staff. (DW/JF) 7-1-0.


Subcommitee structure  issue.


            g.         SAC Report –  Winter session break.  Not a good idea.  Time concerns outweigh benefits.  Possibilities will be examined in the future.   Concerns expressed were:  students being at a disadvantage, flexibility of Summer I, Financial Aid and housing, lab hours, classroom space.  The AAC with the SAB recommended further investigation.  It would also force students involved in internship program elsewhere forcing their place of internship to accommodate ISU’s schedule.   SAC recommended we not pursue this matter at this time.  Motion to accept SAC’s report (SP/JF).  8-0-0. 


            h.         R. Lotspeich received charge to exam data.  AAC decided not to fund but open to ideas. gave AAC report on Faculty Count.  Accepted (DW/SP) 8-0-0.



V.        Old Business


a.         Psychology/Sociology merger and MOU report received and reviewed by faculty . (DW/SP)   regarding the merger Sociology with Psychology.   V. Sheet read a letter to the

committee in response to Tom Steiger’s report at the last meeting.    V. Sheets’ letter is attached to these minutes,. as well as Tom Steiger’s reportstatement. .  Proposal was accepted 6-0-2.


b.         Subcommittee regarding the merger of Life Sciences and EES.  The decision to move forward on this reflects this committee acting outside governance of this decision, seeing it as both a necessary and appropriate act. V. Sheets read the following:  On Tuesday, April 1, we approved creation of a select subcommittee of the EC to meet posthaste with the Dean of Arts & Sciences to inquire about his decision to cancel the Departments of EOB and Life Sciences to form a provisional Department of Biology.


On April 4th 2008, the subcommittee met with Dean Sauer and Provost Maynard. During that meeting, the Dean made available to the subcommittee lengthy confidential documentation, going back several years.  That documentation, and their discussion, led the committee to conclude, unanimously, that Dean Sauer's actions of March 4 were not in haste, but that he considered every possible solution before determining this course of action.  Because the situation goes far beyond just curricular issues, and impacts not only faculty but, more importantly, students, as well as the entire university, the committee determined that faculty primary authority was not circumvented.


The committee further notes that they were saddened that such an action by the Dean even needed to take place, but that they understand his reasons, the necessity for action at this time, and in this manner.


The provisional department provides a structure to allow time and effort to reattempt negotiations toward a united program or programs in Biology. The Committee urges the Provisional Department Chair to work quickly to establish a timeline and benchmarks and to make this process as transparent as possible to all those directly involved and to regularly apprise the Senate Executive Committee of the progress being made.     V. Sheets thanked the committee for their involvement and time related to this matter.     The recommendation of the committee was accepted.   All in favor.  , 8-0-0..


 (Marsha Miller)Prepared F2 form for


V. Sheets proceeded to ask the subcommittee members a series of questions. 


Noting that much of the subcommittee’s meeting was held in closed session, he asked whether the nature of the documents reviewed justified an executive session?  The response from the subcommittee members present was affirmative.


Was the nature of the problems presented pervasive across and among faculty in both units?   The response from the members was affirmative. 


Was  Biology “in extremis?”  The response was that “in extremis” may or may not be the appropriate term, but that it was clear that action was necessary and appropriate to protect the greater good of the university, its faculty and students.


Was the evidence persuasive of the need for the Dean to act outside of Governance?   The response was affirmative. 


Discussion ensued.   The question was raised as to how the subcommittee could reach its conclusion without having heard from members on the other side, who had been affected by the action.  A response was given that members from the other side had presented their case, both in documents and presentations at the meetings, and that their perspectives were represented within the documents presented to them by the Dean. 


c.         Nursing Program Report.  New post Masters in Nursing Education and a Family

             certification program was presented by M. Miller, and accepted, 8-0-0.


VI.       15 Minute Discussion


a.         Health Benefits benefit review review committee.  (V. Sheet to his knowledge – no minutes out).MaynardJ. Maynard responded – no –feedback.  I responded that he will make a

            recommendation to Will Downs to create a website.

b.           V. Sheets stated some outside expertise would be good.   D. Worley – fFirst open forum for Gen. Ed will be 2:00-5:00 next Thursday at Clabber

            Girl…check website.

c.         J. Fine proposal for rStructureestructuring of NHHP needs to go to both the Executive Committee and the

 Senate after CAAC completes its review. 

d.           SAMy stated that it was tabled at the last meeting because additional information was needed.   The faculty at the new college worked together for along time on this document.   J. Fine stated that it would be good to   include it on the agenda for the next Senate meeting so it can be voted on.     Merging of Life Sciences/Ecology, Biology and Org/Ana. BiologyEOB. into one department of Biology – next level - figuring out the language/process for handbook. need process for  language for handbook - next level.   Brief discussion.   Also o n  R. Lotspeich read a statement (see below).

mMergering of Sociology with Psychology.  It was noted that a policy/procedure

 related to mergers is needed and that this might be a good committee charge for

 next year.



Dr. Sheets just commented that it is appropriate for controversial issues in the College of Arts and Sciences to be addressed by governance bodies at the college level, and that the Senate should seek resolutions first at this level.  Well, the Faculty Council of the College did address the matter of Dean Sauer’s recommendations as laid out in his memorandum of 4 March 2008.  Two motions were passed opposing his recommendations in our meeting of 19 March.  What the Senate Executive Committee is proposing now, unconditional support for the actions of Dean Sauer, is counter to the will of the College faculty.  So it seems strange to suggest at the same time that college issues should be addressed by college-level governance.  The more consistent decision would be to support the actions taken by the Faculty Council.

 Members of the Select Committee that interviewed Dean Sauer about his recommendations claim to have exhaustively reviewed the documentation pertaining to the splitting of the former Department of Life Sciences into the current two groups as well as the persistent issues of conflict between them.  You have concluded on the basis of this review as well as information presented by Dean Sauer in a secret session with you that there was no alternative to this recommended direction.  Yet you have not demonstrated any valid basis for this conclusion.  The only rationale offered is that “something had to be done” to end the conflict.  Well, there are a number of other ways to address the conflict that are not as destructive as the path chosen by the Dean. 

In my own conversations with faculty members from both biology groups (including the former chairpersons of each) I have never heard an opinion supporting Dean Sauer’s recommendation.  Both chairpersons told me that their colleagues do not want to pursue a recombination of the two groups into a single Department of Biology.  Thus the Dean’s recommendations are directly opposed to the will of twenty-five faculty members of the College.  Moreover, there is little or no demonstrable gain from his recommended changes.  I ask the Select Committee:  In your exhaustive review of communications among the biologists and between the biology groups and Dean Sauer, did you ever find a single expression of support for recombining the two groups?   [for the record, the answer was, “No.”]

 Members of the Committee have asked us:  if the affected faculty members are so concerned about this matter, then why are they not attending this meeting?  First, I point out that the groups do have representatives in attendance, and they will provide the faculty members with a report of what happened in the meeting.  Second, these faculty members are engaged in the work of the University, they are people with busy schedules and other demands on their time.

 The administration is rushing this decision. Yet there is nothing compelling in the current situation that justifies such fast action.  The claim that biology is “in extremis” is simply untrue.  This claim is a construction that Dean Sauer is using as a justification for acting outside the normal procedures of shared governance, and it has no basis in fact.  The biology programs are functioning and nowhere near the dire circumstances that Dean Sauer claims.  Due deliberation on the matter by the Faculty Senate is appropriate, and it would not constrain normal management of the biology programs.  I interpret the rush to a decision as a tactic designed to avoid organized faculty opposition to the recommendation.

 I find myself in agreement with Dr. Hughes, who recommends that the Senate Executive Committee should hear statements from members of both biology groups before pursuing any action on the matter.  The resistance of the Committee to this suggestion leads me to believe that you intend to support the Dean regardless of whatever evidence might be brought to light.  Given that outlook, it is indeed a waste of time to listen to the opinions and facts that affected faculty members might bring to the discussion.

Finally, as stated in my previous communication with the Senate Executive Committee, I find it very strange that such a change in academic structure and programs would be motivated by delicate personnel matters that are purportedly the essential rationale for the Select Committee’s support of the Dean’s recommendations.  Almost all e-mail communications contain a statement of confidentiality as a standard clause, even when the content of the message does not require it.  To use these standard clauses alone as justification for not revealing their content is not appropriate for such an investigation.  To my mind the Select Committee’s claim suggests that you cannot justify your position on the basis of objective evidence that is appropriate to such structural changes.  Rather you ask us to believe that the secret information presented to you in Executive Session (but which you cannot reveal) is a valid reason for supporting the Dean’s recommendation.  I find this unacceptable.



VII.      Committee Reports


a.         AAC -       2010-11 - report  calendar will be taken going to next Senate. ASAP. - Calendar is critical item


b.         CAAC - Discussion on proposal of Schools within NHSS - on college students tabled for

 further information.  CAAC will needwill set up task force on establishment of Schools. in order to obtain better information and a       new (revised?) proposal will be sent out.

c.         English as a new language certificate agreement to make it a minor. Will

 be published in Academic Notes.

 d.        c.  Structure - not known at university level. More data needs to be gatheredd.  Discussions - re combining people from various communities with peoplefrom Nursing/HHP as well as clarification on teaching courses in English as       a new language.  Question regarding offering this as a minor. If so, needs to be  reflected  in Academic Notes.  FEBC J. Hughes sent out surveysending out surveys on salary; later one requesting more information

from faculty.

 e.        Grad Council.  No report

             f.         Student Affairs -  proposal for faculty evaluations and letters will be sent to

                         the Senate.


                  Academic calendar will be sent to Committee soon.


Meeting adjourned at 5:12 p.m.