Clerk’s Committee Meeting Minutes

Clerk’s Committee Meeting Minutes Tuesday, November 17, 2015 10:00 am

In attendance:  Dave Dobson (Clerk), Gwen Erickson (Recording Clerk), Sarah Estow (Social Sciences), Bill Grubbs (Business, Policy, and Sports Studies), Sadie Hunter (Community Senate), Lisa McLeod (Humanities), Alex Ricks (Student Government Association), Beth Rushing (Vice President for Academic Affairs & Academic Dean), Steve Shapiro (Natural Sciences & Mathematics), Kathryn Shields (Arts and recorder for this meeting).


  1. Gathering and Moment of Silence began at 10:06
  2. Approval of Minutes from November 10, 2015

Typo fixed.  Not responding to applicants about research proposals at this time.  3A Jan’s budget responsibilities. “Tracey”


  1. For Discussion: Faculty Response to concerns raised by students of color

Walk-out on Thursday and a number of demands articulated.  They have not been formally presented.  A group of students have asked for a meeting with Jane and Senior staff with refined list of demands.  Not sure when the meeting will take place.  Two meetings last week in response.  Two more this week.  Will also add an evening session, maybe after Thanksgiving.

Issues coming forward.  

Faculty response around the environment in classes.  Faculty behavior/statements and student behavior/statements.  Classroom does not always feel like a safe learning environment.  Question of requiring Understanding Racism, and the wisdom of it.  Work we need to do to sensitize ourselves around classroom environment and sensitivity for students of color.  Something we need to do, regardless of the demands.

Need to get a group of faculty together to come up with a plan for what we do.

How do students report that they have a concern?

Course evaluations not the right format to record concerns in these situations.

A faculty thing to do, not an administration thing to do.

    • Experience with concerns about sexism:  let students know that they may not see the response, but assure them that it will happen.  Follow-up could be a sense of concern.
    • Students don’t necessarily trust the anonymity.  They know/feel that someone could track the comment.  Doubt the benevolent faculty taking the concerns in a desired direction.  May be underreporting, but it would start an environment of beginning of awareness.  
    • Clarity about the fact that this issue will be a process.  A way to address the possibility of making mistakes, and avoiding that move toward creating an environment of safety so students could talk about their concerns in a safe way. No quick fix.  Work on it as a community working together.
    • TRAINING-move quickly.  Find out options. Implement in the fall.
      • Understanding Racism workshop as mandated would not be desirable: necessary resources, tenor of that experience would change.  What percentage of faculty have done the Understanding Racism Training?  All of the people who are most willing to go have gone.  Tends to be learning on the part of white participants by the placing a burden on members of the community who are persons of color by continually asking them to share their experiences.
      • Classroom training for faculty, especially white faculty.  Students don’t want that to be the requirement.  What needs to be required of faculty needs to be related to the classroom.  Would be great if all did the Understanding Racism workshop or went to speak outs, but that is not necessarily the answer unless they WANT to be there.  Maybe a whole new thing that is focused on faculty of color.
      • Bystander training.  Modeled after the sexual assault bystander training, general bystander training.
      • More of these types of opportunities are better.
        • Would have to figure out the mandatory part, especially for part-time faculty.  
        • Before the term begins in the fall.
        • Maybe eventually spring instead of fall (or in addition to an opportunity in fall), in January before classes begin.
        • Between the end of exams and graduation.
        • Staff and/or whole community at some point, too.
      • Maybe come up with smaller units than the whole faculty, grouping together people who address race, class, gender in deep ways.  Departmental groups may not be the most beneficial groupings for all these discussions.  Gathering people with other affinities across departmental lines might be desirable.
      • Maybe a stipend available for doing these workshops.

Information Gathering for Beth:

Meet with Faculty Development about opportunities.  Maybe it becomes a focus for them.  Fundamentally about being effective in the classroom.  Diversity Action Committee has various subcommittees.  Mechanisms for disseminating information from the work they do are not entirely clear.  Talk to people who attended the last mandatory workshop on racism of this type in 1998-99 (not successful, too many people, not a productive space for constructive discussion, not organized well).

      • Discuss at faculty meeting.
      • Discuss with Irving
      • Sarah and Alex get some feedback from students about what would make them feel comfortable about reporting.
      • Anonymous (or self-identified) place to report incidents.  Could then be evaluated (from names included). Shared anonymous with the community as a way to make the concerns public.  Beneficial to see concerns that we don’t always have access to.
      • Perhaps pilot in a few classes.
      • To be determined
      • Invite ideas
      • Knit-In.  Idea for community building.

Follow up on concerns about SAASA and sexual assault issues, that seem to have fallen through the cracks with administrative changes and past active students graduating.

  1. For Approval: New major in Sustainable Food Systems
  • Concerns about the sunset clause.  Is it the purview of Curriculum committee.  How long do we keep programs. Lack of clarity about our guidelines.
  • Cannot implement it without a faculty member.  Start date is impossible without that.  Potentially in spring, 2016 we could identify a two- or three-year temporary appointment then we could start the program in fall 2016.  We do not have a person with the necessary background and degrees.  
  • Problematic if we did not staff the position and students are in the program.  Concerns of programs like PECS would likely come back into the conversation.
  • Exciting opportunity.  Could the administration commit to the three-year appointment before it comes to faculty meeting?  If we could get this program approved, looking at applications, deposits, retentions.  February/March looking towards fall outlook.  If the enrollments and budgets are looking bad at that time we could not do it.  If we could invest in this general feeling it will be successful.  Brings shape to many initiatives we already have in progress (Bonner, CPPS, ENVS).
  • Concern about the handbook supporting interdisciplinary majors.  Related to Appendix G to be approved  by the corporate faculty?
  1. For Discussion: New Faculty Development Associate in Inclusive Pedagogy

Generally supportive of the proposal.  A few clarifications needed.

  • Should it be in the handbook?  Should other faculty associates be listed?  What about their compensation structure?  Not part of the survey.  Should be investigated.
  • Handbook:  Clerk’s confirms Associates that Faculty Development appoints.  Meet with the committee and they have 2 year terms.
  • Dave will ask faculty development to clarify term length (they should update the handbook to match what they want to be doing).  We recommend that they consider folding this appointment into the nominating process.  Who are the current associates?
  • Future:  FDC to manage all of the research applications.
  1. For continued Discussion at our next meeting:

Possible items for Faculty Meeting Agenda for December 2

    1. Gen Ed revision report
    2. Compensation committee report
    3. Sustainable Food Systems Proposal
    4. IRB committee – approval with changes to handbook
    5. Other handbook changes as requested by Adrienne
    6. Anything with service compensation or departmental restructuring?
    7. Other issues?
  1. Did not discuss:  continued discussion of faculty service and academic administrative structures

Close in silence at 11:20