Clerk’s Committee Meeting Minutes, March 1, 2016

Clerk’s Committee Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, March 1, 2016, 1 p.m.

Attending: Dave Dobson (Clerk), Gwen Erickson (Recording Clerk), Sarah Estow (Social Sciences), Sherry Giles (Business, Policy, and Sports Studies), Sadie Hunter (Traditional Student representative), Lisa McLeod (Humanities), Beth Rushing (Vice President for Academic Affairs & Academic Dean), Kathryn Shields (Arts), and Steve Shapiro (Natural Sciences & Mathematics).

Regrets: Alex Ricks (CCE Student representative)

The meeting opened with a moment of silence. Minutes from the previous Clerk’s meeting were approved with minor typographical corrections. Minutes from the faculty meeting on February 3rd were affirmed.

Clerk’s discussed the compensation forum that was held February 24th.  It was noted that attendance was not very robust, and that it would be a good idea to bring the topic of compensation to a faculty meeting at some point to garner broader participation. It was noted that several concerns were raised at the forum. A specific concern brought up at Clerk’s is that the standard used as a basis for comparison to Guilford’s salaries needs to be identified.

Steve gave a status update on the QEP process. He shared that there are two candidates under consideration for lead reviewer for Guilford’s QEP. Some of the other people reviewed for this role might serve well as consultants. The first QEP-related workshops will be on May 13th and May 16th, 2016. We don’t actually have to start the QEP until Fall, 2017 and Spring, 2018, but it’s good to lay the foundation over the next year.  QEP will need to be on Clerk’s agenda at a meeting this semester to prepare for a report that is due in June, 2016.  Steve is looking for someone to lead the effort to decide on a title and create the logo for the QEP. He noted that this process can be a means of free publicity.

Dave gave a summary of the Board of Trustees meeting. Tim will give a more detailed report at the faculty meeting. Topics discussed included: the Integrity for Guilford group, the Title IX report, and restructuring the college’s current debt, so we can borrow money without increasing the debt service.  This funding would be devoted to dormitories and other construction. It was explained that this financial move would be akin to refinancing a mortgage. The restructuring would involve $20 million in borrowing, which is supportable within our current budget. In the context of this discussion, it was suggested that it would be good to introduce Len Sippel to faculty.

At the board meeting, Beth and Dave met with a small group of Academic Affairs committee members, including the chair, and two other trustee members.  Dave observed that there seems to be a sea change in the members of the committee, with current members open to revisiting criteria for review of Guilford faculty for tenure and promotion. The chair asked if the Academic Affairs committee could take on the role of discussing faculty salaries with the rest of the board members.  Dave also asked whether the committee would be open to a policy of self-nomination for promotion rather than waiting for senior colleagues to make such a nomination, as well as the possibility of linking tenure and promotion to Associate Professor.  Dave reported that the chair seemed open to discussing these changes. Clerk’s considered putting this item on a late April faculty agenda, so it could go to Trustees in June, but decided not to do this, since a group of faculty will be recommended for tenure then and promotion to Trustees at the June meeting and wouldn’t want to have both come up at the same time.

A third issue was identified for this discussion on promotion and tenure:  problems with doing a double review for promotion even if we don’t achieve linkage between tenure and promotion.  It would be preferable to have a single process for both.

Beth will talk with FAC about these issues because they would put the proposal together. If we could include the issues in the March 30th faculty meeting, this would probably give sufficient time for a review, discussion, and decision by faculty by the end of the semester.

Clerk’s reviewed the schedule for Wednesday faculty time for the rest of the semester. We have four dates that we can schedule. It was suggested that we leave the discussion about restructuring divisions until next year, given the substantial negative commentary about it that surfaced in the survey of faculty.

Clerk’s discussed the option of eliminating divisions. The only place they’re officially mentioned is in the breadth requirement. We might pilot eliminating divisions next year to see how people experience this change.  There could be clumps, or clusters, of disciplines that would be represented on different college committees.  Beth will come back to Clerk’s with her ideas after she thinks about a possible change to the structure.

Clerk’s considered scheduling a forum in the place of the IDS division meeting, but decided to keep the division meetings in place. It was noted that we’re likely to need an extra faculty meeting at the end of April.

Clerk’s discussed the January Term report. It was noted that the report was clear and comprehensive. An issue was identified that January Term only made sense if the general education curriculum requires people to do it. There was a thought that January Term was doomed to fail if there wasn’t a curricular tie for all students. It was also expressed that January term could work, that we haven’t given it enough time, and that it offers study away experiences for those who couldn’t have them otherwise. A suggestion was made to wait to make a decision about January Term until we know more about the new General Education curriculum. Another suggestion was made to leave the academic calendar the same even if we end January term. Several concerns were raised about this suggestion.

Dave observed that Clerk’s needs to put the January Term report on the agenda for the March 30th faculty meeting for discussion. The committee agreed to do this.

We moved to discuss the bias incident reporting form and process. The student group, Integrity for Guilford, coordinates this form and the responses received to it. It’s not clear what happens with incidents reported via this form. SPOC has been working with students’ ten demands from this past fall, and trying to integrate them into college processes. Clerk’s also discussed the Safe Harbor form created by Dave. This form would allow responses to come to college administrators who can address the concerns reported. Beth said that student feedback to Safe Harbor has been positive so far.  Clerk’s also discussed whether faculty and other staff should receive the responses as well as the academic dean. It was felt that the academic dean would be the most appropriate person to receive the responses since she supervises faculty and can decide on appropriate actions needed to respond to the concerns raised.

It was expressed that there is confidence that Beth will respond appropriately, but that there need to be other steps taken that would ensure greater accountability—since another person who isn’t as responsive could be in the dean’s position at some point in the future.  For example, information from the students’ form can be used to discern competencies needed among faculty.  Dave will edit the Safe Harbor form and share it at the next Clerk’s meeting. We’ll plan to take the form to a faculty meeting in the future. Sadie will also share the Safe Harbor document with students for their feedback. Additionally, it was suggested that information from the Safe Harbor form can be reported in aggregate at the end of the year so that the Guilford community can see issues and themes that emerged.

Clerk’s approved the agenda for the Faculty meeting to be held on March 2nd.

Dave reviewed a document he created with proposed rewards for service. Clerk’s will discuss the document further at a future meeting.

The meeting closed at 2:30 p.m. following a moment of silence.