Clerk’s Committee Minutes from October 5, 2017

Clerk’s Committee Meeting Minutes

Thursday October 5, 2017 8:30 am


Present: Dave Dobson (Clerk), Kathryn Shields, Don Smith (recording), Darryl Samsell, Alfonso Abad Mancheño, Jeff Ray, Jill Peterfeso, Eva Lawrence, Caleb Anderson


  1. The meeting opened with a moment of silence.
  2. Don agreed to record the minutes, and this decision was approved.
  3. The minutes from 9/28 were approved with a minor revision.
  4. Discussion of the SACS report was postponed until Frank could be present.
  5. We went through the list of committees, and each liaison reported what they have learned about each committee’s status and progress. Most committees seem to be starting up the year successfully.  Budget committee is in the process of a major revision.  In the past, there have been problems around the committee’s role, purpose, access, and authority.  The future of this committee is not clear at this time, pending conversations with and decisions by Jane and the senior team, but we want to make sure that the faculty have a meaningful and substantive role.  We also discussed the history of finances and endowment policy over the last few administrations.  Enrollment committee has encouraged Arlene to present to the faculty on the status of and plans for CCE.  Honors is only meeting on an as-needed basis.  We don’t know what Space Utilization is doing yet.  Learning Technologies was approved yesterday to become a standing committee, so their status is in transition.  It’s possible Space Utilization and Learning Technologies will have enough overlap in responsibility to justify merging them.
  6. Attendance at faculty meeting yesterday was surprisingly low. We (Clerk’s) review (but do not approve) faculty meeting minutes.  Jill expressed interest in receiving feedback on how she is formulating minutes as Recording Clerk.  We will have a separate agenda item to discuss minutes at a future committee meeting.  The meeting yesterday was considered to be productive, as the proposals were all approved.  A request was raised during the meeting to have a wide discussion about the role and nature of the interdisciplinary programs (particularly the second major requirements vs. being a “standalone” major, and the need or lack thereof for a “home department”.  What do we do when a key player in a program leaves?).  We recognized this as an important topic, and we will take it up at a later time.  One member suggested making IDS more robust as an administrative home for interdisciplinary programs.  Others disagreed, although everyone recognized that the current structure of IDS isn’t ideal.  These problems are linked with the larger problem of faculty service workload issues.
  7. Faculty Development Committee has submitted a request to approve Robert G Williams’s service in the role of “Faculty Development Associate for Post-Tenure Faculty”.  As overseers of the broader committee structure, Clerk’s Committee approved this appointment as fulfilling Robert’s committee service obligations for this academic year.
  8. We decided not to schedule a forum for next Wednesday, October 11.
  9. Although there was an agenda item scheduled to discuss the challenges facing the Budget Committee, we decided that the previous discussion of Budget committee under item 5 would serve for this agenda item as well.
  10. There is a problem with the unequal distribution of faculty service work. The assignment of compensation has been ad hoc and dependent on each individual’s situation, but then carries on whether it’s relevant or not once that individual moves on.  There is no way to currently distinguish between heavy service work and barely doing anything.  Service on ad hoc committees doesn’t count at all.   One member raised the concern that it feels like service is starting to feel more demanding than teaching in terms of how we are expected to spend our time and effort.  Clearly, something needs to change; we can’t just abdicate evaluating this because it’s complicated.  We’re feeling abused and uncompensated.  Dealing with service alone is an incomplete picture—the rest of our workload is not independent of service.  Some years, a faculty member might have a scholarship project to work on, and perform less service, and the rest of the department might compensate.  It was pointed out that many schools have paid staff to fulfill some of these roles.  We agreed to keep discussing this issue and searching for an equitable approach to evaluating workload and distributing compensation.
  11. We may not have a meeting next week, depending on whether there are any pressing issues we need to deal with before break.
  12. The meeting closed in silence at 9:57 am.