The Moon Room

A Community Forum on Guilford College Faculty Life

Notes from Jane’s report from the February 2016 board meeting

March 31st, 2016

Jane gave a presentation today on the February 2016 board meeting. Because there was only one scheduled presentation and it intersected with class time, a faculty member requested that Clerk’s find somebody to take notes and share them. I found me. Here’s my summary of Jane’s presentation, which included an accompanying slide presentation.

Jane began by reading a poem by Wendell Berry titled What we need is here. Here is the text of the poem:

Geese appear high over us,
pass, and the sky closes. Abandon,
as in love or sleep, holds
them to their way, clear
in the ancient faith: what we need
is here. And we pray, not
for new earth or heaven, but to be
quiet in heart, and in eye,
clear. What we need is here.

Jane noted that it was particularly apt because it mentioned geese, of which we have an abundance at Guilford.

Jane said that although the challenges she’s faced since coming to Guilford have been difficult, she has enjoyed the work, and that Guilford is now poised for a renaissance, with lots of signs of a turnaround in progress. She shared with us a set of accomplishments and developments that she also shared with the board. I’ve categorized them as she did below.

Academic advances:

  • Approved a new bachelor’s program in cybertechnology and network security
  • Developing a new bachelor’s program in user experience and design
  • Approved a new master’s program in criminal justice
  • Approved a new bachelor’s program in sustainable food systems

Jane pointed out that these are in development, but most can’t be announced yet because they either require new staffing and resources or SACS-COC approval, and it would be unethical to advertise a program that was not ready to begin operation.

Strategic strides:

  • Website and marketing redesign is in the works
  • The Art and Science enrollment study is underway
  • The advancement division is being assessed and restructured
  • Ten strategic priority objectives in three areas have been identified, and the strategic planning oversight committee (SPOC) is working on details and metrics for these objectives

Memorable moments:

  • Renovation of Mary Hobbs with lots of alumna support. Jane said this could be a good model for future projects.
  • A gift of more than $300,000 to support the Friends Center
  • The adoption of a girl with significant health challenges by the women’s lacrosse team
  • An unprecedented successful football season, with nominations for national honors
  • The many fine speakers in the Bryan Series. Jane said we need to use this resource in our recruiting and other efforts.
  • The Every Campus a Refuge program led by Diya Abdo, which has led to refugee family members staying on our campus, and which is spreading to 41 other colleges in the U.S. and Canada. Jane reported that Diya has also been contacted by federal agencies about broadening this kind of effort.
  • Stephanie Flamini’s great basketball season, during which she reached a career 200 wins and was named the ODAC coach of the year.
  • Dennis Shore’s great work with the softball team, reaching 200 career wins this year.
  • The Godspell production, which drew rave reviews.
  • Guilford being named in a list of the top 30 sustainable college farms. Jane pointed out that the farm is very successful within limited means, which makes it a good model for our efforts.
  • A new cooperative accelerated degree program with the Elon law school.
  • The “Degrees Matter” program for adult students
  • Early College at Guilford being named the #1 public high school in North Carolina

Then Jane went on to describe actions and deliberations undertaken by the Board during its February meeting. These were as follows:

  • Remembering alums Howard Coble ’53 and Seth Macon ’40
  • Expressing gratitude to Carole Hunter ’63 for her work leading the Mary Hobbs renovation
  • Bringing the Vision for Excellence bridging campaign to an early close. The campaign raised a total of $9 million, which was positive but short of its goal. With the departure of Mike Poston and the potential restructuring of the advancement division, Jane and the board agreed that we would focus on general fundraising until new people and structures are in place.
  • Approving the freeze on tuition for 2016-17. For the first time in a long while, traditional student tuition will not increase next year, although there will be small changes in room, board, and fees to match increasing costs in those areas.

Jane then turned to issues of finance and enrollment. Jane described our situation as difficult but promising. Jane indicated that we had survived a $1.8 million budget deficit this year through a combination of $800,000 in spending cuts and the board’s approval of borrowing $1 million against our line of credit to cover costs and to fund new initiatives to improve enrollment. Fall enrollment numbers look positive for traditional students but not for CCE enrollment. Jane cited our initiatives with community colleges, some of which have held special Guilford Days for recruiting. She indicated that all community members have a role in recruiting and retention.

She described her view of our recovery as U-shaped, not V-shaped, indicating that it might take us a while to change course to positive growth. Although there will need to be some budget cuts for 2016-17, she sees us as near the bottom, and anticipates recovery and renaissance possibly within two years. She said we would experience (she hopes) “one more hard year” before completing our turnaround. Recovery depends on new enrollment, retention, and transfers. It may be difficult, and that we’re in for some more pain for the community next year, but she believes we are on the way to a brighter future. She said that the necessary cuts for next year should be clear by May or June of this year.

She also cited plans to restructure our debt, change our banking relationships, and borrow $20 million in new funds which would go to a variety of projects, perhaps most importantly to renovations in residence halls.

She indicated the compensation philosophy is on track and should be ready for when we have additional money to dedicate to salary increases.

The Board’s Buildings and Grounds committee met and discussed several issues, although they did not take new action. They discussed how to handle a new property gift on Arcadia Drive, how to handle our $16.8 million in deferred maintenance projects (much of which would presumably be covered by the new borrowing), and how to deal with requirements for Title IX and ADA. They also discussed management issues for the Guilford woods.

Board members met with students from the Integrity for Guilford group which has produced a list of demands posted online and publicized in the Guilfordian. Jane described this meeting as a unique emotional interaction which was not easy for trustees or for students. She said that despite a challenging discussion, there was universal praise for the students, their courage, and their message.

There were also two student research presentations shared with the board, one in biology and one in community justice. Jane thought that one of them might have prompted a new $25,000 gift to support science research.

Jane shared with the Board and with the meeting today her strategic priorities for Guilford, which came in three areas with ten objectives. She said that work will continue on SPOC to report on and reach these objectives.

Jane said that trustees seemed pleasantly surprised by the news and strategies she had shared. Although there are difficult challenges, she said the board was impressed by the fact that there were specific positive strategies proposed to meet each of these challenges. Her message was that we will need time to fix our problems, that we need to stay the course, and that it was her belief that with hard work, a way will open for Guilford to complete its turnaround.

Finally, Jane announced that our commencement speaker for this year will be the Rev. William Barber II, an award-winning activist and member of leadership in the NAACP. He has led the Moral Monday movement in North Carolina. Jane said he was honored to be asked to speak by the college, and that we were honored to have him.

Jane closed the meeting by reading the poem from Wendell Berry again, and then observed a moment of silence.

There were two questions from the audience. One questioner asked if we would have trouble with our SACS-COC reaccreditation because of ongoing structural deficits and because of lower-than-average salaries in many positions. Jane responded that she thought SACS would not be concerned with the salary issue, but that the deficits could be problematic. She was hopeful that the steps we’ve taken and the plans we’ve made to address the deficits would satisfy SACS.

Another questioner asked if there would be clear benchmarks for progress on our goals, and if they would be available to the community. Jane responded that she intended to create a “dashboard” available to the college community, and perhaps to the public, where our progress on our many strategic objectives could be reported. She indicated that these would be color coded (red for problem areas, yellow for potential concerns, and green for met goals) for easy interpretation, with detailed information also available.

Clerk’s Committee Agenda, Tuesday March 29th, 2016

March 28th, 2016
Clerk’s Committee Meeting Agenda – Tuesday March 29, 2016 1:00 pm
1. Gathering and Moment of Silence – 3 minutes
2. Approval of Minutes from March 22, 2016 – 2 minutes
3. For review: Faculty Meeting Agenda for 3/30 – 20 minutes
4. For discussion: Potential FAC process and standards changes – 30 minutes
5. For discussion: Information on departmental operating budgets – 10 minutes
6. For keeping on the radar: Service compensation model – 5 minutes
Close in silence

New policy appendices for faculty handbook

March 22nd, 2016

Hi, colleagues –

Clerk’s committee recently discussed two new appendices to the Faculty Handbook which cover policies that we are required by SACS-COC to have in place. Clerk’s decided that these fell under the category of “routine policy,” and that it was thus not necessary to bring them to faculty meeting for approval.
According to section 1.400 of the handbook, we are publishing these for comment. In section 1.400, we are directed to publish these items in the Beacon, but it is the sense of the Clerk that this is an outdated and unwieldy method for this publication, and I’ve sometimes had some difficulty getting items into the Beacon in a timely manner in the past.
Therefore, rather than publishing them in the Beacon, I am distributing them by e-mail and publishing them on the Moon Room site.
If you have comments or feedback about the appendices, please send them to me. If you have difficulty with my decision to publish them through the Moon room, please also let me know. I’ve included the relevant section of the Handbook below.
From Faculty Handbook Section 1.400:

Recommendations regarding routine policy coming from College committees shall appear in the Beacon, published weekly during the academic year. Unless challenged within thirty (30) calendar days, excluding holidays and summer recess, by petition of one (1) or more faculty or staff members, the policies will be considered approved and binding upon the College.

 However, one or more faculty or staff members may challenge a specific decision by petition to the Clerk’s Committee for decisions of faculty committees or the President for decisions of collegewide committees, Such challenges shall include a written rationale. Clerk’s Committee or the President, the originating committee, and the petitioner(s) should first attempt to find a resolution. If no resolution is forthcoming, Clerk’s Committee will address petitions by bringing the issue to the faculty meeting, or first sending it to the appropriate committee or to a special ad hoc committee; and the President will address petitions by making a final decision or first sending the issue to the appropriate committee or to a special ad hoc committee.

Alumni Association solicits award nominees from faculty

March 22nd, 2016

[From Miriam Biber]

You tell us who is worthy. The Guilford College Alumni Association annually presents their prestigious awards to meritorious alumni and community members: Exemplary Educator, Alumni Excellence, Charles C. Hendricks Distinguished Service, Young Alumni Achievement, Community Cares, and Honorary Alumnus Awards. We depend on our faculty to help us honor our alumni and community members.

The criteria for each these awards can be found at Nominate and share their story no later than 5.15.16.

Changes to part-time and overload compensation

March 21st, 2016

Beth Rushing has recently changed and standardized compensation for part-time and overload teaching, both of which are paid by the course. She distributed this to division chairs, but I’m not sure everybody saw it. I thought it would be useful to post the prior system and the current system for comparison.

The old system

Under the old system, four-credit day classes were compensated at a flat rate of $3500. For evening classes, there was a fairly complicated formula. This depended on whether courses were taught under the CCE program and on how many students were registered in the course. Here’s an excerpt Beth sent me from an appointment letter for an evening course:

[Full pay was contingent on having at least 10 CCE students as of the last day to add for the term]. The overload compensation started at $3010, “plus an additional amount based on the smaller of two numbers (hereinafter referred to as extra students). The first of the two numbers is the number of CCE students enrolled in the overload night class. The second is your total enrollment in all four of your classes minus 55. For example if your total enrollment was 70 for your four courses and your overload night class had 20 CCE students enrolled, your extra student number would be 15 (i.e., the smaller of 70 – 55 and 20)…. Since traditional students are not included in the calculation of the teaching stipend, you will be paid an additional $170 per student for teaching the traditional students up to a maximum of ten students.”

Under this system, pay for a four-credit evening class could range from $3010 to a maximum of $6610.

The new system

The new system does not categorize students by type, nor does it differentiate between daytime and evening classes. There is a flat fee for a four-credit part-time or overload course of $4000. Beyond that, there are three possible adjustments:

  • +$500 if the course enrolls more than 25 students
  • +$500 if the course ends at 10 pm
  • +$850 if the course includes a lab

If I’m reading this right, this means that the per-course compensation could range from $4000 to $5850

Clerk’s Committee Agenda for meeting on Tuesday, March 22, 2016

March 20th, 2016

Clerk’s Committee Meeting Agenda

Tuesday March 22, 2016 1:00 pm

1. Gathering and Moment of Silence – 3 minutes
2. Approval of Minutes from March 8, 2016 – 2 minutes
3. For approval: Ad hoc awards committee – 10 minutes
4. For discussion: Service compensation model – 10 minutes
5. For discussion: Potential FAC process and standards changes – 10 minutes
6. For approval: Faculty handbook new appendices L & M – 5 minutes
7. For approval: Faculty Meeting Agenda for 3/30 – 20 minutes

Possible items:

a. Report from Assessment committee (SACS requirement)

b. LAGER (requested 5 minutes)

c. MA in Criminal Justice

d. Safe Harbor or alternative

e. JTAC report and possible faculty consensus recommendation

f. Response to demands from Integrity for Guilford (Bob W. request)

g. Reassigned committee jobs and new assigned scholarship review group

h. Report from BOT meeting (Tim gone)

i. FAC procedural changes and future efforts

j. Service compensation model

k. Faculty handbook new appendices (L&M)

l. Approval of committee slate for 2016-17

Close in silence

Clerk’s Committee Meeting Minutes, March 1, 2016

March 20th, 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.

The Moon Room

A Community Forum on Guilford College Faculty Life