I. University Senate:
The University Senate met on Monday, January 22, 2018.
- Items Under Consideration For Information by Various Standing Committees:
- Equity and Diversity Committee (Prof. Linda Prokopy) is investigating freedom of expression policies.
- Educational Policy Committee (Prof. Ralph Kaufmann) is investigating issues of academic integrity and rigor.
- Faculty Affairs Committee (Prof. Steve Landry) is investigating the discrepancy between U.S. government and Purdue University reimbursement rates for travel-related expenses and also the proposal to change the cap on Continuing Lecturers at the various campuses.
- Doc. 17-05, Senate Bylaws Change (For Action – Prof. Natalie J. Carroll): The motion would change eligibility requirements to allow previous University Senators to run for the Vice Chairperson position. This would allow faculty members to serve as Vice Chairperson, and then Chair, at an appropriate time in their career, whether or not they are currently on the University Senate. The issue was postponed until fall. The PNW representative voted to postpone.
- Doc. 17-07, Resolution on Library Database Subscriptions (For Action – Prof. Alan Friedman): The University Senate requests that administrators, faculty, and staff initiate a program for obtaining more information about the usage of the databases of academic journals by the members of the Purdue community. This program should include: (1) detailed information from publishers on database usage for the last completed subscription period and (2) a comprehensive report on the information, including proposals for alternative arrangements with an evaluation of their costs in dollars and any resulting limitations on faculty and student research and education. The resolution was approved. The PNW representative voted to approve.
- Doc. 17-08, Resolution on Budget Openness (For Discussion – Prof. Alan Friedman): The University Senate proposes the adoption the following best practices in establishing and communicating the consolidated budget of the University and those of the College, School, Department, and Research Center units:
- Continuing oversight by the Budget, Interpretation, Evaluation and Review (BIER) Committee,
- Preparation of a comprehensive report on the tuition freeze,
- Identifying and explaining the policies for return of grant overhead by the budgetary units,
- identifying and explaining the centralization of faculty hiring lines,
- identifying and explaining the factors that affect allocation of moneys to the budgetary units to promote decisions by the units themselves that will align better with the incentives for allocation, especially in regard to promoting student enrollment and establishing appropriate courses and degree programs,
- identifying and explaining the effects of and any rules on the generation and retention of independent revenues by the units,
- identifying and explaining the consequences of unbalanced budgets for the units, both in surplus and in deficit,
- identifying and explaining an accounting of the costs of research for the University and the costs of teaching, including that for different kinds of research and teaching, and
- providing for enhanced transparency in the preparation of budgets in the units, including a transparent timeline for the preparation of the yearly budget in all the units. The proposal was discussed and will come up for a vote, perhaps in a somewhat revised form, at the February meeting.
- Doc. 17-09, Resolution of Appreciation to Senates of Michigan State University & University of Nebraska (For Discussion – Prof. Alberto Rodriguez): The University Senate had sent a letter of complaint regarding the Kaplan acquisition to the ICHE, HLC, and U.S. Department of Education. Doc 17-09 was a resolution to thank the respective Senates of Michigan State and Nebraska for their resolutions supporting the Purdue University Senate’s concerns over the Kaplan acquisition. After discussion, the resolution was moved for action which was approved. The resolution was approved. The PNW representative voted to move it to action and to approve.
- Update from the Kaplan Entity Special Committee (For Information – Committee Co-Chair Prof. Deborah Nichols): The committee has been formed and will begin meeting January 29. Prof. Pula is a member of the committee.
II. Intercampus Faculty Council:
The IFC met on January 22, 2018.
- Kaplan Acquisition: The official name of the new Kaplan acquisition was announced as “Purdue University Global.” The approval process is now in the hands of the HLC since the formal application has been submitted. There is a feeling among some West Lafayette faculty that the way in which the acquisition is being presented violates HLC accreditation policies. A faculty Kaplan Committee has been formed and will meet for the first time on Monday, January 29. Its co-chairs are Prof. Deborah Nichols and Prof. Richard Olenchak. Prof. Pula was elected as a representative, but the meetings are scheduled exactly when he is teaching.
- Lecturer Policies and Procedures: A proposal has been forwarded to the WL Faculty Affairs Committee. The purpose of the proposal is to suggest a system-wide policy to make CLs officially “faculty” and not “staff” and to determine whether or not they can be elected to faculty senates. It was announced that this was to be submitted to each campus for comment, but as yet the PNW faculty have not seen this document.
- Campus Reports
- Campus Highlights: The major issue in West Lafayette is the Kaplan acquisition. IUPUI announced that they had some success in obtaining enhanced branding on their website which is mostly dominated by IU. At IPFW the separation of the IU and Purdue programs has led to some serious enrollment and financial concerns as IU has begun to move its programs away from the joint campus to a nearby facility.
- PNW Report: Each campus was asked for a report on current issues. In the PNW report, Prof. Pula mentioned the significant amount of time that unification activities have taken away from other faculty responsibilities and that this continues as all of the normal policies and procedures of the two former institutions have to be integrated and adopted by the new PNW Faculty Senate to support its academic responsibilities. He reported that the faculty appear to be merging quite well and that much progress has been made on a final promotion and tenure policies and procedures document. However, there are problems with declining enrollment, much of which is caused by administrative decisions including an unwillingness to adhere to promises made prior to the unification. The members of the IFC were quite interested and requested a more complete report in time for their next meeting.
- Future Issues: The IFC plans to address the following issues at coming meetings: (1) Pushing the recognition CLs as faculty system-wide. (2) Investigating further the creation of “Purdue University Global.” (3) Reviewing how the unification is proceeding at PNW.
III. West Lafayette Faculty Committee:
The Faculty Affairs Committee met on January 17, 2018.
- Infometrics: There was a motion to disband that committee since it has not met or taken any action in years.
- Continuing Lecturer Policy: It was announced that a draft revision of the policy on capping the percentage of Continuing Lecturers was “still with the Regional Senates and waiting to hear from them.”
- Teaching Evaluation Methods Resolution: VPFA Hollenbeck stated that the meeting was successful as there was a great support from the faculty in attendance. The co-chairs are Rick Olenchak and Marcy Towns and they have broken the group into subgroups and for this semester the goal is to have done the forensics on what is possible and what other Big 10 universities are doing, work on the literature etc. Next semester the goal will be to make a decision on what is best to use.
- Use of Commercial Metric Provider for Faculty Evaluation: The committee proposed the following resolution on the use of commercial metrics programs for faculty evaluation.
“To: The University Senate
From: University Senate Faculty Affairs Committee
Subject: Use of commercial metric provider companies for faculty evaluation
Disposition: University Senate for Discussion
WHEREAS: At least one College at Purdue has hired a private company (“Academic Analytics”) on a trial basis to supply metrics on faculty productivity and effectiveness; and
WHEREAS: the American Association of University Professors has investigated such efforts and found, in part, that “measuring faculty ‘productivity’ with an exclusive or excessive emphasis on quantitative measures of research output must inevitably fail to take adequate account of the variety and totality of scholarly accomplishments;” and
WHEREAS: Rutgers University faculty have forbidden the use of data obtained from companies such as Academic Analytics for promotion and tenure decisions and "in decisions affecting the composition of the faculty, graduate and undergraduate curricula, and grant writing;" and
WHEREAS: Academic Analytics typically does not make its data available to faculty members;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
The University Senate recommends that Purdue University and its faculty units should use extreme caution in partnering with Academic Analytics and similar companies, and should never rely solely or even predominately on such data for promotion, tenure, raise, retention offers, allocation of faculty lines, or hiring decisions. When such data is obtained, faculty members should be given access to the data in order to be able to check its accuracy and completeness, and should be given an opportunity to respond to perceived inaccuracies and incompleteness.”