Council Minutes 11-17-2017 | Kent State Stark | Kent State University

Kent State Stark Faculty Council Minutes
November 17, 2017
2 p.m.

I.  Chair Warren called the meeting to order at 2:04 PM. 

II.  Secretary Moneysmith called the roll and determined a quorum was present.

Attendance by Constituency:  I: Sebastian Birch, Kim Garchar, Lindsay Starkey. II: Bei Cai, Dee Warren. III: Matt Lehnert, Oliver Ruff, Greg Smith. IV: Jayne Moneysmith, Stephen Neaderhiser, Paula Sato. V: Lucas Engelhardt, Deepraj Mukherjee, Haithem Zourrig. VI: Greg Blundell, Chrissy Kauth, Eric Taylor.

Ex-officio: Dean Denise Seachrist, Interim Assistant Dean Thomas Norton-Smith.

Excused: Erin Hollenbaugh.

Guests: Rob Kairis, Provost Diacon, Vice-President Ritchey, Kim Finer, Ann Martinez, Jim Seelye.

III.  Approval of Agenda

Motion to approve: Councilor Garchar
Second: Councilor Mukherjee
The agenda was unanimously approved.

IV.  Approval of Minutes for the October 20, 2017 Meeting

Motion to approve: Councilor Lehnert
Second: Councilor Mukherjee
The minutes were unanimously approved.

V.  Chair’s Report 

A.  RCFAC. RCFAC met on Friday November 3, 2017. Dr. Ritchey advised that a regional campus enrollment summit would be held the following Monday (November 6th) at which the deans and other representatives from each regional campus would report on their respective recruitment, enrollment and retention efforts. Dr. Ritchey encouraged us to encourage our respective deans to share that presentation with faculty. (Dean Seachrist will be doing that shortly during her report.) He also stated that a good population of students to target for retention would be those who are still “Exploratory.” Dr. Ritchey stated that regional campus students across the system are in about 135 majors, and further that 80% of them are in one of 29 majors.  

In addition, they continued their discussion as a body of issues surrounding recruitment, enrollment and retention of students in the regional system. Dr. Ritchey had asked them at the previous meeting to come prepared to share some things with the group that our respective campuses do in terms of recruitment, enrollment and retention. In order to prepare, Chair Warren met earlier in the week with Diane Walker (Director of Student Services), Heather Guarnieri (Director for Academic Advising) and Deb Phillips (Director, Admissions) to get their input on what works for our campus. As a result of that meeting, she shared with RCFAC our efforts with the student success series and career week, as well as our emphasis in getting students into internship opportunities. 

B.  Provost Advisory Committee. The Vice Chair of RCFAC, Mariann Harding (Tusc campus) attended the Provost’s Advisory Council meeting on October 27th in her stead, as the meeting time conflicted with Chair Warren’s teaching schedule. Dr. Harding’s report follows.

1.  Requests for transfer of tenure to a different department were reviewed for several Kent campus faculty. All had received the approvals to transfer from their current departments and colleges.

2.  Faculty Senate is looking at the tenure process at the request of the Provost.  Deb Smith, Faculty Senate chair, has convened a group (the Professional Standards Committee) to look at the possibility of making tenure/promotion one process, providing a new definition of sustainability as applicable to one’s research agenda, and determining if early tenure and promotion should be permitted. Other definitions that are being evaluated include “extraordinary” as it applies to early decisions and “impactful.”

3.  The University is currently pursuing articulation agreements similar to other universities with local community colleges, including Lorain County Community College, Stark State, Lakeland Community College, and Belmont College.  Administration is working to develop a new website, FlashTransfer, that will make the process easier for students to transfer to Kent.

4.  The University is looking at the state's mandate to develop a textbook policy. The goal is to reduce the costs of textbooks while maintaining academic freedom.

5.  The University policy regarding service animals was reviewed. Faculty must allow service animals to attend classes with the student.

VI.  Dean’s Report

Dean Seachrist thanked Professor Norton-Smith for giving up his FPIL to serve admirably as interim assistant dean. He has been especially helpful with course scheduling. She also thanked Dr. Warren, who as Faculty Council chair has done a great job guiding faculty through this difficult time. She then shared information on the following issues:

A.  Safety and Security. Three of our security officers, Tina Biasella, LaTarsha Miller and Dean Seachrist attended a safety and security presentation at the fairgrounds, which focused on education. Although it was quite helpful, it was also disquieting. She reached out to the Jackson police to see if they might provide some additional support, although we are already in the process of upgrading our security. For example, our mass communication system is up and running, with complete connectivity to all buildings. We also have 24 security cameras in place, with more to come. By the end of next year, we hope to have 58 in place. We will be able to add additional cameras later if needed.

B.  Enrollment Presentation. Dean Seachrist shared her enrollment presentation, which highlights headcounts from the last few years, and our goals for recruiting new students. We will be tracking recruitment events to see what gives us a good return on our investment and also be more intentional with scholarship funds. We need to look at retention from additional perspectives. 
C.  Aramark. Dean Seachrist indicated that she still is involved in stakeholders’ meetings about Aramark. The University is going to do a complete “do-over” with them. Aramark now seems to have personnel on the scene that understand our challenges and that the Conference Center has to be handled differently. Some important changes will be made, for example, instead of “grab and go” sandwiches, Jessica Anderson will make fresh tuna and egg salad sandwiches. The omelet bar may return. In addition, our community garden has been causing some frustration.  We have been told that in order to use the produce from our garden, we would have to become our own vending site.  However, we were able to take some of the produce to Flash’s Pantry.

D.  Global Initiatives. We will continue to develop our global initiatives through such activities as supporting faculty-led trips abroad. For example, Dr. Gasper-Hulvat will be leading a study abroad trip to Rome, and Dr. Heaphy will be leading a trip to China. Our current Chinese students in the ESL program have been in some additional activities beyond the classroom, such as going on short trips and doing some job shadowing. 

E.  University Early Separation Plan (UESP). Seven faculty from our campus have submitted their paperwork for the UESP, four in FTNTT positions, and three in TT positions. Of the seven, three are leaving at the end of this AY, in May 2018: Deb Jones (Psychology), Brian Newberg (Theater), and Robert Miltner (English). The remaining four have asked for a one-year extension and will be leaving in May 2019: Laurel Seeds (Music), Kathy Stirbens (M & IS) and Pete Dorff (Accounting). 

At the end of her report, Dean Seachrist asked if anyone had any questions for her. Councilor Lehnert indicated that it had come to his attention that Ron Hoagland in the Business Office has told faculty secretaries that they will be overseeing expenditures related to grant money, and he found that a cause for concern because such expenditures can be quite difficult to process without specific training. For example, instead of going to the Business Office for travel, faculty would be going to the faculty secretaries such as Deb in the Science and Nursing Building. Councilor Lehnert said that faculty are encouraged to get grants but once they do, there is not an effective structure in place to manage them.  Dean Seachrist agreed that the current situation was problematic and promised to look into the matter. 

VII.  Assistant Dean’s Report

Interim Assistant Dean Norton-Smith began by thanking everyone for their kind thoughts and wishes as he takes on the challenges of his new position. In his first three weeks, his office has been engaged in the following projects:

A.  Scheduling. His principal project has been scheduling, including tweaking Spring 2018 schedule and building the Summer and Fall 2018 schedules. Many thanks for scheduling in accordance with the Stark Campus’ standard scheduling blocks. Many thanks to Rae Ann Franks for her assistance.

B.  College Credit Plus. A particular challenge has been staffing our promised College Credit Plus sections—but we’re just about there. Thanks to Mary Southards, Deb Phillipp, Jesmin Akter, Eleanor Kudor, and Lisa Hart. (Lisa remains in our thoughts for her recent loss.) He also has been asked to collect all the CCP textbook information for the bookstore.

C.  Meetings of the Regional Campuses Assistant Deans. He and Mary Southards attended a meeting of the Regional Campuses Assistant Deans on November 14th. The principal topic of discussion was the pilot implementation of the “Zoom” point to point technology. The same group will meet on December 5th at Twinsburg to develop the Summer 2018 schedule.

D.  Special Assignments and Workload Statements. The office is also working on Spring special assignments and workload statements. Many thanks to Debbie Schneider for her assistance.

E.  Faculty Professional Improvement Leaves. The office has finalized the AY 2018-2019 Faculty Professional Improvement Leaves.

F.  Enrollment. Spring 2018 enrollment numbers came from Diane Walker this morning: Head count 3105. Mary Southards conveys that these are good numbers at this juncture.

VIII.  Provost’s Remarks.  

Provost Diacon thanked Faculty Council for the opportunity to meet with them and indicated that he had information on several issues to share. Dr. Ritchey added additional information as appropriate.

A.  Tuition Guarantee Model. The University will be implementing a tuition guarantee model such that students will be able to pay the same tuition for each year enrolled, based on the first year’s tuition. Dr. Ritchey added that he wants the regional campuses to opt in, but with one price point, as opposed to having different tuition for lower- and upper-division courses.

B.  Strategic Hiring Plans. The dean and business officer of each campus were asked to present their budget for the year, but this year there is the added twist of the UESP. All the funds saved through the UESP will be used for hiring, but we need to be strategic. For example, if a TT retires, do we need a replacement TT in that same program, or is there a greater need elsewhere? Dr. Ritchey will be overseeing this process for the regional campuses. (As an aside, Dr. Ritchey said that he would like to acknowledge Chair Warren’s work on RCFAC. Through her leadership, they now have purposeful and productive meetings.)

C.  Articulation Agreements with Community Colleges. The University would like to increase the number of Community College graduates that come to our campuses to earn a bachelor’s degree. To make that goal a reality, many of our articulation agreements will need to be improved. The University is working on a new web-based system, FlashTransfer, to make it easier for students to transfer.

D.  Tenure and Promotion, and Early Tenure. Kent State is one of the few universities that separates tenure and promotion. The Professional Standards committee is now looking into linking them, as well as seeking to clarify what is meant by the term “sustained” as it is used in policies. Early tenure is also under discussion: should we continue to have it, and if we should, do the guidelines need to be changed? For example, what does the term “exceptional” mean as applied to early tenure?

IX.    Committee Reports

A.  PAAC. Councilor Hollenbaugh was out of town at a conference but sent in the following report: PAAC reviewed 14 travel funding requests in October and is currently reviewing the November requests. They also reviewed five Faculty Professional Improvement Leave proposals and submitted comments to Interim Assistant Dean Norton-Smith. Those traveling in January 2018 should remember that the deadline to submit for travel funding is December 15, 2017.

B. Committee II. Councilor Starkey reported that Committee II has continued to work on their first charge, to spearhead the creation of a draft of the next Campus Vision Statement (2018-2022) from the faculty viewpoint. The committee met on November 2, 2017 to discuss all the initial feedback it received and to compose a starting draft of the Vision Statement. Councilor Starkey distributed two versions of the draft indicated that she would like Faculty Council’s feedback on it. Some discussion ensued about small changes that could be made, with a preference being shown for the second version. Both versions of the Vision Statement Draft are appended to these minutes.

The Staff Campus Vision Committee has also been working on a starting draft of the Vision Statement. Committee II will meet with the Staff Campus Vision Committee Tuesday, November 21, 2017 to prepare a joint first draft of the Campus Vision Statement to send to the entire Stark community for feedback and amendment. 

In the meanwhile, Committee II has asked our faculty colleagues to help them gather student feedback to inform both the upcoming Vision Statement and the Strategic Plan. On Monday, November 13, 2017, the committee sent three questions to faculty and invited those interested in doing so to help us collect feedback. If interested faculty would please return any feedback they collect by Friday, December 1, 2017 to Lindsay Starkey (, the committee would greatly appreciate it. The three questions sent are also appended to these minutes. Additionally, the committee would like to thank Dr. Lucas Engelhardt for taking the questions distributed and creating a Blackboard survey with them, for our colleagues who prefer an electronic option. 

C.  Colloquium Committee. Dr. Martinez reported that the first colloquium was held on Friday, October 27, with Dr. Bei Cai, Communication Studies, and Dr. Relja Vulanovic, Mathematics, presenting on their sabbatical research.  The second colloquium will be held today in the Science and Nursing Building, Room 217. Dr. Stephen Neaderhiser, English, and Dr. Robert Hamilton, Biology, will discuss their work with undergraduate research assistants. Two additional colloquiums will be held next semester, one in February and one in March, both after Faculty Council meetings (one will focus on experiential learning).

The first colloquium for Fall 2018 will focus on Study Abroad experiences. Dr. Marie Gasper-Hulvat, Art History, and Dr. Leslie Heaphy, History, have agreed to discuss their classes, which will be traveling to Italy and China this coming Spring semester. The date for the Fall Colloquium will be determined by next year’s Colloquium Committee.

D.  Treasurer/Social Committee. Councilor Sato reported $77 was raised from the raffle for the Council chair’s parking spot. The drawing for December and January parking will be November 28. The annual holiday dinner will be held on Friday, December 8, with the cost being $15 per person. The deadline to RSVP is Friday, December 1. 

E.  Technology Committee. Councilor Neaderhiser indicated that everything is going smoothly with the committee, with no requests outstanding.  He and his committee have been working on updating the technology protocols document, which he will bring to the next meeting of Council. 

D.  Handbook Committee. The committee does not have a charge at this time. 

VIII.  Old Business: None

IX.  New Business

A.  Kathy Kinzer-Downs: Civil Rights Bus Tour. Ms. Kinzer-Downs informed Council of a nine-day civil rights bus tour that she believes provides an excellent opportunity for our students, and other members of our campus community as well. This tour is run by a former colleague of hers, and she has personally gone on this trip herself. The tour visits key sites of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960 and gives participants the opportunity to talk to people who were active participants in the movement. The trip will take place June 9-17, 2018, and will cost $1,000, not including meals.  Ms. Kinzer-Downs also noted that it might be possible to coordinate the trip with a summer class, if there is interest in doing so. It was noted that the trip begins the Saturday before our Summer I session begins.

X.  Announcements

A.  Dean Seachrist indicated that she had received a copy of the Regional Campus Report for everyone interested.

B.  Dr. Seelye announced that the regional Ohio History Day Contest will be held on Saturday, April 7 on our campus. Dr. Seelye is serving as the coordinator for our region.

XI.    Adjournment

Chair Warren adjourned the meeting at 3:58 PM.



Appendix A: Committee II Initial Campus Vision Statement Draft 

Option 1
Stark county’s only public four-year degree-granting institution provides our diverse community with excellent educational and unique cultural opportunities. As the largest regional campus in the Kent State University system, we have a special mission to serve the community and to equip our students with the foundational skills they need to succeed in the twenty-first century. 

Option 2
Kent State University at Stark is Stark county’s only public four-year degree-granting institution. As the largest regional campus in the Kent State University system, we have a special mission to provide our diverse community with excellent educational and unique cultural opportunities and to equip our students with the foundational skills they need to succeed in the twenty-first century.  

Appendix B: Questions Sent to Faculty to Invite Student Feedback

1. What makes you proud to be at Kent State Stark?
2. In what ways could Kent State Stark be better?
3. What do you as a student need here to be successful?