February 3, 2011

Faculty Council Minutes
February 3, 2011

Members attending:

Jana Allen, Carolyn Moore, Loretta Calvert, Joan Weaver, George Wilson, Bobbie Kilbane, Reneé Eades, Jane Armour, Greg Burgess, Clark Cropper, Chuck Conrad, Rita Sowell, Kokesh Kadakia, Kevin Cook, Buddy Daniel, guest from the SGA

Minutes from December 1 and January 20 meetings were approved. Loretta will post the approved minutes on the faculty council website.

Outside Employment:

Loretta will find more detailed information about outside employment guidelines. The council expressed a concern that a lack of equity may be present in the application of rules on outside employment. Loretta reported about cabinet reactions to outside employment. A question was raised about whether the application form should be changed to give enough information for approval or disapproval of outside employment. One example was given about an application that had been sent back two times to the applicant, asking for relatively minor detailed information.
Faculty, in fact, does not feel that approval of outside employment is equitable and transparent and wonders if a recent policy / procedure has been written out. Faculty need to know what the requirements are to qualify for outside employment and exactly why a person was disapproved. We need a disapproval policy with more objective criteria specified. Loretta will revise the form (application for outside employment) and circulate to the council for review.

Activity Hour Proposal:

Kevin Cook presented a written proposal supporting an activity hour for students. This could be a support for building retention. Student Government Association Vice-President, Buddy Daniel, advocated for an activity period, which seems to be a win-win situation; however, the hour might be difficult for science classes because of a conflict with labs. Labs are maxed out at present. Council members should take the proposals back to their divisions to assess feelings about reinstituting the activity period. Deans have been discussing the idea and may be close to implementation.

Advising:
Loretta raised the question about how do we define advising. She asked council members to offer their definitions of advising. The main question is about when an advisor is available. The virtual advisors should be available. The advising committee wants students to make appointments with advisors to avoid walk-ins, who may contact their advisors at a time when other conflicts exist, which might impede or prevent an advising session. The problem is that students don’t plan ahead and make an appointment with their advisors. Also, students aren’t clear about their academic majors. Banner doesn’t make a switch when students change advisors. This problem is being worked on. The point is made to students that they should make appointments with their advisors. This is a learning object.

Considering various advising models, the council entertained the following questions and ideas: Should the advising office handle brand new students? What do we think about peer-to-peer advising? Peer-to-peer can have its drawbacks in terms of advice about curriculum. Peer-to-peer can handle help on the basic process of how to register or how to file for financial aid. Many students don’t have a clue about registration basics. The summer session is the problem because advisors are not available. The question is about the role of the advising center. Should the center follow a customer service model or an educational mentoring model? Mandatory advising may be coming full circle. What about specialized advising in fields such as nursing or the allied health fields? Could we have an effective means to advise the specialized student? Advising could be done in a group setting. Specialty program advisors can inform advising center personnel about how to advise in their field and can give short programs for a group of advisees in a field.

Freshman Orientation:

The council agreed that freshman orientation needs enhancement; for example, some students did not receive a welcome packet.The question was discussed that perhaps a mandatory orientation is appropriate. Most students do orientation on-line. Members are encouraged to share with the advising task force any ideas, concerns, and questions that they may have.

Hope Scholarships:

The council discussed the question of changes in the Hope Scholarship program. The matter of qualifications for the Hope Scholarship is under discussion at the state level. The conflict is whether to reduce the amount of scholarship funding or raise the GPA requirement from 2.75 to 3.0 or 3.2. An idea was suggested that a student should be in school for one year before receiving a scholarship. A student must maintain a 2.75 average to keep the scholarship. Thus, students would demonstrate that they can do college work before receiving a Hope Scholarship award. Should the Hope Scholarship could be need-based? The council favored awarding good students because several needs-based scholarships are already available. There might, however, be a needs-based scale.

Salary:

The TBR has to approve the funding to implement a salary plan. A letter from Dr. Nichols and Beth Cooksey was sent to the TBR asking for the TBR to release the funds to implement our VolState salary plan. The letter also requested that an across the board raise be given to employees, and a merit bonus be made available. Lorett asked the vcouncil about thoughts on how to spend our money that may be available: the salary plan? Or across the board? Appproval would happen in June. August paychecks would have an increase.

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