Time: 3:15 p.m.
Place: HMSU, Dede III
Officers: Chairperson H. Hudson, Vice Chair S. Lamb, Secretary Sr. A. Anderson
Senators: J. Allen, C. Amlaner, V. Anderson, M. Bahr, E. Bermudez, M. Brennan,
J. Buffington, J. Conant, N. Corey, B. Evans, A. Ford, B. Frank, J. Gatrell, D. Gravitt,
E. Hampton, M. Harmon, D. Hews, P. Hightower, C. Hoffman, N. Hopkins, J. Hughes, R. Johnson, J. Kuhlman, C. MacDonald, R. McGiverin, T. Mulkey, M. Ould-Mey,
S. Sharp, V. Sheets, S. Shure Q. Weng,
Absent: D. Burger, K. Byerman, A. DiSalvo, C. Montanez, S. Pontius, P. Wheeler
Ex-Officio: L. Benjamin, J. Maynard, R. Schafer
Visitors: E. Kinley, M. Lester, K. Lewis, S. Loughlin, M. Memering, M. Mertens, S. Powers,
N. Surma, M. Warpenburg
I. Administrative Report
1) thanks to Senate officers for leadership and Executive Committee for work this year;
2) noted the upcoming commencement on May 7; last week’s Faculty Honors Dinner;
3) provided budget updates on state budget approval process.
1) thanks to Senate officers and Executive Committee for work this year;
2) noted the faculty honored at this year’s Faculty Honors Dinner;
3) complimented the work of two deans that will not be serving next year, Dean Saucier, Nursing and Dean Michelfelder, Arts and Sciences.
II. Chair Report
Chair Hudson reported:
1) noted upcoming events—Spring Faculty Meeting, April 26; Retirement Tea, April 28; Board of Trustees meeting, April 29; Commencement, May 7;
2) expressed thanks for allowing to serve as chair and announced next year’s Executive Committee;
3) noted the Executive Committee had nominated faculty to serve on two recognition committees--Distinctive Programs and Promising Scholars;
4) introduced the two recipients of the Faculty Scholarship for this year—Mary Lester and Krystina Lewis. This year’s recipients expressed thanks to the Senate.
III. SGA Report
The student referendum on the new recreation center indicated 68% of students support the project; April 23 is the football scrimmage; faculty were encouraged to submit book orders to the bookstore as soon as possible.
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IV. Fifteen Minute Open Discussion
1) An expression of gratefulness that the AAC had removed individual faculty comments from the Faculty Satisfaction Survey information available on its web site.
2) Concern that a shortage of capstone courses exists—the General Education Council is presently studying the issue and will make a report and recommendation for a plan to help the students.
3) Question to the provost on the two new positions that have been added to the marketing effort in spite of past statements that none would be created; Vice President Bouse will forward response.
V. Approval of the Minutes
Minutes of the March 17, 2005, meeting were approved. (Evans, Kuhlman 33-0-1)
VI. CAAC: Martial Arts Minor
Approved. (Kuhlman, Hightower 32-0-2)
Noted: proposal has been through the proper review process; no additional staff or courses required for implementation of the minor.
VII. AAC: Faculty Count
Accepted as information item. (Hopkins, Hoffman 33-0-1)
Note: trend continues for there to be greater increases in non-teaching staff than in teaching staff.
Provost Maynard expressed concern with the present classification system. A new classification is under review.
The AAC noted there had not been an increase in enrollment but a decrease; however, administrative positions continue to increase, “Are we getting our money’s worth?”
VIII. Spouse/partner Hires Policy
Approved. (McGiverin, Frank 33-0-1)
Background: the Faculty Affairs Committee forwarded a recommendation to the Executive Committee. A taskforce appointed by the Executive Committee wrote the policy on the table. This policy encourages accommodation of spouse/partner hires within the University’s current nepotism policy.
These guidelines will be forwarded to the Provost.
IX. Notebook Initiative
Motion: The Faculty Senate supports the implementation of a mandatory student notebook program at Indiana State University effective Fall 2007, consistent with the recommendations of the Feasibility Report from the Notebook University Implementation Committee. This support is based on our understanding, as stated in our initial motion of December 16, 2005, that individual faculty members would not be required to use laptops in their classes and that academic freedom and faculty primary authority for curriculum and academic matters will not be compromised by the notebook initiative. We recommend that the Committee continue its work and fully develop an implementation plan in partnership with students, faculty, Chief Information Officer, and Provost. The Executive Committee and Faculty Senate shall be regularly informed of the committee’s progress, and shall continue to nominate faculty members to serve on all committees having responsibility for the implementation of the notebook initiative.
Approved. (Lamb, Anderson 25-8-1) Motion will be forwarded to the administration.
Chair Hudson opened discussion with these comments: A request has been made for a vote by written ballot, so we will proceed in that manner.
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First I would like to thank the notebook committee and Senate appointees to the committee for their work. The work was demanding in and of itself, in addition to which members have weathered personal attacks with grace and good humor. It is a measure of the importance of the work you have done that it has generated such strong sentiment.
We have a number of visitors with us today, some of whom have asked to speak. While this is not our usual practice, as a courtesy, I will recognize those who contacted me before the meeting. I ask them to limit their comments to no more than 4 minutes each, so all can be heard.
Only guests invited to speak to the notebook initiative will be recognized to speak during the Senate’s discussion. After our guests have been heard, I will recognize senators to speak. So that all who wish may be heard, I will recognize senators once and encourage you to make a full statement of your position at that point. I ask speakers to refrain from repeating points already made, though of course you may express agreement or disagreement. If time allows, I may recognize senators a second time if all have spoken and a new topic has been introduced.
You have a motion before you. Discussion should be confined to the issues in the motion. The Faculty Senate is not an open forum, we are a legislative body representing the university faculty. We are here to debate the issues and take action. Faculty governance is based on principles of democracy, and democracy is predicated on the assumption that reasonable, informed, and well intentioned people need not agree, but that the will of the majority must be recognized.
M. Mertens statement: This is a request that the Laptop Initiative be evaluated more carefully before going forward with it in whatever form. In a nutshell, concerns associated with his policy are manifold and still have not been sufficiently addressed.
From the standpoint of a faculty member, I have multiple concerns about this project, not least of which is how students will be using their laptops should I allow them in my class. I have talked to many students on campus, and almost always the conversation has been initiated by them. There are two points/questions they invariably make, the first of which concerns what we euphemistically call “off-tasking.” I think when students are concerned about how others in their class are abusing a system—and especially the distractions it will cause when people all around them are checking e-mail, playing computer games, “chatting”/instant messaging friends, performing fraternity/sorority duties, and so forth—this is a commentary to which we need to listen. Granted, students are not always taking notes when they have paper and writing instrument in hand—I was a student once and I can remember doodling my way through a class or two—but the technology has opened whole new worlds of “doodling.”
The second concern, actually protest, that students have voiced has to do with the cost and the extreme financial burden that it will mean not only to their parents but to all the students from middle-class families. The Feasibility Report from the Implementation Committee does address this point, and their cavalier attitude is what forced me to address you today. They state that the student cost would be figured into the numbers used to compute financial aid, and that more money would need to be added to help offset these costs. No guarantee, obviously, that additional monies would be forthcoming. But, more importantly, and I quote, “it is possible the middle class student would be most affected because they [sic] do not receive as much or any financial aid. However, this is also the case now so it does not seem to be a solvable issue and should not be considered when making the decision to do the laptop initiative.” Can’t you just hear the “Thunk!” of the guillotine in the background as Marie Antoinette says, “Let them eat cake?”? The middle class seem always to be with us!
I do congratulate the Implementation Committee for listening to student protests and changing the lease provision to one of purchase. However, again, they are completely ignoring the many students who are concerned about the cost. Student after student has said he/she would recommend to other students that they go to IVYTech if this policy is implemented. We may have dodged the Governor’s bullet on caps on tuition increases but personally, I think we’re shooting ourselves in the foot!
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I also want to congratulate and thank ISU’s AAUP chapter for hosting the Laptop Forum in March. A number of faculty attended but more importantly, a good-sized group of students was in attendance and they made themselves heard.
The third concern I have has to do with my use-or non-use-of laptops in my classes. My understanding is that the faculty will not be forced to use them. However, there is a huge
difference between not being forced to use something and not allowing its use. If I were a student and I had been “mandated” into buying a computer, and my professor told me it was not allowed in his/her classroom, I would be very upset to say the least. This already happens to a smaller degree in large universities such as U of I, IU, and Purdue, where there are many sections of the same course, and some of the professors refuse to use the text chosen by the department. The students still are forced to purchase the required text, but are not allowed to use it.
My last concern has to do with reconfiguring the classrooms, desks, etc., so that laptops can be used safely and ergonomically. This seems to be a project of gargantuan size and astronomical cost. All the classrooms? Or is this simply a ploy to convert ISU to a “virtual” university? Professors would no longer be constrained by classroom size, so we could teach huge classes. No more scheduling conflicts. No more classroom maintenance, cleaning, heating or air conditioning. Considering that all new faculty hires must sign a contract stating that they are willing and able to teach at least one Web-based course per semester, this seems to be a logical conclusion.
In conclusion, the faculty were never polled as to how many would use laptops in their courses. The eighty-five percent of faculty who use electronic presentation hardware—the figure quoted in the report—I believe is high unless overhead projectors and VCRs/DVDs are being counted. I believe the projected increase in cost to attend ISU is totally irresponsible at this time. I also believe the Committee’s attitude toward students from middle class families is unconscionable. One solution I would propose, and this is in direct contradiction of the Committee’s report, would be to do a pilot program in one or two of the Colleges where technology is used a great deal.
Students Against Laptops representative, M. Memering, statement: ISU students want a good education, but not at the Ivy League prices. Multiple fees to our tuition, especially for freshmen, will begin to add up and this will have a negative impact on students coming to ISU.
Technology fees will have to increase because of printing stations, battery cafes, service centers, loaner computers, required programs, etc.
SALT’s fear is that the laptop initiative will backfire and that many students will not attend ISU because of this gamble. We need to know what will be the total cost of attending ISU compared to the total cost of attending other four year universities, VU, and IVY Tech.
ISU’s enrollment is decreasing. IVY Tech’s and VU’s enrollment are increasing. The four-year institutions are losing enrollment or have trouble maintaining their enrollment. That says what kind of education students are looking for.
Using laptops will become more of a distraction in the classroom than a positive teaching tool. Students don’t learn by downloading notes written by the professor—they learn by taking notes themselves.
The most important factor that attracts students to ISU rather than Purdue or IU is our small class size and the ability to interact with faculty. The new proposal depreciated this strength of ISU and tells us to rely on impersonal technology. But students hate feeling like we’re just numbers.
Nate Surma statement: I currently own a laptop, as do some of my friends. In class, it is very beneficial to be able to research topics that my professors are talking about. Sometimes the articles explain the subject matter in a way that is easier for me to comprehend. I can actually absorb more information in a given time period if I take notes on my laptop and do not have to take my eyes off the board or presentation.
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I benefit from access to computer based tools such as compilers and telnet access. My friends and I sometimes use Instant Messaging software to relay questions to each other. Quite often I receive back an internet link that explains what I have asked about. If my professor uses an acronym that I do not understand, I can look it up quickly using Google or other search engines.
The ability to learn “outside the box” of the classroom has given me an edge over others. Some pluses: more interactive classroom and the ability to bookmark pages used in class. I have found that my ability to do several tasks at once has increased and it eliminates the need for lab machines, and the problem with crowded labs.
In a nutshell, having a computer in class has increased the number of ways I can learn as well as maximize my usage of class time. I believe this advantage is well worth the small payments it took to pay for my laptop.
S. Sharp statement: Three questions on the laptop initiative: 1) referring in part to rationale #3 in the report regarding a “possible competitive edge,” what is the true cost of a four year program, on average, for an on-campus student at ISU and how does this cost compare to that or our biggest competitors? How will the laptop initiative impact this cost? In other words, what percentage cost increase does this initiative represent?
2) What is the outcome assessment plan for evaluating this initiative? In other words, what are the specific, expected outcomes and measurable indicators that will be used to determine if the initiative is successful? For example, will a percentage increase in enrollment be used? If so, what percentage and by what date? (This indicator would partly address the competitive edge rationale. A significant positive change in senior survey student satisfaction ratings, though “late in the game” for evaluation, might be another measurable indicator.) Rationale #1, that the program “could serve as a partner for the strategic themes of experiential learning and community engagement” would, likewise, have to be operationalized into measurable terms. How will we measure this one? Rationale #2, that “higher education institutions will need to consider different pedagogical and organization structure” will not require evaluation since the laptop initiative will, indeed, be something different. However, this rationale cannot logically stand alone in support of this initiative since it does not support any particular difference.
3) The most troubling question, to me: What is the specific plan of action should it be determined that the initiative is not successful? This question is the most troubling to me because this particular initiative is, to me, significantly different than most of the initiatives I’ve seen in the past 30 years in terms of how difficult it would be to stop. Most initiative, if shown to be unsuccessful in the past, were able to be easily ended. And while there are sometimes negative outcomes and the spawning of a few more administrative positions, the initiatives themselves end, often simply fading away. But after one, two or three years into this initiative, how problematic would it be to stop? And, related to my observation about some previous initiatives, will this initiative require the establishment of more administrative positions?
The Student Government Association is drafting a position statement to be submitted to the Provost within a week.
Support: The implementation committee provided information for other groups to make decision; other institutions indicate a high laptop usage; like the idea of choice; students are comfortable with technology and newer faculty are becoming increasingly comfortable with it; better servicing for student requests for work on machines; students use computer outside the classroom; bulk purchase would provide better pricing; purchase amount could be included in financial aid awards.
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Concerns: Faculty were not surveyed; intent of usage by faculty was not investigated; the implementation committee did not submit a committee vote.
Failed Motion to change first sentence in the motion on the floor, “The Faculty Senate supports the implementation of a voluntary student notebook program at Indiana State University effective Fall 2007, consistent with the recommendations of the Feasibility Report from the Notebook University Implementation Committee.” (Hopkins, Harmon 2-30-2)
X. Standing Committee Reports
AAC: met once; approved the Faculty Satisfaction Survey 2005 Report sent to the Executive Committee and faculty; finished business for the year.
AEC: no meeting.
CAAC: one more meeting for year is planned; working on issues of grade inflation and the amount of time students spend preparing for classes.
FAC: met once; working on Handbook change regarding faculty enrollment in graduate courses.
FEBC: met once; discussed health benefits issues.
Grad Council: met three times; working on issue of student affairs.
SAC: met once; working on charges for next year’s committee.
URC: met twice; working on application guidelines.
The meeting adjourned at 5:03 p.m.