Academic Senate Highlights

March 27, 2007


President’s Report

Invitations have been sent to Classified Senate, the administration, the Board of Trustees, and the Student Senate to send a representative to the meetings of the Senate’s committee structure task force. Its purpose is to review the role and effectiveness of committees and to propose revisions to the committee structure.  Dr. Hoffman responded and will be participating.  No other responses have been received.  The first meeting was held today, but only the Senate president and faculty representative were present.  A letter will be sent to all groups to explain why full participation in this process is important.  [editor’s note:  Governance structures is one of the 11 items of the Senate’s domain. Changes in the governance structure require mutual agreement between the Senate and the Board.  In order to facilitate reaching mutual agreement the Senate would like to develop the proposal with input.  It can take longer to reach mutual agreement when all parties are not involved in the development.]


President Fellguth researched staff development funds and whether the college has received them from the state. There is still some uncertainty about the amount and how/when they will be distributed to the individual colleges.  Senate will follow up on this and report back.


Committee Reports

Technology Master Planning Team had a demonstration of “customized portals.”  These would be the interface to an online database of answers to questions and would be updated almost immediately.  This would augment the Hartnell webpage which can only be updated periodically. TMPT is exploring this technology.


Curriculum Committee has only three more meetings left for the spring semester and the agendas are filling up.  In addition to course outline approvals, the committee will be discussing hybrid courses (part online/part face-to-face).  Chair Kathy Mendelsohn stated that for a course to be offered as a hybrid course it would have to be approved for online and it would have to be listed in the schedule of classes as a hybrid course.  This will not be possible for fall, but with work by faculty and the Curriculum Committee in early fall, it will be possible to meet spring schedule deadlines.  Kathy also spoke about the need for technology to support the work of the Curriculum Committee and urged Senate support for the purchase of CurricuNET (see below).   The VP of Instruction has asked the Business Office to encumber three years of funding and the work by the Curriculum Committee (with the company) to set up the system could begin in summer and early fall.  Support from the Academic Senate could help to facilitate the funding.


Chair Cheryl O'Donnell reported that the Student Learning Outcomes group has completed answers to the questions requested by the Senate’s task force on committee structure.  They will be ready to meet with the task force ahead of schedule.  In light of the recommendations from the accreditation visit it is important that the SLO group becomes a governance committee, that work on SLOs continues and that the work is fully supported by the college.  In addition, the Accreditation Commission is requiring detailed information about SLOs on questionnaires.  For example, they are asking for the percentage of courses with SLOs identified. For Hartnell it is less than 1%.  In order to meet the accreditation standards, curriculum revisions will also be required. That will be a good time to make sure that SLOs are in place for the courses.  CurricuNET will support linking SLOs to course outlines and make the process easier to manage.


Diversity Committee is working on the Equal Employment Opportunities plan.  They are also interested in examining what we are doing as a Hispanic Serving Institution. 


Budget Committee is now meeting twice a month.  Meeting schedule will be posted on the Senate website. It was noted that the schedule of Budget Committee meetings includes twice monthly meetings during the summer.  The question was asked, “Can a shared governance committee meet during faculty non-work days?” Currently the committee is getting information about how the budget for this year was developed, but no work on developing the ’07-’08 budget has begun.  There was speculation that this may happen during the summer when faculty are not present.  At the Budget Committee’s meeting with the accreditation visiting team, the VP of Adm. Svcs. responded that everyone was NOT on board with the Senate’s plan to review and propose revisions to the committee structure. 


Discussion Items

Departmental Move Policy:

Mary Dominguez addressed the Senate’s concerns about the departmental move being used by students as a way to add a class that had been full during the add/drop period or to move late in the semester to an instructor with a more favorable grading policy.  She said there is no policy about departmental moves, but there is a procedure.  The student must turn in an add form and a drop form at the same time. Both must be signed and “departmental move” must be marked.  Both instructors should know that it is a departmental move.  Only about 20 students a semester do this. Most do it for work schedule changes.  The Senate debated whether a policy is needed or whether this was an unusual circumstance.  Mary also noted that there have been instances of students forging faculty signatures on forms.  Faculty can check the PAWS rosters often during the semester and if a discrepancy is noticed, contact A&R.


CurricuNET adoption:  This will be an action item at the next Senate meeting, but a straw poll was taken showing unanimous support for purchasing and implementing CurricuNET.  If you would like to view it, contact Kathy Mendelsohn.  She will send you the link and guest password.


Constitution Revision:  The Senate constitution needs revision.  It was last revised in 2000.  Some of the areas that need revision are the membership categories (e.g. library area needs its own representative—they are currently combined with counseling) and method for amending the constitution (currently requires 60% of ALL full time faculty—sometimes difficult to get that level of participation in a vote).  Peggy Mayfield has been working on this Senate goal and will continue to identify changes.  Watch for a vote during fall convocation!


Faculty Professional Ethics Statement:  The Senate adopted the AAUP ethics statement many years ago.  In light of comments by the accreditation visiting team, it is important to reaffirm or update this.  A revised version was presented to the Senate.  Senators noted that Occ. Ed. and Nursing have Ethics Statements that are shorter and perhaps more specific to Hartnell.  The Steering Committee will look at these and others and bring back a revised statement for adoption.


Senate Proposal for update of Full time Faculty Hiring Process:

The subcommittee (Cathy Noble and Jennifer Fellguth) has researched processes at other colleges and prepared a draft. Goals of the revision are to address hiring irregularities brought to the Senate in fall (see 9/26/06 minutes) and to protect the role of the faculty in the hiring process. [editor’s note:  in addition to the 11 areas in the Senate’s purview, Title 5 regulations also detail the faculty role in the hiring process.  See]


The draft will address the faculty role in

It will also address procedures/steps for addressing problems with a selection process and describes a role for Senate President should problems arise.  It will include a way for the selection committee to present any dissenting view to the Board of Trustees in closed session.  The draft will come back to the Senate for adoption after some revisions.  Then it will be presented for mutual agreement.



Potential student lawsuit –outdated Diesel Mechanics curriculum in catalog:  This item will be continued at the next meeting when the Senate has more information.  However, a discussion ensued about the importance of catalog clean up and the updating of programs.  The responsibility for this resides with faculty, but in many cases the problems are in areas with no full time faculty.  What happens then? 


A Program Review process that was well integrated with curriculum development, planning, and budgeting would help.  It was suggested that the results of the program reviews done by disciplines should come to the Senate.  They would be an important tool for policy decisions in the Senate.


Action Items

Faculty appointments:

Dan Petersen and Peggy Mayfield to the Full-time Faculty Hiring Committee

Wayne Davis and Millicent Madrigal to the Selection Committee for EOPS Director


SLO Committee Approval

The Senate approved the proposal of the Student Learning Outcomes Committee. 

 [editors note: “Governance structures” is one of the items on which the Board and Senate must reach mutual agreement before a change is made. 


The proposal to add this committee will be presented for mutual agreement.  Once that occurs the Student Learning Outcomes committee will become part of the official committee structure with description, function, and membership codified in the Committee Handbook.  As the Senate task force reviews the committee structure any necessary links to other committees will be determined and the Senate will propose ways to make those connections work.]


Cathy Noble noted that the Student Services work on SLOs was commended by the accreditation visiting team.