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Professional Affairs Committee

Professional Affairs Committee

April 18, 2007

The Professional Affairs Committee met ten times during the year, beginning on September 13 and concluding on April 11. Additionally, the Committee constituted a focus group to provide feedback on the Promotion and Tenure survey, and that group met on February 14th. Also, three members of the Committee served on a Task Force to identify potential issues surrounding Intellectual Property Rights, and that Task Force intended to report its findings to the Senate by the end of the Spring semester. Throughout the year, the Committee worked on these issues:

  1. Student Evaluation of Instruction Policy: The Committee continued to monitor compliance with the Handbook policy regarding appropriate use of student evaluation of instruction data in the promotion and tenure processes. It appears to the Committee, through anecdotal and some first-hand evidence, that the University Promotion Committee has been making more of an effort to enforce departmental compliance regarding the role of student evaluations in departmental promotion criteria.
  2. Promotion and Tenure Policy: The Committee developed and administered an online survey of full-time faculty regarding several issues surrounding the Promotion and Tenure policies. The Committee plans, insofar as possible, to incorporate the results of that survey into an omnibus bill revising the promotion and tenure policies.
  3. Twenty-First Century Teacher Certification: The Committee was charged with looking into the possibility of authorizing a certification process for faculty use of technology related to teaching. Discussions took place with the Faculty Senate Chair and with the Dean of General Education about such a program, its possible objectives and rationale, and its potential operation. During discussions and deliberations, the Committee discovered what it considered to be several potential challenges with designing such a program, and decided to put off further action, at least for the time being.
  4. Intellectual Property Rights: The Committee was asked to participate in identifying potential issues that should be addressed in a campus Intellectual Property Rights policy. Three members of the Committee served on an ad hoc Intellectual Property Rights Task Force that is to issue its report to the Faculty Senate by the end of the Spring 2007 semester.
  5. Statement of Nondiscrimination as Pertaining to Sexual Orientation: At least three times over recent years, the Faculty Senate has voted to support expanding the University Statement of Nondiscrimination to provide protection to members of the University community from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. In a follow-up to this issue, the Committee this Spring decided to ask President Dobbins to approach the issue from a slightly different perspective. At the direction of the Committee, the Chair wrote the President, asking him to ask the university attorney(s) to suggest language that would indicate that the University provides a welcome and secure environment to all, regardless of sexual orientation. As of this date, the Committee has not received a response from the President.
  6. Emeritus Faculty: The Committee recommended to the Senate the names of eight retiring faculty members eligible for conferral of Emeritus status.

Agenda Items

  • To prepare and recommend to the Senate an omnibus bill on revision of the Promotion and Tenure policies.
  • To prepare and recommend to the Senate a bill establishing a comprehensive policy regarding Intellectual property Rights.
  • To prepare and recommend to the Senate a bill reauthorizing and possibly revising the Post-Professorial Merit policy, as called for in that policy.
  • To continue to monitor and advocate regarding the Senate's positions on the issues of Student Evaluation of Instruction and Nondiscrimination regarding Sexual Orientation
  • Continue discussion regarding a possible Twenty-First Century Teacher Certification.
  • Continue the routine processing of recommendations concerning Emeritus status for retiring faculty.