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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- Emeritus Faculty: The Committee recommended to the Senate the names of eight retiring
faculty members eligible for conferral of Emeritus status.
- 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