Minutes of the

MEETING OF THE FACULTY SENATE

March 10, 2003

 

APPROVED

 

PRESENT:                             Mike Arguello, Chris Barkley, Bill Bedford, Judy Cater, Bonnie Ann Dowd, Teresa Laughlin, Stan Levy, Dennis Lutz, Mario Mendez, Maria Miller, Marilee Nebelsick-Tagg, Sue Norton, Jose Rangel, Steve Spear, Joe Stanford, Dan Sourbeer, Sara Thompson, Fari Towfiq, Rocco Versaci, Anne Voth

 

ABSENT:                               Mike Byron, Judy Dolan,  MaryAnn Drinan

 

GUESTS:                                Chris Champine, Judy Eberhart, Nancy Galli, Jane Mills, Haryo Praborro, Jason Roach, Zachary Seech

                                               

CALL TO ORDER:               The meeting was called to order by the president, Chris Barkley, at 2:00 p.m., in Room SU-30.

 

Approval of Minutes:         The minutes of March 3, 2003, were approved as amended.

 

Senator Resignation:           Stan Levy announced that adjunct Senate representative Mike Byron has resigned due to scheduling difficulties. A call for nominations will be distributed sometime this week to fill that vacancy. Brief discussion followed on the voting process for this position, and adjunct faculty voting on-line. Chris Barkley added that the Academic Technology area in the library will have a computer available for adjunct faculty use.

 

Motion 1                                MSC Dowd, Voth: To suspend the Agenda to discuss Information Item B, ATG & Professional Development Coordinator positions.

 

ATG & Professional

Development

Coordinator Positions:        Mike Arguello provided Senate members with a brief summary of the recent meeting he attended with members of the PFF negotiations team and the district. The district is considering combining the Academic Technology Coordinator and Professional Development Coordinator into one position.

 

                                                Copies of the job descriptions for both positions were provided to Senate members for information. Lengthy discussion followed on the following issues:

 

·         The district has not indicated whether this is a temporary proposal or whether the change would be permanent. The district has not asked for input or suggestions from any current or previous Professional Development faculty members.

·         If the district is attempting to save money, why not negotiate the release time for both positions with PFF rather than combining the positions. It was suggested that the goal may be to have all technology training tied in with Information Systems, which may be the issue related to the ATG. However, it was felt that this would greatly diminish the academic side of the ATG service provided faculty.

·         Why the district would want to change the current Professional Development Program, a national award-winning program recognized twice during its 15-year history as one of the best faculty development programs in the nation.  Professional Development provides a unique service to faculty with an emphasis on teaching. Professional Development is an Academic and Professional matter. 

·         There are very different duties and responsibilities with these two positions. The individual in the position of Academic Technology Coordinator has to continually evaluate and learn new technology, a skills-based position.  On the other hand the individual in the position of Professional Development Coordinator must focus on faculty needs and individual professional goals, making it a peer support based position. Technology training is only a very small part of professional development.

 

Also discussed was the need for administration to keep faculty members aware of issues, which will have a direct or indirect impact on them. Keeping faculty updated and including them in the decision-making process while these issues are being discussed, not after a decision has already been made, will create a positive, productive environment. Faculty members on planning committees should also report to the Senate on issues being discussed at those meetings.

 

Senate members agreed to create an Ad Hoc Committee, chaired by Bonnie Ann Dowd and Mike Arguello, to discuss this matter and make a recommendation on action the Senate should take on this issue at the March 17, 2003, meeting.

 

Motion 2                                MSC Miller, Cater: To extend the meeting.

 

Committee

Appointments:                     None

 

Anne Voth reported that volunteers are still needed to serve as District Compliance Representatives on hiring committees. The individuals must be available on March 19th for training. After brief discussion, Sara Thompson and Chris Barkley volunteered to serve.

Curriculum:

 

Motion 3                                MSC Laughlin, Cater: Faculty Senate ratification of the items presented by the Curriculum Committee, as amended.

 

General Studies AA:            Referring to the elimination of the General Studies AA Degree, Curriculum Co-Chair Teresa Laughlin indicated that because it is not in compliance with Title V requirements that there be 18 units in a specific major, it has to be eliminated. Those present agreed that this issue should be brought back to the Senate for ratification.

 

Proposed BP 3280,

Grants:

 

Motion 4                                MSC Cater, Nebelsick-Tagg: To remove discussion of Proposed BP 3280 – Grants, from the table.

 

                                                Chris Barkley indicated that the current policy addresses Instructional Grants, and the modification being discussed appears to only address Outside Grants. A policy is needed to address both types of grants.

 

                                                Senate members suggested that the Strategic Planning Council should not pass the Proposed BP 3280 until a committee can be created to develop new procedures, and discussion can occur on what those new procedures are gong to be.

 

Motion 5                                MSC Thompson, Nebelsick-Tagg: The Faculty Senate directs the members of the Strategic Planning Council to postpone approving the Board Policy 3280 – Grants, until Grant Procedures are developed.

 

Holiday Schedule:                Copies of the proposed holiday schedule for 2003-2004 were distributed.  Because this is a negotiated item, members of the PFF will be reviewing the document as well. Discussion occurred on the placement of Spring Break, which is not tied into Easter on this proposal. Senate members asked Dan Sourbeer to check with the Executive Council of PFF on how the placement was chosen. Chris Barkley reported that this item would be brought back for Senate Action on March 17, 2003. Any action the Senate takes will be to advise PFF of the Senate’s position.

 

Closed Session Policy:        Rocco Versaci provided copies of references from the Attorney General’s website on The Brown Act - Permissible Closed Sessions. Also provided was the following statement which will be presented for Senate action on March 17th:

 

                                                                The Office of the Attorney General of the State of California has written extensively about the legal interpretations of the Ralph M. Brown Act, which establishes open meeting laws in this state. According to this office, “the authority for [closed] sessions has been narrowly construed…the fact that material may be sensitive, embarrassing, or controversial does not justify application of a closed session…rather, in many circumstances these characteristics may be further evidence of the need for public scrutiny and participation in discussing such matters” (“The Brown Act – Permissible Closed Sessions” sec. 1A).

                                                                What the President and Governing Board often state is that closed sessions are necessary in order to discuss confidential personnel matters, and on this matter, the Attorney General has this to say: “The courts and this office have consistently maintained that the personnel exception must be used in connection with the consideration of a particular employee. The exemption is not available for across-the-board decisions or evaluations of employees, classifications, salary structures, etc. In Santa Clara Federation of Teachers v. Governing Board (1981), 116 Cal.App.3d 831, the court concluded that a board’s consideration of a hearing officer’s decision concerning teacher layoff policy must be conducted in open session “ (“The Brown Act – Permissible Closed Sessions” sec. 2A).

                                                                Using the Attorney General’s summary of case law as background, the Faculty Senate would like to inform the Governing Board that if any discussion concerning faculty layoffs and/or academic program reduction takes place in closed session, then the President and Governing Board members are probably in violation of the Brown Act, and they make themselves vulnerable to legal action. It should be noted that a “meeting,” as defined in The Brown Act, does not necessitate that a vote be taken (“Open Meeting Laws in California: The Brown Act”). The Faculty Senate maintains the unequivocal position that all such discussion take place in open session.

                                                                 

In the interests of fairness and legality, the Faculty Senate hereby requests that members of the Governing Board familiarize themselves with the Brown Act and case law regarding closed sessions. The Faculty Senate also requests that while in closed session, members of the Governing Board object to topics of discussion that might be

inappropriate for such sessions. Finally, the Faculty Senate wants members of the Governing Board to be aware that in cases where Governing Boards have been found to be in violation of The Brown Act, courts have forced districts “to make and preserve tapes of closed sessions…declare[d] actions taken null and void…[and] award[ed] costs and attorneys fees” (“What To Do If…”).

 

                                                                                                                References

 

1.        “The Brown Act: Permissible Closed Sessions.” Website of the Office of Attorney General, State of California. March 3, 2003. <http://caag.state.ca.us/consumers/text/bapcs.txt>

2.        “Open Meeting Laws in California: The Brown Act.” First Amendment Project Website. March 3, 2003. http://www.thefirstamendment.org/thebrownact.html

3.        “What To Do If…”  The First Amendment Project Website. March 3, 2003.

http://www.thefirstamendment.org/whattodoif.html

 

Brief discussion followed on the board’s current practice to hold a closed session at each Governing Board meeting, as well as the need for public discussion on personnel issues before any action is taken.

 

Transfer Center Move:           Maria Miller reported that the Transfer Center has relocated to the Counseling Department in the Student Services Center.

 

Vice President for

Instruction position:               Chris Barkley referred to an email distributed by a faculty member with a concern about the length of the advertising period for the position of Vice President for Instruction. She stated that the district began advertising it on January 17, 2003 in Higher Ed. Jobs and application packets were marked at that time. The announcement appeared in the Chronicle for Higher Education on February 28, 2003. The deadline to submit applications has been extended to March 28, 2003. Our Faculty Manual requires a four-week advertising period; our past practice has been eight weeks.

 

ASG:                                       Jason Roach reported that the members of the ASG are focusing on the political rally scheduled for March 17, 2003, from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. to protest the proposed budget cuts. Faculty members interested in speaking at the event should email him at jroach@palomar.edu.

 

Strategic Planning Council:     Members of the Strategic Planning Council received a presentation on how progress on the Strategic Plan will be evaluated. One of the most important issues the group still needs to address is creating a learning environment conducive to student success.

 

 

ADJOURNMENT:                The meeting was adjourned at 3:30 p.m.

 

                                                Respectfully submitted,

 

                                                Bonnie Ann Dowd, Secretary