Meeting Date: 9/25/12
I. Approval of minutes from previous meeting
II. New Business
a. Kimberly French – new student mentoring program at CVCC
Kimberly French is organizing a faculty mentoring program, as there are 183 students who have requested either a faculty or student mentor. At this time 37 faculty have volunteered, which is higher participation than expected. However, she would like to recruit more members of the faculty, in order to better meet the various needs of students. Students are matched to a faculty member based on their area of interest. Students may have specific concerns about their program but may also have questions and concerns about general survival skills for college.
Emails will go out this week so faculty can contact students. Faculty need to make the first connection and contact the student. At the request of a faculty member, Kimberly will attach a list of resources that are available on campus for students. Students will also be emailed this week, to notify them that a mentor from the college will either call or email them soon.
This is a new program and is different from Marc Zoccola’s program that is part of SDEV. The mentoring is to be an ongoing relationship and advising role for faculty. This is a retention program – as we are 2nd
to last in the VCCS for retention. There is data that shows that programs like this improve retention.
A question was asked about matching students to a mentor who is not already their instructor in the class, in order to provide students with a different perspective and to avoid redundancy.
Kimberly French also asked that faculty help promote the HELP (Help Every Learner Perform) workshops. She encouraged faculty to offer extra credit for attending a workshop, if it fit with the grading and curriculum. A question was asked about an events calendar where faculty and students could see upcoming events, like the HELP workshops, with more detail about future events than is listed in the Daily Bulletin from Diane Sykes. David Lightfoot responded that a campus calendar on the CVCC website is in the works.
b. David Lightfoot – classroom IT issues at the beginning of fall semester
Lightfoot and William Osborne came to better understand the problems faculty have with IT in the classroom in order to minimize future problems and improve communication.
1) Pole vault system – for projectors: Several projectors had no communication with the computer. This was due to due to power problems at college, brown-outs. The systems needed to be reset.
2) RM 6102 was not ready for classes. This was due to insufficient personnel and the cleaning of the floor. No one knew of the problem of disconnected IT components because of a lack of communication.
3) CVCC Open has been problematic because more devices are on the network than were anticipated when it was set up. IT is addressing the shortage.
4) Personnel shortages at this time are a source of a number of issues. Positions will be filled.
Lightfoot then opened the floor to field questions and concerns from the faculty.
- There is a recurring problem of classroom computers that have been modified by an instructor, but then not returned to the original set-up. Other faculty then waste up to 10 minutes of class time in getting assistance from IT.
- A possible solution was mentioned that perhaps there could be a universal set up common to all classrooms, with a manual, and cable labels for sound and laptop so that faculty know how to connect their devices to the Pole Vault system.
- Another issue is that cables have been the responsibility of faculty, but not all faculty have access. Furthermore, it is hard to find the place to plug in.
- Lightfoot mentioned that there may be a workaround in the future, by establishing a way to wirelessly connect to the system. There might be issues with Mac or PC compatibility, but he would research a solution and work with the IT committee.
- Several issues were raised regarding classroom design, which fall under the domain of both IT and B&G. The overall conclusion is that faculty would like more input into the design of classrooms for both IT and furniture. This will like occur in the future with the new governance model.
- Screens in the middle of the board make it difficulty to use both the screen and the writing surface (chalk or dry erase) at the same time. It would be better if the screens were positioned to the right or left side, so that both can be used at the same time.
Lightfoot responded that some classrooms can be modified, but that it would be cost prohibitive to modify automated/electronic screens that are built into the ceiling.
- There are several classrooms with an awkward configuration of the computer station
It was noted that again, this is more of an issue for B&G.
Post Meeting Note from the secretary – could the classroom be rearranged with a work order request to B&G?
- Another comment was made that IT and the faculty should see how other campuses handle classroom furnishings and configurations to see what works.
- Some classrooms do not have computers and projectors – how many of these exist? The imprecise answer of “very few” was given. Furnishing these classrooms with technology has historically been part of the SLRP process. There will be a new system for funding these kinds of building upgrades.
- Some classroom computers are very slow and seem out of date. Classroom computers are on a 5-year schedule of replacement. Sometimes it’s software problem – too many programs downloaded by faculty. Sometimes it’s a hardware problem. There are currently many computers that are on the schedule for replacement.
- Another question was asked about when the classroom computers will upgrade to new the Windows 8. This is an issue for IT committee.
- There was a request for more power strips in computer labs so that students may use their own devices
Lightfoot responded that he would look into it, but that this was Tom Bushley’s domain
- Radio buttons were not working on Blackboard in library computer labs. It has been determined that this was a Firefox problem. However, a solution has been put in place so that Blackboard will function with Firefox on the library computers.
- Cross training of IT staff for Sharepoint is really important because the program is not entirely intuitive. The necessity of cross training became clear when the only member of the IT department who had expertise with the program was out due to an injury at the beginning of the semester.
Lightfoot responded that the IT department has undergone a reorganization that includes cross training on multiple modalities and duties so that similar problems can be avoided in the future.
- There have been issues with browser compatibilities with Blackboard. For some functions Distance Ed prefers Firefox, for others, the best browser is Internet Explorer. This is also not actually an IT problem, but it would be a good item for a future meeting – to include the Distance Ed department.
Action item – Lightfoot return with D/E for discussion on Blackboard.
c. Academic Freedom Policy (sent to the FA by President Capps)
i. VCCS Policy has been copied to the end of this document.
ii. What happens if there is a challenge to academic freedom
1. Does the Faculty Association want to develop a process for dealing with issues related to academic freedom?
The consequences of violations or perceived violations of academic freedom are unclear but may include reprimands and loss of employment. The VCCS does not have recommendation for issues that arise. Challenges to academic freedom may come from students charging faculty with indoctrination, other faculty members, administrators, parents, and other members of the community.
The comment was made that this is about first amendment rights of speech.
It was also noted that all subjects are interconnected.
One solution would be for this to fall under the jurisdiction of the Grievance Committee, which is an ad hoc committee. It was also noted that the grievance procedure would be a good model to follow. There is also a question as to who should serve on the committee: faculty only, administrators included. There may be something in the student handbook (Secretary’s Note – there is nothing in the current handbook.) There is nothing in the new faculty manual for handling grievances.
The comment was made that perhaps it would be a good idea to find out what other schools are doing.
A motion was made to table the issue indefinitely. 8 voted in favor, 12 abstained.
d. Formation of a Faculty Social Group/Organization
Postponed until next meeting
Submitted by Jessy Hogan
3.5.5 Academic Freedom and Responsibility
To ensure the college an instructional program marked by excellence, the Virginia Community College System supports the concept of academic freedom. In the development of knowledge, research endeavors, and creative activities, college faculty and students must be free to cultivate a spirit of inquiry and scholarly criticism.
Faculty members are entitled to freedom in the classroom in discussing their subjects, but should be careful not to introduce teaching matters which have no relation to their fields. Faculty and students must be able to examine ideas in an atmosphere of freedom and confidence and to participate as responsible citizens in community affairs.
The System also recognizes that commitment to every freedom carries with it attendant responsibilities. Faculty members must fulfill responsibility to society and to their profession by manifesting academic competence, professional discretion, and good citizenship. When they speak or write as a citizen, they
will be free from institutional censorship or discipline, but their special position
in the community imposes special obligations. As professional educators, they must remember that the public may judge their profession and their institution by their utterances. Hence, they should at all times be accurate, exercise appropriate restraint, show respect for the opinions of others, and make every effort to indicate that they are not an institutional spokesperson