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Committee Name: Faculty Association
Meeting Date: 10/21/2019 12:00:00 AM

Juville Dario-Becker, Marci Gale, Donna Hobbs, Cynthia Deutsch, David McGee, Shannon McDermott, Alison Moore, Ernie Wade, Lorenz Chan, Tom Sparhawk, Jim Tuite, Nelson Ayala, Rick Tyler, Dennis Phillips, Kathy Thomas, Tim Rhoads, Elizabeth Elam, Jessica Coco.

Eighteen members were present at this meeting.


Before the formal meeting, Philmika Reid briefed the Association on her student support role at the college.  Ms. Reid provided information regarding the community access network, which connects students with helpful community resources (for example, counseling, food pantry, emergency financial assistance, and housing) when going through difficult times; supports students dealing with challenges related to medical health, mental health, financial concerns, family challenges, or social/adjustment issues; provides support and consultation to faculty and staff; offers information that will assist students in recognizing and responding to symptoms of distress and seek appropriate referrals; provides encouragement and support and fosters self-advocacy in students to manage their academic, personal and fiscal responsibilities; assists students who are referred by faculty; and, assists any student who requests assistance independently. Her office also follows up with the students to ensure that the student is receiving the needed resources. Ms. Reid said that she has already been invited to speak about her role on campus by several faculty members and has received some referrals from faculty and staff. She encourages all faculty to bring students in need to her attention. 

During the Q&A after Ms. Reid’s presentation, Ernie Wade raised the issue of the need for childcare resources on campus. Dr. Deutsch explained that the college and the VCCS were aware of this issue; however, providing this resource involves many complex challenges.




1.      Meeting Minutes from the September 17, 2019 meeting: Cynthia Deutsch asked if anyone had any changes to the meeting minutes. Ernie Wade made a motion to approve the minutes, and Tom Sparhawk seconded the motion. All were in favor of approving the minutes.

2.      The Open Educational Resources (OER) Policy, presented by Juville Dario-Becker and approved at our September 17, 2019 meeting, was presented at the October 15, 2019 meeting of the College Governance Council and was approved.

3.      At our September 17, 2019 meeting, the Association approved a proposal to make part-time faculty eligible to be recipients of the Faculty Association Learning Achievement (LEA) Awards.  However, last year, the Classified Staff Association approved a proposal to make them eligible to be recipients of the Cougar Award.  Cynthia Deutsch has requested that the Employee Recognition Committee address this and make our part-time faculty eligible to be recipients of the Faculty Association Learning Achievement Awards.  The nominations of adjunct faculty received by the Association for LEA awards since this proposal was approved have been forwarded for Cougar Award consideration by the Classified Staff Association.


Action Item:  Cynthia Deutsch will follow-up with the Employee Recognition Committee and report to the Association on progress made in this area.


4.      At our September 17, 2019 meeting the issue of student privacy during faculty and staff training was raised.  The Association recommended that faculty and staff training material not include materials from actual students and that fictitious student accounts be established for training.  The Faculty Association unanimously concurred with this recommendation. This issue was raised by Cynthia Deutsch at a Title III meeting, which was held just a few days after our meeting.  Assurances were provided that a fictitious student account is being established for training.


5.      Cynthia Deutsch also announced that the problems with the Final Exam schedule (exam days not aligning with class days – potentially posing scheduling problems for our students) were addressed to the degree possible by switching the exam dates to better align with scheduled class days.  David McGee and Jim Tuite, the faculty representatives on the Calendar Committee, have still not been contacted for their input on upcoming scheduling.

1.      A suggestion was made by Jessie Hogan to have a single list available with all faculty response dates (drop dates, and withdrawal dates, e.g.). The issue was raised over who would be responsible for preparing the list. The floor is open for suggestions and recommendations.  It was concluded that this should be an activity for the Calendar Committee.  Since this is an ad hoc committee, the Association will contact the responsible person and raise this issue.


Action Item:  Cynthia Deutsch will follow-up with the individual responsible for convening the Calendar Committee to get these dates added to the college calendar and report to the Association on progress made on this item.

2.      Early Alert Progress Reports.  Tim Rhodes raised the issue of having this reporting redundancy for having to report information already raised in an Early Alert again. Donna Hobbs also raised the issue that this information is no longer going directly to the students; it is only going to the “navigator.”   Cynthia Deutsch noted that this system is not intended to circumvent faculty-student conversations about problems but to make sure that both the student and faculty are aware that there is an issue and to alert the navigator staff to try to bring the resources of a team approach to address the problem. The Early Alert Progress Reports are intended to ensure that all faculty are providing information. 


The following issues were raised by Tom Sparhawk.  The first Early Alert Progress Report is due too soon (after only about two weeks, before any testing in many classes), and the second is due too late, only a few days before the withdrawal date. 


The second issue raised; are faculty required to complete these reports?  The consensus was that they are strongly encouraged.  However, Cynthia Deutsch said this is a question that needs to be brought to the proper body.


Action Item: Cynthia Deutsch will follow up on these two issues.


A third issue was raised by Jim Tuite over the role of the Navigators in addressing student problems. Very often, cases are closed with the only notations being, for example, ‘student contacted’, or ‘student texted’. Often a case is closed without the problem ever being resolved. Is the goal to provide students with counseling to improve student performance?  It was explained that the Navigators are not counselors, and their role is to notify the students of the problems. 


Cynthia Deutsch suggested that Kimberly French be invited to a future meeting to consult with faculty on how we might make the system more effective and streamline this process to provide better service to the students.


Action Item: Cynthia Deutsch will invite Kimberly French to our next meeting to address faculty concerns about Navigate and the Early Alert Progress Reports.


Kathy Thomas observed that not all of her classes required Early Alert Progress Reports.


3.   Faculty Advising.  Six faculty members, Cynthia Deutsch, David McGee, Jim Tuite, Ernie Wade, and two others have been identified for training as faculty advisors beginning next semester (Spring 2020).  These faculty members will be trained to use Navigate and in the academic and transfer pathways for student advising. The pilot involves a small number of students.  The intention is to have a meeting sometime after Fall break to initiate training for the program.

4.   Midterm Grades.  This issue was tabled from the last meeting so that additional research could be conducted on the efficacy of providing students with “midterm grades” in Navigate. This issue was of particular concern to those faculty members who provide students with their current grade on the Canvas Learning Management System, to faculty members who do not use Canvas, and to faculty members whose classes do not provide a real indication of student success because most of the grading occurs later in the semester.  Jim Tuite reported to the Association that midterm grading is used by many colleges and universities.  The use of midterm grading, however, appears to be successful when students who have grades of C- or below are scheduled to meet with counselors so that the college can identify the issues leading to the lower grades and based on the counseling, be provided with resources and tools to assist the students in improving their grades.  Posting midterm grades without follow up will not necessarily lead to improved outcomes.  At some point the midterm grades may be made part of the Early Alert Progress Reports.  They were optional in the most recent report (October 2019).

Cynthia Deutsch reminded everyone that every class is different and the midterm grade is only there to let students know where they stand at that point in the course.  It has nothing to do with their final grade. Tom Sparhawk said he believes that counseling is a critical component of providing midterm grades to improve student success.

Action Item:  Jim Tuite will raise this issue at the next VP Cabinet Meeting to initiate a discussion with Counseling over appropriate actions following the reporting of low midterm grades.


See above.

The next Faculty Association meeting is scheduled for December 3, 2019 at 1:00 PM in Room 2123.

James Tuite
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