Annual Report – Faculty Affairs Committee, 2014-2015
1. Executive Summary
The Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC or Committee) met regularly in Room 460 of the Administration Building from 2:10 pm to 4:00 p.m., during the standing committee meeting schedule assigned by the Academic Senate. The committee actively used ilearn as a platform for all work.
FAC had a very productive year. Four policy recommendations were made to the Senate and all four were passed by the Senate. The years’ work included revisions to the SFSU Emeritus Policy and the SFSU Temporary Faculty Range Elevation Policy, a new Policy on Transition to Electronic Working Personnel Action Files (WPAFs), and a revised, cleaned-up RTP policy to help facilitate the transition to Electronic WPAFs. The Committee also passed (unanimously) a “Best Practices for Lecturer Faculty” Resolution. Additionally, the Committee met with Maggie Beers, the Director of Academic Technology, and Brian Beatty, the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Operations, to discuss development and implementation of Electronic WPAFs. The committee also discussed, in a joint meeting with the Academic Policies Committee, the purpose and university use of Student Evaluations of Teaching Effectiveness, other ways of assessing teaching effectiveness, and possible future revisions to definitions of RTP criteria.
2. Charge to the Committee
A. The Faculty Affairs Committee (FAC or Committee) shall study and evaluate existing policies and may initiate recommendations for change in, or for more successful implementation of, such policies. The FAC may also initiate policy. Specific concerns include, but are not limited to: hiring, retention, tenure and promotion; faculty evaluation; faculty professional development; professional ethics; consultative practices and policies concerning administrative appointments and selection of school/department chairs; affirmative action, and academic freedom.
B. Modifications in such policies shall be implemented after consultation with the FAC, except for those mandated by a collective bargaining contract.
C. In the area of faculty affairs, the FAC shall serve as the principal recommending body to the Academic Senate.
A. A minimum of seven members of the Academic Senate, including at least one lecturer.
B. The Dean of Faculty Affairs.
3. Activities of the Year: Items Completed Resulting in Proposed Resolutions and New and Revised Senate Policy
A. SFSU University Policy on Emerita/Emeritus Status. In October 2014, the committee revised and updated the nearly 23-year-old university policy on Emerita/Emeritus Status, adding a preamble, specifying that breaks in service do not disqualify faculty members from attaining Emerita/Emeritus Status, clarifying that Emerita/Emeritus Status may be conferred posthumously, and adding that Emerita/Emeritus Status may be denied or revoked by the President for cause. Revisions also updated Emerita/Emeritus privileges to include library and technology privileges, including but not limited to email.
B. Policy Revision for Temporary Faculty Range Elevation. The standing Policy on Temporary Faculty Range Elevation had a timeline that was impossible to maintain given current University hiring practice. In February 2015, the Committee revised the timeline so the University could be in compliance with the policy.
C. Policy on Transition to Electronic WPAFs. In Fall 2014 and continuing into Spring 2015, the Committee worked on the university’s transition to Electronic WPAFs. In Spring 2015, FAC wrote a new policy specifying the process and timeline of the University’s transition to Electronic WPAFs.
D. Revised Retention, Tenure, and Promotion Policy. To help facilitate the transition to electronic WPAFs, and with the help of the Executive Committee, in Spring 2015 FAC revised and strengthened the university RTP policy by removing small details of the arrangement, order, organizational procedure (and physical movement) of WPAFs, which the Committee felt should be in the Office of Faculty Affairs Handbook Guidelines and the University Calendar rather than in policy. Taking these small details out of policy provides the university with a cleaned-up and more flexible RTP policy that can be in effect regardless of whether candidates submit paper or electronic files.
E. Resolution on Best Practices for Lecturer Faculty. The Committee worked in both Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 on a document that could help make visible the work Lecturers do at SFSU and affirm SFSU’s commitment to equity. Inspired by a “Best Practices” document generated by Lecturers in the History Department, FAC composed and passed a Resolution in Spring 2015 that notes SFSU’s reliance on Lecturers and reinforces equitable practices, including the equitable distribution of resources and the need for orientation programs for Lecturer faculty.
4. Agenda for the Coming Year.
The following are suggestions from FAC 2014-2015 for policies and issues that next year’s committee may want to address:
*Continued work on advising the Steering Committee for eWPAFs
*Possible revision of RTP areas of assessment: including discussions about better articulation of how the three areas of assessment inform each other; attention to variability in the three areas of assessment across the university and how they are weighted in tenure and promotion decisions; and discussion of new, expanded articulations of what constitutes professional development, scholarly and creative work, and service
*Possible SETE question revision or context statement; scrutiny of university use of SETE numbers; continued scrutiny of differences in numbers in paper and electronic evaluations
*Continued work on articulating other ways to assess teaching effectiveness (especially following on the Senate’s Spring 2015 report on Critical Reading and Writing)
*Continued work on ways to support teaching on SFSU’s campus, including work on new “teaching/learning initiatives”
*Discussion of faculty use of unpaid leave or unpaid course releases
Report respectfully submitted by Sara Hackenberg, FAC chair, and members of the committee.