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Liberal Arts Council Minutes 2020

Liberal Arts Council

Via Zoom Meeting

13 May 2020 2:00 p.m.


Presiding: Dean Mary Brennan
Present: Council members:
Audwin Anderson, Manda Anderson, Susan Day (recording), Beth Erhart, Ken Grasso, Craig Hanks, Lucy Harney, Paul Hart, Bill Kelemen, Yongmei Lu, John Mckiernan-Gonzalez (late), Angela Murphy, Aimee Roundtree, Vicki Smith, Chad Smith

Guests:  Jeff Helgeson




The meeting began at 2:02 p.m. and was conducted using ZOOM.  All participants were present through their computer screens.  The minutes of 4.22.20 minutes were approved without dissension on a motion by Dr. Erhart and a second by Dr. Grasso.


Manda Anderson asked chairs to tell her what to  do if students report they have contacted profs about EP grades and have received no response.  Dean Brennan said that students should be told to wait until the next day, then if no response, contact the chair by forwarding the email used to request the EP grade from the professor.  As long as student can demonstrate a timely appeal, the student should be held harmless if the faculty member has merely overlooked the request instead of denying it.  Dr. Lu asked to have a synopsis of EP issues for faculty and Dr. Brennan volunteered to produce a draft for chairs’ assessment.


COVID-19 work groups have been asked to consider three scenarios: (1) an ideal, Covid19 eradicated scenario; (2) a mild Covid19 resurgence scenario; and (3) a significant of Covid19 resurgence scenario. Dr. Roundtree is on the research work group. Ideas about faculty morale should be sent to Dr. Angela Ausbrooks, chair of the faculty morale work group.


Faculty who want to move one class online this fall will be allowed to.  Medical documentation will be required in applications  in order to move  entirely online.  Fearful faculty with no medical reasons will require more discussion.  High-risk group faculty will  be required to self-quarantine all semester.  Dr. Hanks asked how the teaching theaters will be held.  Dr. Smith, who is on the Continuity of Education work group,  said one suggestion the committee is considering is to transform theater classes into hybrid classes, with each student meeting half of the classes and attending on ZOOM for the other classes. Faculty who are high risk and want to move online should get certified to teach online as soon as possible.


Dean Brennan complimented the chairs on their handling of this current budget crisis.  Draft budgets are due to Gene on Tuesday, May 19, COB.  Faculty who decide to retire in the fall and who meet the rule of 80 will receive 50% payout of their contract, and the entire contract amount will be in the department’s budget, where chairs can decide how much, if any, will count toward the required budget reductions. 


The  spring 50% M&O budget sweep is permanently gone for this academic year.  ECF funding can be used for paying faculty, but if done, must be permanent.


Preliminary estimates of COLA budgets reductions have resulted the loss of 29 graduate student lines, 12 non-tenure lines (not including temporary faculty), and 4 defunded tenure-track lines.  Political Science’s ECF funds are helping the other departments to meet their budget deficits. 


Sociology has lost its technical support person and cannot fill the position because of the hiring freeze.  Dean Brennan asked the chairs to consider developing a consolidated pool of TSPs for dealing with College computer needs.  Dr. Lu offered Dr. Smith some summer support. 


Around the Table

Dr. Roundtree asked chairs to offer issues or questions about research issues for her to take to the Covid-19 work group for Research.  Dr. Lu noted that she is unhappy that no Geography or COLA faculty are on the Covid-19 work group for Research.  Dr. Roundtree noted that only administrators are on the group.  She also asked whether faculty have told chairs they are not submitting grant applications or are asking to stop the tenure clock because of the Covid19 pandemic.  Dr. Roundtree noted that stopping the tenure clock is an equity issue for the work group.  She also added that she believed her work group would be transparent. 


Dean Brennan reminded chairs that  workload reports are due.


Dr. Kelemen noted the contradiction between offering no overloads because of quality of life concerns, yet requiring an increase in the enrollment limits for online classes

Dr. Hanks noted that fringe was not included in ECF salaries calculated by JCK in his department.  Their summer budget request is now in a deficit. 

Dr. Helgeson asked to be included on email lists.


Dr. Chad Smith noted that he will send an  email to chairs about outreach to faculty and the issues being considered by his Covid19 fall work group, which is discussing how to implement the face-to-face fall semester. 


Dr. Roundtree noted that predictive models indicate that we would lose up to 20% enrollment of we are not face-to-face in the fall semester. 


The meeting ended at 3:28 p.m.


Minutes 5.13.20 (DOCX, 17 KB)