Advisory Council of Faculty Report

November 14, 2002

The November 14 ACF meeting took place at HEPC office in Charleston. The following agenda items were discussed:

1. ACF Brochure: Dr. Shurbutt presented to the group the new ACF brochure, along with a printer's draft for their own institutions to reproduce. PDF versions will be electronically mailed to all ACF members by Tim Haines. The ACF thanked Tim, Ken, and Sylvia for their work. Bruce Flack will present the brochure to the HEPC at the November 15 meeting; after that, it was suggested that all ACF members ask to be put on local Boards of Governors' meeting agendas in order to share the brochure with BOG members and introduce to that body the work of the Advisory Council of Faculty. The brochure was written for the purpose of detailing the service and benefit higher education brings to the state of West Virginia and outlining the 2002-2003 faculty legislative concerns. The brochures will be utilized as local faculty make contacts with their legislative representatives, community, and campus members, and as ACF members work to spread the word about the service, dedication, and economic and cultural benefit higher education faculty bring to West Virginia.

2. Legislative Concerns and Actions: The ACF explored practical ways to approach the legislature and utilize the brochure. It was noted that campus senates are in the process of endorsing the four "legislative concerns" detailed in the brochure. (Shepherd's Faculty Senate has endorsed them.) ACF Chair Connie Moore (Fairmont) suggested that all ACF reps make a special effort to explain our second legislative concern, amendment of WV Code 5-5-2, "Incremental Salary Increases Based on Years of Service," since most folks (and possibly legislators) don't realize that faculty were the only higher education constituency omitted from the 1996 law that created an end-of-year bonus for administrators and staff. The following strategies were suggested:

a. Local Campus Legislative Contacts: Campus senates should invite local legislative representatives to meet with college faculties in order to wish the newly elected legislators well and to discuss issues of local faculty concern as well as the four statewide faculty concerns. Moore reminded ACF members to caution Senates to use the meetings in a positive fashion, not as "gripe sessions."

b. ACF Legislative Contacts: The group determined to use the January meeting to make contact with key legislators involved with education issues. At Jim Nemitz' (WVSOM) suggestion, Chair Moore will consult the Chancellor and HEPC counsel to confirm the extent that the ACF can be involved in political issues and exactly how we must proceed in order to keep any ethical questions from arising.

c. Letters to Legislators: John David (WVU Tech) suggested that the ACF draft a letter/survey to send to all legislators, offering our congratulations to them, sharing with them our four legislative concerns, and requesting they respond as to their positions on each ("yes," "no," or "neutral"). Accompanying the letter will be the ACF brochure also detailing our service to the State. Shurbutt was asked to draft the letter, which she suggested be sent through the "listserv" for ACF member's suggestions for improvement before she submits it to Chair Moore for distribution next week. After the legislative responses are collected, before the December meeting, the group will discuss its strategy, which will likely be to target both legislative supporters and non-supporters, with the central aim of educating the legislature about the benefits accrued to the State from higher education faculty and programs.

3. Draft of Evaluation Policy of Administrators: Chair Moore asked the ACF to come to closure on the wording of the draft so that the ACF might pass on the finished policy draft to Bruce Flack. The main thrust of the policy will be to insure that administrators are evaluated from both below and above, as are faculty, and that regional campuses have some input in the evaluations of their supervisors that might happen to be part of the parent campus.

4. Dr. Flack's Report: Dr. Flack reported on the various policy proposals that will come again before the HEPC tomorrow. The LOCEA Reports have already been detailed (see Shepherd's October ACF report). a. AP Courses: Dr. Flack shared with the ACF the survey that has been prepared to ascertain the quality of college (AP) courses offered in the high schools. Dr. Flack noted that the data shows a) the pass rate on the standardized tests given in AP courses has dropped to 48%; b) students with AP English credits perform better than regular college students in General Studies courses. The factor that appears to make the significant difference is the time frame for the courses (high school students remain with their teachers for the duration of the year, as opposed to 15 weeks for the typical college class). b. Statewide Standard for Issuing High School Grades: A statewide standard for issuing grades rather than the traditional weighted grading system is being discussed. Among the concerns with the new "Promise" scholarship program is that high school students will not select the more challenging courses in order to keep their GPAs high. c. HEPC Faculty Development Funds: Chair Moore asked about the increase in Faculty Development funds (from $20,000 to $70,000) that the Chancellor has access to and how they were going to be used. Currently the Great Teachers Seminar is recipient of most of the funding. d. General Studies Math Requirements: Dr. Flack noted that by 2008 the ACT placement score for math will rise from 19 to 20 for entry into college-level GS math courses. This change will impact ACFN courses as well as GS math courses. e. New Meeting Schedule for HEPC: The HEPC is considering moving to a schedule of meetings "every-other-month."

5. ACF 2003 HEPC Presentation: The ACF discussed its approach for the 2003 faculty presentation to the HEPC. The consensus was, rather than present another overview of our service (the 2002 presentation), we would focus on one or two issues in order to explicate and clarify the faculty perspective. Some issues suggested were faculty "workloads," faculty "productivity," and "web-delivery courses from a faculty perspective." There will be a " listserv" discussion about the issues we wish to highlight for the HEPC.

Highlights from the November 1 5 HEPC Meeting

A number of LOCEA reports were approved by the HEPC Finance Committee prior to submission to the Legislative Oversight Commission on Education Accountability (all reports are available in hardcopy); those having some impact on Shepherd and likely to find their way to law or policy were as follows:

1. ASL as Foreign Language: American Sign Language will be recognized and accepted in the public schools to fulfill the foreign language requirement; while certain higher education disciplines, such as Communications and English, may choose to accept ASL, others may not. This change will involve only a small number of students.

2. Alignment of High School Graduation Requirements with Higher Education Entrance Requirements: This report deals with the alignment of K-16 education into a seamless system that will facilitate ease of college entrance requirements and dual curriculum for high school students who will pursue technical or two-year degrees. This report includes a description of the West Virginia EDGE Program (Earn a Degree/Graduate Early).

3. Enhancing Articulation and Transfer of Credits: Dr. Flack reported that the State has a liberal transfer policy which is "student friendly." This report suggests few changes in the transfer policy that already exists; it merely clarifies and more clearly articulates existing policy and recommends the establishment of an Academic Quality Review Committee, which will periodically review issues associated with transfer of college credits (see final bullet of report in hardcopy).

4. Increasing College Course Offerings for High School Students: This report deals with a plan to increase the number and quality of dual credit (college/secondary) courses in the public schools. Such a program will compete with AP courses. Findings and recommendations are detailed in the report.

Budget reduction and other finance issues were discussed in the rather lengthy Finance Committee. Dr. Dunlop and other Shepherd colleagues were present at this meeting. The general tenor or tone of the meeting, as I observed toward the end of the meeting, appeared somewhat strained, as some college presidents clearly objected to the HEPC's unwillingness to question the Governor's proposed 10% cut in higher education for 2003-2004. The rationale, as one college president concluded, for omitting higher education from across-the-board cuts in the State was that higher education must lead the State in developing its lagging economy and training and retraining West Virginians for new economic focus and initiatives that will help pull the state out of its slump.

The next ACF/HEPC meeting will be December 12, in Charleston. Email Shepherd ACF representative Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt your suggestions and concerns prior to the next meeting.

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