Academic Senate Meeting

December 3, 2010


Members present:  Leonor Elias, Bob Kuntz, David Marten, Laura Montgomery,
Andrew Mullen, Marianne Robins, Warren Rogers (chair), Brenda Smith, and Paul Willis.


Others present: 


Members Excused to Attend Strategic Planning Committee Meeting:  Jane Highstreet (wcsa), Tatiana Nazarenko, Richard Pointer, and Susan Savage.


1.   The minutes of the 11/12/2010 meeting were approved as corrected.


2.   Discussion of faculty representation on Strategic Planning Committee


Warren reported on the straw e-mail poll of the faculty conducted by Tom Fikes.  There were 30 respondents and Proposal #4 (of the six proposals) received the largest number of votes.


Proposal #4. Vice chair, one senator, two elected faculty

Faculty Vice Chair

One member of Academic Senate

Two faculty members, each from an academic division different from that of the Vice Chair, elected by the faculty to staggered 3‐year terms


Faculty council will bring Proposal #4 as a motion to the floor at the faculty meeting on December 10. 


Just prior to the Senate meeting, Laura Montgomery submitted a seventh proposal for consideration.  Warren encouraged Laura to work with other faculty to obtain support for her proposal, which she could bring to the faculty meeting for consideration to either amend Proposal #4 or as a substitute motion.


What followed was a wide-ranging discussion about strategic planning in general and faculty/Senate participation in the strategic planning process in particular.


The existing Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) is heavily weighted with administrators, thus it can be a bit overwhelming for a small number of faculty, who are not as conversant in the different strategic planning language, to function effectively in all facets of the discussion.  It was suggested that in a given year, extra faculty members could be temporarily asked to serve on SPC subcommittees or task forces to ensure there is adequate faculty representation and voice.


·         Where and by whom were the strategic planning goals/priorities set?

·         Some members of the Senate indicated that, unlike the past, they do not feel heard by the Executive Team or the Board of Trustees.  This is of great concern to them.

·         What is the forum for faculty to be heard?

·         What is the Strategic Planning Committee and what power does it have?

·         Academic Programs are not well represented on the Strategic Planning Map.  It is essential that faculty have a strong presence and voice in the visioning for Academic Programs.

·         There is more focus on Institutes than Academic Programs.  How was it determined that Institutes would have such a high priority?



·         Where was the faculty consultation on any issue having to do with Information Technology and the development of the Library Commons?

·         Strong concerns were expressed about the current lack of sufficient communication and consultation between the administration and the faculty.  Westmont’s tradition and strength lies in its culture of conversation and consultation, this culture needs to be reinvigorated!


Warren expressed appreciation for the candid discussion and the assistance that it will provide him in shaping the remarks for the report he will be making to the faculty at the December meeting.  He will convey to the faculty that the Academic Senate is the clearinghouse for all issues academic and he will encourage faculty to stay in close communication with their Senate representatives.


Warren also stated that he would convey to Faculty Council the very strong concerns expressed today about communication and consultation.


3.   Discussion of subcommittee structure of Senate


Should the Senate have a subcommittee to address vision and strategic planning issues?


It was suggested that the two Senators who do not have other committee assignments, along with the chair of the Senate, be formed to compose a strategic planning subcommittee of the Academic Senate.  One member observed that the role of the entire Senate is to plan and to envision; therefore, a subcommittee is not needed or desired.


The discussion will be continued at the January meeting.


4.   Discussion of provisional handbook language for the structure and description of Senate


This item will not be coming to the December Faculty meeting.  It has been postponed until January to give the Senate more time for discussion.  A decision at the January Faculty meeting is needed to proceed with elections.


Respectfully submitted,


Bob Kuntz