Johnson County Community College
Faculty Senate Minutes
October 19, 2017
RC 175, 3:00 PM-5:00 PM
Patrick Lafferty, Tom Renfro, Tatiana Scanlan, Irene Schmidt, Judi Guzzy, Madison Huber-Smith, Matthew Schmeer, Janette Funaro, Paul Deceles, Patrick Dobson, Bill McFarlane, Omar Conrad, Sharon Lundeen, Scott Gilmore, Dan Eberle, Beth Edmonds, Peggy Barlett, Susie Gibbar, Kristen Harth, Bob Carney, Tracie Putnam, Geraldine Dotson, Sheryl Hadley, Todd Watson, Dennis Arjo from FA, Barry Bailey from EA
Kay King (sabbatical)
- Call to Order at 3:00 PM
- Open Forum
- Senate President’s remarks were deferred to Beth Edmonds.
- Beth Edmonds: Read the following statement
Thank you for allowing me to speak to you today about ACCUPLACER, College Now dual credit enrollment, the JCCC math department, and the JCCC executive cabinet. By now many (if not all) of you are aware of the most recent issue swirling around us: the JCCC Cabinet’s decision to allow some high school students to enroll into College Now math and science classes without demonstration of mastery of the prerequisite material. You are most likely also aware of the document that I wrote and that has been loaded onto the faculty senate web page.
I’m making no assumptions about whether or not you have read the document. I assume that my faculty colleagues have a great many things to do with their precious time and leave you to decide how best to spend that time. But Patrick asked me to put together something for you even if it was bullet points that would help us all in moving the conversation forward. After having multiple ‘conversations’ with JCCC administrators and trustees I realized that giving this information as bullets just wouldn’t cut it. In order to truly bring someone up to speed, I needed to first give all the salient background information and then pile on the layers until a complete picture could be seen and informed opinions could be drawn. Hence, the 8 page document which I wrote weekend before last and submitted to Patrick on Monday, October 8th.
As I wrote in that document, “I am using this letter to communicate with you the events of the last few weeks from my perspective as math department chair. I am very keen to help all my faculty colleagues to be as up to date as possible.” The ‘you’ in that sentence refers to the people sitting in this room and I emphasized there that I was giving you my perspective and the facts within my frame of reference.
First I would like to talk a little bit about the contents of that document. Some of what I am about to say is word for word and some is me adding a little narrative.
On Friday, September 22nd, the JCCC cabinet voted to suspend the requirement for College Now (CN) math students to demonstrate mastery of prerequisite materials before enrolling into MATH 173 – Precalculus, MATH 181 –Statistics, MATH 241 – Calculus I, and MATH 242 – Calculus II. (This was done ‘midstream’ in that this occurred at the very end of the enrollment period so that some student had met prerequisites but some had not.) Students enrolling into CN chemistry and physics were also affected. (This is because these 2 particular sciences courses have math prerequisites).
The members of the cabinet bear sole responsibility for making this decision. No faculty were involved. (I mentioned this because of a small but telling incident that occurred during the Learning Quality board sub-committee meeting and then was repeated multiple times in other settings. When an explanation was given to trustees by a member of the JCCC cabinet about their decision, that administrator spoke about the math department chair’s role in the process. So, I felt compelled (in my letter to you) to emphasize that the math department chair did not have a “role”.)
Within the pages that follow, you can find the following :
- Pg 2: A brief (as brief as possible) description of placement including some details about the ACCUPLACER test, methods used to determine and evaluate cut scores, and history of test selection (at the same time that we are evaluating the impact of the cabinet decision on students and planning corrective steps we must establish cut scores for the ‘NextGen’ ACCUPLACER test by end of March to be used next fall)
- Pg 3: A brief description of the Quick Step Plus (QSP) College Algebra program with details to contrast this with College Now (there are two programs : you may be interested to know that we have close to 1,400 dual credit high school mathematics students in each of these programs with slightly more students in QSP College Algebra (all of whom placed into the course either by the ACCUPLACER or ACT))
- Pg 4: A brief description of how the communication to JCCC faculty and to high schools was handled in this case (this is where I included 3 different versions of the communication that went out to area constituents from Denise Griffey’s office)
- Pg 5: Global concerns that arise from the JCCC cabinet decision (this is where I included links to the HLC, KBOR, NACEP, and AMATYC websites)
- Pg 6: Four questions that I have been asked very often lately and my responses (including the question “What would the math department have recommended?”)
- Pg 7: Possible consequences that must be anticipated.
A decision such as this recent cabinet decision, made with seemingly no thought given to consequences, should be a concern to all faculty. I’ve had occasion recently to explore the dictionary to find synonyms that I could use for this situation. Here’s what I found : shocked, exasperated, galled, irritated, annoyed, vexed, angered, infuriated.
I was shocked to learn that one administrator was able to convince the entire cabinet to come to this consensus decision. I was exasperated to learn that despite all evidence presented to them over the past two weeks, the cabinet will not rescind the decision. I was galled when I learned that the members of cabinet plan to blithely walk away from a decision that leaves such upheaval. And, I am irritated, annoyed, vexed, angered and infuriated that it is the members of my department that will spend the next several months making the situation right again.
Beth A Edmonds
Mathematics Department Chair
Since I wrote that letter to you Joe Sopcich published his response to the ACCUPLACER issue on infolist. In this infolist response, Dr Sopcich wrote, “In a separate discussion with faculty it was suggested I communicate to the campus at-large on this issue and share with you what I discussed with them. I believe it was good counsel and I respect their point of view. So, I’m going to take this opportunity to do just that. Please know that these comments reflect an abbreviated summary of all that was discussed.” I think Dr. Sopcich’s response accomplished his goals for that document very well. He did not express what I might have liked him to.
As a side note and just between you and me, I think I could express in two sentences what happened. In one short (approx. 30 min) session, the JCCC cabinet made a unanimous decision concerning what they thought was a couple hundred dual credit math students. But they, unfortunately, failed to see that their decision would have such far-reaching and disruptive consequences. And by consequences I am not just referring to the math and science departments.
In fact, they had no inkling that the premise of and fallout from this decision were of such a broad scope that the FA, FS, and EA all now feel that some part of this belongs within their purview. There are so many levels to this that it boggles the mind.
I discovered not long ago that I’m a pragmatist. So now I, and the members of my department, will focus on the students affected. As department chair, my job is to make sure that my department colleagues have everything they need to accomplish this: they need speedy access to data from IR and the CN offices on request, they need to communicate with high school teachers and to support them when required, they need to determine how to help students who have been permitted to enroll into upper level math classes (each costing $500) when they shouldn’t have been, and we need to find a way to use this mess to educate ourselves.
I don’t begrudge anyone the errors they make. I have made errors, grievous errors. I was taught that when I make an error the following must happen to maintain what I might call a ‘harmony of ethics’: 1) I admit to the mistake, 2) I do everything in my power to correct the mistake, 3) I do everything in my power to mitigate any resulting damage, 4) I apologize for the mistake. These are the things I looked for in Dr. Sopcich’s statement.
You are certainly familiar with the concept of talking in order to hear oneself speak. I desperately do not want to give you an occasion to accuse me of that. But, I will exploit this opportunity to say something about leadership. We have numerous leaders here at JCCC at all levels and in all corners of the campus. But just lately I have been watching in particular the faculty, administration, and BOT leaders. I hope you have been too. What I would like to say to my colleagues sitting around this table today about leadership is the following. A position of leadership should not be used as a means to maintain power or control. It is not to be exploited in order to obscure, obstruct, abuse, or excuse. In my opinion, the very best manifestation of leadership occurs when it reflects the will of those that are led.
I’ve heard from trustees, administration, and our elected faculty leaders (bless them, they’ve been working overtime). I’m looking forward right now to hearing from you.
At the conclusion of her formal statement, Beth Edmonds responded to questions, including:
- How CN students can be in the same classroom with high school students, but still earn college credit?
- How will CN math students be evaluated at the end of their class?
- What is the effect on workload for Math faculty?
At the conclusion of this discussion, Matthew Schmeer made the following motion:
I move that the Faculty Senate accept and approve the following resolution as presented, without edits or amendments, as the official Senate statement on the Executive Cabinet’s decision to suspend College Now placement scores this semester.
Resolution Regarding the Johnson County Community College Executive Cabinet’s
Decision on the Suspension of College Now Placement Scores
Whereas the Faculty of Johnson County Community College, by mutual agreement and consent of the Administration and the Board of Trustees of the College, is charged with developing all aspects of curriculum of the College, including measuring student readiness via placement test scores, prerequisite determinations, and course sequencing;
Whereas the Executive Cabinet of Johnson County Community College voted to suspend the prerequisite requirements for College Now students enrolling in math, chemistry, and physics courses during the Fall 2017 College Now enrollment period;
Whereas the Executive Cabinet allowed students to enroll in credit-bearing courses without demonstrating mastery of any prerequisite material, and thus created two classes of students in College Now courses: those who placed into a course on their own academic merit as proven by satisfactory test scores or completion of prerequisites, and those who were allowed into a course by Cabinet fiat;
Whereas the Executive Cabinet knowingly subverted and violated the Faculty-led curriculum process to enact these changes;
Whereas the Executive Cabinet knowingly violated KBOR policies, HLC guidelines, NACEP standards, and best practice guidelines put forth by professional faculty organizations regarding academic rigor of dual credit courses, and in doing so has undermined the academic integrity of these courses;
Whereas the Executive Cabinet placed the College in breach of contract with KBOR, HLC, and NACEP in regard to the College’s approved and published course outlines;
Whereas the Executive Cabinet placed community relationships and public perception ahead of Faculty-led processes to ensure fair and accurate measurements and methods are used to gauge student readiness, and thus has undermined the authority and expertise of subject-area Faculty;
Whereas the Executive Cabinet did not consult Faculty regarding a decision that directly affects Faculty-developed and Faculty-managed curriculum designed to ensure student readiness and success;
Whereas the Executive Cabinet’s action on this matter is but one of many decisions affecting Faculty that have bypassed or ignored Faculty consultation;
Whereas the Executive Cabinet will not rescind this reckless and ill-advised decision;
Whereas the Executive Cabinet has set a dangerous precedent in which mutually agreed upon codified policies and processes of the College can be suspended, changed, or amended based solely on public outcry;
Whereas future Faculty and Administrators of the College must know that such behavior is not only unacceptable but also bears grave consequences, including loss of integrity, trust, and respect;
Whereas the Executive Cabinet, especially through its conduct in this matter, has violated the trust of the College Faculty;
Now therefore be it resolved that:
(1) The Faculty Senate does hereby censure the Executive Cabinet and does condemn this wrongful decision in the strongest terms;
(2) The Faculty Senate does hereby recognize the historic gravity of this resolution, and trusts and urges that future Senates will recognize the importance of this statement of censure and condemnation and allow this statement to remain intact until such time the
Executive Cabinet, in whole and in part, admit their error and rescind and/or rectify this decision in a manner satisfactory to the Faculty.
(3) The Faculty Senate does hereby affirm and support the Math Faculty and the hundreds of hours and considered process that led to the stated placement prerequisite scores.
The motion was seconded (Senator not recorded).
- This is a serious statement. Have we exhausted all other avenues for reconciliation?
- Concerns were raised that suggesting the Board’s actions have “undermined the academic integrity of these courses” is unfair to the faculty who teach those classes.
- It was observed that Schmeer’s statement does not address the negative effect this has on students and student success. This led to a motion by Janette Funaro to amend the initial motion to allow for the inclusion of such a statement. The motion was seconded (Senator not recorded). The motion did not pass.
The motion passed to accept the resolution as written and present it to the President’s cabinet and trustees.
- Farrell Jenab: Faculty Development. Ferrall Jenab provided the following announcements and reminders:
- Consider applying for the Master Teacher Workshop
- Representatives from the League for Innovation Faculty Voices in Community Colleges will have a follow up meeting on Nov. 13th
- Consider participating in the Monday Morning Mentor program
- Dennis Arjo: FA Report
With regards to the Accuplacer-College Now issue, the open letter from President Sopcich is viewed as inadequate. It is clear that Mickey McCloud (CAO) is committed to a “high stakes” final and that Math faculty will receive supplemental contracts to grade the final.
- Barry Bailey: Educational Affairts report
The following is a summary of actions taken in the Oct. 4th meeting of Educational Affairs:
- New courses or modifications to curricula and degrees were approved in:
- English and Journalism
- Electrical Technology
- Computing Science and Information Technology
- Business and Office Technology
- General Education requirements (removal of Physical Education)
- Gurbhushan Singh (Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs) discussed the proposed lowering of degree completion of two-year degrees from minimum of 63 hours to a minimum of 60 total hours. The proposed changes will better align with KBOR’s most current policies. This change will affect:
- Associate of Applied Science – program edit – Academic Year 2018-2019
- 1000-AA: Liberal Arts & Associate of Arts – program edit – Academic Year 2018-2019
- 1010-AS: General Sciences & Associate of Science – program edit – Academic Year 2018-2019
- 1050-AGS: General Studies & Associate of General Studies – program edit – Academic Year 2018-2019
- Accuplacer-College Now discussion, Mickey McCloud and Beth Edmonds
- Educational Affairs passed a statement concerning Accuplacer-College Now, but was not at liberty to share it at the time of the meeting.
- AQIP Institutional Learning Outcomes
Sharon L. Lundeen presented the Institutional Learning Outcomes and indicated that they cannot be revised at this stage. The 2017 AQIP Project Institutional Learning Outcomes are:
Successful Johnson County Community College students will be prepared to demonstrate proficiency in the following areas:
Quantitative Literacy – Use quantitative skills to analyze and process information.
Critical Thinking – Acquire, interpret, and analyze information and apply appropriate problem-solving techniques to determine and evaluate solutions.
Communication – Communicate effectively with clarity and purpose.
Social Responsibility – Be prepared to practice community engagement that reflects democratic citizenship, environmental responsibility, diversity, and international awareness.
Personal Responsibility – Be independent, lifelong learners who have the skills necessary for economic, physical, social, mental and emotional wellness.
Matthew Schmeer moved that the Faculty Senate endorse the Institutional Learning Outcomes, and Geraldine Dotson seconded the motion.
Discussion followed. Concern was expressed about grammar, clarification of meaning, and how these outcomes would be measured.
The motion failed.
Matthew Schmeer moved to express our appreciation to the committee and request they return with a clearer document. Motion was seconded by Tom Renfro. The motion passed.
- Senate Standing Committees
- Subcommittee met on Oct. 12
- New members were provided background on the history function of the subcommittee
- Results of the Adjunct Survey shows that a typical adjunct instructor:
- 16 years teaching experience
- 72% have earned a MA (many in teaching/instruction)
- 1/3 of adjuncts state that they want to become full time faculty
- Discussion of current hiring practices. Sheryl Hadley volunteered to talk with administrators in HR and the President’s office to gauge response.
- Irene Schmidt will request a meeting with Dr. McCloud to follow up on our request for an updated adjunct job description. We will reach out to Karen Martley in Staff Development, as well.
- Sheryl contacted Farrell Janab about the possibility of bringing the NISOD Virtual conference to JCCC. It is an all-day web conference that focuses on adjunct issues. https://www.nisod.org/conference/
Communications: No report.
Elections: No report.
Constitution: Reminder – we will vote on the constitutional changes in the November meeting. Everyone has been e-mailed a copy of the proposed changes.
- College-wide Committee Updates
Distance Learning Advisory Council, provided an update on the following:
- Winter Session 2017 – course offerings include 33 classes.
- Migration to Canvas – D2L and Canvas are available in spring 2018. D2L access will end by June 2018.
- Testing Center – Get the word out to faculty to have fewer tests, enforce time limits, stagger deadlines, etc.
- OLC Virtual Conference – November 15, there will be 110 streamed sessions, Ed will share a link to archives available for one year.
- Clarification for course delivery methods, especially for online classes with many (up to eight) proctored exams.