Vicki L. Tate
USA Faculty Senate Chair’s Report
For Nov. 28, 2007 Faculty Senate Meeting


2007 Faculty Handbook
I had a chance to review the changes that will be going into the next edition of the USA Faculty Handbook.  As to be expected, the shift of the College of Allied Health Professions and the College of Nursing from Academic Affairs to the re-named Office of Health Sciences required the biggest change in the handbook.  The College of Allied Health Professions, which was formerly at 2.6, will now be at 2.18.2.  The College of Nursing, which was formerly at 2.11, will now be at 2.19.  Both are now under the Office of Health Sciences (formerly Office of Medical Affairs).

The VP for Research has been added as a member to the Administrative Council of the President.  Vice President for Medical Affairs is now Vice President for Health Sciences, Associate Vice President for Hospital Affairs is now Vice President for Hospital and Clinical Affairs.  Another change in wording is the Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer (EEO/AA) is now Equal Opportunity/Equal Access Employer.

Faculty engaged in research should look at Chapter 7: Faculty Research.  There is extensive rewriting of the policies.

Under Chapter 8: Student Policies, the changes in the Final Course Grade Grievance Procedure has been incorporated into the handbook.


Equity Adjustment Meeting with Dr. Covey, Frank Hurley, and Mimi Summersell, Oct. 24, 2007
The purpose of the meeting was to go over the way external and internal equity adjustments are done at USA.  Frank Hurley covered the external equity adjustments, while Mimi Summersell covered internal equity adjustments. 

For external equity adjustment, the university uses information from CUPA [College and University Professional Association]-HR, which has conducted the faculty surveys for 24 years.  In 2004/05, 813 institutions participated in the survey, with information from 188,843 faculty members, covering 332 different disciplines.  Salary comparisons are made by rank and discipline using a CIP [Classification of Instructional Programs] Code.  There are several considerations when selecting the primary reference institutions:  1) Type of control (public vs. private), 2) Geographic location, 3) Carnegie classification, 4) Size of enrollment, 5) Program mix, and 6) Number of degree-completions by level.  University of South Alabama is currently using 17 reference institutions.  They are public institutions in the southeast area.  We are level II of the Carnegie Class so we are drawing from institution from levels I-III.  The survey only covers ranks from Assistant Professor to Full Professor; information on instructions is not included.  Also, to qualify for receiving an external equity adjustment, one must have received full merit for the last 5 years.

The internal equity plan was developed in 1998 with consultation and approval of the Faculty Senate Chair (Calvin Jones) and affirmed by the Compensation Committee for Faculty and Administration.  It was agreed to set aside a quarter of one-percent over the salary raise pool to fund the plan each year there is a salary increase.  Unlike the external adjustment, those at the instructor rank are included in the internal adjustment plan.  And like the external equity plan, to qualify for the internal adjustment, one must have received full merit for the last 5 years.  The first criterion for determining who qualifies for an adjustment is that the salary in question is lower than other faculty in the same discipline or sub discipline who hold the same or lower rank.  Next, the individual must meet the meritorious service requirement.  After it is determined that an adjustment is needed, the department then must establish comparables, determine the salary difference between the individual and the comparable, and determine the years in rank for the candidate and for the comparables.  The methodology for the adjustment is to multiply each additional year in rank of the comparable times 5% and subtract from 100%.  The percentage difference is then multiplied by the difference in salary between the candidate and the comparable to determine the adjustment.  E.g., [1-(Δ rank x .05)] (Δ annual salary)


Faculty Senate Executive Committee, Nov. 7, 2007
John Sachs is working on a letter of appreciation for President Moulton.  The Environmental Committee is looking into helping set up a departmental/college-level environmental officer to assist with the recycling program.  This issue will be brought up at our meeting with Pres. Moulton.  In January, the Senate will have Gordon Stone, Director of Higher Education Partnership, as our guest speaker.  The synopsis of the Town Meetings is complete and will be presented to Pres. Moulton as an informational item.  It will also be made available as a link on the Faculty Senate web page.  Salaries & Fringe Benefits Committee are currently looking at a number of topics including requesting that that fertility issues be included health coverage, that consideration be made to adding an additional option to just single and family, and that for equity adjustments that the requirement for 5 straight years of merit be change to at least 3 of the last 5 years.


Meeting with Dr. Covey, Nov. 8, 2007
Committee Chair Eric Loomis and I met with Dr. Covey regarding the “Late Course Withdrawal Policy”.  She reiterated that the name of the resolution is a misnomer since “late withdrawal” is the period after the regular withdrawal period ends, currently after the 12th week of classes.  She has spoken with various groups (Council of Academic Advisors, the Deans’ Council, SGA and the University’s Registrar) about the policy and they all have voiced opposition to it.  The inconvenience factor and the increased workload are the primary reasons given to their opposition.  USA Registrar, Melissa Wold, told Covey that there are 5,500 withdrawals from courses each semester (the number includes both semester withdrawals and individual course withdrawals), but she did not have a breakdown when those withdrawals occur within the semester.  Dr. Covey also had Institutional Research do a survey of the withdrawal policies of Alabama universities.  While no AL universities require an instructor signature before the end of the withdrawal period, all universities have a much shorter withdrawal period (usually between 8-10 weeks, versus USA’s 12 week).  As a compromise on the issue, we suggested that maybe there should be no signature required up to mid-term (approx. 7 weeks), then an instructor’s signature could be required between 7-12 weeks, and with the Dean’s signature after the 12th week.  Dr. Covey said she would request more detail information from the Registrar regarding the time period within the semester when students drop their courses—are the majority of withdrawals done before the mid-term of the semester or after that period?   This compromise would still allow faculty an opportunity to counsel students thinking about withdrawing from classes after investing more than half the semester in the class, yet allow students the convenience of withdrawing from a class without notifying their instructor if they decide early enough.   The question was raised of how late can students change their courses to audit status, and Dr. Covey reaffirmed that there is no deadline to request a change for audit.


FS Executive Committee meeting with Pres. Moulton, Nov. 14, 2007
A copy of the Town Meeting synopsis was given to Pres. Moulton and his senior administration as an information item.  While the report was not discussed, several items mentioned in the report were discussion items at the meeting.

A request was made for assistance in setting up contacts at each department/ college/building for the recycling program.  Chris Willis is interested in expanding the recycling program at the university and has asked for assistance from the FS Environmental Committee is doing this.  Pres. Moulton did not see that there would be any problem with this since we already have a designated person as the primary maintenance contact for every building so it should follow that this person could also be the contact person for the recycling program.

The question of how raises are determined was brought up, specifically how they are determined.  Dr. Covey indicated that raises are directly related to the annual AAP score.  Specifically, departments can not give faculty with lower AAP scores receiving higher raises than those with lower scores.  Some colleges use a straight statistical model for determining raises.  The information on how the raises are determined by each department should not be confidential.

The increments for promotion raises have not been changed in over 10 years, which currently stand at $3,000 increase from Assistant to Associate, and $5,000 from Associate to Full.  In 1998 a resolution passed by the Faculty Senate requested that the promotion raise should either be a 10% increase in base salary or the increments for Associate Professor and Professor should be $4,000 and $6,000 respectively.  After a discussion of the merits, there was no support for the 10% increase, but Pres. Moulton indicated that he would support raising the increments to the proposed level.

The issues of Fall and Spring breaks were raised.  The consideration that we have a Fall break around mid-semester was not supported by the administration since it would require either starting the semester earlier (which would be difficult since 9-mo.faculty contracts start on Aug. 15) or ending latter (which would mean graduation would be one-week later than usual).  As for the request for having our Spring break more in-line with county school systems’ spring break, there is no agreement on which school system to following since the schools don’t even have the same spring break.

There was a request to look as freshman seminars, as to whether there is consistency across Colleges as to their structure and requirements.  Dr. Covey indicated that they are looking at the courses and are evaluating them as to their success.

Pres. Moulton announced that he will be looking at revising the university’s vision statement.  (The last one published was in 2003.)  He requested input from the Faculty Senate for suggestions of changes and additions.  The Executive Committee will meet on Wednesday, Dec. 5th to discuss this.


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