Faculty Senate Minutes (02/03/2021)

Call to Order

In attendance:
Members: Christyne Berzsenyi, David Chin, Wei-Fan Chen, Jeffery Chiampi, Melisa Littleton, Albert Lozano, Anatoli Ivanov, Brian Reese, Jennie Knies, David Neilson, Jeremy Olson, Dale Jones, Wanda Ochei, Janine Becker, Kaci Grabowski, Dudley Snyder, Anson Carter, Steven Putzel, Luciana Caporaletti, Dimitrios Bolkas, Natalya Vodopyanova, Cameron Nielsen, Heather Paris, Salvatore Marsico.
Via phone:  570-237-1804, 570-417-1792
Invited guests: Gail Stevens, Margie Esopi.

Welcome and Announcements

  • Albert Lozano (Chairperson) stated that the Faculty Senate elections were to be held soon. The positions of Chairperson-Elect, 2 Members-at-Large of the Executive Committee, Ombudsperson, 1 Core Member of the Promotion and Tenure Standing Committee, and 2 Core Members of the Teaching-Line Promotion Standing Committee are open positions. Lozano provided descriptions of the open positions.  Lozano stressed the need for member involvement in the elections.
  • Lozano reminded members that the University is incorporating “Wellness Days” as a replacement for the cancelled Spring Break.  Lozano reminded members that faculty should not assign work on these days.
  • Lozano stated that the University Faculty Senate has voted for use of Alternative Grading for Spring 2021.

Approval of Minutes from December 2, 2020 Meeting

  • Minutes from December 2, 2020 meeting approved. First motion made by Anson Carter (Secretary).  Second motion (unknown speaker). All in favor.

Discussion of Committee Reports

  • David Chin of the DEI Committee stated that Dr. Barron (President) has requested campus DEI similar bodies create an action plan by the end of February 2021 and that this work was under way assisted by a previously administered University survey. Chin stated that the committee’s first recommendation to Dale Jones (Chancellor) is for the formation of a campus-wide council modeled after a similar body at Penn State Hazelton. Chin announced three other actions items as found in the committee’s report (attached).  Jones stated that a campus cabinet member would be identified as the Chairperson of DEI.

Old Business

  • Lozano reiterated the importance of transparency related to summer course scheduling, specifically course selection and faculty assignment.
  • Lozano requested an update from Administration regarding the campus Registrar and Faculty Staff Assistant position searches.  

New Business

  • Lozano stated that Faculty have not received guidance related to inclement weather.  Lozano requested that Jones work with other Commonwealth Campuses to develop policy.  Salvatore Marsico, Wei-Fan Chen, Janine Knies, Jeremy Olson, and Lozano raised problematic issues related to lack of policy.
  • Lozano reiterated the importance of updates from Administration regarding Academic and Staff personnel searches.

Remarks from Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jones

  • Jones requested that faculty meet with the COVID Task Force for discussion.  
  • Jones stated the campus was waiting for guidance from the University regarding Summer 2021. Jones stated that decisions related to summer course offerings are based on student needs and not favoritism.  
  • Jones stated that a search committee for the Registrar is being formed. Jones stated that a third request to fill the Faculty Staff Assistant position would be made at a time when it seemed likely to be approved. Jones stated that approval has been given for the campus to fill the vacant Campus Nurse position. Jones stated that searches for RHS and Criminal Justice faculty positions are ongoing. Jones stated that approval has been given to fill the vacant CE position.
  • Jones stated that the campus has been one of the top five Commonwealth Campuses in percent increase of number of applications (Fall 2021) throughout the academic year.  
  • Jones stated that the University is not a COVID mass vaccination site.
  • Jones stated that the Strategic Plan has been submitted to the University and feedback has been received. Jones stated that the Strategic Communications Office would be without Jennifer Henniges for a few weeks.
  • Jones stated that the next Campus Advisory Board meeting would occur February 4, 2021.

Comments for the Good of the Order

  • Wanda Ochei stated she had entered a web link into Zoom Chat related to COVID pre-arrival testing.
  • Ochei stated that Sarah Luvender-Newman was returning from absence.


  • First motion by (unknown speaker). Second motion by Carter. All in favor

Attachment 1:  Excerpt from DEI Committee report dated December 18, 2020

  • Four projects were identified and discussed:
  1. making our recommendation for a Campus DEI Council
  2. a panel discussion interviewing campus and community members on DEI experiences (Dr. Goldston, Wanda Ochei and Sarah Luvender-Newman)
  3. a Social Justice Award (working title) for best student presentation at the Celebration of Scholarship (Dr. Goldston)
  4. inviting Sam Killerman to speak on gender identity at our campus (Steve Putzel and Luciana Caporaletti)