Faculty Senate Minutes (10/16/2020)

Call to Order

In attendance:
Members: Christyne Berzsenyi, Dimitrios Bolkas, Wei-Fan Chen, Jeffrey Chiampi, David Chin, Theresa Clemente, Lynda Goldstein, Jennie Knies, Melisa Littleton, Albert Lozano, Violet Mager, Salvatore Marsico, Cameron Nielsen, Jeremy Olson, Timothy Sichler, Frederick Stefon, Dale Jones, Wanda Ochei, Janine Becker, Kaci Grabowski
Invited guests: Margie Esopi, Karen Ann Gallia

Welcome and Announcements

  • Albert Lozano (Chairperson) stated that in the event the agenda could not be completed the meeting would reconvene October 23, 2020.
  • Lozano stated concern that contractors and campus employees are not wearing masks outside and are setting a poor example for students. Dale Jones (Chancellor) stated that he would address the matter later in the afternoon. Lozano also noted that Penn State Police are enforcing local COVID ordinances at University Park.
  • Lozano stated that the University Faculty Senate passed a resolution requesting information from the University concerning COVID modeling.
  • Lozano requested that faculty remind their students to check their email to help comply with COVID testing procedures.
  • Lozano stated that recent layoffs at University Park are not COVID related as conveyed to him by Jones.
  • Lozano stated he attended the University Discipline Coordinator meeting and it was determined that campus closures due to weather should not result in an obligation to hold classes via Zoom.
  • Lozano presented the Senate with the opportunity to ask Margie Esopi (Registrar) if they had any questions concerning the Spring 2021 schedule. Christyne Berzsenyi asked what percentage of Penn State Wilkes-Barre courses are offered in-person. Esopi stated that roughly half of the current courses have an in-person component and expected the same for Spring 2021.

Approval of Minutes from September 16, 2020 Meeting

Minutes from September 16, 2020 approved. First motion made by Jeffrey Chiampi (Chairperson-Elect). Second motion made by Timothy Sichler. All in favor.

Remarks from Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jones

  • Jones stated that authorization had been given to fill open faculty positions in Rehabilitation and Human Services, Criminal Justice, and Information Science and Technology.
  • Jones stated that plans and guidance are being made by the University regarding the post-Thanksgiving time period and Spring 2021.
  • Jones stated President Barron has expressed the University’s desire to avoid employee layoffs.
  • Lozano requested that faculty continue to support staff members.

Discussion of Committee Reports

  • Lozano stated that the Faculty Affairs Committee currently has no chairperson and that the committee should prioritize this or be rendered inactive. The chairperson of this committee must be tenure-line.
  • Lozano stated that the constitution previously required physical presence at meetings to vote and enter closed session. He stated that the use of electronic meetings would be a necessity for the future and he would convey this to the Constitution Committee.
  • David Chin requested a revision to the DEI committee’s report. He requested a language change to Item 3 of the September 28, 2020 meeting notes regarding that committee’s action plan. He stated he would email this information to Lozano.
  • No reports from other committees.

Old Business

  • Lozano reviewed Jones’s redistribution of faculty staff assistant tasks and asked faculty to inform him if are tasks missing.

New Business

  • Lozano stated that the University is contractually obligated to use the newest edition of textbooks and that this puts a financial burden on the Library to provide these to students. Jennie Knies stated that small portions of textbooks can be legally scanned.
  • Lozano asked faculty to inform students to plan for technology needs during the post-Thanksgiving remote time period.
  • Lozano discussed the request by Chin to establish the DEI Committee as a standing committee. First motion by Chin, second motion by Jeremy Olson. Motion carries by unanimous vote.
  • Lozano asked faculty to remain flexible with students in the current COVID environment.

Comments for the Good of the Order

  • Salvatore Marsico stated that a report from the University Faculty Senate regarding medical services would be made available next week.


  • First motion by Olson; second motion by Chiampi. All in favor.