Faculty Senate Minutes (11/13/2020)

Call to Order

In attendance:
Members: Dimitrios Bolkas, Wei-Fan Chen, Jeffrey Chiampi, Melisa Littleton, Albert Lozano, Violet Mager, Cameron Nielsen, Jeremy Olson, Frederick Stefon, Dale Jones, Wanda Ochei, Janine Becker, Kaci Grabowski, Cristina Orozco, Dudley Snyder, Anson Carter, Steven Putzel, Luciana Caporaletti, Jonathan Pineno, Timothy Sichler, Heather Paris, Maureen Ciliberto.
Invited guests: Margie Esopi, Stephanie Anadaloro

Welcome and Announcements

  • Albert Lozano (Chairperson) introduced the new student representative to the Senate, Cristina Orozco, who is replacing Ben Cebula.
  • Lozano asked membership to remind students to contact IT if they will need technological support after Thanksgiving and to coordinate the return of Fall semester items as necessary.
  • Lozano stated that final exam grades will be due on December 22, 2020 and that the alternative grading option is in place for the Fall semester.
  • Lozano stated that Dale Jones (Chancellor) asked him to recognize Faculty research and charged the Scholarly Activities Committee to do so.

Approval of Minutes – October 16, 2020 Meeting

  • Minutes from October 16, 2020 approved. First motion made by Anson Carter (Secretary). Second motion made by Jeremy Olson. All in favor.

Remarks from Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Jones

  • Jones stated that the University is likely to send out information related to COVID-19 and the Spring semester.
  • Jones stated that the University is working on an inclement weather policy related to remote learning.
  • Jones stated that the University is discouraging Faculty from foreign travel.
  • Jones stated budget restrictions from the University are expected in the coming months but the Campus would attempt to support Faculty as much as possible.
  • Lozano stated that via DAA/DC, Faculty are not obligated to teach remotely during inclement weather.
  • Wei-Fan Chen asked Jones about the methods of Faculty evaluation under the current conditions surrounding the SRTEs.  Jones stated the University is aware of this issue and discussions are ongoing. Lozano stated that under COVID conditions, Faculty will be able to describe their performance themselves.

Discussion of Committee Reports

  • Lozano stated that he believed that the DEI Committee should have membership beyond the Senate and that it may be beneficial for DEI to report directly to administration instead of remaining a Senate standing committee. Steven Putzel, Wanda Ochei, and Chen stated that they were researching similar models at the Commonwealth Campuses.
  • Lozano stated that the University Faculty Senate passed a resolution on the alternative grading policy and recommended that the Campus representatives survey Campus Faculty in regards to the matter. Chen stated that SGA was strongly in favor of the policy.

Old Business

  • Lozano stated he continues to see students outdoors without masks and wearing them improperly in general.  He stated his frustration that Faculty are being put in a position of enforcement.  Ochei asked if Lozano was aware of any Faculty complaints of students without masks in the classroom.  Lozano stated he had not.  Lozano suggested the possibility of having individuals designated for enforcement.  Jones stated it was everyone’s responsibility to wear a mask and that signage and social media was being used to promote masking.  Jones stated that Campus Police were willing to remind students to wear masks.

New Business

  • Lozano stated that it is likely that some Faculty will be unable to teach Summer 2021 courses due to COVID constraints and that Jones inform the Faculty about the criteria in which these decisions are made.
  • Lozano stated there is Faculty concern that it is difficult to find proctors for makeup exams and this could be problematic in Spring 2021. Ochei added that similar problems occur for students given accommodations under ADA.
  • Lozano stated there is Faculty concern that course cancellations sometimes result in overloads the following semester and that there are University guidelines regarding the matter.
  • Jones stated that the University is preparing policies for scheduling courses for Summer 2021 and that the University is delaying information concerning Summer 2021 courses due to COVID. Jones stated that decisions made regarding scheduling Summer 2021 courses are not made on a personal basis. Jones stated that decisions are made on a budgetary basis and maximizing student progress and retention.  Lozano requested to Jones that Penn State Wilkes Barre Faculty be given fair consideration in regards to Summer 2021 scheduling. Jones stated he would.


  • First motion by Chiampi, second motion by Snyder. All in favor.