California State University, Northridge

Council of Chairs Meeting of April 17, 2006 Minutes

Members Present: AMC (Peter Nwosu), B&E (Shirley Svorny), ECS (Nagi El Nagi), H&HD (Joyce Munsch), S&M (Larry Allen), S&BS (Nathan Weinberg), Oviatt (Doris Helfer)

Absent: S&M (Larry Allen), ExL (Tyler Blake), CFA (Julio Blanco).

  1. Minutes of March 20 meeting unanimously approved.
  2. Council chair briefed members on progress to date regarding discussion of the grade inflation study at the Fall 06 chairs/deans retreat.
  3. Council chair provided update on the council website and requested assistance from members in identifying a new web manager for the site in view of the increasing cost for maintenance from the current manager.
  4. Guest: AVP Penny Jennings
    Dr. Jennings held discussions with the council on the following issues: preparations for 2006 chairs and dean’s retreat in Ventura and the 2008-2009 University Calendar. Members requested to have a 1.5 hour COC Plenary Session at the retreat to focus specifically on a discussion of the 2006 Grade Inflation Study commissioned by the Council. The purpose of this session is to engage the leadership of various departments and colleges, and eventually faculty in a conversation about enhancing the value of degree programs at CSUN in light of the President’s vision of a learning-centered university and the Provost’s fall 2005 message to faculty about grading practices. Dr. Jennings also briefed the Council about proposed topics for the retreat and requested members to submit other topics for consideration and inclusion to her office.
  5. Guests: Dr. William Watkins and Ms. Sonja Daniels, Student Affairs
    Both Dr. Watkins, Vice President for Student Affairs and Ms. Daniels, Associate Director, Office of Student Development and International Programs, briefed the Council on plans for a “New Student Convocation” at the University. As the part of the President’s vision, the program is designed to introduce new students to the university to the tradition of the university as a learning community. The program is expected to begin in fall 2006. Logistics are still being worked out and the Council of Chairs is represented on the New Student Convocation Planning Committee. Both Dr. Watkins and Ms. Daniels solicited suggestions from the Council on how best to implement the program in a manner that is inclusive of various programs that impact the quality of life for the student once s/he is on campus.
  6. Chairs’ roles and rewards
    Council members discussed and adopted the recommendations of its sub-committee on roles and rewards (Peter Nwosu, Nathan Weinberg, and Julio Blanco) to formally request adjustment in time base for department chairs. It mandated the Chair of the Council to meet with the Provost on the issue, and to work with the sub-committee on workload issues on a formal request in summer to the Provost and the President for adjustment in time base. Specifically: for large departments, the time base for chairs would be increased from .8 to 1.0; and for all other departments, the time base for chairs would be increased from .6 to .8.

    As part of the rationale for the adjustment, Council members noted that department chairs provide critical leadership at the Department and College levels; function in both administrative and faculty capacities on an ongoing basis, and with changing responsibilities and time pressures as the University embraces Year Round Operation, (YRO), begins planning for WASC, etc.

    Council members also identified certain benefits to the university as a result of the adjustment in time base:
    • Effective implementation of the university’s growth projections and expectations at a time that the university is moving towards a new planning model that links budget process with the planning process.
    • Fundamental structural changes at the departmental level in the way business is conducted, including in such areas as curriculum planning as has been underscored in the Provost’s message to faculty and to chairs during the provost’s ongoing professional development series,
    • Effective implementation of the President’s vision of a learning-centered university, in particular in such areas as program assessment, improving time to graduation, increasing the value of degree programs at the university, and
    • Reduction in turn-over rate of department chairs.
  7. May 21 meeting will not hold due to final examination and preparation for graduation events. Council’s next meeting is September 18, 2006 from 10:00am-12noon (Room 3107, Juniper Hall, (formerly Business Administration Building).

*Council meetings are open to the University Community.

Minutes prepared by Peter Nwosu, Council Chair



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Last updated: December 10, 2006