Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)

Community College of Allegheny County

College Council Meeting Minutes November 30, 2006

November 30, 2006
College Office Board Room

Present   Absent                     Guests                  

Maryann Anderson
Mary Frances Archey           
Joe Calig
Toni Carney
Gordon Crocker
John Dziak
Rod Farkas
Rita Gallegos
Joanne Jeffcoat
Diane Maldonado
Maura Stevenson
Barbara Thompson
Allysen Todd
Stephen Wells

Brian Johnson
Charles Blocksidge          
Cyndi Syskowski    

Walt Pauli
Tom Wieloch
Greg Wagner
Fran Dice
Deb McClusky     
Michelle Doas


Maryann Anderson, College Council Chair, called the meeting to order at 2:33 PM. 


Gordon Crocker made a motion to approve the minutes of the November 9th, 2006 meeting of College Council. Diane Maldonado seconded the motion.  The minutes were approved as amended.


A.  Academic Standards and Student Affairs SubcommitteeProposal: Changing the CCAC Grading System to Include +/- Grades
Toni Carney reported that the proposal had been discussed at the Nov 16th meeting and had been approved. Mrs. Carney distributed 4 essays written by students from an English 102 class. Three of the students favored the proposal and one did not.

The Initiator, Greg Wagner was available to discuss the proposal. Mr. Wagner explained that he has been researching the +/- grading method for years. He explained that the +/- system is more reflective of a student’s performance and that it provides more incentive for students to study as the semester end approaches.

He explained that the proposal still allows faculty to use straight A, B, C, etc. grades if that is what they wish. Faculty would need to make their choice of grading system clear to students at the beginning of the semester.

Allysen Todd expressed concern that the choice by faculty will cause a lack of continuity within the system, and that the QPA does reflect variance. Mr. Wagner said that he believes that grading inconsistencies exist now even within departments.

Diane Maldonado reported that she met with her department heads at South Campus, and some of their comments included a desire for consistent guidelines, a concern that a +/- system might cause transfer problems, such as in education, and that it might lead to problems with determining the Dean’s list, and financial aid and scholarship eligibility.

Greg Wagner responded that faculty now can determine that an A is 95 to 100 and a B is 87 to 94, etc. Through his research, he had found that 25% of community colleges nationally utilize a +/- system, and that the states of Michigan and Washington mandate a +/- system and California has pending legislation for it. The National Association of Registrars has said that more and more colleges will be utilizing the +/- grading system.

Diane Maldonado made a motion to accept the proposal, Rita Gallegos seconded the motion and motion failed with 3 votes in favor, 7 votes opposed, 1 abstention.

B.  Curriculum Subcommittee  

Proposal: New Certificate Program: Electrical Distribution Technology
Tom Wieloch, the Initiator presented the proposal, explaining that the proposal is the result of Duquesne Light needing more students to get through the program in a faster period of time. The proposal allows for a student to complete the certificate in 18 months and includes extensive lab time working on telephone poles. During the summer they complete an internship during which they earn $12,000 to $15,000 making $19 per hour.

Courses are taught at the new facilities on Ohio River Blvd. Instruction is done by Duquesne Light except for an electrical course that is taught by Mr. Wieloch. No women have applied to the program but they are trying to encourage female applicants.

Mr. Wieloch reported that one of our graduates died recently. Upon graduation, he went to work in West Virginia for a Florida based company. He had been trained using 4,160 volts and was working with 16,000 volts and was electrocuted. Rod Farkas inquired whether the EDT 107 course for safety training could include the importance of expressing to your boss a concern for safety when you don’t feel qualified for a task or consider a situation unsafe.

Joanne Jeffcoat made a motion to accept the proposal. Gordon Crocker seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.

Proposal: Revisions to Electrical Distribution Technology Associate Degree 
The proposal for the Associates Degree reflects the changes just approved in the Certificate Program. Students who are interested in management would be interested in this Program. Tom Wieloch reported that once students receive their certificate, they are encouraged to earn the Associates degree. It is difficult however, because Duquesne Light employees work a mandatory 60 hour work week. Page 5 of the proposal makes clear that students must obtain a certificate before they can enter Semester 3 of the Associates Degree program.

Mary Francis Archey noted that program objectives should be in the description. Tom Wieloch will complete the edits and deliver the corrected proposal to Maryann Anderson before December 13th.

Rita Gallegos made a motion to accept the proposal. Maura Stevenson seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.

C.  Research and Development Subcommittee

Review of Distance Learning Information from Benchmark Institutions
Maura Stevenson reported that at the last Subcommittee meeting, members reported the results from surveying their benchmark institutions on internet and web enhanced courses. Internet courses have 0% seat time, traditional courses have 100% seat time and web enhanced courses have a 60/40 split of seat time.  Some institutions refer to these courses as hybrid classes so perhaps we need to look at our terminology. Students may avoid web enhanced courses because they don’t understand the concept. It was suggested in the Subcommittee that if a course was split 50/50 rather than 60/40, it would free up more classroom space for scheduling. A classroom could be equally shared.

The Subcommittee is also considering if there are any State legislative requirements regarding seat time that must be met. John Dziak responded that he just had the AFT attorney investigate this and the State mandates weeks of instruction, not seat time or minutes of instruction.

D.  Academic Planning Subcommittee

Proposal: Hiring Recommendations for Full-time Faculty and Ed Tech Positions, 2007-2008.
Joanne Jeffcoat reported that the hearing on faculty hires was held and it was not without some discord, but at the meeting those present had an opportunity to state their preferences. It is a very difficult process and not everyone can be satisfied.

Several factors complicated the hearings this year. One factor is that full time temporary faculty will not be carried over next year. Those positions will be eliminated unless they are approved as permanent positions. Mrs. Jeffcoat also received an email after the hearing from Dr. Sutin asking that the minority intern program be given some attention. There are also questions regarding how some departments separate out overages. Some faculty want overages available and prefer that full-time faculty not be hired.  Other faculty do not. Ms. Jeffcoat said that it would be very helpful if each campus plus Allied Health and Nursing would submit a prioritized list.

Also, just because there are 5 faculty members in a discipline does not mean that everyone in that discipline is qualified to teach all courses. For instance, in the Automotive Department there are 9 faculty but only 1 can teach welding.

Tentatively 10 positions will be approved to be filled. Joe Calig reported that we cannot accurately budget until we know what the State and County will do and if the board will increase tuition. He said the budget process has begun, and that forms have been sent to departments. We are doing that earlier so advertising these positions can be done earlier. Steve Wells said that we are off cycle with advertising in the Chronicle of Higher Education and that we advertise so late that we are left with fewer qualified candidates. We don’t want to be searching in the summer the way we have done in the past. 

Mr. Calig said that it might be possible to advertise a safe number. We are working as fast as we can but we can’t commit to dollars that we don’t have. Advertising may be in late March which is 3 months ahead of where we were last year.

When asked about retirements, Mrs. Jeffcoat said that the Subcommittee is not supposed to take that into consideration. She reported that there are 7 Nursing full-time temporary positions and 1 art full-time temporary position that will have to be filled by adjuncts if they aren’t approved as permanent positions.  

Michelle Doas addressed Council explaining that losing the majority of the full-time temporary positions will put the Nursing program in severe jeopardy. It is very difficult to find nursing adjuncts that are credentialed. Nurses are earning twice as much in the healthcare market as they would be earning here. Having a Nursing Program is important to many other programs and using all adjuncts also jeopardizes the safety of the program.

Allysen Todd said that this information should have been presented to us a long time ago. It is not fair to have had department heads go through this whole process and then to be told that the 7 of 10 positions need to go to the Nursing Department.

Barbara Thompson called the question. Toni Carney seconded the motion and the question passed unanimously.

Toni Carney made a motion to accept the list of faculty hires as presented by the Academic Planning Committee. Barbara Thompson seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.

Joanne Jeffcoat said that she will clean up a couple of typos in the report and send it out to the College Community.


Review of College Council Website: Content, Policy and Procedure
Maura Stevenson distributed a large packet of forms that are part of the wizard. They have been redone by Maura Stevenson and Maryann Anderson. Dr. Stevenson asked that we review them and get feedback to her by December 7th.  

Toni Carney distributed proposed forms for her committee and requested feedback also by December 7th.


There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 4:33 PM.

The next meeting of Council will be December 14th at 2:30 PM

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Thompson
College Council Secretary