Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC)

Community College of Allegheny County

College Council Meeting Minutes November 12, 2009

November 12, 2009
Office Of College Services Board Room





Maryann Anderson
Mary Frances Archey
Joyce Breckenridge
Yvonne Burns
Toni Carney
Mary Ellen Driver
John Dziak
Carl Francolino
Rita Gallegos
Joanne Jeffcoat
Dan Maddox
Charles Martoni
Maura Stevenson
Barbara Thompson
Stephen Wells 

Rick Allison
Donna Imhoff

Gretchen Mullin-Sawicki
Jim Robertson
Brad Sandrock

Maryann Anderson, College Council Chair, called the meeting to order at 2:30 PM.


Mary Ellen Driver moved to approve the minutes of the Oct. 8, 2009 meeting of College Council.  Rita Gallegos seconded the motion.  The minutes were approved as amended.



Carl Francolino reported that the Subcommittee met Nov. 5. The focus of the meeting was a discussion with Ibrahim Garbioglu, the Executive Director of ITS concerning the following issues:

1.    The Subcommittee questioned the status of the new distance learning server. Bids were due last Friday. Hopefully, the College will receive the new server in early December and be able to test it and have it available for the Spring semester. Mr. Garbioglu was optimistic.

2.    Mr. Francolino discussed a Distance Learning Continuity Plan.  The Subcommittee did not see a plan, but did discover that there is a partial “warm” site at South campus that could function if the distance learning server went down. A “warm” site means that the site is environmentally and electrically equipped to serve as a back-up.  Barbara Thompson questioned whether South Campus is still plagued with electrical problems, and if it could function as a warm site. However, a completely redundant system is not economically feasible. Government sponsors or corporations with grants do not want to fund redundancy. Joyce Breckenridge said that some hardware that has been taken out of service could be used, and the College is working on this problem, software package by software package.

3.    Video conferencing was discussed. The College currently has the ability to do video conferencing at each campus, which works fairly well. Video conferencing involves an inexpensive camera plus Microsoft Next Time software. The system is loaded onto a cart, which can be wheeled into any office. The Subcommittee is going to try it.

4.    Blackboard limitations and company attitudes were also discussed.  There has been criticism of Blackboard because the company is not open to feedback, and is difficult to work with. There are some open source systems such as Moodle, which are free, that could be used instead. However, because Moodle is open source, there are programming expenses to consider. The Subcommittee would like to test out some alternatives to Blackboard by the end of the academic year, and is looking for faculty who might be willing to participate in the test. There are many schools that really like Moodle.  Being open source, one can go in and easily change things with the stipulation that you share your source code with the Moodle community. Angel is another open source free platform worth considering.

5.    Information Literacy with the Libraries was also on the agenda.  Justin Bush will be working with Chris Galluzzo to design an information literacy course on Blackboard. Tomi Waters will meet with the Subcommittee to consider grant funding for this project.

6.    At the next meeting, Dwight Bishop will present the annual Distance Learning Review. Mr. Francolino will bring the review to the next Council meeting. 


Proposal: Changes to the Civil Engineering Technology (400) Program and the Drafting and/or Surveying Certificate (277) Program

Brad Sandrock and Gretchen Mullin-Sawicki presented the proposal. Maura Stevenson commented that the manner in which this proposal came about was ideal.  There was a program review, and changes are being proposed as a result of that review

Brad Sandrock remarked that this program has run at Boyce Campus for many years as part of the Engineering Technology Program. When the program at Boyce ended, the civil engineering portion of it was sent to South Campus.

The program review identified several courses that have not run in many years. The courses identified to be removed include: CET 204 Highway Construction and Design; CET 205 Building Construction and Steel Design; CET 206 Reinforced Concrete and Construction Materials; CET 210 Construction Estimating; CET 212 Soil and Rock Mechanics; CET 216 Structural Analysis; CET 220 Computer-Aided Structural Design; and CET 221 Computer-Aided Structural Analysis. Course descriptions, learning outcomes, credit revisions, and listed topics were revised for EGR 110, EGR 111, CET 140, CET 201, CET 215, EGR 100, SET 105, MET 150, and MET 211.

Mr. Sandrock also explained that the program had too many technical electives. Because students had so many to choose from, few ran. The technical electives were reduced by 8 courses, and all courses are required.

Barbara Thompson commented on the substitution of ENG 103 for ENG 102 and if ENG 103 was transferrable. Mr. Sandrock replied that it would transfer. Transfer colleges and industry representatives were involved in the program review, and their suggestions were incorporated. The transfer colleges that Mr. Sandrock referred to were Point Park and California University of Pennsylvania. The proposal also included a new course, MET 220 Green and Sustainable Buildings.

The following additional questions arose. Mr. Sandrock was asked why CET 201 had 23 learning objectives, and shouldn’t they be kept within 5 to 10?  Maura Stevenson said this was questioned at the Subcommittee level also, and that the 5 to 10 limit is only a guideline. Departments impacted by the changes would also include North Campus.

The following corrections were recommended:

CET 140: Learning Outcomes #3, “access” is misspelled.
CET 201: Listed Topics #4, “Definitions” will be deleted.
CET 202: Learning Outcomes #7, “translational” was misspelled.
CET 215: There was a question regarding the credit hours. The course description lists 3 credits; however 4 credits are indicated on the Proposed Sequence of Courses.  Three credits are correct. The beginning of the catalog description should read, “This course focuses on…,” and Listed Topic “Grading” appears twice.
EGR 111: There was a question regarding the number of credits. Four credits are listed however in the Proposed Sequence of Courses, the credits indicated are 3.  Four credits are correct.
MET 150: Prerequisites PHY 100 and PHY113 are listed, but are not part of the program. This was questioned.
MET 220, the word “economical” was used twice.  This should be corrected to “economic.”

Carl Francolino made a motion to approve the proposal as amended. Steve Wells seconded the motion, and the motion passed unanimously.  

Dr. Mullin-Sawicki commented that it would be very helpful to have spell check on the forms. Rick Allison is working on that.

Dr. Stevenson reported that there are ECD and EDU proposals being presented at the next Subcommittee meeting, as well as the possibility of a Business proposal.

Maryann Anderson remarked that a global search must be done whenever a course is changed or deleted to determine what other programs it may impact. The new college website does not allow this. The website staff under the direction of Tanya Sander-Marks is working to correct this problem.


Joanne Jeffcoat reported that the Subcommittee did not meet. Mrs. Jeffcoat distributed the hiring forms and changes were discussed. Barbara Thompson will have the new forms posted on the website.

On the Full-time Faculty Justification Form, faculty can indicate if the position is for a high priority program. Joyce Breckenridge commented that “high priority” and “stipend” are essentially the same, but the preferable word is “stipend.” The programs designated as “stipend” change every year in September and the list is on the Planning and Research website.

Maura Stevenson questioned the use of “Initiator” and” Position” following “Initiator.” The “Position” is the position of the Initiator, not the position being requested.

The hiring requests and forms must be delivered to the Academic Deans by Monday November 16.


Toni Carney reported that the Subcommittee met and considered 2 proposals. Both proposals failed to pass.  The proposal regarding the Post-Medical Withdrawal Appeal Form failed because the Subcommittee felt there was no need to have a form for an exception to a policy. The exception in question only dealt with the medical withdrawal after the last day of class.  The new form allowed a student to appeal up to 6 months after the end of the semester. Many people emailed and expressed that 6 months following the end of the semester was too long an appeal period.

The Nursing proposal also failed.  The 2 issues involved the adoption of the PAX test which replaces the NET test. The NET test will be discontinued at the end of this year. The other issue involved how composite scores are used. During the Subcommittee meeting, representatives of the National League of Nursing Testing Service were on a conference call to address questions. The representatives recommended the use of the fiftieth percentile for admissions in each of the areas as well as the composite. The Nursing faculty will work on revising the proposal.


There was no unfinished business.


Hiring Data Explanations

Jim Robertson was present to discuss the data that is used as justification on the hiring forms. SCH is the acronym for Student Credit Hour. This is computed by counting every student in a course and multiplying this number by the number of credits for the course. Therefore, 20 students in a 3 credit course = 60 Student Credit Hours.

FTEF is the acronym for Full-Time Equivalent Faculty.  This data is based upon Fall and Spring semester numbers only. The number of credits taught is divided by 30, 15 credits for the Fall and 15 credits for the Spring. If someone is working on a non-teaching assignment, it is not counted. Also overages are not counted.

The number of credits taught by full-time faculty and the number of credits taught by part-time faculty are recorded on the form.  These numbers are then compared and the percentages of both are recorded.

SCH/FTEF = the Efficiency Rate. This allows the College to assign weight to the average class size. Therefore, 600 (SCH)/ 30 (FTEF) = a class size of 20, or an Efficiency Rate of 20.

Mr. Robertson acknowledged that especially in the sciences, the class size is limited by the number of chairs or lab stations. Steve Wells commented that Academic Planning does not just look at the numbers. They pay special attention to the campus priority list, the number of full-time faculty, and have discussions about the narrative. Some disciplines have accreditation guidelines that require a certain number of full-time faculty. The evaluation criteria are far more complex than the form suggests. A Department Head is welcome to call Joanne Jeffcoat or Steve Wells for help filling out the forms, and to answer question regarding what the Subcommittee is looking for. Jim Robertson also offered to help faculty on the phone or in his office.

Displaying Student ID’s While Using Computers

Barbara Thompson reported that North Campus has instituted a policy that student ID’s must be displayed on a block of wood that sits on top of the monitors all the while they are using the computers in the Library and in the open lab. She expressed that this should not be a rule for just one campus. The Student Handbook lists 22 rules for students using computers, and none of them say that student ID’s must be publicly displayed.  This is a dangerous invasion of student privacy, and a policy that Librarians should not be asked to enforce.  She believes that if this policy is desired, it should be presented to Academic Standards and Student Affairs. Council agreed.

Mary Frances Archey commented that one Campus President is opposed to having the public use the Library because of the possibility of downloading viruses. This policy sprang from that concern. She said the College was also not aware that the campus libraries have been selling community memberships.  Barbara Thompson replied that the libraries have done this for 20 years, charging community members $10 per year to borrow library material, and there has never been a problem with those members.  The only campus that does not charge for community memberships is South Campus.  This is because South Campus has always functioned as the public library for West Mifflin and has received direct funding from the community in years past.  When South Campus tried to impose the charge for borrowing library material, the mayor of McKeesport led a huge protest and the College backed down.  Therefore, South Campus Library has community memberships, but does not charge for them.

It has always been the rule that if a library receives public funding, then that Library must be open to the public. Barbara Thompson said that she had recently talked with the Commonwealth Libraries Department in Harrisburg regarding this. Dr. Archey said that Randy Gaab is checking into whether there is an actual law.

Steve Wells commented that 12 years ago the University of Pittsburgh tried to bar the public from its libraries.  There was such a public protest that the University backed down.  Barbara Thompson added that with all the protests regarding the closing of public libraries, if the College tried to ban the public, this would be a very unpopular move.

The next meeting of College Council will be Thursday Dec. 10th at 2:00 PM. This is an earlier start time because the meeting is during finals week.

There being no further business, the meeting ended at 4:32 PM.

Respectfully submitted,
Barbara Thompson
College Council Secretary