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BOT Watch: Nassau Community College Board of Trustees Meeting – February 14, 2017

When the Board of Trustees came back from executive session, they conducted the following committee business:

  • accepted a donation of medical equipment from Sunrise Labs;
  • waived facility rental fees for the 2017 Empire State Games for the physically challenged;
  • approved the joint Empire/NCC AS/BS program in Nursing;
  • granted emeritus status to retirees;
  • approved sabbatical leaves;

The Board then proceeded to consider a series of policy documents. (You can find all the documents discussed below here.)

  • Drafts of the 6000 series of documents, Finance and Business Services, were given a first reading.
  • The Board voted to adopt policy 3100, “News Media Relations.” In discussion, Dr. Keen tried to address concerns that have been raised by faculty about the policy’s requirement that all media contact be routed through the college’s Office of Governmental Affairs and Media Relations. Because the policy does not comment on faculty speaking to the press about their areas of expertise, he asserted, the policy does not apply in such cases. (We’d like to remind everyone that adoption of the policy does not mean it is now “written in stone.” As Dr. Keen demonstrated in his willingness to accept clarifications to policy 1300 discussed at the recent meeting of the Academic Senate, these policies remain living documents even after they have been adopted.)
  • The Board did not adopt policy 3200, “Marketing, Advertising, & Promotional Materials.” There were two main areas of discussion, one that concerned its application to student clubs and the other that questioned whether the language of the policy was so overly broad in its definition of what it means to represent the college that it might infringe on academic freedom. Because the Board did not adopt the policy, it has been sent back to committee for further discussion and revision.
  • The Board adopted policy 5600, “Protection of Minors on Campus.”
  • During discussion of these policies, it was suggested that some questions and concerns that we have been raising might be resolved when the procedures for each policy are published. As of now, the only policy for which such procedures exist is 5600. Since, when it comes to issues like this, the devil is truly in the details, we want to urge us all to be attentive to these procedures when they are published.

President’s Report

Dr. Keen spent most of his report discussing our Middle States progress, about which he has issued a report that we urge everyone to read. He presented a summary of that report at the Board meeting, outlining the three areas we need to resolve in order for our Middle States probation to be removed:

  • Planning: We are, Dr. Keen said, making good progress.
  • Assessment: Here, too, we are making good progress.
  • Leadership, Administration, Governance: This is the area where Dr. Keen indicated we still have work to do. The creation of the Institutional Planning Committee establishes, he said, the necessary structure for us to comply with Middle States standards, but we need to move more quickly to integrate that structure into how the college’s governance system works. He has proposed forming a task force that will include the elected faculty leadership to work on this issue.
  • Dr. Keen stressed the importance of moving quickly, since we want all our Middle States work to be completed before the next team visit, which we would like to happen in Fall 2017. Middle States meets in March, and they will decide then when the next visit should be.
  • Dr. Keen also asked Dr. Collins to report more specifically about assessment. Dr. Collins spoke about the Faculty Assessment Fellows, faculty members who have accepted reassigned time to work with departments in bringing our assessment practices in line with Middle States standards.

Speakers List

There were four speakers:

  • A member of the community, Mr. John Budnick, spoke about the importance of memorializing and teaching about the rich history of the land on which Nassau Community College is located.
  • Dr. Evelyn Deluty, Academic Senate Chair, recognized the collaboration that was necessary to make the combined Empire/NCC bachelors in Nursing a reality. She also expressed concern that the language of Policy 3100, as written, violates academic freedom.
  • Dr. Paul Rosa, Second Vice Chair of the Academic Senate, echoed Dr. Deluty’s concerns about Policy 3100.
  • In response to Board Chair Gardyn’s question about why people were bringing concerns relating to the language of policy documents to the Board, when there had been open forums on campus to discuss those concerns, NCCFT President Frank Frisenda pointed out that not every issue raised at those forums had made its way into the revised documents and so the Board meeting was another opportunity for those concerns to be raised. President Frisenda also asked the board to consider clarifying the language it uses when awarding emeritus status so that it is congruent with what is stated in the contract.

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