FAC Minutes 5-7-15

College of Natural Science
Faculty Advisory Council

Meeting Minutes
May 7, 2015


Present: D. Bello, P. Dillon, F. Downes, K. Gore, J. Kirkpatrick, B. Montgomery, F. Peterson, and C. Piermarocchi

Special Meeting to Discuss RCPD Issues

FAC members were dismayed that the provost’s office did not directly respond to the letter they sent outlining issues with a lack of resources from RCPD to assist faculty with serving students with disabilities. The provost’s office, instead, sent a message to all faculty and did not address all the issues raised.

Dean Kirkpatrick reported that RCPD support was a topic discussed at the May NatSci Chairs & Directors meeting. The response from chairs was that they are taking care of students internally. They have systems in place to do so.

Discussion took place and, although there was no acknowledgement of how hard faculty need to work to accommodate students with disabilities, it was determined that a couple good things came out of the provost’s letter to the faculty. The letter spelled out that the lead time students need to give instructors is at least 7 days prior to the need for the accommodation. It implied that if RCPD cannot accommodate a faculty member’s needs, the department is responsible for assisting with funding, space and proctors. It is the faculty who is responsible for making sure the student’s needs are taken care of, as the student deals directly with the faculty member.  The faculty member must work with the department in whatever structure the department has identified.

Dean Kirkpatrick informed council members that the college has recently put 3 accessibility liaisons in place, S. Thomas (contact), R. Ward, and C. Fata-Hartley. Resources are available at webaccess.msu.edu.  Natsci is very seriously addressing how to go about meeting the accessibility mandate. Faculty are encouraged to contact S. Thomas regarding accessibility for courses.

Now the dean and the chairs are aware that it is something to be addressed. It’s been brought to light through the efforts of the FAC. Although there is no one answer, a specific idea is for RCPD to give more complete instructions on the Visa for the faculty member (e.g. a few suggestions/solutions on how faculty can facilitate getting students the help they need). The dean suggested that specific requests where quantitative data (number of situations) has been collected might have more traction. The idea of determining if there are issues to be resolved in each of the departments and collecting data will be put on the agenda for discussion in the fall. Another idea for next year is addressing a perceived problem with dissemination of information. One possibility is to draft a procedure about how to negotiate your way to being a faculty member at MSU (e.g. working with RCPD and athletics, having RCPD and their VISA procedures in the course syllabus, etc.).