Raritan Valley Community College
Minutes October 6, 2009
1. Call to Order:
Chairperson Karen Gaffney called the meeting to order and welcomed the Forum.
2. Consideration of the May 2009 Minutes:
Minutes of the May 5, 2009 meeting were approved as written.
3. Student Government Report (Crystal Fedeli and Joe Forte):
The SGA’s agenda this year is to focus on athletics, academics, and community. Crystal is building an intramural
soccer program. They would like to build up the honors program and start a scholar athletes program to
recognize athletes with a 3.0 or higher G.P.A. Bruce Yellin and Naomi Gelfand are working with the new Bacchus
chapter to promote healthy lifestyles, in conjunction with Project H.O.P.E.
Halloween Dance 10/30 – 8-9:30PM for families, 9-2AM for students.
Joe Forte, SGA secretary and president of Alliance, announced the 1st annual Coming Out Week 10/12-10/15.
4. President’s Report (Casey Crabill):
The Executive Staff has endorsed the AAUP policy on campus speakers, which was sent from COF, to the Forum,
to the Executive Staff. It is now a policy in effect on campus.
Next year’s budget process has started and budget hearings will be held in November. They are anticipating
what the funding entities might do but also looking at the swell in enrollment to try to get a sense of its
longevity. Let Casey know if you have thoughts about this. The degree to which students are retained will also
be important to enrollment.
The Middle States review will begin in earnest with an in-depth comprehensive assessment of the institution
against all 14 standards. Committees are beginning to be put together and we will be asked to start picking up
work in the spring. The submission date is one year from this spring.
The Board has begun looking at the Mission and conversations from last semester were forwarded to the Board
for discussion at their Oct. 8 meeting. A draft will be brought to COF in October and then to the Forum.
5. Forum Committee Structure (Karen Gaffney):
The Steering Committee is gathering information about our committee structure; all Forum committees will be
discussing the purpose and goals of their committee, bringing that information to the next Steering Committee
meeting, and then to the Nov. Forum meeting.
A possible scenario is to identify core problems and form working groups around those, giving the committee a
specific timeline and set of goals, asking them to issue a report when finished, and then disbanding the
committee. This procedure could be timed with Middle States, perhaps by temporarily suspending Forum
committees that do not need to meet and channeling that work into Middle States committees, which must be
formed for the self-study. We may also want to consider having a Middle States committee focus on the issue of
committee structure and look at models.
Focus groups will be organized for people not on Forum committees who wish to discuss this issue in a smaller
Comments from the Forum regarding restructuring committees were:
Will the overhaul involve standing committees as well? Can we receive a summery of each committees answers to
the questionnaire? (Siham Alfred)
Yes it should involve everything – self investigation by Forum committees will help us figure out what essential
processes can’t be disbanded. Steering committee will pool info from questionnaires & bring it back to the Forum
We need reflective judicious decision making but we end up delaying and re-discussing things over & over – how can
we move forward judiciously but more quickly? (Steve Kaufman)
People are on committees and you can’t get everyone to a meeting – scheduling is an issue! (Carolyn Hall)
We could consider having people serve on just 1 committee and all committees meet at same time, but this is
probably for future consideration
What prompted this? (Siham Alfred)
Karen reiterated the problems with the current committee structure
It’s not always clear how somebody gets an issue to the community for consideration – what are the various
channels for getting something to Forum – can we address this too? (Barbara Bretcko)
When the forum makes a recommendation it feels like it disappears because there is no structure for where things
go after they leave. There is no formal process for communicating the work that is being done. We should also look
at the role of each committee’s chair in getting info back to forum (Barbara Bretcko)
A great idea, think about how we can have more flexible committees so we can address quickly issues that come up
quickly; for example increased enrollment. This proposal gives room to address things as they come up and keep us
actively discussing the issues. (Christine Pipitone)
Like the idea of focusing on critical things; committees tend to generate tasks so they have something to do. We
should focus on what needs to be done; some of the things not getting done might just not be important. (Paul
Untenured faculty may be concerned about being on a committee because it is considered in the
reappointment/tenure process. It would be good to shift committee service to more meaningful work. (Andrew
Like the idea of ad hoc committee formation. We can get the most done by seizing opportunity & getting the job
done. These could exist parallel w/more established committees. (Jeff Sommers)
To move forward, each Forum Committee will meet this week to complete a questionnaire about their functions.
The Steering Committee will discuss the results at its next meeting. That information will be brought to the Forum in
November for further discussion.
6. Request for Parliamentarian
Anyone interested in serving as Parliamentarian for the Forum, please contact Karen.
7. Rewards & Recognition
Congratulations to Sharon Decker, who works closely with many departments and students, volunteers on & off
campus, always showing professionalism and integrity.
8. Brief Announcements
Julie Maginn announced the library’s Super Search Series and Haunted Library on Oct. 30th.
Kevin Hinkle announced a fundraiser selling Macy’s coupons to go towards research of Parkinson’s disease.
Maureen Kennedy announced a reminder that applications for the College Community Fund are being accepted
through Nov. 1st. Also, the raffle is underway to raise funds for athletic scholarships.
Alaysha Walker announced the Latin Swing Dance party for Hispanic Heritage Month
Jeff Sommers announced that Wendell Potter will be speaking on Oct. 29.
9. New Business
Steve Kaufman introduced the issue of students using cell phones inappropriately in class. This is a growing
issue that the Forum as a body needs to examine. Andy Manno suggested the conversation start in COF.
Several faculty have policies in their syllabus to deal with cell phone use.
Steve Kaufman introduced the issue of students in remedial writing and reading classes simultaneously taking
courses that are heavy in reading and writing. Casey suggested this is a conversation to start with the faculty
because a blanket policy will probably not be appropriate. Courses may need better articulation of pre-
requisites to prevent this problem.
o It was brought up that students are not following the smoking policy and are not responsive to people
who approach them about it. Casey commented that security is not as tight as it needs to be. John
Trojan commented that security was photographing offenders for a time, but have turned to other
priorities. Photographing offenders requires training a lot of people. John Trojan did verify that security
is actively talking to students who are smoking, and he is as well. The policy is that smoking is permitted
50 feet from the buildings and in parking lots.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:09 P.M.