Policy Updates at Sonoma State University

policies.jpegAn update on recently approved or modified policies at Sonoma State University:

Revision to Class Attendance Policy

Last May, the Faculty Senate and the President approved a new class attendance regulation. The current information about class attendance in the catalog will be updated with the new catalog this year, but the updated regulation is effective immediately.

The new attendance policy emphasizes that "faculty have primary authority for setting class attendance policy according to discipline standards," and that "when students are absent from classes, it is their responsibility to provide the instructor with due notice and documentation when possible, and to inform the instructor of the reason for absence."

The policy also states that "instructors are responsible for providing a clear statement on the course outline about the impact of attendance on students' grades. For students who have missed classes for legitimate reasons, instructors are also responsible for providing an opportunity to complete make-up work or grade substitution, if the instructor determines that such is reasonably able to be provided."

Intellectual Property Policy

Previously, Sonoma State University did not have a comprehensive Intellectual Property policy, leaving the University vulnerable to a number of potential problems. Such a policy was needed to clarify ownership of all forms of intellectual property and the manner in which royalties are allocated when a commercial license is obtained. In addition, the federal government, through the Bayh-Dole Act, requires that institutions that receive federal grants post an Intellectual Property Policy to protect ownership of inventions resulting from such funding.

This new policy addresses these issues and was approved by the Senate and the President in Spring 2011. The policy can be found on the University Policies website at http://www.sonoma.edu/UAffairs/policies/intellectual_property.htm.

RTP Procedures, Criteria and Standards for Tenured and Probationary Faculty Policy

The Faculty Standards and Affairs Committee of the Academic Senate proposed "clean-up legislation" for the University's RTP policy in light of repeated questions and confusion over a few key points in the Spring of 2011. Reasons for the changes include:

* After moving through the first full cycle of two-year reappointments, FSAC discovered the need for clarification, especially regarding what needs to be included in the evaluation files (annual SETEs, peer observations, etc.).

* Many questions had come up regarding qualitative and quantitative student comments and how they are incorporated into the evaluation document.

* The use of consistent terminology is important, especially for those with two-year reappointments, e.g., we currently use RTP cycle, annual review, annual cycle, review cycle, evaluation cycle, annual evaluation cycle, evaluation period. A definitions section was added to help reduce redundancy in the document.

These changes are meant for clarification and consistency only. The revision was approved by the Senate and the President in Spring 2011. The policy can be found on the University Policies website at http://www.sonoma.edu/UAffairs/policies/rtp.htm

Representation on Administrative Search Committees

This policy has long been under review by the Structure and Functions Subcommittee of the Senate. The policy was outdated in a variety of ways, particularly in the titles of administrators. After negotiations between faculty governance leadership and the President, Structure and Functions re-wrote the policy entirely.

This newly crafted policy was approved by the Senate and the President in Spring 2011, and can be found on the University Policies website at http://www.sonoma.edu/UAffairs/policies/facultyrepresentation.htm.

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