Meeting Minutes: October 29, 2002

Attendance

The Fall Semester General Faculty Meeting was called to order at 3:30 p.m. by Chancellor Richard Wallace in the Columns Ballroom of the Reynolds Alumni Center. Approximately 250 people were in attendance.

Report from Faculty Council

Wallace called upon Michael Devaney, Chair of the Faculty Council, to report on Council's activities. Devaney called for a moment of silence in honor of three members of the School of Nursing Faculty at the University of Arizona who had been slain by one of their students. Devaney then reported that Council's Executive Committee, in response to the university's budget crisis, released a letter to the citizens of Missouri, the legislature, and Governor Holden urging a reversal of the reduction in state support and further to emphasize the importance of higher education for the State of Missouri. Devaney noted that the Board of Curators recently amended section 10.030A.9 of the Collected Rules and Regulations governing the university to allow for reductions in faculty and staff salaries in response to the budget cuts. The language of the revision, however, appears as a threat to the protections of academic freedom and tenure. The Executive Committee met with Stephen Lehmkuhle, Vice President for Academic Affairs to clarify the Board's intent and they were told that President Pacheco was said to be willing to issue an executive order protecting academic freedom and tenure. Council's representative to the Intercampus Faculty Council (IFC) Sudarshan Loyalka took the matter to the IFC and a revision of the amendment was prepared which incorporates provisions for both temporary salary reductions and protections of academic freedom and tenure. The revision has been approved by President Pacheco and by University Counsel and will be presented to the Board of Curators in November.

Devaney reported that 425 university employees, including 96 faculty members, are to retire under the voluntary early retirement incentive program (VERIP 2002). This will require an increase in workload for remaining faculty. He discussed the report of the Task Force to Reduce Academic Costs. Council has expressed many concerns regarding the report to Lehmkuhle, the chair of the task force and unanimously passed a resolution asking that no recommendations be implemented until Council's concerns are considered.

Reporting on Council's committees and activities, Devaney reported that Judith Goodman's committee to review the grievance process is developing proposed changes and will ask that the Columbia campus be allowed to implement those changes on a three-year trial basis. He noted that the Faculty Affairs Committee chaired by Gordon Christensen, has developed a charge to the group to be chosen to review the result of grievance procedures over the last five years. The committee is also developing a proposal governing the merger or consolidation of programs to parallel the existing policy governing program elimination. The Academic Affairs Committee chaired by Bill Lamberson has: proposed a calendar for academic year 2004-2005; made changes in the transfer credit evaluation policy; and, is working on the registrar's proposal to renumber courses. The Fiscal Affairs Committee chaired by Bill Wiebold has conducted a survey of reactions to the installation of PeopleSoft and has recommended that, if PeopleSoft cannot be abandoned, further implementation should be postponed until existing problems are corrected. The Student Affairs Committee chaired (fall semester) by Robert Leavene has been working with Missouri Students Association (MSA) representative Josh Friehl to develop a Prof Eval system to provide information about courses and faculty to students. The Special Projects Committee chaired by Bruce Cutter has conducted a review of Provost Brady Deaton whose job performance received a sixty-six percent approval rating and is also dealing with the naming and renaming of new and existing academic units.

In summation, Devaney reported that Council has had guests James Cogswell, Director of University Libraries and Provost Brady Deaton to discuss items of mutual concern. He expressed concern over a recent announcement by Vice Provost Handy Williamson that funding for faculty development and research leaves for the Big 12 Faculty exchange program is to be suspended immediately. Devaney noted that investment in the development of human resources should be at least as important as investments in brick and mortar.

Report from Chancellor Wallace

Chancellor Wallace thanked Devaney for his report, expressed his appreciation for the cooperation of Faculty Council and said he would examine more closely the suspension of faculty development funding. He then discussed briefly his message to the campus community communicated earlier in the day in an email message, then detailed recent positive developments on campus. He noted the fundamental strength of the institution, the increased enrollment (particularly of African-Americans) the development of a campus-wide diversity plan, the highest-ever level of research expenditures, the successful efforts at private fund raising, and the opening of new and newly renovated campus facilities.

In his budget report Wallace summarized the recent reductions in state support ($42 million on the Columbia campus) and the measures taken in response to those reductions. He discussed the ten percent reduction in the funding base of the campus and the measures taken to adjust to it. Wallace noted that funds are available for salary increases of four percent (if there are no more budget reductions) but expressed the view that such reductions may well come. He observed that in 1989 higher education accounted for seventeen percent of the state's budget however in 2002 it declined to less than twelve percent of that budget while absorbing thirty seven percent of the state budget cuts. Wallace continued to say that state tax revenues are falling well short of projections so that more reductions are likely.

Higher education leaders including himself will be meeting with people around the state as well as with legislators and legislative candidates and the governor to acquaint them with the importance of higher education for the state's future. Wallace cited the recent report of James Moody which projects no improvement in state funding even after the end of the current recession. Educators are meeting with leaders in the private and government sectors to develop a comprehensive review of public service needs for Missourians and to assess whether tax reform is required to meet those needs. In summation, he noted that more reductions in state support will require greater cost efficiencies, consolidation or elimination of programs, more use of auxiliary reserve funds, increased private fund raising, increased student fees, and loss of salary increases.

In his report on University Hospital and Clinics Wallace noted that the Hunter Group, headed by David Coats, began their role of management oversight on September 23. The Hunter Group has fifteen people on campus working on a variety of problems at the hospital and clinics. Wallace reported that he meets regularly with Coats and expressed his confidence and respect for him.

In response to questions Wallace said that the report of the Task Force to Reduce Academic Costs raises important issues and that his administration will work with Faculty Council to implement the report's recommendations as appropriate. When asked about the Task Force to Reduce Administrative Cost, Wallace noted that the most visible result of the task force report is the proposal to consolidate information technology at the system and Columbia campus levels. He added that more consolidation in support areas is likely.

Wallace finished by calling upon deans or their representatives present in order to introduce new faculty members in the following areas: Journalism, Law, Education, Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, Medicine, Arts and Sciences, Veterinary Medicine, and Human Environmental Sciences. Wallace noted that the number and quality of new faculty members if further evidence of the institution's fundamental strength.

Adjournment

The General Faculty Meeting adjourned at 4:55 p.m.

Respectfully Recorded,
Thomas Hurley, Recorder for the Faculty