Meeting Minutes: February 24, 2005


Present: Edward Adelstein, Rex Campbell, Gordon Christensen, Bruce Cutter, Pat Fry, Bill Lamberson, Sudarshan Loyalka, Kenneth Macleod, Tom Marrero, Steven Neal, Eileen Porter, Jenice Prather-Kinsey, Charles Sampson, David Schenker, Frank Schmidt, Judith Goodman (for Laura Schopp), Jim Sterling, Barbara Townsend, Wilson Watt, Dean Yarwood (MURA), and Michael Muchow (Librarians). Absent: Elizabeth Baker, Bruce Bullock, Richard Hessler, Catherine Holland, Philip Johnson, Michael Kramer, Eric Landes, Tom Phillips Flore Zephir, Robert Weems (Black Faculty and Staff), and Andrew Simpson (AAUP).

Approval of Minutes

The meeting was called to order by Chair, Gordon Christensen at 3:30 p.m., in room S203 Memorial Union. Christensen opened the meeting by reading a passage on "Respect" from the University of Missouri-Columbia, "A Statement of Values" authored by Dr. Mel George. The minutes of the 2-10-05 Faculty Council Meeting were approved as published.

Report of Officers

Christensen announced that there would be a forum on the recreation center fees Wednesday, March 16, 2005 at 3:30 p.m., in Jesse Wrench Auditorium, Memorial Union. This meeting is open to the faculty and staff.

Frank Schmidt, Vice Chair, reported on the February 16, 2005 meeting of the Intercampus Faculty Council (IFC). The principal points that were reported on were:

  1. a meeting of the Intercollegiate Student Council President who requested a greater voice in the decision making process for the hiring of faculty which involved their membership on search committees coupled with voting rights. This was not supported by the committee; and,
  2. the students also raised a question as to what happened to the teaching evaluation process.
Schmidt further reported on the budget for the coming fiscal year including that tuition will be increased by 3.5 percent and maintenance funding will be reduced from 1.5 percent to 1.0 percent. There will be a 2.0 percent raise pool for faculty and staff this year. Schmidt then discussed investment returns. The university's investments provide a lower rate of return than many other major universities because the Board of Curators is relatively conservative in its monetary policies. He also noted that there was a discussion on university debt and that we have unused capacity especially if the credit rating is lowered. The curators' and curators' teaching professorships will be for five years tenure rather than permanent as in the past. The university academic calendars were discussed and there continues to be work toward a modified, unified academic calendar for all campuses. The cost of benefits will go down next year because of lower than anticipated retirement costs. Bill Lamberson asked how do these benefits effect research grants but there was no information presented to IFC on that point.

Edward Adelstein, Board of Curators Observer, who was in attendance at the IFC meeting reported that all branches of the university are having problems with the definition of non-regular faculty. He expressed gratitude for President Floyd's show of support for the UMKC faculty. He presented a resolution from the IFC and moved that the Council endorse the resolution; the motion was seconded. Sudarshan Loyalka made a motion to suspend the rules in order to entertain the motion. The motion to suspend the rules passed unanimously. After a short discussion the motion to endorse the following resolution by the IFC was passed unanimously by the Council and appears below in its entirety.

"A Resolution of the University of Missouri Intercampus Faculty Council (IFC)

Be it resolved that we, the members of the Intercampus Faculty Council, a committee of faculty members elected by the faculty to represent the four campuses of the University of Missouri, express our unanimous and unqualified support for President Elson S. Floyd. President Floyd is an exceptional leader. Among other things, he is creating a system-wide culture of trust and shared governance that encourages administrators, faculty, and students collectively to pursue academic and institutional changes that will make the University of Missouri a premier public research university. Approved Unanimously, February 21, 2005."
Christensen introduced Jim Sterling as the new representative from Journalism and noted that Sterling was a former member of the Board of Curators for the University of Missouri System. He also noted that Sterling had just testified at the state legislature against the proposed renaming of Southwest Missouri State University as "Missouri State University." A copy of Sterling's testimony (PDF) and a copy of a letter to the editor of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch by Christensen (PDF) regarding the name change were distributed to the membership. Christensen then provided Sterling an opportunity to make comments to the Council. Sterling exchanged thoughts with Council members on the anticipated name change for Southwest Missouri State University to Missouri State University.

Action Items

Representation Report - Christensen. Christensen reported there were two changes from last year's report; Arts & Sciences and Veterinary Medicine each gained one additional seat. The faculty in the Nuclear Science & Engineering Institute (N.S.E.I.) would continue to have a seat, yearly, until the issue of their academic home was resolved. Council voted unanimously to approve the report.

"Representation on Faculty Council(based on data dated 10-31-04)
Division Full-time Regular Ranked Faculty Members on Faculty Council
Agriculture 132 3
Arts & Science 428 9
Business 42 1
Education 77 2
Engineering 94 2
Harry Truman Graduate School 10 1
Health Professions 18 1
Human Environmental Sciences 48 1
Journalism 37 1
Law 27 1
Medicine 149 3
Natural Resources 30 1
N.S.E.I.* 5 1
Nursing 19 1
Veterinary Medicine 80 2

A total of 30 seats. A&S gains one seat and Veterinary Medicine gains one seat.
*N.S.E.I.'s one three-year term expires '05, total of 29 seats if not renewed."

Discussion Items

Guests: Gail Ludwig, Chair, Intercollegiate Athletics Committee. Ludwig introduced two of her subcommittee chairs on the IAC, Professors David Trinklein and Anne McKendry. Other committee members present were also introduced: Professors Michael Devaney, Rex Campbell, and Jenice Prather-Kinsey. Ludwig emphasized the primary focus of the committee this year was on academics, especially on, academic advising. Ludwig and Trinklein have been working together to check student athlete transcripts to see if their programs of study are purposive or merely a collection of courses. Campbell gave a report on the special admission of students, which happens frequently with athletes. He noted that the athletes who are special admits graduate at slightly higher rates than non-athlete special admits, but both groups graduate at lower rates than regular admission students. Devaney, who chairs the Committee on the NCAA Academic Review of Intercollegiate Athletics, described the review process that is currently underway and said that the Council would receive the committee's report in July, 2005. The finished document will be sent to the NCAA on October 16, 2005.

Ludwig described some of the current events which include the student hearing process of those who wish to leave the university and the role of the IAC in this hearing process. She also described the athletic progress reports (APR) which are coming from NCAA and noted that there would be a trial set on February 28 but the real process will begin in the next year. Ludwig ended by urging that IAC and FC need to have better two-way communications in the future.

Religious Observance - Lamberson. Lamberson presented two options for faculty policy concerning the observance of various religious days. Provost Franz stated that just such a policy was needed. Lamberson noted that option "B" was preferred by the committee. After considerable discussion by members of the Council a straw vote was taken and option "A" was preferred by a majority of the Council. The Faculty Affairs Committee will reconsider the motion and return it to the Council at a later date.

Memorandum of Understanding - Christensen. A revised draft of the Memorandum of Understanding returned to Council for further discussion. There was no discussion of the revision. This item in its current form will be an action item at our next meeting.

Plus/Minus Grading - Prather-Kinsey. The following motion concerning the modification of the current plus/minus grading was made by Jenice Prather-Kinsey and seconded by Edward Adelstein. During the course of the discussion, Prather-Kinsey and Adelstein accepted a friendly amendment to the motion offered by Schmidt. The amended motion is as follows:

That the Faculty Council conduct a vote of the faculty to amend the Faculty Handbook as follows:

Delete the following from the faculty handbook: 'For undergraduate, all teachers are expected to use the grading scale approved by the faculty. This precludes any department or unit from opting to use a modification of the scale.'

And replace it with the following: 'For undergraduate courses, the use of plus/minus grading by teachers is the norm, however, any grade reflects the instructor's best academic judgment about the student's level of performance.'"
Prather-Kinsey noted that no one in the Business School supported the mandatory use of plus/minus grading. Schmidt said that faculty currently have the freedom to assign any grade they wish. Lamberson said the current policy requires faculty to use a uniform plus/minus grading scale but it is not mandatory that they assign plus/minus grades. Porter also said it is not mandatory to use this grading scale. A lively discussion ensued with the members of the Council expressing a wide range of opinions on the merits of plus/minus grading. During this discussion Christensen asked the membership to focus their comments on the motion at hand; the motion addressed whether or not the Faculty Handbook should specify that without exception all undergraduate teachers utilize the same plus/minus grading scale. The issue here concerns an announced uniform policy regarding what grades can be awarded. The policy under review does not concern the actual awarding of earned grades or the distribution of awarded grades. The effect of the current policy is that a teacher can not announce at the beginning of class the teacher's intention to not use the campus plus/minus grading scale. The issue will be further discussed at the next Council meeting.

Resolution: Principles Establishing and Operating Incentive Compensation Plans - Sampson. Charles Sampson presented a resolution in support of the principles establishing incentive compensation plans. There were a few editorial changes suggested to Sampson. This resolution will come back to our next meeting as a action item. Christensen noted that the faculty were in an advisory role only in this process.


The meeting adjourned at 5:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Rex Campbell, Recorder