Meeting Minutes: April 6, 2005

Call to Order and Attendance

The Winter Semester General Faculty Meeting was called to order at 3:30 p.m. by Chancellor Deaton in the Monsanto Auditorium of the Life Sciences Center. Approximately 75 people were in attendance.

Opening Remarks & Introductions by Chancellor Deaton

Deaton welcomed the attendees of this meeting. He made some brief introductory remarks concerning the new Life Sciences Center, the Monsanto Auditorium, and then introduced Dr. Chippendale, Senior Associate Director, Life Sciences Center. Deaton then turned the podium over to Professor Christensen, Chair, MU Faculty Council, for his report.

Report from Faculty Council

Christensen began by recognizing the members of Faculty Council and other faculty governance groups. The listing is as follows: Vice Chair Schmidt; Recorder Campbell; Editor of Faculty Handbook and Website Baker; Observer to the Board of Curators Adelstein; Intercampus Faculty Council Representative Loyalka; Parliamentarian Fry; Chair of Academic Affairs Lamberson; Chair of Faculty Affairs Phillips; Chair of Fiscal Affairs Sampson; Chair of Student Affairs Schenker; Chair of Special Projects Cutter; past officers of Faculty Council Devaney and Porter; Chair of the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee Ludwig; Representative of the Black Faculty and Staff Organization Weems; Representative of the American Association of University Professors Simpson; and Representative of the MU Retirees Association Yarwood. These people put in a tremendous amount of time and effort. Christensen thanked them for their work.

Over the past two years, the Council focused on four major topics: faculty grievances, non-regular faculty, academics, and intercollegiate athletics.

Faculty Grievances. Christensen began by reading from the 2002 Winter Semester General Faculty Meeting minutes.

"The dysfunctional grievance procedure is a source of continuing concern and [Chair Russ] Zguta delivered an interim report from Council's ad hoc committee on grievance procedures chaired by Judith Goodman. Zguta noted that the AAUP [American Association of University Professors] has recommended an external audit of grievances at MU during the last five years, and Chancellor Wallace has endorsed this proposal. Finally, on the topic of grievances, Zguta reported that Council has met with Art Hinshaw, coordinator of the campus mediation service, and that this service has had a successful start."

This quote underlines an important criticism of the University of Missouri. In the eyes of some observers, MU has a history of a poor working relationship between faculty and administration.

University leaders were aware of this criticism and had responded by creating the Campus Mediation Service. Since 2002 the Council has regularly reviewed and endorsed this program. He urged anyone who encountered problems to first consult this resource.

MU was widely perceived to have a "dysfunctional" grievance process. To address this problem, since 2002 the Council has embarked on a major effort to "fix" the process. After Deaton's address, Loyalka will report on the proposed revisions to the Grievance Policy. As report in the Tribune last night, these revisions will be presented to the Board of Curators this coming Friday. President Floyd supports the revisions as a three-year trial for MU. The Board of Curators will vote on this proposal at the next meeting. He then commented on the history and importance of this document.

Below is a listing of the groups who have worked on the grievance issues since the 2002 Winter Semester General Faculty meeting:

  1. The Goodman committee, which included members of the faculty and the administration, completed their critique of the grievance process.
  2. Chancellor Wallace appointed a task force to audit the grievance process. A former Faculty Council Chair, Edward Hunvald, led this group. They found numerous problems, many of which had already been identified by the Goodman committee.
  3. Loyalka then led a faculty group that codified the criticisms generated by the Goodman committee and the Hunvald task forces into a sweeping revision of the grievance policy.
  4. Last spring, the regular faculty approved the revisions by a 9:1 margin with 40 percent of the faculty voting.
  5. After the faculty vote, the University System reviewed the proposed group composed of the Vice President for Academic Affairs, Lehmkuhle, Goodman, Hunvald, Loyalka and Christensen, worked through the problems, revising the proposal to the satisfaction of all parties.
  6. This revised document that will be presented to the Board of Curators.
  7. Loyalka will discuss the particulars of the revised policy. The document is on the Faculty Council website.

It is clear to many that a simple revision of procedures--no matter how extensive and well considered--will not fully resolve the problem. In order to make the grievance process functional, both parties have to act in good faith. This requires mutual trust, mutual respect, and a sense of common purpose. In the past we have not enjoyed such a collegial relationship. The past few years, faculty and administration have worked together on this problem and have begun to generate a working relationship founded on mutual trust, mutual respect, and a sense of common purpose.

Faculty Ombudsman. Another approach to resolving problems has been the concept of creating an ombudsman. This is the idea that a respected member of the faculty--the ombudsman--would have the authority to informally intercede in emerging problems before positions hardened. Such positions work well in other settings including other universities, however the MU faculty had previously rejected such a proposal. Christensen suggested that reworking this idea could create a functional service that would meet the needs of faculty and administration. He asked the Council to study this suggestion. At this time, the Council does not see a need for a formal Ombudsman program. He noted that at times the Chancellor and the Provost have asked members of their staff as well as respected members of the active and retired faculty to function in this manner. It appears that in the eyes of both the administration and the faculty that this informal, ad hoc, arrangement is the best approach to this issue. He suggested the Council not pursue this idea.

Non-regular Faculty. For a number of years, the Faculty Council has studied the issue of non-regular faculty, i.e., all of the people who teach at MU but who do not hold a tenured or tenure-track position. There is a concern that non-regular faculty do not enjoy certain basic faculty rights such as academic freedom and a formal voice in shared governance. The Faculty Affairs standing committee has studied this issue for the past two years. Last year under the leadership of Johnson, the committee issued a report on non-regular faculty that is available through the Faculty Council website. This year under the leadership of Phillips, the group has called for written policies and university-wide statistics on this issue.

There is consensus that non-regular faculty requires careful consideration, but there is no consensus on whether or not to change the current policies. It appears that there is an understandable reluctance by some members of the regular faculty to give-up hard won rights and privileges to the non-regular faculty. On the other hand, it also appears that the university is undergoing a transformation with an increasingly larger portion of the teaching, research, and service being provided by non-regular faculty who bristle at both the title --non-regular--and at the lack of basic academic privileges. The administration has also been concerned about this issue. They are collecting and reviewing the policies regarding non-regular faculty. Institutional Research is developing statistics on numbers of non-regular faculty that should help us further understand and track this issue.

Creating a Flexible Tenure System. A part of this issue is the very definition of tenure. Interim Provost Franz has asked the Council to consider alternate tenure models, such as delayed calendars and partial tenure. Christensen agreed with her that there is an increasing need to be more flexible in how tenure is awarded so that a greater proportion of the faculty has academic freedom and a say in the governance of the institution. He questioned whether either the Faculty Council or the administration could tackle this problem alone. He suggested that the Faculty Council and the administration appoint a joint task force composed of faculty and administrators to examine this issue and make specific suggestions on how to address it. This approach worked for revising the grievance policy.

Athletics. Prompted by some public controversies, the Council has become more active in intercollegiate athletics. The Council has joined the Coalition on Intercollegiate Athletics and convened a Big 12 faculty meeting on Intercollegiate Athletics. More importantly, the Council changed their procedures regarding the selection of the Chair of the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee. Last summer the candidates were asked to appear before the Council and describe how they intended to address the issues confronting intercollegiate athletics. As a result Professor Gail Ludwig was asked to Chair the IAC. This February she was asked to return and report on progress. She has strengthened faculty involvement and oversight of the sports programs, primarily by increasing the faculty oversight of the academic performance of the athletes and improving committee operations.

Major New Issues. The past two years has seen dramatic changes in the leadership of the university. Following the retirement of Wallace, Floyd first considered fusing the Chancellor position with the President position. After rejecting that idea, he then appointed Provost Deaton to become the next Chancellor. Although the procedures were atypical, Floyd adhered to the spirit of shared governance by soliciting and considering the advice of the Faculty Council at every step of this process. Obviously, with his appointment as Chancellor, Deaton had to vacate the Provost position. Deaton also practiced shared governance. He invited the Faculty Council to nominate faculty to serve on the Provost Search committee and then he appointed our nominees to the committee.

Diversity. Before retirement, Wallace asked the Council to demonstrate leadership on "diversity". After studying the issue for nearly a year, the Council will soon consider adding an additional standing committee on "diversity". The purpose of such a committee will be to develop a continuing and consistent effort to improve our understanding of each other while eliminating unwarranted impediments to personal success.

RADIL. [Research Animal Diagnostic Laboratory] RADIL refers to the diagnostic laboratory in the College of Veterinary Medicine that for a fee monitors the health of laboratory animals located in other institutions. Because RADIL generates a substantial income, arrangements had been made in the past to provide incentive income to the principal RADIL personnel. Over the last several years, the particulars of this arrangement have become a corrosive issue for the campus, particularly for the College of Veterinary Medicine. The Council worked slowly through this contentious issue. In response to faculty concerns the administration responded two years ago by changing the administrative appointments of certain RADIL personnel. This year the administration introduced a new incentive contract for RADIL personnel. The administration also developed a set of general guidelines to be applied to other incentive contracts. The general guidelines stressed transparency and involvement of all stakeholders in the negotiations. The Council welcomed and endorsed these general guidelines. The Council did not address the contract for the RADIL personnel, referring it to the College of Veterinary Medicine for comment. Whether or not these administrative responses will prove sufficient to offset criticism remains to be seen. The policy committee for the College of Veterinary Medicine is currently considering these issues.

Student Recreation Center. The university has nearly completed a major rebuilding of the Student Recreation Center. This renovation was funded by an increase in student fees. When the renovated Center opened, the university announced substantial increases in the fees for faculty and staff as well as cutbacks in family access to the facility. From the perspective of the administration these changes only reflected a fair sharing of the cost of the renovations with the faculty and staff; however, these changes provoked numerous complaints. From the perspective of the faculty and staff, low cost access to the Recreation Center was an employee benefit and a promotion of employee good health. In March, we held a faculty and staff forum on this matter with Vice Chancellor Scroggs and Provost Franz. They listened to faculty and staff concerns. Apparently the faculty/staff fees and policies are not absolutes, but are subject to some modification as the Recreation Center defines its policies and fee structure. Both the Vice Chancellor and Provost promised to consider the faculty and staff complaints, but made no promises.

Plus-Minus Grading. A recurrent problem has been the issue of whether or not the faculty would impose upon itself a unified grading policy for undergraduate students that included plus and minus grades. Although the faculty has approved such policies on two prior occasions, questions continue on whether or not these policies were an absolute requirement. At the request of Deaton and Franz, the Council has revisited this issue and concluded that the intention of past faculty actions was to require a uniform grading policy. We have revised the language in the Faculty Handbook to clarify this opinion. Some of the faculty have objected to this opinion. The Council has considered a motion to call for another faculty vote on this matter. At the last meeting of the Council, the motion was forwarded to the Academic Affairs Committee for revision of the motion language. I will ask that this matter be brought out of committee and submitted to the Council for consideration before the academic year ends.

Calendar. The faculty and the administration share responsibility for the academic calendar. The University System has asked for a unified calendar that would require uniform start dates and mid-semester breaks. Vice President Lehmkuhle has devised such a calendar based in great part upon the MU (Columbia campus) calendar. The Intercampus Faculty Council (IFC) has reviewed and accepted the unified calendar. The MU Faculty Council has reviewed and accepted the calendar.

Faculty Council Website, etc. Christensen mentioned that over the past two years, the Council has made and continues to consider a number of changes to improve operations, such as updating the website, changing how Council business is tracked, revising the Rules of Order per our Council Chair group, Council Standing Committees, and Council elections.

In closing, Christensen said that he had been impressed by the quality of MU faculty. He believes that MU has a great advantage as a university due to its diverse and talented faculty. Meeting and working with the members of Faculty Council has been the best single experience of his career at MU. If he could do any one thing, it would be to ensure that all members of the faculty enjoy the pleasure and stimulation of academic and social relations with their colleagues across disciplines.

Report from Chancellor Deaton

Deaton gave his report to the faculty using the following Power Point slides. Notes of the Recorder based upon Chancellor Deaton's comments are included in parentheses.

Leadership Role of AAU University

Planning Process Goals.

Chancellor's Priorities 2005-2006.

Strategic Goals - Ends.

Strategic Goals - Means.

Planning achievements.

MO economic impact (IMPLAN).

$200 million in MU research = $360 million economic impact + 8,000 jobs supported

Discussion of Faculty Grievance Policy - Loyalka

Deaton introduced Loyalka to update the faculty on the proposed grievance plan. Loyalka briefly reviewed the changes that have been made in the grievance policy since it has been subjected to a vote of the faculty. Loyalka noted that most of the changes were procedural in the administration and not subjective for the most part. For example, the General Counsel's office insisted that they have an opportunity to make input in the process. Loyalka asked for questions from the audience. There were no questions.

Other Business and Adjournment

Deaton called for a motion to adjourn seeing there was no additional business. The motion was seconded and the meeting adjourned.

Respectfully submitted,
Campbell, Recorder