Meeting Minutes: January 19, 2006
AttendancePresent: Ken Benson, Leah Cohn, Mike Devaney, Pat Fry, Clark Gantzer, Catherine Holland, Bill Lamberson, Steven Neal, Thomas Phillips, Eileen Porter, Anand Prahlad, Jenice Prather-Kinsey, Mark Prelas, Frank Schmidt, Michael Taksar, Wilson Watt, Roger Worthington, Michael Muchow (Librarians), and Rebekah K. Hart (secretary). Absent: Edward Adelstein, Elizabeth Baker, Charles Borduin, Bruce Bullock, Rex Campbell, Philip Johnson, Michael Kramer, Alan Luger, Kenneth MacLeod, Laura Schopp, James Sterling, Lisa Zanetti, Flore Zephir, Adrienne Hoard (Black Faculty and Staff), Andrew Simpson (AAUP), and Dean Yarwood (Retirees).
Approval of MinutesThe meeting was called to order by Chair Lamberson at 3:35 p.m. in room S203 Memorial Union. The minutes of the December 8, 2005 Faculty Council meeting were approved. The minutes of the November 17, 2005 Faculty Council meeting were approved, as corrected to reflect a minor change.
Report of OfficersChair Lamberson reported that the Faculty Council blood drive was very successful, realizing approximately 150% of its goal. He further reported that the Executive Committee had met with Provost Foster, who reviewed the progress being made on the economic development plan including the organization of committees. Provost Foster also had stated that his office is moving forward with reviewing the Governor's budget. While they are pleased with the announced 2% budget, if that is the limit of the increase it would create problems for improving faculty salaries. Finally, Provost Foster reviewed the pending searches for deans and department chairs, as well as those being organized. Further, he stated he is in the process of permanently filling the position of Vice Provost. Dr. Taksar inquired if there was any more information about the Arts & Sciences deanship. Lamberson reported that the search committee is not yet fully formed. Kenneth Dean, Vice Provost, advised that potential committee members were being contacted within the next several days to inquire on their willingness to serve. He reported that co-chairs for the committee had been selected and agreed to serve. The co-chairs will be Dr. Chandrasekhar and Lawrence Dessem, Law School dean.
Vice Chair Schmidt reported that the IFC has met and is focusing on two tasks through its committees. The first is review of the administrative review policies for the campuses. Second, IFC is looking at issues concerning non-tenure track faculty. These topics both are on the agenda for the next meeting of the IFC. Schmidt further reported on the discussions with President Floyd and vice presidents, as well as the Bearden Commission on Higher Education. He noted pending legislation sponsored by Representative Bearden but that at this point it was not possible to say how hard that legislation will be pushed or what the final budget will look like.
Schmidt reported that system-campus administration favored the idea of using the Faculty Council breakfast with the Curators to highlight how work at the University promotes economic development within the state. He called the attention of the Council to the instructions the campuses have received to cut administrative expenses by ten percent and use those sums for instructional purposes. He stated it is not clear where or how such cuts would be made, nor how the funds would be reallocated. He noted this is a response to concern amongst the Curators, especially new ones, that there is much waste on the campuses.
Schmidt noted that the chair of the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank has published comments chastising higher education for inefficiency and waste. He encouraged Council members to review the article. Schmidt advised that the next meeting of the IFC would take place on Monday, January 23.
Dr. Neal inquired whether the Chancellor attended IFC meetings; Schmidt reported that the administrators generally in attendance were President Floyd, system vice presidents, etc. Dr. Neal advised he had spoken with officials on this campus who advised that the 10% cut in administrative expense was in the nature of a reallocation of funds. Schmidt advised that this was not clear during the discussions with President Floyd.
Dr. Prather-Kinsey advised that there was no new report from the Faculty Affairs Committee. She did report, however, that she had discussed the proposal to extend time for tenure-track faculty who become new parents or experience pregnancy and that a Faculty Forum will be conducted this semester to seek a vote of the general faculty.
Dr. Devaney reported that the Student Affairs Committee has been asked to examine attendance policies as they relate to athletes, particularly those involved in post-season games. The committee is seeking to meet with the administrator of the Total Person Program, the Athletic Department and others to see if any change is needed. He noted that students absent for such activities are still required to do the coursework, without regard for absences. The only exception is students called for National Guard duty.
Lamberson reported that pursuant to the new election rules, a nominating committee has been appointed consisting of Dr. Porter, chair, Dr. Zephir and Dr. Johnson. Porter reported that the revised rules call for an election at the first May meeting of the Council, yet there is no May meeting this year. They will bring a proposal to the next meeting for necessary revisions to the election calendar. Lamberson noted that Ms. Hart had pointed out that there have been times when elections could not be concluded at one meeting and had to await the succeeding meeting before all positions were filled. He suggested the committee might want to take this into consideration when setting the calendar.
Action ItemsThere were no action items on the agenda.
Discussion ItemsAssistant Professor Dorina Kosztin, chair, reported to the faculty on the work of the Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE). Referring to the written report which was distributed to the Council, she noted that CUE has been reviewing the general education requirements to insure that the information on the University website is accurate. She noted that approval requests are submitted to a subcommittee which approves or denies the request unless issues arise, in which event the approval is submitted to the committee as a whole.
Kosztin reported that the largest amount of time spent by CUE on the distribution of the content list, which lists general education requirements. They have completed the list of 1000 and 2000 courses, a task complicated by overlapping courses in various departments or schools and the need to assure consistency in those courses. The next task is to compile the list for courses at the 3000 and 4000 levels. CUE sends requests to the various departments for information; most have responded. Kosztin noted that these lists are updated along with the general catalog of courses, roughly twice a year.
CUE voted to amend the distribution of credit requirement, which had specified nine credits of humanities or fine arts and now specifies nine credits of humanities and/or fine arts. This was done in cooperation with the College of Arts and Sciences. She also noted that while the list was being prepared some colleges or departments requested that some skills courses be included in the general education requirements. CUE approved up to three credits of skills courses to apply to the humanities requirement.
CUE is working on a description of the steps required when departments seek to establish an emphasis area. They are working on the applications of candidates for the Hesburgh awards, with members of CUE reading the essays which are submitted.
Finally, at their most recent meeting, Dr. Prewitt pointed out that there seems to be an overlap amongst the duties of multiple committees. One subcommittee is reviewing the process for approval of courses, which can involve multiple committees both at the departmental and university level, to see if the process and overlapping requirements can be coordinated and duplication of efforts avoided.
Dr. Schmidt inquired and was advised that skills courses are within humanities departments. Dr. Porter was assured that the general education courses are not and cannot be courses to satisfy requirements for academic majors; the general education courses are independent of the requirements for majors. Dr. Devaney suggested that the processes for course approval could be expedited if, once the proposal has received division approval, any courses which must be submitted to multiple committees be processed concurrently, rather than seriatim. The Registrar would act as the gatekeeper to be sure all necessary approvals were obtained. Further questions were asked about emphasis areas and Dr. Kosztin assured the Council that emphasis areas had nothing to do with general education requirements. Dr. Kosztin was thanked for her report.
Lamberson noted that the representation report was distributed to Council members at the start of the meeting. There are no changes to report. He also noted that it is encouraging to see that tenure-track faculty increased this past year. He also urged Council members to join the Curators at the breakfast on January 27th and to advise Ms. Hart whether or not each would attend.
Schmidt noted that the Final Report and Recommendations of the F&A Recovery and Research Investment Committee, formed by Vice Provost Coleman, was distributed to Council members. The Task Force was formed to study whether the university was recovering appropriate amounts from grants and other funds. He noted that one of the major issues is the fact that in some cases nothing will or can be paid by funding agencies, in others during the negotiations we give back money or do not collect the fees. It is standard for such negotiations to take place. In our case, while the official rate for recovery is 47% and most land grant institutions collect somewhere in the neighborhood of 20%, our actual recovery is in the upper teens.
The report makes five recommendations. The first is that the university should take the position that it will not negotiate F&A rates down. Any departure from this norm will have to be justified and, when there is a downward departure, research incentive funds will not be distributed from the grants.
The committee reviewed the RIF rate to see if these funds are being spent appropriately. It found that in all cases the funds were being spent productively.
As to the third recommendation, a previous task force had called for collecting a higher percentage for RIF. On review, this committee recommends raising that rate from 25% to 35%, which would go to all units.
The fourth recommendation is to achieve accountability, transparency and effective annual faculty review of RIF policies. The fifth recommendation is that once the recommendation for changing the percentage of RIF funds returned to departments, increases in recovery should lead to reporting and support of the various initiatives of the Office of Research. When asked if the Task Force had considered whether someone could "bank" against future grant income, Dr. Schmidt reported that the Task Force did not believe that issue was in its charge and thus did not decide the issue. Finally, Schmidt noted that the Fiscal Affairs Committee had reviewed the report and found it acceptable. A faculty forum will be held some time this semester for a full discussion and hearing on the recommendations.
Dr. Taksar questioned the goal of a uniform 35% rate, noting the various needs and qualities of different grant-funded projects. Discussion followed concerning various aspects of the Task Force's recommendations and experiences with different types of grants and granting agencies. Dr. Taksar questioned the some of the final language of the report and Schmidt reported that the committee stated that it did not want to cause any budget cuts, but that it believed it would be a great improvement to use the same process across the university. The report reflects the recommendations approved by the committee after an opportunity to review its language. Schmidt stated he was available to discuss questions which might be raised by Council members or other faculty.
Other BusinessDr. Gantzer reported that he had requested that the Council consider the administration of grants on campus. Lamberson noted that a number of departments have hired staff to help with grants management and that his department had created software to facilitate obtaining reports through PeopleSoft. Dr. Taksar indicated that he had found it difficult to obtain monthly distribution from grants or determining their status. A general discussion ensued. Lamberson advised that we will invite the director of the Office of Sponsored Programs and Jim Coleman to discuss not only initial funding but also administration of grants.
AdjournmentThe meeting went into closed session for discussion of the report of the Honorary Degrees Committee and to nominate a new member for the Committee on Committees. The meeting was adjourned at 4:30 p.m.
Patricia Fry, Recorder