Meeting Minutes: February 23, 2006

Attendance

Present: Edward Adelstein, Elizabeth Baker, Ken Benson, Charles Borduin, Rex Campbell, Pat Fry, Peter Motavalli (for Clark Gantzer), Steven Neal, Tom Phillips, Eileen Porter, Mark Prelas, Frank Schmidt, Laura Schopp, James Sterling, Michael Taksar, Wilson Watt, Barbara Townsend (for Roger Worthington), Michael Muchow (Librarians), Dean Yarwood (Retirees), and Rebekah Hart (Secretary). Absent: Bruce Bullock, Leah Cohn, Michael Devaney, Catherine Holland, Philip Johnson, Michael Kramer, William Lamberson, Alan Luger, Kenneth MacLeod, Anand Prahlad, Jenice Prather-Kinsey, Lisa Zanetti, Flore Zephir, Andrienne Hoard (Black Faculty and Staff), and Andrew Simpson (AAUP).

Approval of Minutes

The meeting was called to order by Vice Chair Frank Schmidt at 3:30 p.m. in S203 Memorial Union. Minutes of the meeting of February 9, 2006 were approved.

Report of Officers

Frank Schmidt, vice chair, reported that the first of the faculty fora will take place on March 7 at 3:30 p.m. in Memorial Union N207. At this forum issues concerning the tenure clock and new parents will be discussed, as well as departmental governance and the report of the research incentive committee on indirect costs. He advised that an Intercampus Faculty Council committee would be meeting on the 25th to discuss the non-tenure track faculty and asked members with any comments or suggestions to contact him or Campbell.

Schopp reported that the next meeting of the Board of Curators is in March. Campbell reported that the Executive Committee met with Chancellor Deaton on February 23rd. The meeting was devoted to events of the past couple of weeks. Time was spent discussing how to avoid future problems with press relations. There were no further officers' reports.

Action Items

There were no action items on the agenda.

Discussion Items

Guest Andrew Beckett, Coordinator, Freshman & Transfer Interest Groups, distributed a handout describing the interest groups. He advised that he is a Ph.D. student in educational leadership. The Freshman Interest Groups (FIGs) consist of 15-20 students who live together, take at least three classes together, and have a faculty mentor. The program was twelve years old in the fall of 2005 and has served over 10,000 students. Next year it is anticipated as many as 50 groups will be formed. The goal of the program is to help make the university comfortable for beginning students, resulting in enhanced retention and graduation rates. Beckett noted that the program has been demonstrated to be beneficial for students, commenting on the results of the 2004 participation in the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) and the National Survey of Living Learning Programs (NSLLP). Results of these surveys, linked to institutional demographic and academic data, generated useful data. Dividing the students into advising groups based on their admissions data, with Advising Group 1 having the best statistical prospects for success and Advising Group 4 the lowest, it appears that the students deriving the most benefit from the FIG program are those in Advising Group 4. Similar results were found when the survey results were analyzed with respect to Transfer Interest Groups (TIGs), which consist of transfer students.

Beckett stated that the results of their analyses revealed several items of particular interest. For example, 80% of first year students reported that they study "quite a bit" or "very much," yet 69% report that they spend 10 or fewer hours on academic work per week. As many as one-third of the students reported going to class unprepared either "often" or "very often." Furthermore, there is a high correlation between the time spent studying and a students' grade point average. He believes these data indicate that the entering students do not realistically estimate the level of academic work they will be expected to fulfill. Three different surveys show that over 60% of first year students are not employed and, of those who do work, over half work less than five hours per week. These data also raise concerns about how to get students to spend more time and effort on their academic work and how to communicate expectations to incoming students more clearly.

Beckett stated that one of the greatest benefits of the interest groups is that the students tend to spend more time with the students in their group than with students from home. This has had beneficial effects on their attitudes toward diversity. The data also have shown that the lowest ability students studied the least and the highest ability students the most. Taksar asked if similar studies have been conducted for second and third year students, but Beckett reported that the students surveyed thus far have been first year students. On the other hand, available data indicate that seniors do study more and have higher grades than first year students. In response to an inquiry from Schmidt, Beckett responded that the NSSE has established benchmark scores. Using the comparison, this university ranks almost a full standard of deviation below similar institutions. He also noted that most of the first year students do no writing except in required English courses. In response to further questions, Beckett further discussed the data concerning written projects completed by first year students. He also stated that he believes we are missing some opportunities in the admissions process to bring students to a realistic comprehension of the level of academic work expected of first year students. National cohort of incoming students seem to expect to work harder than do our incoming students. With respect to the accuracy of the data, Beckett noted that the response rate to the surveys was high and the results statistically significant, but also that the grade point averages of the respondents was somewhat above the average grade point average for first year students. Schmidt commented that he believed the Academic Affairs and Student Affairs committees may want to explore further with Beckett the implications of this data.

Domingo Martinez-Castilla, Director of the Cambio Center, described the work of the Center for the Council. He noted that the Center was formed in response to the mission of land grant institutions to address changing conditions in their states. In the recent past, Missouri has experienced a large rise in the population of workers, mostly Latino, entering and settling in the state. These Latino immigrants are generally, but not exclusively of Mexican origin and have settled in every county in Missouri, raising the proportion of the Latino population everywhere. In some counties the ratio of Latino residents has risen from nothing to as much as 50% Spanish-speaking residents. Other states are having the same experience. The immigration is not exclusively Latino, but includes Hmong, Vietnamese, and other groups. This has resulted in pressure on land grant institutions to help the stakeholders to respond to the change.

The University's response to this challenge began with a study of what precisely was occurring throughout Missouri and then the sponsorship of conferences discussing the change and how it might be addressed. The Center is currently organizing the fifth such conference. The people attending the conferences have combined academics with policy makers, service providers, immigrants and outreach people. The conferences are designed to build bridges. Martinez-Castilla noted that people do not like change but if we fail to understand what is changing, people tend to react negatively. After the first three conferences, it was clear that some sort of organized effort was needed to deal with issues raised by the population shift and the Center was organized. Perhaps with the exception of a center at the University of California-Davis, the fact that the people involved in the Cambio Center are linked to a land grant institution makes it different from others in the United States. The Center organizes conferences, conducts education, research and outreach, including international. Taksar asked about the proportion of legal or illegal residents and whether Missouri had laws like those of California requiring that authorities be notified. Martinez-Castilla stated that nobody is really sure exactly how many of the immigrants are documented, but noted that the Center is starting to work on the data, including current census information. They are using data from schools, about family size, etc. and are planning to share their methodology with Kansas, Nebraska, Arkansas and other states. Sampling in Missouri suggests that 60% of the people are U.S. citizens who do not speak English. The Census Bureau data suggests that most of the migration consists of second generation immigrants. In response to a question from Campbell, Martinez-Castilla stated that the Center does not ask how many immigrants are illegal. It is the impression of researchers that the figure probably approaches one-half and Martinez-Castilla noted that often there are members of the same household who are citizens, resident aliens or illegal aliens. He asked if we really want to deny services, particularly to small children, and what the effect would be in the next generation. Schmidt asked if the Latino enrollments in the University are much lower than the proportion of the state population and was told they are. Martinez-Castilla noted that the dropout rate in high schools is very high.

Schopp advised that the second discussion item, the campus-wide health risk appraisal, would be put over until the next meeting.

Schmidt advised that the Forum on Faculty Engagement in Athletics will take place on April 5 at 4:00 p.m. in Memorial Union N222. At that time issues related to faculty governance and relations will be discussed, as well as the perspective of the student athletes. Members of the Intercollegiate Athletic Committee and other groups will speak. Porter asked how notice of the fora would be circulated and was advised that notices would include items in Mizzou Weekly and the electronic MU newsletter.

Standing Committee Reports

The Fiscal Committee advised that it would meet on February 25th. Watt reported that the Diversity Enhancement Committee continues to review existing policies, including individual college tenure policies, and has requested from the Provost the diversity plans filed by each dean. These reports are being analyzed to determine if university policies should be revised. There were no further committee reports.

Other Business

Porter circulated the first nomination form required under the new election procedures. She advised that the completed forms should be submitted to the Council offices no later than March 13th. Neal asked if the listed names were confined to individuals in the midst of their respective terms on the Council. Porter advised that the names on the first nomination form were confined to returning Council members but that, once the schools and departments notify the Council of incoming members, their names will be included on the second form. Schopp asked that some time be allocated at the next Council meeting for completion of the forms.

Adjournment

There being no further new business, the open meeting was adjourned. The Council went into closed session to discuss personnel matters. The Council meeting was adjourned at 4:25 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Patricia Fry, Recorder