Meeting Minutes: February 8, 2007

Attendance

Present: Douglas Abrams, Edward Adelstein, Joanne Banks-Wallace, Charles Borduin, Rex Campbell, Michael Devaney, Jay Dow, Clark Gantzer, Bryan Garton, Ron Harstad, William Lamberson, Norman Land, Carol Lazzaro-Weis, Sudarshan Loyalka, Alan Luger, Kenneth MacLeod, Rebecca McCathren, Steven Neal, Tom Phillips, Jenice Prather-Kinsey, Leona Rubin, Frank Schmidt, Laura Schopp, Jim Sterling, James Tarr, Rebekah K. Hart (sec.), Geoffrey Swindells (Library). Absent: Leah Cohn, Anand Prahlad, Michael Taksar, J. Wilson Watt, Lisa Zanetti, Adrienne Hoard (Black Faculty & Staff), Dean Yarwood (Retirees), Bennett Greenspan (AAUP), Fred Williams (NTT), Vern Pierce (NTT), Greg Petroski (NTT) and John Mollenkamp (NTT).

Approval of Minutes

The meeting was called to order by Chair Campbell at 3:30 p.m., in room S203 Memorial Union. [Campbell announced that the order of the meeting is changed to accommodate Council's guests first then the remaining meeting would follow.] The minutes of the December 12, 2006 Faculty Council meeting were approved.

Report of Officers

Campbell reported on the flurry of emails concerning SB 389. He asked for careful thought and action on this issue. Campbell requested a revision of the chairs responsibilities associated with the new grievance process. Considerably more time is needed in dealing with the grievance process than expected. Tomorrow the Executive Council will meet with Chancellor Deaton and Deputy Chancellor Middleton. Next Thursday the Executive Committee will meet with Steve Knorr, UM Vice President for Government Relations. Tomorrow Intercampus Faculty Council (IFC) meets.

Schmidt reported on recent IFC business. The IFC met with Curator and Vice President of the Board Walsworth who briefed the committee on the Presidential search. He announced that he is forming a committee of faculty, staff, and students to evaluate candidates found by the search committee firm. Discussion focused on candidate characteristics and the term CEO appeared regularly in the discussions. Curator Walsworth will meet with IFC again February 9. Schmidt mentioned that there is a standing invitation to any curator to meet with IFC.

Schopp reported that SB 389 introduced by Senator Gary Nodler, R-Joplin was the first focus of discussion. Discussion also centered on the U.S. News and World Report indicating MU has slipped in national rankings. There was confusion about the need for increased student access that we do want and exclusivity that is necessary to move up in the rankings. There was talk of the importance of these rankings in terms of state funding. Curator Walsworth has communicated an open invitation to all curators to attend IFC meetings. He reported that his meetings have been educational and informative. There was discussion about the makeup of Presidential search committee. The committee makeup will include two distinguished or Curators Professors named from each campus (two from each campus), four alumni (one from each campus), the chair of IFC (Frank Schmidt) the student intercampus council chair and vice chair, one staff member (the intercampus staff council chair) and a member from MU Health Care (UMHC). Discussion centered on desirable candidate traits. One curator mentioned that the person would need to be academically acceptable to the faculty. There was an extended discussion on traits related to managing a large corporation. Ken Hutchinson, Vice President of Human Resources has been working on a study of salaries of comparable Association of American Universities (AAU) salaries. There is a loyalty tax for professors that remain at MU which was documented in the study. Full Professors are at 91 percent of the AAU benchmark, Associate Professors are slightly higher, and Assistant Professors are at 95 percent of the AAU benchmark. Many curators believe that low salaries are an issue of concern. There is a desire to have a one percent market correction. Discussion of the 3.8 percent proposed tuition increase and the 7.1 percent increase in fees especially for UMC undergraduates (the highest in the system). They did pass the 7.1 percent increase. Intellectual pluralism, i.e., intellectual diversity, has been deferred to the next meeting. There was a discussion of asset allocation, to increase the yield and decrease the volatility of the asset pools. The retirement program is currently near being fully funded. They voted to accept any MOHELA funds with possible stipulations prescribed by the legislature.

Senate bill SB389 was discussed. Campbell suggested it be referred to the academic affairs committee. Schmidt suggested sending the matter to both academic affairs and faculty affairs. A request was made to setup a discussion board to facilitate timely representative input. Loyalka said this is being worked on. The idea of setting this up in Blackboard was suggested. Schopp mentioned the need to insure security of the proposed message board site. The message board would allow input of all council members. Schmidt made a motion to suspend the rules for consideration of a resolution addressing SB 389 that has not been circulated. Schmidt moved, "Be it resolved by Faculty Council that any changes to Missouri Higher education must preserve the historic constitutional status of the university and academic freedom." The motion was made and seconded. Lamberson moved to suspend the rules. The motion was seconded. The vote was unanimous and discussion followed. Loyalka suggested the insertion of the word lawful. The vote on the motion was unanimous. Campbell urged the chairs to move with some dispatch. Campbell asked for advice where to communicate this issue. Dean William M. Crist, M.D. (School of Medicine) made some comment about SB389. He feels many provisions are completely unacceptable. He feels that MU should be allowed to do lawful work. He discussed some of the political details.

Discussion Items

Guest(s): John Lichtenegger, former chair of the Board of Curators; member Missouri Flagship Council. Professor James Sterling of the School of Journalism introduced John P. Lichtenegger, a Law School Alumnus (1972), and a Curator Emeritus and twice President of The University of Missouri Board of Curators (B.O.C.). Mr. Lichtenegger presented information and concerns about Missouri Senate Bill 389 (SB389). Several items would directly impact the University of Missouri-Columbia because of its constitutional charter. The bill proposes a transfer of power unprecedented in the history of the state, and would make it impermissible to exercise authorized constitutional powers. Lichtenegger is serving as the messenger of fourteen former Curators who have signed a statement of principle. He prefaced his presentation by saying the signers are defending the constitutional powers of the B.O.C., his purpose as a messenger of the fourteen Curators is to initiate full and open debate and discussion on this issue. The fourteen signing Curators unequivocally adopted the following statement of principles:

"The University of Missouri Board of Curators to retain its constitutional independence and governing authority over the four campuses of the University System, and the Board should resist outside political and legislative attempts to divert or transfer the powers duties and responsibilities of the Curators, and the Board of Curators should strongly oppose any legislation that seeks to place restrictions or infringe upon the lawful expression of academic freedom or the research vision of the University and the ability of researchers to conduct lawful research.'

A number of provisions in the bill are objectionable and are in need of revision or outright deletion. First among these is that in SB389 there is a provision to transfer the powers, duties, and responsibilities of the Curators over to the Coordinating Board of Higher Education (CBHE), the Commission of Higher Education and Missouri Development Finance Board (MDFB), the body that is to receive funds from the Missouri Higher Educational Loan Authority (MOHELA) and dispense them to Missouri Universities. There are other provisions that allow this Board to set restrictions on the use of buildings and the type of research conducted in these buildings. The following list included a number of the specific concerns.

  1. SB389 will limit tuition increases at the University without any guarantee of further state appropriation.
  2. SB389 includes a formula that determines the rate of increase of tuition based upon the Midwestern consumer price index (CPI) whereas the university operates on the Higher Education Price Index (HEPI) index, the index the university must operate from.
  3. SB389 empowers the MDFB to set restriction on the type of work that is done in a university building, which would be an infringement on academic freedom.
  4. SB389 included a provision to set up a "state grant in aid" for needy students. Eligible students attending two-year schools would get a grant of 1,000 dollars and eligible students attending four-year schools would get a grant of 2,150 dollars while eligible students attending private schools would be for a grant of 4,600 dollars. This would be the beginning of a voucher system.
  5. SB389 includes a number of unfunded mandated-statistical reporting provisions requiring both students and university to compile and report information to the CBHE.
  6. SB389 contains provisions to limit faculty authority over core content and transferability of courses.

Curator Lichtenegger urged the faculty to examine the provisions of the bill. Devaney asked about possible challenge in court. Lichtenegger thought it was likely. The Council thanked John L. Cook, past Chairman of the Jefferson Club for providing Lichtenegger airplane transportation from Cape Girardeau.

Core Learning Objectives for the University - Lamberson. Lamberson presented an update Core Learning Objectives that is published as General Education Assessment on the Provost's web site. Schmidt is concerned about a number of issues including it not containing anything that was measurable, but also includes a statement that we expect undergraduate students to do original research. Discussion followed. Dow, indicated concern about a "learner centered environment" [definition: A learner centered school is one that acknowledges that children do construct their own meanings for the events, objects, and people with whom they interact. It recognizes the differences and appreciates the abilities of the individuals who occupy it daily. Leaning here is not passive; all are expected to participate and contribute to learning. Students make discoveries instead of following directions or memorizing facts. Furthermore, their learning is guided by their own questions, not by those from a textbook or curriculum." Theory and Practice, Autumn 1995 (p. 226.]

Standing Committee Reports

Faculty Affairs: Adelstein, chair, noted that they are working on divisional bylaws.

Fiscal Affairs: Phillips, chair, said they have been working on the Campus Health Oversight Committee. There is a problem with overlapped responsibilities of the retirement committee. He reported that the system has made the proposed change to the flexible spending accounts.

Student Affairs: Devaney, chair, reported on student textbook costs. University Bookstore representatives are meeting with departments to develop a textbook rental program. The search for the Vice Provost of Undergraduate Studies has a list of nine semi-final candidates. Interviews will begin within the month.

Any Other Business

Lamberson reported on the search of the Director of the Campus Writing Program. The committee will make their recommendation in the next week.

Schmidt thanked the Council for their support during the illness and death of his wife.

Adjournment

The meeting went into a brief closed session. The meeting adjourned at 5:15 p.m.