Meeting Minutes: October 19, 2006

Attendance

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

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 in order to accommodate Council's guests first then the remaining meeting would follow.] Campbell asked that each member of Council, going around the room, announce their name and department/division.

Report of Officers

Campbell presented the Board of Curators Report for Schopp. The Board's HR & Benefits Committee reported that the benefit plan has a more positive outlook than expected. The plan currently is that cost saving will allow a net savings this year. The 2007 Dental Plan is being adjusted by an eight percent increase. Currently the university pays fifty percent of the cost. A new program for vision care has been introduced to the benefits package for 2007. The university is currently paying seventy three percent of the medical plan part of the benefits package. The Wellness Program was well received, and a report on the status for this program will be made at every Board meeting.

Currently the Board meetings are structured with the first day scheduled for committee meetings and the second day scheduled for the general Board meeting. Each Board committee has three curators serving as members. The Amorous Relationship Policy will be presented to the Board in December. A presentation was made on auditing all of the academic programs. The audit is using the Delaware Convention, which is an evaluation of the relative cost of academic programs evaluated over 50 different colleges and universities. MU is using a criterion such that if the cost per program is more than 150 percent of the Delaware Convention average, the program will be identified for further study and for possible elimination. Some members of the Board are expressing an interest in reducing the number of programs within the UM system. The general Board meeting included a positive report from the chair on international programs. Of note to faculty, a statement has now been included in the Collected Rules and Regulations on Academic Freedom and Shared Governance.

Schmidt reported on the Intercampus Faculty Council (IFC) meeting of October 13, 2006. The IFC is currently divided into three subcommittees (1) Assessment and Accountability, (2) Personnel Policies, and (3) Administrative Issues. The Assessment and Accountability subcommittee is dealing with the question of the value of academic programs. Schmidt urged that faculty must take ownership of the ideas of quality and improvement. There is a big push for testing using an instrument such as the College Learning Assessment (produced by the Rand Corporation) that is a test that takes several hours and is expensive. It is thought that it will be impossible to obtain a random sample of students to take the test, which counts for nothing, and have students take it seriously. The subcommittee is also working on best practices for faculty review of administrators. Additionally, it is working on a policy dealing with amorous relationships between employees of the university (such as student/faculty relationships). There is a feeling that a stronger statement indicating that amorous relationships are almost never appropriate should be included. The subcommittee is also working on unifying faculty leave policies. The Administrative subcommittee is working on departmental profiles, an evaluation of departmental costs of versus national norms. Results based on what we charge students, and what proportion they actually pay, indicate that MU is at the middle to low end for most everything, suggesting, by that measure, MU is cost effective. There is an agenda to identify high-cost programs and determine why the costs are high. It was noted that high cost may not necessarily be a bad thing. This subcommittee will study e-procurement that includes the issue of the federal A21 statement. There is a request for proposals [RFP] on how to implement a method for background checks of newly hired faculty. One suggestion being considered is that after a hiring offer is made to an individual, a background screen will be administered to that person. Loyalka asked if the check will be applied to all faculty. Schmidt indicated that a background screen currently applies to all staff and the proposal is to expand the check to everyone at the university. There was a discussion with the President dealing with a unified higher education proposal for funding within Missouri. The idea would be to develop a single request to legislature including all four-year institutions and possibly all community colleges, instead of the current system that includes many competing requests for funding.

Discussion Items

Guest(s): Russ Zguta, past co-chair of the Faculty Grievance Committee, Judith Goodman, past co-chair of the Grievance Committee, Robert Torres, co-chair of the Grievance Committee, Robert Youngquist, co-chair of the Grievance Committee, and Laurie Mintz, Investigating Officer for Faculty Grievance Procedures. [This committee is required to report to Faculty Council once a year.] Report from the Grievance Committee on the 2005-2006 academic year. The committee has finished the first year of a three-year pilot program. The report is recommending several small changes to improve the procedure. The status of the current Grievance Procedure [report of the Faculty Grievance Standing Committee October 10, 2006]. There were seven grievances processed. One grievance has completely progressed through the system. The panel found in favor of the grievant on one count. Five recommendations were made to address the grievance. The Chancellor accepted two recommendations, and modified the remaining three. The Chancellor met the panel as required by the rules. The second grievance has been heard and is being reviewed by the Chancellor. Five grievances are in various stages of the 320-day process. All grievances are on time track. Time-lines are being tracked for all grievances. Loyalka asked if the faculty recommendations are now having weight. Goodman answered yes. The recommended changes to the process include: (1) panel members now serve two-year terms to allow for a build-up of expertise, (2) an Investigating Officer to streamline the process. This has made the work of the hearing panel easier. Recommendations for small changes in the process include: (1) suggest co-chairs be used instead of a single chair, (2) the original grievance application serve as the grievant's preliminary statement and the respondent writes a preliminary statement after s/he is identified, (3) make the informal mediation process more flexible allowing the co-chairs or the investigation officer to mediate, (4) develop guidelines for cases where a faculty member's contract expires before the grievance can run its course. It is recommended that the Chancellor and Chair of the Faculty Council will jointly be briefed two months before a contract of a grievant expires. The Chancellor and the Chair of Faculty Council would then jointly make a decision. A method for a tie-breaking vote from the immediate past chair of Faculty Council was recommended. A list of review deadline indicated the Chancellor has 70 days to respond. It was suggested that this be changed to 30 days. Loyalka indicated that 30 days was the original intent.

Resolution on Curators. Watt presented a resolution to the Board of Curators dealing with academic freedom initiated by a curator's comment about whether teaching "Queer Theory" was a good use of university resources at the October 5-6, 2006 Board meeting in Kansas City. Watt indicated that the comment has created a climate of fear on campus. A draft copy of the resolution was presented, discussed, and perfected by including suggestions from the Council. A vote was made to suspend the rules in order to vote on this issue. The motion to suspend the rule passed unanimously. The vote to pass the resolution passed unanimously. It appears below.

"Faculty Council
University of Missouri-Columbia
Resolution Passed Unanimously
October 19, 2006

Whereas, a member of the University of Missouri Board of Curators has made homophobic comments, and

Whereas, the Faculty of the University of Missouri-Columbia values a campus community which embraces diversity in persons, ideas, beliefs, and actions for students, staff, and faculty, and

Whereas, because respect for diversity in persons means respect for many statuses and identifications, the University in all of its communications must convey respect for age, gender, race, ablement, and sexual orientation statuses and ethnocultural, familial, community, religious and other group identifications, and

Whereas, respect for diversity of ideas and beliefs means respect for the full range of sociopolitical ideas (from radically left to radically right) and religious and spiritual belief systems (from traditional religions to the broad range of other organized religions, to the personal spiritual belief structures of non-religious persons), and

Whereas, respect for diversity of actions means respect for all actions, including speech, which convey information, ideas, and arguments that underlie true intellectual discourse on the University campus, and

Whereas, respect for diversity in the University's intellectual pursuits by students, staff, and faculty requires maintenance of an environment of rationality, openness, reasoned discussion, and civil discourse respectful of all participants, and

Whereas, students, staff and faculty of the University of Missouri-Columbia and the other University of Missouri campuses are entitled to a safe, inclusive, and nurturing environment in which to study and work, and

Whereas, the Faculty of the University of Missouri-Columbia recognizes that comments which threaten any group in the University community threaten this safe, inclusive, and nurturing environment and the enhancement of diversity which is necessary for a more stimulating and encompassing educational environment, and

Whereas, the Faculty of the University of Missouri-Columbia strongly supports the academic freedom of individual faculty members to develop courses which address all aspects of human diversity and the academic freedom of departments to offer these courses,

Be it resolved that:

1) the Faculty Council of the University of Missouri-Columbia objects to all forms of bigotry and discrimination, including homophobia, expressed by any member of the University community, and

2) the Faculty Council supports and encourages the work of all campus organizations, departments, and other formal and informal groups whose activities focus on enhancing campus diversity in all aspects of the academic experience and academic life, and

3) the Faculty of the University of Missouri-Columbia reaffirms its authority over the development, implementation, and review of curriculum on its campus, and its support for the same authority for the faculty of the other University of Missouri campuses, based on the academic merits of courses and programs consistent with the campus mission, the expectation of academic freedom, and the interests of the University community, and

4) the Faculty Council encourages the Board of Curators to make clear to the University community and to all Missourians that the campuses of the University of Missouri system value every person in the State."

2008-2009 Academic Calendar - Lamberson. MacLeod reported for Lamberson on the elections of one of the two calendar proposals (calendars A & B). Brenda Selman, Registrar, reported that a concern that time was needed for appeals of student grades, and for intersession classes from December to January. Abrams asked if the Law School would have to follow this calendar. Selman indicated that this is the general calendar and the Law School would not have to follow it. The consensus was to support Calendar A with spring semester (new terminology) beginning January 19 and ending May 16, 2009.

Standing Committee Reports

Fiscal Affairs: Phillips, Chair Fiscal Affairs, reported the committee will meet with Ken Hutchinson, Vice President for Human Resources, on issues dealing with the campus oversight.

Diversity Enhancement: Watt, Chair Diversity Enhancement reported Campus Climate Studies is in review and proceedings of the review will be presented in November.

Student Affairs: Devaney, Chair Student Affairs reported the search for the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies is underway.

Any Other Business

Campbell urged all members to attend the General Faculty Meeting October 26, 2006 in Engineering West Auditorium.

Adjournment

The meeting went into a brief closed session. The meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.