Meeting Minutes: May 8, 2008 Special General Faculty Meeting

Call-to-Order and Attendance

The Special General Faculty Meeting was called to order at 3:30 p.m. by Chancellor Deaton in Cornell Hall Bush Auditorium.  Approximately 450 faculty and administrators were in attendance.

Opening Remarks - Chancellor Deaton

Compete Missouri is a way of assuring competitive salaries for our faculty in an uncertain financial future of the university. The Chancellor stated and presented a power point presentation of the following points: (1) we are trying to budget with state appropriations that are less than what we received in 2001; (2) we want to ensure competitive salaries for faculty; (3) there are increasing costs associated with the library and unfunded initiatives; (4) a part of the objectives in this process is to raise faculty salaries to the median of the AAU public institutions. The Chancellor invited Provost Foster to speak. Foster stated that our faculty salaries are not competitive. The initiative that is underway is for three years. In each of the three years we are identifying two million dollars in internal reallocation for a total of six million dollars at the end of this period. Also in the three year period they are also expecting six million dollars from the legislature. Concurrently with reallocation that is underway, it appears this year there will be a pool available of 5.7 percent for faculty salaries. Although our enrollment is at an all time high, we do expect in the next five to seven years a significant drop in student population. This is due to a downward shift in numbers of students entering elementary school.

The Chancellor and Provost invited faculty speakers to come forward. Professors Victoria Johnson and Edward Adelstein came to the podium. Johnson spoke this is a dialogue on what are the priorities of the campus and the impact Compete Missouri will have. She stated what she thought were the weaknesses in the process and implementation: (1) faculty did not have enough time to consider plan; (2) budget decision will harm students; and, (3) no discussion on how it will impact departments. Further, she discussed the impact of Compete Missouri: (1) will have an impact on the teaching of required courses; (2) will have an impact on the teaching of specialty courses; (3) office staff - increase in salary[?]; (4) reduce lecture positions for graduate students; and, (5) institutional morale.
Adelstein spoke about what he referred to as a spiritual decline on campus. He pointed out our drop from 71 to 91 in "U.S. News & World Report" rankings and that millions are being spent on items for the system such as PeopleSoft. He also discussed what he thought were priority issues: (1) 3.8 million dollars is driving the University; (2) non-tenured faculty are afraid to speak up; (3) our highest priority is in teaching students; and, (4) we need to re-think our goals and priorities of the University.

Floor Questions and Comments

Deaton thanked Johnson and Adelstein for their comments and then opened-up the floor for discussion.

Lamberson made a statement about his participation on the 1% committee in which they need both faculty and staff positions to achieve the reallocation goals.

An unidentified faculty member asked the question can we be the same University following the initiative of Compete Missouri. Deaton responded that both costs and resources are decreasing and we need to reposition ourselves within the state. We will not be able to increase faculty numbers without endowments. The 2% increase would have balanced the budget. Foster responded that long-term financial issues need to be addressed and fundraising needs to be increased. He said compete Missouri is not a long-term program to address long-term fiscal issues.

An unidentified student spoke to an anticipated increase in class size if there will be fewer faculty and asked how the University will present this to perspective students.

The unidentified faculty member who followed Lamberson returned to the microphone. He stated his concern for the "spirit of the campus".  He then "queried will all programs be continued" and "what is the vision for MU as an outcome of this financial planning". Deaton responded that MU be a top AAU Public University, to increase research, and reward creativity.

An unidentified student spoke that we need to make research available to students, he supported Compete Missouri, increase the allocation to MU Library, make all teaching assistantships at 50%, and stay competitive in order to keep good faculty.

Schmidt commented, "better education for your students" complimentary to the MU faculty.

Remington comments: (1) reward structure not working; (2) non-tenure faculty are not given the opportunity to improve their teaching skills; (3) tenure is based on research, not teaching; and, (4) there are ways to raise money that are not being discussed.

Montgomery-Smith comments: (1) teaching is second place to politics; (2) poor faculty leadership in the University; (3) University needs ethical leadership; (4) unresolved issues with paid leave; and, (5) concerning the deans and chairs - there seemingly is no consequences for breaking rules.

Loyalka comments: (1) Compete Missouri abuses research, teaching, and the faculty; and, (2) there is a disconnect between the Compete Missouri document and reality.

An unidentified faculty member stated: (1) tuition sky-rocketing; (2) inflated administration; (3) instances where assistant professors are making more than full professors; and, (4) there was opportunity in the past to voice concerns about Compete Missouri.

Wilkins-Black commented that there is a committee looking at the teaching assistantships.

Johnson returned to the podium with the following points: (1) there are no across the board increases; (2) 4% base pool for faculty and staff salaries is merit based.

Loyalka returned to the podium with the following points: (1) a dialogue is not being followed through by the administration; and, (2) request freezing salary raise monies for all higher paid positions to make more raise money available to all lower paid faculty and staff.

Deaton returned to the podium and asserted that he wanted MU to be "a leading University in the nation". He also mentioned "Role and Scope" an initiative by former President Ratchford.

Miller comments: (1) deja vu this meeting reminds him of earlier general faculty meetings from the 1980's and early 1990's; (2) clarifying salary freeze of salaries at $100,000 or higher; (3) "elephant in the room" this is not a natural crisis but an artificial crisis created in Jefferson City; and, (4) what is the future of the University - faculty have a concept of what the University should be and he wonders what effect Compete Missouri will have on our future.

Deaton commented that we need to determine what we need the University to be. Foster commented if this University was "good" we would not be discussing this issue however MU is "best in the world".

Retzloff comments:  (1) can we run "red" numbers for a long time; (2) our lab equipment is antiquated; (3) no discussion has occurred on how to use "All We Call Mizzou Funds"; (4) make a better case to the state about our contributions; (5) "how can we sustain [?]".

Deaton comments that 90% of the "All We Call Mizzou" funds are restricted.

An unidentified faculty member commented: (1) how does MU fare in comparison to other state institutions in state funding; (2) the faculty grievance process is not functioning well; and, (3) this is not a world class institution.

Johnson returned to the podium that discussion will continue and cited symposiums sponsored by the AAUP.

Finally, Morton spoke briefly on our current level of state funding.

Other Business and Adjournment

The meeting adjourned at 5:25 p.m.

Respectfully Recorded,
___________________, Acting Recorder for the Faculty