Meeting Minutes: September 16, 2014


Members present: Jim Baumann, David Bergin, Tim Evans, Charles Franz, John Gahl, Richard Guyette, Jung Ha-Brookshire, Berkley Hudson, Naresh Khatri, John Lory, Judith Mabary, Dennis Miller, Nicole Monnier, Stephen Montgomery-Smith, Peter Nabelek, Craig Roberts, Angela Speck, Ben Trachtenberg, Harry Tyrer, Douglas Wakefield, William Wiebold, Rachel Brekhus (Librarians), Don Sievert (MURA), and Rebekah Hart (Council Secretary). Members absent: Andre Ariew, A. Cooper Drury, Karen Hebert, Rebecca Johnson, Tony Lupo, Camila Manrique, Karen Piper, Mahesh Thakkar, Vitor Trindade, and Mark Prelas (AAUP).

Approval of Minutes

Chair Craig Roberts called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m. in S304 Memorial Union. There were no minutes approved and no officers’ reports. Roberts announced the School of Medicine Fact-Finding Committee, consisting of Art Jago, Satish Nair, Cheryl Heesch, and Carlos Wexler, met on September 15. The committee’s charge is to: Determine factors that may have a negative effect on shared governance, research productivity, and/or the work environment in the School of Medicine

Discussion Items

Guests: (1)  Gary Ward, Vice Chancellor for Campus Operations on the future of Pickard Hall;

and (2) Danna Vessell, Technology Resource Director on Learning Management System

Review.  Ward stated that only surface testing of Pickard Hall is now in progress. A two-phase characterization study, estimated to cost between $75,000 and $250,000, is due to be submitted to the NRC by March 31, 2015. It will probably take a year for approval of the study after which implementation can begin.  The initial strategy is to determine the best course of action: whether to treat and save the building or to demolish it. Costs to renovate are estimated at $16-$18 million. Ward reminded those present that there will always be a risk associated with the current building.  The next phase will be to select a consultant by October 10, 2014 to complete the characterization study, thereby allowing a decision regarding the best strategy for decommissioning to be made. Ward indicated that the problem is from radon; radon loves wood; and Pickard is a wooden building. Estimated time required to solve the problem is five-six years at a cost of $10 million to decommission alone. No new building is included in this estimate. Ward recommended that he return to Faculty Council with a follow-up report at the end of the academic year.


Danna Vessell reported on the status of reviewing a possible replacement for Blackboard, MU’s present Learning Management System. She assured those present that implementation of any new program would be a gradual process. There are presently many opportunities being offered for test drives of proposed systems and feedback regarding their feasibility. Vessell urged members present to visit the LMS Review website ( where information is available about upcoming focus groups and vendor demonstrations, to tell others about the site, and to offer feedback. Tyrer suggested that we need better computational abilities in the gradebook option. Vessell noted that the full cost of Blackboard is $750,000/year with $150,000 of that allocated to licensing.

Standing Committee Reports

IFC – Miller.  Miller announced that IFC is working on a document addressing ability to work for faculty with health problems that may prevent them from performing their duties with the University. IFC is also continuing to work on issues raised regarding tenure and the post-tenure review and how the tenure mechanism itself can be defended.


Miller also reported on proposed changes to the CRR (200.010, 200.020, 200.025, and 600) in response to Title IX mandates. The Board of Curators has charged President Wolfe to present recommendations regarding changes at the next Board of Curators’ meeting. Miller expressed concern that the IFC was not made aware of the call for these proposed changes earlier. A redlined version of the CRR with proposed changes clearly indicated had been sent to Council members shortly before the meeting. The immediate concern was not that changes were being made but that the process of doing so did not allow adequate time for input from faculty. Changes to the CRR regarding students have been completed, but those regarding faculty (CRR 600) have not. Roberts suggested that members send comments, carefully worded, to Miller to take to IFC.


Fiscal Affairs – Wiebold. The committee is trying to digest the expansion of their charge to include issues related to the soon-to-be-formed Budget Committee, whose members will work directly with Chancellor Loftin.


Diversity Enhancement -  Speck.  The committee is meeting with Jim Spain on Friday, Sept. 19, regarding analysis and public roll-out of the survey on diversity education, already administered to undergraduate freshman. The committee will also be addressing the matter of sensitivity to diverse religious faiths via scheduling of academic holidays and policies regarding attendance.  


Student Affairs – Evans.  Some members of the committee had attended the recent Alcohol Summit. It was suggested to Faculty Council that there are some things faculty may be doing unconsciously that promote alcohol abuse, notably what is referred to by some as “syllabus week,”  defined as when faculty introduce the syllabus but offer little in terms of course content.


Academic Affairs  -  Monnier.  A final draft of the survey on how faculty utilize the last two weeks of the semester in terms of class meetings and final exams will be ready soon. Monnier is still attempting to arrange a meeting with Jim Spain to discuss his suggestion for a Center for Teaching and Learning.


Faculty Affairs – Tyrer.  Names were offered for three committees (in areas of budget and strategic planning). The importance of establishing clear charges for the MUSOP committee was also raised. Lory expressed concern regarding the professorial status for non-campus extension faculty. System seems to be avoiding some of these issues for the present as it deals with more pressing Title IX problems.


Council went into closed session at 4:40 p.m. The meeting was adjourned at 5:10 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Judith Mabary, Recorder