Meeting Minutes: March 23, 2016gfm

Call-to-Order

The Spring Semester General Faculty meeting was called to order at 3:31 p.m. by Interim Chancellor Hank Foley in Jesse Wrench Auditorium, Memorial Union.  The meeting was then turned over to Faculty Council Chair Ben Trachtenberg.

Report from Faculty Council – Ben Trachtenberg

Trachtenberg spoke on the ideas of authority and proximity.   Authority contains both imperium – the power to command, and auctoritas – the ability to influence, rally others.  The university needs administration and faculty to use their authority together, and to be in proximity with each other and with the people of Missouri. 

He closed with a review of Faculty Council activities.

MU Updates – Report from Interim Chancellor Foley

Foley noted that most of what he wanted to share is in his January 2016 State of the University address.  Foley highlighted recent achievements of faculty and students.

Report from Inclusion, Diversity and Equity – Interim Vice Chancellor Chuck Henson

Henson acknowledged the many people that are working with him to answer the call to service.  He stated that it is about relationships, and as Mr. Bryan Stevenson says, proximity. 

Highlighted what they have begun.

Report on Research – Interim Vice Chancellor Mark McIntosh

McIntosh presented three stories on research:  stark reality, opportunity, and a few good news stories. Stark reality is that research expenditures were down again in 2015. Opportunity is that 2016 looks to be as good as 2015, maybe better.  Shared recent faculty success stories.  Also noted that they are investing in research faculty and infrastructure. 

Report on Budget – Vice Chancellor Rhonda Gibler

Gibler gave an overview of finances and budget focusing on recurring expenses/income.  State support has decreased since 1990.  Tuition being used to cover that difference.  However, Senate bill 289 is barrier as is competition with other institutions.  We’ve been making up for revenue by bringing in additional students.  Difficult for us to find other ways to maneuver.  We are past working smart to working more with less, to just keeping up. 

FY17 is complicated by factors we’ve been dealing with a long time: head count, state appropriations, CPI (consumer price index).  FY17 predicted to have a gap of $32M.  Big driver of revenue is how many students and how much we charge them.  Modeling and deposits, predict 1500 students fewer than last year, skewing to greater non-resident loss. Non-residents costlier loss than other students. 

Gibler noted that we are capable of rising to the challenge.  $32 million is a lot of money, but it is not all of our resources.  We’ll have to pull together as a team, decide what we have to let go of in order to move forward. 

Foley reiterated the prior strategy of keeping faculty numbers down while driving up student numbers and revenues.  Increasing number of non-tenure track and adjunct faculty “kind of worked,” but problem is in benefits.  Benefits are 33% of salaries and have been going up each year even if salaries are flat.  Need to change narrative around what has happened and will happen at Mizzou and be open to help and ideas. Looking to protect educational mission. 

Questions & Answers

Questions focused on budget, on hiring expensive high fliers when we have a $32M shortfall, that most of the hires highlighted earlier in the meeting were white men, and the elimination of retirement benefits.  Foley noted that we will have to cut people, and acknowledged that we need to increase diversity in staffing.  Gibler stated that they have been looking at new tuition models and how to price more clearly.  Kelley Stuck, Interim Vice President for HR stated that it's just not possible to keep retirement health benefits because the cost has increased so much and is projected to continue rising.

New Business

The new business items were added as a result of a petition; however, architect of petition was absent.  Trachtenberg moved that the new business items be referred to Faculty Council to consider.  Motion was seconded, no discussion.  Motion passed.  The items referred to Council were: 

  1. Proposed elimination of retiree health insurance benefits
  2. Resolution to commission a faculty study of employee and retiree benefits plans
  3. Proposal concerning the delegation and proper exercise of faculty authority

Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 6:07 p.m.

Respectfully recorded,

Rebecca Graves, Recorder for the Faculty