Meeting Minutes: April 6, 1995

The General Faculty Meeting began at 3:45 p.m. at the Reynolds Alumni Center. Ed Hunvald began the General Faculty Meeting with a review of some of the major actions taken during the past semester by the Faculty Council. First, he reviewed plus/minus grading, which is to take effect beginning in the fall of 1995. Ed reminded faculty that it is very important for each faculty member to make the students aware at the beginning of the course what the grading procedures will be for that particular course. Next, Ed reported on the revised admissions policy approved for the fall of 1996. He stated that at the last meeting Council approved changes in the minimum standards for admissions to the University for beginning and transfer undergraduate students. These changes are significant in two respects. First of all, admissions of beginning students can now be based on a predicted grade point average of 2.0 and multiple factors will be used in the formula for that prediction. One factor, of course, will be ACT or SAT scores, but high school class rank will not be used. The grades in core courses will be used. The second aspect of the change has to do with the changes in the admissions requirements for transfer students in an effort to ensure that the transfer students we admit are indeed qualified to attend this University. Next, he mentioned that Faculty Council has passed a resolution favoring a system of tuition remission for dependents of faculty and staff. This has been forwarded to a Systems Committee which is considering faculty and staff benefits. Faculty Council will have before them at their next meeting a proposal to put a cap on fees. This is to charge an hourly charge for coursework up to a certain level, say 14 hours, with no charge for courses after that. If adopted, this will be forwarded to the System Committee on fee structure.

Another change that has occurred over the past year is the change in the process for awarding emeritus titles. This proposal originated on this campus was approved by the Intercampus Faculty Council and now has been approved by the Board of Curators. The major change is that the award will originate with the departmental faculty of the involved member. These new procedures will take affect as of next fall.

This campus has also proposed a significant revision in the faculty grievance procedures. These have been reviewed, modified, and approved by the Intercampus Faculty Council, and are now being reviewed at the UM level. It is hoped that this proposal can be presented to the Board of Curators at its June meeting. The major changes are to make the process more efficient and fair.

Ed also commented on the efforts to improve academic advising which have not received the publicity they deserve. Two years ago, a task force was established on student advising and retention. In August 1993, this group issued a report; Faculty Council endorsed their goals and recommendations. Since then, there has been considerable cooperative effort by faculty, students and administration to achieve those goals and it appears that most of the recommendations will be adopted. The Faculty Council Student Affairs Committee has just made a report to Council in which they note a number of developments. First of all, in February, Gil Porter was appointed as coordinator of Campus Advisement. Secondly, twelve retired faculty are now serving as supplemental advisors for students on matters unrelated directly with academics. Divisional deans have supported the professional development of professional advisors by sending over a dozen advisors to national and regional meetings on advisement. Nine students now represent undergraduates on a Committee on Undergraduate Education and also serve as a group ombudsman to deal with student concerns about advising. Departments are being encouraged to develop and update their existing handbooks to assist students during registration and the handbooks will be put into a Web for computer access. A common and often justified complaint of students has been with regard to student advising and through the cooperation of faculty, students and administration, steps are being taken to make improvements in this area. So far these efforts have been the result of work of a handful of persons. It's important that all faculty recognize the importance of academic advising and that it should be rewarded. Ed hopes everyone will note the importance of good student advising and take it to heart when serving on Promotion/Tenure Committees or on committees making recommendations regarding salary adjustments.

Another ongoing activity by Faculty Council, and other councils involved, is the Task Force on the Library. In terms of the long-range future of this campus, with all due regard to study of programs, the library is still the most important issue facing this campus. Last fall, Faculty Council established a Library Scholarship Policy Task Force to look at the problems of the task force as they relate to faculty scholarship and research. One of their first acts was to ask the Chancellor to sponsor a conference on library problems and the Chancellor did that. The conference was held this past February. There were invited experts, and there was opportunity for all concerned to express their views. After the symposium, the task force met with the Chancellor, the Provost, and others to discuss the results. At the moment there are no ready-made solutions to the problems facing the library. But one thing is clear; there is a need for a new long range plan. When phase two of the library construction was canceled, in effect the long-range plan that it was a part of was also canceled. And so we clearly need a new long-range plan. The task force will continue to operate. Faculty Council will continue its existence. Much has been accomplished. Much remains to be done.

Chairman Hunvald then thanked the members of that group particularly for all their efforts.

Revision of the Administrative Review Process. We have now had two years experience and Council, along with the Campus Committee on Administrative Review, will be examining how the process can be improved and made more effective. Second, Ed talked about revision of the Faculty Responsibility Procedures. These are in need of simplification and clarification. They are unduly cumbersome, and in some places they are not as clear as they should be. Third, he noted we need an updating of the Faculty Handbook. Because of Board revisions of various rules and regulations and other actions, many portions of that handbook are now out of date. Council is also going to consider the establishment of a Campus-wide Curriculum Committee of some sort. With the establishment of the core curriculum, the clusters program, and the increased number of courses and programs that are cut across divisional lines, there needs to be some group to deal with approval of such proposals. Council will be working with the Undergraduate Education Committee to determine whether there should be such a committee, and if so, its composition and charge. In closing, he thanked the members of the Executive Committee for their hard work this year.

The Chancellor then began his remarks by reviewing a long list of special honors of MU faculty and their accomplishments, awards, and special publications of the last year. The Chancellor also thanked Faculty Council for their work last year and praised Ed Hunvald for his leadership as chair of Faculty Council since the arrival of the Chancellor. The Chancellor then spent the next hour reviewing his concept of strategic planning and the resource allocation process here at MU using his "unique niche strategy." The Chancellor used at least 21 slides in his presentation. This is basically an expanded presentation of the information that he provided to the Board of Curators at the recent Board of Curators meeting in March. A handout of his slides is available from the Faculty Council office and/or the Chancellor's office. In explaining his concept of niche strategy planning, the Chancellor listed these points: 1) it integrates planning and resource allocation; 2) it requires reallocation within units; 3) it dedicates future faculty openings; 4) it allows "mortgaging" of positions; 5) it emphasizes short term investments; 6) it allows telescopic planning, which includes the use of benchmarks or contingency plans; 7) it de-emphasizes zero sum gain; 8) it emphasizes multiple-year planning; and 9) it emphasizes true costs, and a greater focus and income enhancement. He then followed by explaining the questions that are inherent in unique niche strategy planning. These are: 1) how do others rate you; 2) what are the ten best departments (or schools) in your field in the country, and what do they do best; 3) what are your strengths; 4) what are other strengths at the University to which you might profitably connect; 5) what are the comparative advantages in the environment (that is, problems that remain unsolved or special resources that are available at MU); and 6) finally, what do significant others consider to be the major unsolved problems or issues in your field The Chancellor then used two departments to illustrate his points. First, he gave specific examples from the English department here at MU; and then secondly, he picked on a particular science department, without naming it. At the end of his talk, the Chancellor took several questions from the audience prior to the group adjourning to a reception held in the Great Room. One question which the Chancellor did not address, as it would have been inappropriate to do so in a public forum, was the question raised by a faculty member asking his opinion of the rumor that Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield is lobbying to become a fifth campus of the University of Missouri.

Respectfully submitted, Robert A. Almony
Faculty Council Recorder