Meeting Minutes: March 28, 1996


Present: Edward Adelstein, Gary Allee, Jim Brown (for Lloyd Barrow), Hardeep Bhullar, Jere Francis, Allen Hahn, Peter Hall, William Fisch (for Ed Hunvald), Nancy Knipping, Charles Knowles, John Miles, Marian Minor, Johnetta Morrison, Alex Pickard, Glenn Pierce, Ron Plain, Michael Porter, Don Ranly, Ray Rothenberger, Dennis Sentilles, Mary Ellen Sievert, Cyrus Harbourt (for Harry Tyrer), Gilbert Youmans, Anne Edwards (Librarians) for Bob Almony, and Roy Utz (Retirees). Absent: Craig Anderson, Benedict Campbell, Leonard Forte, Patricia Plummer, Susan Taylor, Sara Walker, and Mabel Grimes (Black Faculty and Staff).

Approval of Minutes

Vice Chair Dennis Sentilles called the meeting to order at 3:35 p.m. in room S110 of the Memorial Union. The minutes of the March 7 meeting were approved as presented.

Report of Officers

Gary Allee reported on his, Dennis Sentilles', and Jere Francis' meeting with Curator Fred Hall and President Russell at the last IFC meeting. They were told that the four million dollars for Curator's Professorships will be made a core part of next year's budget.

Action Items

Proposed Learning Disabilities Policy. The changes proposed in the text of the Learning Disabilities Policy statement were presented by Mike Porter, in Ed Hunvald's absence, and the policy was unanimously accepted by Council.

Discussion Items

Plus\Minus Grading. Mike Porter introduced Elizabeth Barton, President of the MSA (Missouri Students Association) who, along with a team of other students, gave a presentation in favor of the dissolution of the +\- grading system. The major points of their presentation are as follows. For top students, since many graduate programs don't accept A+, and since the presenters assume all A-'s would have, under normal circumstances, been plain A's, the new system hurts top achieving students, while it probably works itself out for other students. Some professors and schools, use it, however, some don't; but, transcripts don't show this, nor do they indicate when the system was implemented. Students would like to see: a change of wording on the transcript; a dissolution of the inconsistencies; and, ideally, a faculty revote on the system.

During the discussion, members of Council agreed that capriciousness in the system and transcript wording should be changed, but that the student assumption that all A-'s would have automatically been an A is not founded and student claims that other universities don't use the system were incorrect. Moreover, data does not support that the system tilts total grade averages one way or the other. It makes them more exact.

Graduate Fee Waivers. Eugene Ianotti, Chairman, Graduate Faculty Senate, presented the Senate's position in a 12-point handout. He pointed out that the provost has attended their meetings and that the administration's policy and their's were not that far apart. His main preoccupations were: that the policy for future reallocation of funds to be saved through selective fee waivers has not been made clear, that there has been no open discussion on the distribution of such funds to departments. In addition, many faculty believe that all graduate students would receive at least a fifty percent FTE assignment. In the future, GRE scores will be a real factor in determining who will be granted fee waivers. Although he recognizes there are real problems in some schools and departments where acceptance criteria are not observed, he is generally not happy with the way talks on this problem have gone with the administration. Further, he feels that the Graduate Faculty Senate is in general frustrated with it. They would like to have from the administration a statement on the exact policy in this matter as well as the data validating it. Ianotti further stated that he would like to see these two things forthcoming from the Graduate Faculty Senate as well, and would like to have more faculty input on the matter.

In his response, Provost Sheridan said that there will be a budget for graduate studies, that every department will get the same amount for its graduate programs that it got last year, plus ten percent, and that departmental criteria for acceptance to its graduate programs will have to be established and observed.

Standing Committee Reports

There were two brief reports:

Faculty Affairs: Peter Hall said that Proposition 4 would be ready for voting consideration at the May 2 meeting.

Student Affairs: Saturday, April 27, the United Way and MU Student Body will sponsor a Day or Caring in which faculty are encouraged to participate.

Closed Session and Adjournment

After a brief closed session Council adjourned at 5:35 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Glenn Pierce, Acting Recorder