Meeting Minutes: April 24, 1997


Present: Edward Adelstein, Lloyd Barrow, Leonard Forte, Alice Kuehn (for Elizabeth Geden), Allen Hahn, Hildegarde Heymann, Nancy Knipping, Charles Knowles, Stephen H. Anderson (for Bill Kurtz), T.R. Marrero (for Henry Liu), Mike Middleton, John Miles, Michael Porter, Dennis Sentilles, Mary Ellen Sievert, Robert Weagley, Gilbert Youmans, Russ Zguta, Robert Almony (Librarians), and Wayne Decker (Retirees). Absent: Gordon Christensen, John Howe (for Jere Francis), Peter Hall, Marian Minor, Beryl Ortwerth, Alex Pickard, Patricia Plummer, Don Ranly, Robin Remington, Ray Rothenberger, and Mable Grimes (Black Faculty & Staff).

Approval of Minutes

Chair Dennis Sentilles called the meeting to order at 3:40 room S110 of the Memorial Union. The minutes of the April 10, 1997 meeting were approved.

Report of Officers

Chair Dennis Sentilles indicated that the General Faculty Meeting to be held on May 1, 1997 will deal with the matter of "Clusters", and then reported to Council:

"Firstly I'd like to ask you to note the REVISED agenda now before you and ask that we use it today.

The reason for the revision is that our Chancellor, meeting this morning with all the principals involved in the call for a General Faculty Meeting on "Clusters", has skillfully helped them reach agreement and has defused the potential before us in the call for the General Faculty Meeting. The General Faculty Meeting, to be held at this very time a week from today, will go on, but the principals have agreed to an alternate resolution that approaches the matter at issue in a positive, constructive way. There therefore seems to be no need for the matter to be further illuminated here today by those principals whom we had previously invited. I urge you to attend the General Faculty Meeting to be held at this very time, a week from today.

There is honest concern by thoughtful faculty about the implementation of Clusters. At the same time, our university has been uniquely distinguished among research universities for our General Education Program, by virtue of the Hesburgh Award, in which Clusters are a cornerstone. And only last week, the Missouri legislature commended our campus in recognition of the Hesburgh Award; in the House resolution Clusters are again mentioned by name. You have partial copies of both before you. We should be celebrating these recognitions today.

Reaching collegial agreement over the course of the next few months on this matter will be a challenge to self-governance by the faculty." IFC Report. Michael Porter gave a brief report on the latest IFC meeting during which they discussed student computing fees and the problem of education versus prisons here in Missouri.

Action Items

Resolution on Plus/Minus Grading. Charles Knowles presented the following resolution on plus/minus grading.

The Task Force on Plus/Minus Grading appointed by the MU Faculty Council on University Policy requests that Council authorize the task force to carry out the following.

  1. To propose modification in the present system of grading by dealing specifically with (a) the inconsistent use of plus/minus grading (PMG) by faculty, (b) and the problem of the A plus grade.
  2. To incorporate the modifications associated with the components mentioned above into a ballot.
  3. To bring to Council said ballot for discussion/approval no later than September 30, 1997.
  4. To submit ballot to MU faculty for vote no later than October 31, 1997.
  5. To conduct an education campaign of MU faculty and students with regard to the nuances of PMG during September 1997.

This resolution was moved, seconded, and passed.

Discussion Items

Resolution on Cooperative Calendar. The following resolution was suggested by Gilbert Youmans.

The MU Faculty Council on Policy and Planning endorses the principles of consultation and cooperation among the four campuses of the University of Missouri system in the drafting of future academic calendars: in particular to maintain the same starting dates for classes in the fall and winter semesters, and the same dates for spring vacation, as adopted by the Intercampus Faculty Council. This endorsement recognizes that minor variations in the scheduling of registration periods, reading days, the last day of classes, and final examinations, may continue to be necessary in order to accommodate the local needs and traditions of each campus.

Additionally, the MU Faculty Council recommends to the Intercampus Faculty Council that each campus designate an individual from each campus to meet and work together each year to design their calendars in accord with the principles referenced above.

After discussion, it was moved, seconded, and passed to suspend the rules to allow for a vote on this resolution. Faculty Council moved, seconded, and passed the above resolution on a cooperative calendar.

Office of Ombuds. A formal working proposal for the creation of an Office of Ombuds at the University of Missouri-Columbia was passed out at the meeting. Josh Stulberg of the Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution were on hand to present the proposal and to answer questions. It was noted during the discussion that the Office of Ombuds cannot be partial to any side but must be creditable to both sides, that is, both to the faculty and to the university administration. Future action now calls for both the administration and the faculty to review this document in some detail as soon as possible so that we move forward, hopefully to create an Office of Ombuds by the Fall semester of 1997.

Resolution on Sexual Orientation. Dr. Michael Porter handed out a copy of a resolution on sexual orientation for Faculty Council to consider:


  1. WHEREAS the University of Missouri mission holds that "the University is committed to the principles of academic freedom, equal opportunity, and diversity";
  2. WHEREAS MU is committed to creating a diverse educational environment accessible to all based on personal achievement and ability;
  3. WHEREAS, denial of access to University of Missouri resources to any group, including gay, lesbian and bisexual students, faculty and staff, violates the University's covenant of access to education and employment without restriction;
  4. WHEREAS the municipalities of Columbia, St. Louis and Kansas City have all passed local legislation extending legal protection from discrimination to lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens;
  5. WHEREAS 25 of the 27 public Research I/AAU Universities include sexual orientation in their nondiscrimination statements;
  6. BE IT RESOLVED THAT the campus seeks to create an environment of sensitivity and awareness for the concerns of gay, lesbian and bisexual students, faculty and staff and strive to eliminate all forms of intimidation, harassment or discrimination it its various guises.
  7. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Faculty Council on University Policy requests that sexual orientation be included in MU's policies on non-discrimination.
  8. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT the Faculty Council on University Policy urge the Board of Curators to reconsider the UM System's policy regarding non discrimination as it appears in the Collected Rules and Regulations of the UM System Board of Curators.

After discussion, it was moved, seconded, and passed to suspend the rules to allow for a vote on this resolution. This resolution on sexual orientation was then moved, seconded and passed by Faculty Council with the directive that it be sent to the Chancellor, the President and the Board of Curators as soon as possible.

Grading Practices

Gilbert Youmans handed out a proposal for two changes in grading practices. The first proposed change would allow students to repeat up to 18 hours of course work for which the last grade earned in the class would replace any grade earned previously in the class for calculation of grade point averages. However, the original grade would still be shown on the transcript. The next proposal handed out and explained by Gilbert Youmans was to consider eliminating the WF grade here at the University of Missouri. Both of these proposals will be action items at the next meeting of Faculty Council.

Standing Committee Reports

Faculty Affairs. Russ Zguta mentioned that two new items are being looked at by the Faculty Affairs Committee: 1) a Family and Medical Leave Policy for faculty, and 2) evaluation of department chairs. Russ noted that we need a task force to see how we might standardize the evaluation of departmental chairs. Furthermore, Russ noted that tapes from the Faculty Forums on the Promotion and Tenure Document are to be transcribed and will be available for anyone who wishes to see them.

Special Projects. Al Hahn noted that he is waiting for all members of Faculty Council to log on to the faculty forum on the web site.


Faculty Council adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Robert Almony, Recorder