Meeting Minutes: June 26, 1997

Attendance

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

Approval of Minutes

Chair Dennis Sentilles called the meeting to order at 3:40 p.m. in room S110 of the Memorial Union. Minutes of the May 8, 1997 Faculty Council meeting, and May 1, 1997 General Faculty meeting were approved.

Report of Officers

Dennis congratulated Gilbert Youmans on his election to Council Chair and Michael Middleton as Vice Chair, and reported that they are working on a smooth transition.

The Chair announced the following:

  1. Bob Almony, Hildegarde Heymann, Marian Minor and Mike Middleton (chair) have been asked to develop nominations for next year's Executive Committee, including Standing Committee Chairs. Members were encouraged to let the committee hear suggestions as soon as possible.
  2. Ed Hunvald has reported that the Task Force initiated by Faculty Council to report on the May 1 General Faculty meeting hopes to make a complete report in the week following July 4.
  3. Dennis commended the 1996-97 Council for statements on English proficiency, on final exam scheduling, establishing an Ad Hoc Committee on Health Care, establishing a Web site and electronic Forum, changing class hours, an improved calendar, a University Non-Discrimination statement. He reminded Council that their work on English proficiency did as much to generate favorable Board sentiment toward the faculty as any single thing this year.
  4. A petition has been filed with the Chancellor's Office regarding changes in policy for calculation of GPA when courses are retaken and removal of the WF grade. According to faculty by-laws, this petition stays Council action, but makes no specification about what is to be done next. Therefore, these recent recommendations cannot take effect without some further action. The Executive Committee will schedule a discussion of this matter for the next Council meeting and will invite the petition leaders and other parties to be part of that discussion. One possible outcome would be a motion by Council to submit our recommendations to a vote of the full faculty.

Gilbert Youmans announced that he and Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo, petition leader, have a meeting scheduled to discuss the concerns. In addition, Gilbert reported that currently of 72,088 semester grades awarded, only 60 are withdraw fail (WF), which indicates that this change in WF to W or F may not be a serious or immediate concern. However, the change in procedures for computing GPA from repeated courses is a separate issue and will require more discussion and possibly a mailed ballot or general faculty meeting to make a final decision.

Action Items

Faculty Ombuds. Dennis reminded Council that Al Hahn and Mike Middleton began our initiative to establish a Faculty Ombud. Len Riskin, of the Law School's Center for Dispute Resolution, and a co-author of the Ombud document also was present. Dennis presented the current positive position of the Chancellor on this issue, and results of his discussions with faculty from other campuses which support an Ombuds office.

A motion was made and seconded to approve the current document in principle and empower the negotiating team to meet with administration and return the revised proposal to Council for consideration.

In the discussion that followed it was noted that: the Chancellor has final approval of the proposal; there needs to be a formal process to engage a broader spectrum of faculty in the discussion of this position; a general job description should be included in the proposal at this time, possibly developed with some history of grievances at this campus; and, that options outlined in the current document will be the basis of negotiations with administrations in creating a final proposal.

The need for a similar office or service of grievance mediation for staff and graduate/teaching assistants was raised. Specific suggestions were made to strike the words "full-time" on page 2 as it refers to regular and non-regular faculty, to make the office of ombuds a full time position, and to explore the source of funding and funding oversight for this office. The time frame suggested by the Special Projects committee is to have a finalized proposal to Faculty Council for approval by the July meeting and to then turn it over to a committee to develop a job description and select a person to serve.

The motion to approve the document in principle and empower the negotiating team to meet with administration and return a revised proposal to Council for consideration was approved by a voice vote.

Discussion Items

Retirement Enhancement. Dennis introduced John Miles and commended his work in putting together an initiative on the retirement program and in bringing together knowledgeable faculty and staff who prepared this proposal. Members of the work group present were: Mike Paden, Keith Schrader, Larry Morehouse and Rick Wise, Chair of the Staff Council. Dennis suggested that, if approved, the document would go to Intercampus Faculty Council and to the other campuses for consideration as well as to the system level.

John reported that the ad hoc Committee (John Miles, Bob Almony, Al Hahn, Mary Ellen Sievert, Dennis Sentilles, Keith Schrader, Bob Breitenbach, Larry Morehouse, and Mike Paden, (Director MU Staff and Faculty Benefits who acted as consultant) had unanimously agreed upon the document distributed to the Council. The Faculty Council Executive Committee and the Staff Council have also unanimously approved the paper and recommendations.

There are four major recommendations:

  1. Establish a Board of Curators' statement of intent that retirees' stipend be adjusted regularly to maintain parity with an appropriate inflation factor. These adjustments should be equitably applied to all current and future qualified members of the plan.
  2. Allow retirees to become eligible for any ("inflationary" deleted by Council suggestion) adjustments on September 1 following the date of retirement.
  3. Institute a matching policy for employee contributions to 403b accounts. Careful thought should be given to the maximum amount of employee contribution which will be matched and to the percentage of university match.
  4. Strong consideration should be given to increasing the 2.133 percent multiplier so that the target income replacement ratio is made comparable to the ratio attained by UM's peer institutions.

Discussion followed regarding the possibility of including the "80 and out" option, with Keith Schrader and Mike Paden suggesting that the current recommendation for increasing the multiplier has much the same positive effect and distributes benefits more evenly. Rick Wise expressed Staff Council support and asked for MU Faculty Council to take the lead in distribution to the other campuses. Questions were raised about the effect of increasing the multiplier for retirement benefits on salary levels for current employees and for the need to address other benefits in addition to retirement. The motion was made and seconded to accept the document. Following a vote to suspend the rules, the motion was passed.

Mission Enhancement

Rob Weagley, as member of the Strategic Planning and Advisory Committee which drafted the foundation for the written mission enhancement proposal, explained that it is expected between $35-40 million could come to this campus. Copies of the model for mission enhancement focus, activities and outcomes were distributed and discussed. Council suggestions were to include specific mention of library enhancement as a focal point for action and to increase the total request from $35 to $40 million to reflect this priority. Rob and Mike Middleton agreed to carry the positive response of Council and the two recommendations to the Strategic Planning committee meeting.

Library and Informational Sciences Representative. Dennis introduced this item by reminding Council that Mary Ellen Sievert was elected as the Faculty Council representative from Library and Informational Sciences, a college that no longer exists; it's program and personnel now being a part of the College of Education. In December 1996, the Executive Committee asked Mary Ellen to remain on Council for this year. Another year yet remains on her term. Discussion followed regarding the status of this seat for the coming year. After voting to suspend the rules, the motion was made, seconded, and passed to ask her to remain on Council to complete the term for which she was elected, which is one more year.

Standing Committee Reports

There were no reports.

AOB

It was reported that there may be instances of faculty being reduced from 12 to 9 month appointments and salaries reduced without the individual's knowledge or consent. This situation will be placed on the Executive Committee's agenda for discussion at the next meeting.

Closed Session and Adjournment

Faculty Council moved into closed session for the purpose of making committee appointments. Faculty Council adjourned at 6:15 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Marian A. Minor, Recorder