Meeting Minutes: April 15, 1999
AttendancePresent: Everett Adam, Lloyd Barrow, Gordon Christensen, Michael Devaney, Dan Edidin, Elizabeth Geden, Robert Hall, Edward Hunvald, Thomas Hurley, Nancy Knipping, Michael McKean, Mark Milanick, Flore Zephir (for Glenn Pierce), David Rayl, Robert Weagley, Paul Weirich, William Wiebold, and James Curtis (for Russ Zguta). Absent: Edward Adelstein, Dennis Wright (for Bruce Biddle), Melvin Blase, Judith Goodman, Allen Hahn, William Kurtz, Henry Liu, Don Miles, Robin Remington, Robert Almony (Librarians), Wayne Decker (Retirees), and Mable Grimes (Black Faculty&Staff).
Report of OfficersThe meeting was called to order at 3:38 p.m. by Chair Robert Weagley in room S203 of the Memorial Union. Weagley informed Council of the two forums scheduled in the month of April: Non-regular Faculty, Tuesday, April 20; and, The future of the MU Health Plan, Thursday, April 22. Weagley encouraged all members of the MU Faculty Council to attend the Tap Day ceremony on Friday, April 16.
Weagley reported that a meeting held between himself, Lori Franz, Interim Associate Provost, and Lloyd Barrow on assessment issues had been a positive one. Weagley informed Council of the Catalyst Awards to be presented by the MU Gay-Lesbian- Bisexual Resource Center and any Council member wishing to provide financial support was encouraged to contact that group directly. Intercampus Faculty Council (IFC) Report Robert Hall reported on the recent IFC meeting. The health plan status and the discussion on the "choice" plan for the Columbia campus were discussed. The budget increase for AY '99-00 is anticipated to be one percent. The UMSL faculty have voted to have non-regular faculty (with more than 50% research or teaching appointments) be eligible to vote and be members of the Faculty Senate. This is pending Board of Curators' approval. The IFC plans to meet with the three new curators.
Discussion ItemsThe International Center. John Heyl, Director, International Center provided an overview of the center, the current immigration climate, and then focused on recent changes and the rationale for these changes. The number of international students on the Columbia campus has declined 28 percent over the last five years, including nine percent this past year. Part of this decrease may reflect economic changes overseas; however, the number of international students in the United States has increased slightly over this period. Heyl felt that part of the decline was because many other universities (especially private universities and also non-land grant public universities) were actively and vigorously recruiting international students. He felt that a large vibrant diverse international community at MU provided an important intellectual component that was valuable for MU's teaching and research missions.
In the face of basically static resources and the increased complexity and time of processing immigration documents, the International Center in consultation with many other interested parties, has decided on a clear policy of priorities and support. A primary effort will be to provide immigration assistance to international students. A new pilot policy on faculty is currently in effect whereby the International Center pursues permanent resident status for those faculty that meet the center's criteria of outstanding faculty. In the past, approximately 25 faculty per year were processed for permanent residency status; under the new policy about 12 will be processed per year. This priority system will allow the Center to prioritize the faculty that apply for their services and continue to provide important services to students. This new pilot policy was approved by the Provost during the summer of 1998 and sent to all deans and department chairs. Currently, under this new policy individual faculty do not directly contact the center; requests are made through their chairs and deans. In this way, the Center can focus on the faculty whom the department and/or college deem most essential. The Center has had feedback on this policy from the Graduate Faculty Senate and from the Arts and Science Chairs. Heyl then answered a number of questions from Council.
The discussion included clarification of the "H" visa status. This is a temporary working visa that allows for work in the United States for six years. Most international post-docs at MU have "H" visas. This is the single most common way to get international faculty. The cap on "H" visas used to be 65,000. Last year Congress raised it to 115,000. Heyl thought it was possible that the cap would be filled by sometime in May. The visa year runs from October 1 to September 30.
If the cap is filled and a faculty member who has been offered a fall teaching position cannot obtain an "H" visa, it is possible to obtain a "J" visa which is an exchange visitor visa and allows for short term work. Once here, it is possible to then apply for an "H" visa. This process, however, requires a carefully balanced statement of short and long term university commitments and may cause complications for the start of the tenure clock. "J" visas are not for tenured or tenurable faculty.
The center has compared support for permanent residency support at Big 10 and Big 12 schools. Many schools state that they support immigration document processing but do not provide adequate staffing to provide this support. Michigan and Illinois were estimated to process 50 permanent resident applications per year and they have larger staffs than MU.
Of the 12 that will be processed for permanent resident status this year, approximately four to five are new faculty. In the past, over 90 percent of those MU faculty who obtain permanent residency status while at MU, leave within three years. *Presumably, departments have weighed the benefits of hiring the best faculty with the possibility that they will leave shortly after becoming permanent residents.* In contrast, the "H" visa is employer specific. Heyl feels that if the International Center were to get an additional staff position his priority would be to have this person involved in student recruitment and advisement though he is open to other possibilities that would include support for more faculty to pursue the permanent residency status. The International Center staff number has been basically static since the consolidation of The International Student and Scholar Services with the Center for International
Programs and Studies 1994 - Staff Council Request for Committee Representation Weagley reported on the recommendations of the Executive Committee's Subcommittee (Weagley and Hunvald) for increasing staff representation on committees that impact staff. Staff Council had requested increased representation on 18 campus standing committees. The discussion raised questions about what body established various committees, whether there were independent staff committees, how does one determine whether a committee is primarily academic, and who appoints the committee from the list of recommendations. Several suggestions were made on how to provide a general structure for determining representation on committees to avoid the need for a case by case determination.
Faculty Review - Election Results.
The results of the mail ballot concerning faculty review upheld our current system based on Executive Order No. 27, "in which it is stated that, in most instances, a discussion involving the chair and the tenured faculty member will be sufficient, although written reviews should be provided where there are concerns."
Any Other BusinessFaculty Council approved the honorary degree nominees via e-mail. Adjournment Council went into closed session at 5:20 p.m. to consider committee assignments.
The meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m. Respectfully submitted,
Mark Milanick, Recorder