Meeting Minutes: April 29, 2002


The Winter Semester General Faculty Meeting was called to order at 3:30 p.m. by Chancellor Richard Wallace in the Jesse Wrench Auditorium of the Memorial Union. Approximately 100 people were in attendance.

Report from Faculty Council

Wallace called upon Russ Zguta, Chair of the Faculty Council, to report on Council's activities. Zguta reported that Council met with Provost Deaton to hear his description of the Resource Advisory Council's (RAC) budget model and met with Vice Provost Anne Korschgen to discuss enrollment management. The dysfunctional grievance procedure is a source of continuing concern and Zguta delivered an interim report from Council's ad hoc committee on grievance procedures chaired by Judith Goodman. Zguta noted that the AAUP has recommended an external audit of grievances at MU during the last five years, and Chancellor Wallace has endorsed this proposal. Finally on the topic of grievances, Zguta reported that Council has met with Art Hinshaw, coordinator of the campus mediation service, and that this service has had a successful start.

At the April 12 meeting of the Intercampus Faculty Council (IFC) Curator Steele described the search process for President Pacheco's successor. Faculty input will be provided through a committee of distinguished professors made up of two faculty from each campus. This group will consider three to seven candidates identified by the Board of Curators. The Board hopes to name a new president by the end of this year.

Zguta reported that Council's membership will increase to 30 by the fall. The College of Arts and Sciences gained an additional seat, and a seat was given to both the Harry Truman School of Public Affairs and the Nuclear Science and Engineering Institute. Due to this increase in Council's size Zguta noted the need to bring the Collected Rules and Regulations into conformity with these new units and changes in the names of existing units in the formulation of Faculty Council's membership.

Zguta made an in-depth report on the activities of Council's standing committees. The Academic Affairs Committee, chaired by Michael McKean has been occupied in large part this year with CBHE's general education transfer and articulation agreement. For this issue, the committee made use of the Council's website to provide both information and a platform for discussion of the proposal. The committee heard concerns of MSA regarding the length of the break between fall and winter semesters however after hearing faculty views on the matter, approved an academic calendar for 2002-2003. This academic calendar is essentially the same as the 2001-2002 calendar. The committee is currently reviewing the policies governing repeating courses and two-year transfers.

The Faculty Affairs Committee, chaired by Sudarshan Loyalka, has reviewed promotion and tenure decisions over the last three years and found that more than 90 percent of applications for tenure are successful. The committee is also reviewing, with representatives of the Chancellor's Office, criteria for nonrenewal of tenure track faculty appointments. They are also reviewing concerns expressed about the underuse of sabbatical and research leave.

The Student Affairs Committee, chaired by Michael Devaney, has undertaken a study of disruptive classroom behavior and has reviewed a proposal by MSA to subscribe to Pick-A-Prof, a commercial on-line venture which purports to provide students with information concerning class scheduling. Grade distributions in specific courses taught by specific faculty members would be made available to students and course textbooks would be tied in as well. The committee voted not to approve Pick-A-Prof but will work with the MSA to provide needed information to students without a commercial interface.

The Fiscal Affairs Committee, chaired by William Wiebold, is working with RAC to provide faculty input into budget adjustments and is also gathering data regarding implementation of PeopleSoft.

The Special Projects Committee, chaired by Bruce Cutter, is working to update the list of academic units that will go to the Board of Curators. They are currently working on the Provost's evaluation and continue to study representation issues of nonregular faculty.

Zguta reported that Council has elected Mike Devaney as his successor as Chair. In conclusion, he noted his pleasure in serving as Chair of Council and credited Council members as well as Chancellor Wallace and Provost Deaton for the success of shared governance at MU.

Report from Chancellor Wallace

Chancellor Wallace thanked Zguta for his service as Chair of Council. Wallace then introduced his budget report by citing the need to maintain focus on institutional goals in spite of budget constraints which may slow progress toward these goals. Wallace cited improvements in the perception of the undergraduate experience at MU by high school students and their counselors. MU is now well ahead of last year in all categories of undergraduate applications. Moreover, MU continues its high rank as an outstanding educational value (currently tied for eighth place on "Newsweek's" list). Our students are winning in national competitions and performing at national venues. In the last four to five years MU has increased its growth in research funding more than any other AAU institution. He noted that Randy Prather's work on animal cloning has made MU known around the world, that Cornell Hall will open soon, the Life Sciences Building is underway in spite of a reduction in state support from $.50/dollar in the 1960's to $.20/dollar today. MU is increasing private funding (as well as student fees and research or contract funding), and we are now one-third of the way to our five-year fund raising goal. Wallace then pointed out that state funding has been reduced by ten percent with further reductions possible. In addition, the gap between average faculty salaries at mU and other AAU institutions has widened since FY '97 and will probably widen further next year. In presenting a six-year summary of sources of revenue, Wallace noted an increase in state appropriations from FY '97-'01, but a decline for this year. Student fee revenue is up due to increased enrollment and grants and contracts as well as other sources of funding have also increased. Recent developments make it possible that MU may face a fifteen percent reduction in state funding in FY '03 rather than the ten percent anticipated. He discussed adjustments made to meet initial reductions in funding (deferred mission enhancement, reduced maintenance costs, deferred faculty incentive, reduced Research Board funding, and loss of salary increases). Wallace then introduced a draft of "Principles to Guide MU Budget Reductions" which included: 1) meeting the needs of students; 2) support core missions of teaching, research, outreach, and creativity; 3) adhere to established programmatic priorities to the extent possible; 4) maintain financial access for students (though fees may be recalculated if the budget is further reduced); 5) honor contractual agreements regarding tenured and tenure-track faculty; and, 6) identify and reduce inefficiencies. Wallace discussed tentative plans to deal with reductions in state funding by ten percent. They include no salary increases and meeting new increased costs by increasing revenue from enrollment growth and indirect cost recovery combined with reduced administrative costs and reduced costs of maintenance and repair. A plan for a fifteen percent reduction includes the foregoing plus substantial reallocations and layoffs of 200-250 positions. For the future Wallace said recovery from the current recession will help but that state formulas requiring increased funding of elementary and secondary education as well as medicare and medicaid programs may leave higher education chronically underfunded. With no increase in state support, the funding of faculty raises to maintain MU's competitiveness will require substantial reallocations. To counter this trend, the administration is working to increase public support for higher education along with a campaign to increase support for public services generally. In addition, Wallace is working with RAC and the Council of Deans on a plan to maintain MU's quality and to plan budgets beyond FY'02, plans which may contemplate elimination of some programs to keep us competitive. Wallace closed with a plea not to limit our vision for MU but to devise a realistic strategic plan for the future.


The General Faculty Meeting adjourned at 4:40 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Thomas Hurley, Recorder