Meeting Minutes: February 26, 2015


Members present: Andre Ariew, David Bergin, Tim Evans, John Gahl, Richard Guyette, Newton Desouza for Jung Ha-Brookshire, Berkley Hudson, Art Jago, Rebecca Johnson, Naresh Khatri, John Lory, Judith Mabary, Camila Manrique, Dennis Miller, Nicole Monnier, Stephen Montgomery-Smith, Karen Piper, Craig Roberts, Angela Speck, Mahesh Thakkar, Ben Trachtenberg, Harry Tyrer, Douglas Wakefield, Rachel Brekhus (Librarians), Galen Suppes (AAUP), and Rebekah Hart (Council Secretary). Members absent: Jim Baumann, A. Cooper Drury, Karen Hebert, Tony Lupo, Peter Nabelek, Marty Steffens, Vitor Trindade, William Wiebold, and Don Sievert (MURA).

Approval of Minutes

Chair Craig Roberts called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m. in S203 Memorial Union. Minutes for the February 12, 2015 Faculty Council meeting were approved as amended: A motion was made during the last meeting for Faculty Council to adopt the proposal for a change to CRR 600.040 to strike certain language and substitute new language as presented by representative of the Law School, Professor Frank Bowman. Roberts suggested that a time be scheduled for a more complete discussion. The motion was tabled.

Discussion Items

Guests: Leona Rubin, Associate Vice Chancellor of Graduate Studies.   Her visit will be rescheduled for a future meeting.


School of Medicine Fact Finding Committee. Committee members: Art Jago, Cheryl Heesch, Satish Nair, and Carlos Wexler.  Roberts thanked the committee for its excellent report. Jago passed out copies of the report and thanked the members of the committee as well before summarizing their findings. There are many good things happening at the School of Medicine. Its programs for clinical practices and disciplines taught are nationally recognized. The quality of care cannot be faulted. The committee was charged, however, to examine some of the problems that may exist that reflect on faculty governance and other issues. Conflicting yet true responses were collected. The committee went through the divisions of faculty in the 604-member group, of which 172 are tenured, according to the number of tenured faculty in each division. Clinical departments dominated by MD faculty were separated from basic science departments with PhD faculty. Methodology for collecting information from these groups involved: looking at archival information (NIH grant funding, publication data, PhD production, faculty survey data, etc.) and conducting faculty interviews, which were limited to T/TT faculty, as all have a research obligation in their mission, along with a few other faculty who came to the committee on their own.


Archival data revealed that: the SOM is ranked 91st among 138 medical schools with NIH funding. AAMC 14 – University survey from 2011 showed that of the fourteen schools, MU faculty were the most satisfied with their work but the least satisfied with medical school governance (81% received no mentoring). The MU COACHE Survey showed that faculty were less satisfied with tenure and research issues (in terms of clarity, support, etc.) than faculties in other departments.


Interviews of T/TT faculty totaled 27 and lasted from 30-90 minutes. All were asked about allocation of effort (contractual versus actual). Very few knew what their contractual levels were; all, of course, knew actual levels. Most considered the so-called “Protected Time for Research” stated in their contracts to be a fiction. All new T/TT faculty are given contractual protected time of 20% but this level is impossible to maintain given other responsibilities.


Measurement of Incentives (PhD versus MD): Research Incentive funds apply to science faculty; RVUs (Relative Value Units), standardized by Medicare, are applicable to clinical faculty. Every procedure with patients has an RVU value attached. These values translate to dollars that come back to the University Physicians group and are expected to at least cover a faculty member’s base salary. Amounts earned over this coverage total are first “taxed” by the Dean (6%) and then by the department (varies, but about 10%). Any remaining dollars come back to the contributing individual as extra salary (incentives), which is not reported in the “blue book.”  Therefore, clinical faculty are not being rewarded for research efforts (articles, publishing, research grants, etc.), which creates division among faculty types (science versus clinical). Grants for science faculty (PhD) are capped in terms of how much one can draw from them (not to mention that only 8% of applications are funded); there is no such cap on RVU incentives. Clinical faculty believe that their RVU returns are unfairly taxed in order to support the research of PhDs. PhDs feel that they have to produce research to maintain the status of the department.


Most indicated that their department chairs were well-intentioned but uninformed in terms of research (6 of 21 are NTT). A variety of leadership styles and levels of consistency across departments led to negative evaluations of chairs by some faculty. There are seventeen Associate Deans in the SOM, not an uncommon number. They were described as good, well-meaning people but as giving lip service only to research. Faculty showed dissatisfaction with governance.


Other issues noted were: some new faculty not being mentored but, instead, treated as research assistants; arbitrary allocation of start-up funds; and TT to NTT conversion of positions for those who are not contributing to research but doing good work otherwise. Concern was also expressed about using resources to hire “stars” to improve AAU metrics instead of rewarding and providing resources to present faculty.


Eighteen recommendations were made in the report related to the reward system, protection of research time, and that department chairs be tenured.


Information provided in the Q&A session included the following: The report is intended for School of Medicine and campus leadership. There are no action items for Faculty Council, but this does not preclude Council from taking action at a future time. Faculty expect the new dean of the medical school to make dramatic changes; some are hopeful, others are apprehensive. Faculty are being evaluated on past accomplishments, not present and future plans. One recommendation that is being made by the fact-finding committee is that new faculty have 40% of their time protected for research. While leadership positions in the SOM are held by well-meaning people, they do not know how to remedy the problems. Changes need to be made in the reward system.


Investigation of the way in which other similar schools compensate their faculty revealed a number of different methods. Some do not use RVUs at all. Nineteen articles, the beginning of a literature search addressing compensation systems, were cited in Appendix H of the report.


Library Mold – Roberts. Unsatisfactory interaction with the Director of Libraries has led to frustration on behalf of the committee members charged with investigating the response to the library mold problem. The committee’s final letter is expected in a few days. The matter will soon be turned over to the Provost and the committee will disband.


Visioning Questions for Faculty – Roberts. Questions to begin the process of “Looking Forward to 200” were sent to faculty for feedback. Some suggestions were submitted but none accepted.


ACCORD (raise distribution) – Tyrer. Survey has been sent out. The next step is to collect information and write the report, a process it is hoped will be completed by the early part of March.


Tyrer also announced that elections of new officers will take place at the April 2 Faculty Council meeting (for president and vice president) and on April 23 (for the remaining officers). Nominations should be sent to Tyrer, Wakefield, or Johnson. Tyrer will send a notice of the timeline in a few days.


Executive Order 41; Title IX Process; New Administrator  – Miller, Evans.  The Provost has just appointed a Title IX Administrator who will also have the position of Assistant Vice Provost.  Evans reported that Claire McCaskill is coming in April; we will try to see her this time. A subcommittee is working on additional questions regarding Title IX rules: faculty to be included in hearing committees and compelling witnesses to participate. Recommendations will be forwarded to IFC.


Roberts presented and discussed a slide show on the work that Faculty Council has completed and the careful process that has been followed, notably with regards to committees working on issues affecting NSEI and the School of Medicine. Roberts commended the methodical approach taken by Council in the problems it has addressed recently, resulting in an increased level of credibility for the Council. Collaboration works better than combative behavior.


Wakefield pointed out that the Title IX rule changes constitute a different type of matter than  affected NSEI and the School of Medicine. CRR alterations represent changes occurring now,  not long-standing situations as with NSEI and the SOM. Trachtenberg advocated a discussion of the rules that are binding on us today and where the problems may be. There is tremendous bias in academia to wait and discuss, voiced by those trying to delay change. Law schools (ours and others nationwide) are petitioning that the laws now being enacted are not being carefully considered. Miller noted that the wait and see approach is prompted in part by the fact that the initial recommendations to President Wolfe had to be completed quickly; there could also be concerns beyond those in Bowman’s petition (tabled during the last Council meeting – Feb. 12) that need to be considered. It can reduce Council’s credibility to go to the Curators and General Council “every five minutes.” After discussion of other considerations and possibilities of ways to move forward, Trachtenberg made a motion that Bowman’s motion be tabled until the next meeting. The motion was seconded, and approved after a brief discussion. Discussion centered on the need to create a committee to look at the faculty side of Title IX related allegations; a committee is already looking at the student side.


Update on Race Relations Committee – Roberts & Hudson.  The committee is continuing to meet with faculty, staff, and students to help with this task. It is hoped that a list of names will be available by spring break. A core group plus other groups of advisors in various areas of expertise can then be selected.


Council went into closed session at 5:03 p.m. The meeting was adjourned at 5:05 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,

Judith Mabary, Recorder