Meeting Minutes: November 9, 1993


Chancellor Kiesler called the meeting to order in Jesse Auditorium at 3:44 p.m., by welcoming approximately 60 faculty, staff, and visitors to the "world's largest seminar room".

Chancellor's Remarks

He said that he had overcome the most serious challenge of his administration so far, namely that he had survived his first year in office. He thanked the faculty for its cooperation, with special reference to the Faculty Council and its chair. He spoke of cordial relations with the Executive Committee of Faculty Council.

He spoke then of the major issues faced by the campus, and mentioned the lack of credibility with the public which schools around the nation are facing. He aspired to develop model responses to this problem, which, if tough times ever improved, would leave the university even better poised for development. He stated that the quality of outcomes was more important than speed, and emphasized the role played by Pat Morton. There should be a movement towards sharper focus within units, something which he found better than the inherited process.

The Chancellor then turned to student affairs, and praised the work so far done on retention, advisement, and monitoring of students, with particular mention of Professor John Foley. He spoke of expanding research opportunities for students. He spoke of the student-as-customer concept, and the continuity of learning and living environments, emphasized by Vice Chancellor Schroeder.

He then spoke of efforts to develop credibility with the Curators and with the Legislature. The Curators had given him leeway. He met after every board meeting with the local legislative delegation. This year's budget increase had been a mere 1.84 percent increase over the previous year's. This represented a $50,000,000 erosion to inflation since 1980. Next year's budget as passed by the CBHE was the best in a long time. He had also been working on federal relations, and had recently held a breakfast in Washington for the Missouri Congressional Delegation. Efforts were being made to track federal granting agencies. He had also traveled extensively on development, concentrating particularly on large gifts. Finally, he stressed the need for us all to become more entrepreneurial.

The Chancellor stated that his first priority was faculty salaries. Two raises ago the salaries were over 23 percent below the AAU median for full professors' salaries. Now the gap had closed to less than 14 percent. Teaching assistant stipends also had to be brought to nationally competitive levels. Market conditions had been used for staff as well and staff commanding market value had been singled out for raises averaging 11.5 percent. As an example, the campus police force was adduced, and attention was drawn to the difficulty of its tasks.

On the subject of assessment, the Chancellor reminded us that the Curators had given the campuses free choice of nationally normed tests for general education. We do well in the classroom but need constantly to do better.

On the subject of "sizing," the Chancellor stated that the Curators were no longer so concerned with "rightsizing or downsizing." We might even increase the student body by 2,000 to the point that it was at a few years ago, however this was not a major concern. More important were concerns about financial aid, freshmen/sophomore teaching, retention, and the like. He noted that applications for admission were up 15 percent from this time last year.

On other topics such as capital budgets, plans for new buildings or renovations would be allowed simply to drift to the top of the list. More rationality was being introduced. Renovations were important, and one had to consider the academic implications of capital requests. The Chancellor stated that he would proceed with the naming of the committee called for at the previous faculty meeting to monitor the operation of the new health care plan. He spoke of the claims upon his time, and the resultant decision to appoint a Chief of Staff. The appointee is Professor Brady Deaton of Agricultural Economics. With this new appointment the Chancellor said he could interact better with faculty. The Chancellor then turned the floor over to Ed Hunvald, Chairman of Faculty Council.

Faculty Council Chairman's Remarks

Professor Hunvald stated that the report of the Steering Committee on Plus/Minus Grading had been adopted by the Faculty Council and that adoption by the entire faculty was recommended. (See minutes of the November 4 Faculty Council Meeting.) The adoption would have to be by mail vote of the entire faculty. He then turned the floor over to Professor Michael Prewitt. Professor Prewitt spoke of the fact that another forum would be held in the next few weeks, and drew particular attention to sections two and three of the report, and how they worked in with existing regulations.

Professor Fred Springsteel (Computer Science) seemed to be under the impression that a C- meant something lower than a C, rather than a low C. Thus, a C- might be a 67 percent performance, and this was in his estimation too low a grade to move on to a follow-up course. It was also too low for a graduate student. Professor Springsteel was assured that individual departments could work out their own policies next semester, if the system was voted in this fall to be implemented next fall. He was also assured that the ballot language had not yet been set. Discussion would occur through IFC (Intercampus Faculty Council) as to whether or not to include the A+.

Professor Don Granberg (Sociology) spoke of the fact that student complaints might increase with the new system, as had happened elsewhere. He received the reply that reception of the plus/minus system elsewhere was a mixed bag. Grade appeals did increase, at least initially. Professor Prewitt had heard of only one institution that had reversed the change.

There were no further questions and Chancellor Kiesler adjourned the meeting at 4:29 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Eugene N. Lane, Recorder