Meeting Minutes: December 16, 1993


Present were: Gary Allee, John Bauer, Robert Birkenholz, Irv Cockriel, Vicki Conn, Jay Dix, Hildegarde Heymann, Edward Hunvald, Brent Jones, Eugene Lane, John Miles, Kerby Miller, Loren Nikolai, Larry Penney, Glenn Pierce, Patricia Plummer, Dennis Sentilles, Mary Ellen Sievert, Harry Tyrer, Betty Winfield, Mabel Grimes (Black Faculty & Staff Organization), Dean Schmidt (Library), and Roy Utz (Retirees). Absent were: Hardeep Bhullar, Jean Hamilton, Michael Prewitt, Kit Salter, Don Sievert, Don York, and Warren Zahler. Guests were: Chancellor Kiesler and Pat Morton, Chief Planning and Budget Officer.

Presentation by Charles Kiesler & Pat Morton

The meeting, which was called to order by Chairman Hunvald at 3:40 p.m. in room S110 Memorial Union, began with a detailed and technical report by Chancellor Kiesler and Mr. Morton of "modeling" as a budgetary strategy, which was at the same time abstract and general, in that it concerned methods rather than specific examples. [Recorder's Note: such a report does not lend itself readily to summarization in a document such as this.] Essentially the process consists of setting up budgetary models with various variables in them, adjusting some variables while holding others steady, and observing the results of various configurations in order to determine what way the university might best proceed. As an example of what can be produced by this method was cited a better analysis of the reasons for need-based aid at Vanderbilt, which was determined by many factors other than the mere cost of tuition. The Chancellor stated inter alia that a true-cost modeling process revealed implicit priorities which had never been explicitly stated, and led to better long-range planning. He stressed the need for a better university data-base.

Mr. Morton spoke of such matters as the increased ability for quick rebudgeting which this approach permits when appropriations become known, the roles of appropriations vs. tuition as sources for university income, the role played by uncontrollable variables such as utility costs and health-care benefits, and the assumption that faculty numbers would remain nearly constant and the effect that that would have on salary increases. He also stressed the need to do "modeling" on the departmental and divisional level, to determine optimal class sizes, alleviation of difficulty of entry into certain classes, and the like.

Among the salutary effects of the "modeling" approach, as both speakers stressed, had been the demonstration that nothing would be gained by an elimination of "programs" unless it were done on a vast scale, and the deflection of the Board of Curators from the idea of "downsizing." In the subsequent discussion Professor Nikolai asked about the application of "modeling" to the interaction between units, and whether "modeling" had yet been done relative to the resources needed for the implementation of the General Education Architecture. The Chancellor and Mr. Morton essentially answered that "modeling" had not yet progressed that far. However, the tools were available through "modeling" for the faculty, which is ultimately responsible for curriculum, to make decisions concerning the necessary reallocations. The whole concept, the Chancellor reminded us, had been voted in before his arrival.

Professor Plummer asked about differential costs per school according to the type of student being educated, and was assured that this type of concern was being addressed. The Chancellor observed that certain departments had large courses not by choice, but because they had never had the resources to do otherwise; this type of thing would have to be addressed. Mr. Morton reminded us not to get our hopes too high about this new tool; and, our success with the legislature had not been overwhelming in recent years. The Chancellor did say, however, that "modeling" might reveal high-quality, underfunded areas, and help eliminate inequities. Professor Plummer brought up such matters as the differing quality of different types of space, the service teaching load vs. the major load, and other matters on which adequate data were not currently available.

The Chancellor ended by reminding us that we were being pushed by the Board of Curators into saying what an undergraduate education means and could not back out. Mr. Morton reminded us of the fact that natural turnover in faculty could be taken advantage of in addressing the General Education Architecture.

Approval of Minutes

The minutes of the November 9, 1993 General Faculty Meeting were approved as submitted; and, the minutes of the November 18, 1993 Faculty Council Meeting were approved with minor corrections. Professor Birkenholz was appointed parliamentarian of Council.

Report of Officers

Professor Hunvald reported that the vote of the plus/minus grading system was postponed until next semester, and that the report from the Tenure Task Force would not be ready until next semester. He brought to our attention the Wingspread Report on higher education and Chancellor Kiesler's response thereto.

Action Items

Representation on Council Report. As there was no need to change the number of representatives for each division for the Faculty Council for 1993-94, it was voted that representation remain the same.

Task Force Reports on Retention and Advisement. The summaries of these were both endorsed unanimously. (See Appendix I)

Discussion Items

Midterm Grades. Professor Utz reported on the history of midterm grades at the university. At various times in the past midterm grades had been reported for all students, or alternatively just for students in dire situations, to minimize "end-of-semester startle". Depending on circumstances, these midterm grades had been reported to students only, or to parents and guardians also. Gradually all such reporting had fallen into desuetude, and had been formally abolished by the Council of Deans in the early 1970's. Professor Hunvald suggested that in lieu of adopting a formal policy at the moment that the Academic Affairs Committee draw up a letter to department chairs to make it known to instructors that it was advisable that undergraduate students be kept informed of their progress, particularly if it was unsatisfactory. A motion to this effect was passed unanimously.

Changes to the Academic Grievance Procedures. In the absence of Professor Hamilton, this matter was laid over.

Board of Curators Report

Professor Cockriel had nothing to add to his report previously distributed.

IFC Report

Professor Hunvald reported that the Intercampus Faculty Council was continuing to discuss the matter of tenure-clock stopping and was awaiting the President's proposal. Other items discussed was the legal defense of faculty members charged with criminally violating EPA regulations and the like. If charges were dropped or the faculty member acquitted, the university would provide reimbursement of "reasonable" expenses.

Report on Plans for a Union Forum

Professor Miller reported that the Union Forum would be held Tuesday, February 8, 1994, at 3:00 p.m. in the Memorial Union Auditorium. The state heads of AAUP, the Nea, and the AFT had all agreed to send speakers. It was possible that there would be a fourth speaker, probably a politician who advocated changing the state's collective bargaining law. Professor Al Hahn has agreed to chair the meeting.

Standing Committee Reports

Academic Affairs (Hildegarde Heymann)

No report.

Faculty Affairs (Jean Hamilton)

No report.

Fiscal Affairs (John Miles)

No report.

Special Projects (Dean Schmidt)

No report.

Student Projects (Brent Jones)

Professor Jones reported that the committee would recommend that the Committee on Residence for Tuition Purposes be continued in existence. On behalf of the Committee on Undergraduate Education, Professor Jones reported that it still had not addressed the issue of resources.

Closed Session for Personnel Items & Adjournment

Discussion was continued on the Committee to Monitor the Health Insurance Plan, which, as it is now envisioned, will consist of five faculty and five staff. As previously, no specific appointments were made, but it was suggested that the Executive Committee be allowed to make such appointments on an emergency basis, should circumstances demand.

The meeting adjourned at 5:20 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
Eugene Lane, Recorder

Appendix I

Motion for Faculty Council Endorsement of the Task Force Reports on Retention and on Undergraduate Advisement

The Faculty Council on University Policy endorses the following goals and recommendations of the Retention Task Force. "Goals:

Achieve a first-year retention rate of 85% within five years.

Achieve a graduation rate of 60-65% within ten years.


Implement a training program for faculty and graduate teaching assistants in the high risk freshmen and sophomore courses.

Develop a training program for freshman and sophomore advisers and for support personnel who interact frequently with freshmen and sophomores.

Establish a dropout detection, monitoring, and intervention program.

Establish a data collection system on student attrition.

Enhance the current living and learning climate at MU to make it more student-oriented.

Ensure that the reward structure at MU reflects a campus-wide retention policy."

The Faculty Council on University Policy endorses the conclusion of the Task Force on Undergraduate Advisement "that a successful advising program for MU should include the following elements:

Strong administrative support

Institutional policy recognizing the centrality of advisors/advising

Recognition/reward system

Selection of advisors based on specific and rational criteria

Professional development opportunities to enhance advisement

Advising handbook

Information about advisees readily available to advisors

Frequent and high quality contact (advisor/student)

Referral system for support services

Ongoing evaluation

Appropriate delivery system"

The Faculty Council on University Policy urges implementation of such systems.