Meeting Minutes: January 23, 1997


Present: Edward Adelstein, Lloyd Barrow, Gordon Christensen, Leonard Forte, John Howe (for Jere Francis), Alice Kuehn (for Beth Geden), Allen Hahn, Peter Hall, Hildegarde Heymann, Linda Bennett (for Nancy Knipping), Charles Knowles, William Kurtz, Henry Liu, Marian Minor, Beryl Ortwerth, Patricia Plummer, Michael Porter, Don Ranly, Dennis Sentilles, Mary Ellen Sievert, Robert Weagley, Gilbert Youmans, Russ Zguta, Robert Almony (Librarians), and Wayne Decker (Retirees). Absent: Mike Middleton, John Miles, Alex Pickard, Robin Remington, Ray Rothenberger, and Mable Grimes (Black Faculty&Staff).

Approval of Minutes

Chair Dennis Sentilles called the meeting to order at 3:45 p.m. in Room S110 of the Memorial Union. The minutes of the December 5, 1996 meeting were approved as mailed.

Report of Officers

Dennis reminded those present that interviews for the Vice Provost for Research position will be held next week. He also announced that the Council Office will be trying out a new schedule this semester.

Discussion Items

Presentation and discussion with Interim President Mel George. President George began his comments by talking generally about the idea of assessment in higher education and discussing the question, "...what does a bachelors degree mean?" He is also concerned about the way standardized tests are being used in many states and how effective they are in actually telling what a person has learned in college.

He then began discussing the question, "what does this institution stand for, and how are new faculty oriented to this?" He discussed the tensions that exist between any chancellor and the president of the system and the need to clarify the role of each in order to help reduce these tensions. He is very aware of Faculty Council's concerns regarding Executive Order #1 as it now stands.

Mel George then went on to discuss what he believes are the three things that universities will have to be aware of the most during this next decade: cost, cost, and cost. He stated that these are 1,2, and 3.

People wonder why our costs are exempt from market pressures and the downsizing they see occurring elsewhere in society and in the commercial sector. Productivity improvements are needed in various areas of the university--we do need streamlining. Furthermore, how are we going to handle the explosion of knowledge problem?

After his remarks, which lasted approximately 40 minutes, Mel George took questions from Faculty Council members present at the meeting. There was some discussion of assessment and the Coordinating Board of Higher Education's concern with "funding for results." There is also the concern that the Coordinating Board of Education may not be aware that costs for MU, which is a Research I Institution, will be different from a college.

On another matter, Mel George noted that he is well aware that cooperation among the four campuses has increased significantly over the last twelve years since he left. He noted that technology makes this easier today than it was twelve years ago. On a question regarding his vision of UM as more graduate-oriented, he stated that he does not see us as having a lower undergraduate population; however, he does see a need for us to pay more attention to our graduate programs.

Next, he stated that the budget request that he will be turning in soon to the legislature will ask for mission and budget enhancements as a whole for the University of Missouri. When questioned about the oversupply of Ph.D.'s in some fields he replied, "... if a law degree is seen as a good overall preparation, why not a Ph.D. in some other field?" When asked about paperwork and bureaucracy reductions in the university, President George said there soon will be some changes in the student systems area.

Finally, in response to another question, he stated that he did not feel we were making as productive use of our retired faculty as we might; however, he is not sure where to go from here in trying to make more use of our retired faculty. He did state, however, that he would love to be an advisor to 35 students in the math department once he steps down as interim president.

[Recorder's Note. There is an excellent report on Mel George's talk in the January 30, 1997 issue of Mizzou Weekly.]

Report on the AY98-99 Calendar. Dennis Sentilles notified Council that we are receiving some complaints about the proposed calendar for AY 1998/99 regarding the Thanksgiving break and the time gap between the fall and winter semesters. This will be discussed at a future Council meeting.

Discussion begin and was continued into the closed session of Council's support for Interim President Mel George and what we might be able to do to encourage him to be a candidate for the position.

Closed Session and Adjournment

Faculty Council moved into closed session at 5:10 p.m. and adjourned at 5:25 p.m.

Respectfully Submitted,

Robert Almony, Recorder