Meeting Minutes: October 23, 1997


Present: Roger Harting (substituting for Lloyd Barrow), Melvin Blase, Gordon Christensen, Michael Devaney, Jere Francis, Allen Hahn, Robert Hall, Edward Hunvald, Thomas Hurley, Nancy Knipping, William Kurtz, Thomas Marrero (substituting for Henry Liu), Mark Milanick, Donald Miles, Glenn Pierce, Don Ranley, Don Schilling, Dennis Sentilles, MaryEllen Sievert, Robert Weagley, Paul Weirich, William Wiebold, Gilbert Youmans, Russ Zguta, and Robert Almony (Librarians), and Rod Kabrick (substituting for Wayne Decker, Retirees). Absent: Edward Adelstein, Bruce Biddle, Elizabeth Geden, Marian Minor, and Mable Grimes (Black Faculty&Staff).

Approval of Minutes

Chair Gilbert Youmans called the meeting to order at 3:40 p.m., in room S110 of the Memorial Union. The minutes of the October 9, 1997, Faculty Council meeting were approved.

Report of Officers

Youmans began by turning the meeting over to Allen Hahn, who introduced Jim Marino, the new coordinator of promotions and marketing for the Recreational Services Department. Marino described the benefits and services of the department and passed out the department's newsletter, "The Pulse," along with membership information. It was announced that a new Coordinator, Diane Dohlman, had been appointed.

Hahn also reported on the Missouri Association for Faculty Senates meeting in Jefferson City on October 20. Representatives were from most state university campuses. There was a presentation from a legislator (Senator Larry Rohrbach) and from Commissioner Khala Stroup of the Coordinating Board of Higher Education. She discussed "Funding For Results" and its relation to accountability in higher education.

Youmans then referred to a letter from Ken Hutchinson, who proposed that the Faculty Council interview Richard Wallace as a candidate for chancellor. Youmans announced that the General Faculty meeting would be held on November 11 at 3:30 p.m. in Jesse Wrench Auditorium of the Memorial Union. He also announced that the MU News Service had sent statistics to the Columbia Daily Tribune in response to a request for information about grievances. Provost Sheridan has also agreed to release grievance data for individual years.

Michael Porter is the new chair of the Committee on Undergraduate Education (CUE). He met with the executive committee of Faculty Council and reported that: (1) CUE is satisfied with current situation, in which CUE approves alternatives to clusters that are submitted by each division, (2) CUE does not request a faculty-wide referendum on clusters, and (3) CUE does not wish to serve as an undergraduate curriculum committee, as the Faculty Council requested them to do in a motion passed last year.

Action Items

Proposed Ballot on Plus/Minus Grading. Youmans presented the proposed ballot on plus/minus grading, and considerable discussion followed. Youmans noted that e-mail on Council's web site indicated that many faculty members want a simpler ballot. A motion was made and seconded to amend the ballot by eliminating option 2 (plus and minus grades are recorded on student transcripts, but GPAs are calculated with straight letter grades). Proponents noted that this system is not used at any other AAU institution. The motion passed.

A motion was made and seconded to amend the ballot by eliminating option 6 (A+ = 4.3 in calculating GPAs, but all GPAs are officially capped at 4.0). The motion passed.

A motion was then made to amend the ballot by eliminating option 7 (A+=4.3, GPA maximum 4.33). The motion passed.

A motion was made and seconded to amend the ballot by eliminating option 5 (A+ and A =4.0). The motion failed. A motion was made and seconded to amend the ballot by eliminating option 4 (A=4.0 and no A+). The motion failed.

A motion was made and seconded to amend the ballot by eliminating option 3 (Modified Wisconsin system). The motion failed.

Considerable discussion ensued about the form the ballot should take. Many felt that the remaining four choices would dilute the vote for plus/minus grading because there were three choices for plus/minus and only one for straight grades. A motion was made and seconded that we provide a ballot with four choices. Voters would be asked to rank their choices from one to four as a means of testing the Australian voting system. However, the results of the balloting would be determined by a conventional run-off election. If one option received a majority of first-place choices, it would win. If no option received a majority, the option with the fewest first-place votes would be eliminated and a run-off would be held. The motion failed.

A motion was made and seconded that we have a two-tier system with a choice between a plus/minus system and straight grades. Faculty would then be requested to rank the three options for a plus/minus system. A substitute motion was made and seconded that the ballot include only option one (straight letter grades) and option four (A=4.0 and no A+). The substitute motion failed.

It was then moved and seconded to table the motion until the next meeting. The motion to table passed.

Discussion Items

Ombuds Office. [Recorder's Note: Youmans changed the order of the agenda to allow the guests to present their information early in the meeting.] Leonard Riskin and Josh Stulberg, of the Center for the Study of Dispute Resolution School of Law, discussed the latest version of the Ombuds proposal. The ombuds office would not be involved with areas where the by-laws have already specified procedures, such as promotion and tenure, or research dishonesty. Discussion ensued. Questions were asked about the salary and what would happen if the office did not have enough to do. The initial appointment would be for a half-time position, and Riskin commented that people in such positions have not run out of things to do on other campuses. He stressed that this person should not be viewed as an advocate for either the faculty or the administration and that confidentiality was crucial to the success of the office. Hahn noted that there have been estimates that each grievance costs between $60,000 and $70,000 if faculty time is included in the estimate. Youmans read comments from Elias Saab who opposes the creation of this office at this time. The final draft will be posted on the Council web site and this issue will be included as a discussion item on the agenda for the November 6 Faculty Council meeting and for the General Faculty meeting on November 11. Youmans noted that the most that Faculty Council can do on this issue is to make a recommendation. Recommendations from the Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Graduate Student Support Policy. Professor Bruce Cutter, President of the Graduate Faculty Senate, presented the proposal from the Committee on Graduate Student Support Policy. He announced that there would be a forum on November 4, at 8:30-10:00 a.m., in rooms 234-235 Brady Commons, and on November 6, at 3:30-5:00 p.m., in the Mark Twain Ballroom of the Memorial Union. He answered questions about the proposal. Several members expressed concern about relying on the Graduate Record Examination as a predictor of success in graduate programs.

Closed Session and Adjournment

Faculty Council moved into closed session at 5:55 p.m. to make committee appointments. Faculty Council adjourned at 6:06 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,
MaryEllen Sievert, Recorder