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March 2006 - Joint Assembly/Senate Minutes

March 21, 2006
3 p.m. 222 J. C. Penney

The meeting was called to order promptly at 3 p.m. by Faculty Senate Chairperson Paul S. Speck, Sr.

Minutes from the previous meeting (held January 24, 2006) were approved as submitted.

Report from the Chairperson -- Dr. Paul Speck

First, senators were reminded of the importance of responding to the Committee Service Preference Poll by March 24 in order that their responses can be compiled and shared with next year's Committee on Committees.

Next, Chair Speck reported that, to date, no one has come forward indicating an interest in serving as Senate/Assembly Chairperson for 2006-07. He urged senators harboring an interest to identify themselves as soon as possible.

Finally, the Chair introduced senators to a draft document prepared by the Intercampus Faculty Council concerning the status of full-time non-tenure track faculty. The draft is intended to address the inconsistency in titles, codes, and practices that are in place across the units, as well as issues of equity and the uncertainty about contract renewal from year to year. In reviewing the document, it will be necessary to consider what mix of full-time regular faculty (approximately 300 now) and full-time non-regular faculty (approximately 200 now) is desirable. The document will be shared with several committees of the Senate, and Provost Cope will share it with deans and other administrators. The document will be posted on the web, and all full-time tenured and tenure track faculty will be provided with an e-mail address to which they can direct their comments. A meeting with a high-ranking UM administrator will be held on the campus to discuss the policy and its implications. Comments are due by the end of April.

Report from the Chancellor -- Chancellor Thomas George

The UMSL 10 percent cut in administrative costs totaled $1.5 million in rate dollars, the Chancellor said, breaking down the list by category. Although our proposal is not due to the President until April 1, Chancellor George said he would submit it now. The plan probably will be presented to the Curators in May or June.

Senators were encouraged to attend the May Board of Curators meeting, which will be held in St. Louis. Vice Provost Curtis Coonrod will discuss how student organizations are approved and how student fees are set. He will talk about the Pilot House, and the drag show is likely to come up. Vice Provost Coonrod commented that the other three campuses also have drag shows. Dr. Thomas McPhail inquired if there is concern as UMSL develops its own theatre program about certain types of presentations that some people find objectionable. Vice Provost Coonrod reported that there is a movement toward having the Chancellor take a greater role in approving events. Dean John Hylton remarked that when events are advertised, the public is forewarned if explicit language or other potentially objectionable material is included in the presentation.

Report from the Intercampus Faculty Council -- Dr. Teresa Thiel

(see attached)

Dr. William Long commented on the unfairness of a system that provides for faculty to be evaluated by everyone, but administrators evaluated only if they feel like it. Provost Cope promised that she will develop a process to evaluate administrators that allows faculty to participate. Dr. Long commented that there are times when the interests of faculty and administrators are not in concert. Dr. Thiel reported that the IFC has been considering whether we should have one evaluation policy for all campuses.

Dr. Joseph Martinich said he had heard that the Board of Curators is seriously considering a tax on retiree pensions and medical benefits. Dr. Thiel described the system in place as well-run and cost-effective; however, she said, the Board is looking for ways to save money. The Curators feel that faculty lead a luxurious life. Chair Speck reported that Vice President Hutchinson is worried that retiree medical benefits are the most vulnerable. The President of our Retirees Association, Dr. David Garin, has met with the Vice President, and the System-wide Benefits Committee has been called into service with an eye toward demonstrating to the Board that we have a good plan. This topic will be discussed by the Curators in May. Dr. Carol Peck protested that promises were made at the time of VERIP. Dr. Thomas Eyssell, a member of the UM Benefits Committee, pointed out that while pension benefits can't be changed, medical benefits can be changed.

Dr. Mark Pope inquired about UMKC Chancellor Bailey, who suspended the existing student government system and replaced it with his own advisory committee. Vice Provost Coonrod defended Chancellor Bailey, explaining that he had inherited a problem similar to one faced at UMSL a few years ago, when a provisional student government was put in place. The students in Kansas City have been fighting among themselves.

Report from the Committee on the Assessment of Educational Outcomes -- Dr. Donald Gouwens

(see report appended to agenda)

Following his presentation, Dr. Gouwens led a brief discussion about the need for additional assessment efforts that link the results back into program improvements. Despite the cost in time and money, there is a risk that without this effort we could jeopardize our reaccreditation or find ourselves placed on probation, as has been the case for other similar institutions. Dr. Joseph Martinich noted that in the College of Business Administration, assessment scores are available but meaningless. He favored applying our funds in such a way as to get worthwhile measures. At the close of the discussion, Dr. Long called the question. It was approved, and the Assessment Committee's motion that the Senate endorse the report passed with one dissenting vote.

Report from the Committee on Curriculum and Instruction -- Dr. Fred Willman

All proposals listed in the agenda were approved without dissent. The Senate's attention was drawn to course actions effected by the Committee.

Report from the Budget and Planning Committee -- Dr. E. Terrence Jones

(see attached)

Report from the Committee on Recruitment, Admissions, Retention, and Student Financial Aid -- Dr. Robert Harris

Chair Speck added Dr. Harris's PowerPoint presentation on an early alert system for students in academic distress to the agenda. It was explained that a Student Success Center, staffed by professionals with a Master's in Counseling, will respond to concern expressed by faculty members by speaking to the student. Information about the service will be advertised on course syllabi and in the Student Handbook. Dr. Gouwens asked about the issue of confidentiality. Dr. Harris conceded that some students may feel intruded upon; however, he said, the result of doing nothing is that we will lose the student. Dr. Peter Stevens felt that students are misadvised upfront, when we encourage students who have a full-time job and are raising children and helping parents, etc., to take a full course load. Chair Speck reported that this program will be put into place in fall. Dr. Harris's report is merely informational and requires no action on the part of the Senate.

Report from the Honorary Awards Committee -- Next, the Senate met in Executive Session to consider candidates proposed to receive honorary degrees.

Completing the business at hand, the Faculty Senate adjourned at 4:36 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Carol Peck
Faculty Senate Secretary

(minutes written by
Ms. Joan M. Arban,
Executive Assistant to the Senate/Assembly Chair)