Meeting of the Faculty of the Senate,
Chair, T.J. Ray, called the Faculty Senate to order at 2:03 p.m., October 13, 1995, in Conner 122.
ANNOUNCEMENTS FROM THE CHAIR: Chair Ray discussed the activities of the Academic Council. "Of two recent meetings, the first did not cover any substantive information. At the second, that took place last Monday, Senator Hackett represented us. The topic was the new undergraduate catalog. This includes substantial changes in procedures and was so confusing to the academic counsel that it was scrubbed and will be sent to us. We will probably see this before the November meeting."
"Also, relative to the Academic Council (AC), as I was leaving the September meeting, I said that I hoped that the Senate representative would not be asked to leave another AC meeting, based on our constitution, Sunshine Laws, and our conversations through the years on that topic. It appeared in the AC minutes that I would refuse to leave.... I wanted to correct this, but I will stand by (my original statement)."
Senator Taylor: "We are a member of the AC. At times a Deans' Council would be convened, of which we are not a member." Chair Ray said that this was the case. "The issue is whether there is an official agency called the Deans' Council or not. If there is, we should be there. I wanted to report to you that I hope I didn't misrepresent the Faculty Senate by saying that we felt we had a right to be at AC, Deans' and Administrative Councils."
REQUEST FOR SUPPORT OF THE CAMPUS UNITED WAY CAMPAIGN:
Chair Ray introduced Dean Roberts of Pharmacy and UPD Officer, Thelma Curry of the Staff Council.
Dean Roberts, Chair of the United Way Steering Committee for the University campaign, said the goal was $61,000, a 10% increase over last year. The overall community goal is $250,000. He asked the faculty for their support. Officer Curry discussed some of the services that the United Way supported, such as the Scouts, Meals on Wheels, the Domestic Violence Shelter, and Rape Victim Counseling. She pointed out that the staff had given a higher percentage than the faculty and issued a challenge to the faculty to beat their percentage of giving. Chair Ray accepted the challenge on behalf of the faculty and spoke to the needs in the community and the help offered through United Way.
ANNOUNCEMENTS AND REPORTS BY COMMITTEE CHAIRS:
Committee on General Academic Affairs: Senator Landon reported that his committee was asked by the chair of the Senate three weeks earlier to look into issues surrounding University Studies 101and investigate how effective the program was. He reported that a subcommittee had been formed with Senators Bass, Sukanek, Frate, and Varland, and two students, Jeremy Justice, and Laura Turnage. Just as they were about to get committee rolling, it was brought to the Chancellor's attention that the Undergraduate Council was about to start an investigation of University Studies 101. The Chancellor suggested that the subcommittee hold off so the University 101 faculty would not have to deal with two groups at the same time. "We agreed to do this."
Senator Leary strongly objected to and registered resentment at the used of the word "investigate" as applied to the University 101 Studies program. He explained that he and other faculty volunteered considerable time to offer this service to the students and to the University. Senator Landon replied that he meant "look into, inquire into." Chair Ray stated that the language from the Chancellor's office and the charge to the committee was to "review the current status of US 101." "That is the spirit, not to go in and find fault or endorse it. Given the publicity over the course, it seemed appropriate that some group look into the program." He had not been aware of the Undergraduate Council review. The Faculty Senate will accordingly hold off, but if not satisfied, with the report from the Undergraduate Council, will conduct its own inquiries.
Chair Ray: "A suggestion, and only a suggestion, has been made to me to make the same type of inquiry into the Honors program. Nothing has been done about it yet, but we've had these programs (for several years). It seems appropriate to look at programs to see how they are doing. Proposals have been made to invest more resources. It seems fair to ask what is the status of the program."
Committee on Academic Support: Senator Gilbert reported that, the Faculty Senate members would be receiving a report on "Enhancing Teaching Effectiveness" by the Task Force on Improving Teaching. This begins a process of presenting a series of ideas for the quantification of teaching, service, and research, and begins a discussion as to how to quantify our contributions. She briefly described the focus of the report on methods for developing, evaluating, and rewarding effective teaching. Based on discussions of the Faculty Senate, the aim is that by the end of the year we have a firm recommendation from the Faculty Senate as to how to quantify teaching, research, and service. When ready, the committee will submit ideas on research and service.
Asked how we came to this point and how such quantification would be used, Senator Gilbert responded that public perceptions that faculty had short work weeks had been a driving force in developing quantification methods. She also expressed the view that the evaluation could also be used to identify and help those faculty who need it. She stressed that this effort was to show that the faculty was leading the process. Asked how the evaluation might be used, Senator Gilbert said that the use was one of the topics for discussion. She was doubtful one would want to rely solely on student evaluations for teaching. She noted that student evaluations alone involved a number of variables related to required, versus elective, courses and level, etc.
Chair Ray observed that the Chancellor is seeking to elevate the importance of teaching and needs mechanisms for identifying, and thus rewarding effective teachers. He felt that the "current was flowing in this direction" and we ought to get ahead of it, ie. possible programs from Jackson or IHL. Chair Ray referred to an office under the new structure similar to a "Director of Faculty Development." This is an office to improve teaching, an idea that came out of the Undergraduate Experience task force. "Since such an office is about to become a part of the structure of the University, we thought we ought to deal with it."
One senator noted that a more useful number to discuss would be the total hours put in for class preparation and research, as well as lecturing. He suspected the number would be around
50 hours per week. Someone thought it would be interesting to do a time motion study of a typical professor.
Chair Ray suggested that the discussion move onto other matters until the report could be examined. He reiterated though, that the administration was taking a lot of criticism regarding teaching quality and the number of courses being taught by graduate assistants and part-time instructors. Chair Ray voiced the opinion that the criticism may be followed with "action." He noted that we may try to stay above the fray or make our selves a part of the conversation. I hope we can be a part of the conversation. " Please read the report your going to get and be ready to begin our part of the process at the next meeting."
Committee on University Services: Senator Hopkins reported that a group of outside consultants had been meeting with faculty and students to evaluate the use of the Union. He anticipated a report would come out in about a month.
Committee on Finance: There was no report. A meeting was planned for the following Thursday at 3 p.m.
Committee on Faculty Governance: Senator Sisson reported that the committee had met and would present a proposal at the November meeting on the periodic review of administrators. Also, the committee was concerned that some faculty were not aware of the membership of search committees for some positions above the Dean level. We have talked about this with Vice Chancellor Walton, who says he will work to get the membership lists published in the Monday report and perhaps the University Web Page.
The Committee on University Committees: Senator Johnson reported that the committee now has a complete listing of the number of years faculty have served on committees. A census of the faculty is being conducted. As soon as this is completed, we will have a meeting to make committee assignments.
Search Committees: Senator Dyer reported that the search committee for the Vice Chancellor for Student Life has had five meetings over the past month. The committee consists of fifteen members including three from the Faculty Senate and Senators Gilbert and Alexander, who serve as cochairs. The first five meetings have focused on defining the position and the candidate's qualification for the position, drawing up a job description and drawing up a large and diversified pool of candidates for the position. Six people have been nominated by the committee, and interviews are planned for February of next year. "We will be welcoming nominations at this time."
Chair Ray noted that the Chancellor will probably be announcing next week the search for the Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. He also pointed out that the Chancellor would like to have that position filled by summer in advance of the search for a financial affairs position replacement for Doyle Russell. Chair Ray reflected that the Faculty Senate through the Executive Committee had had some good input on shaping the restructuring, and that the plan may not be chiseled in stone. Some good proposals might still lead to change in the structure.
Asked if we could expect to see the plan before adoption, Chair Ray thought we might see it out the first of the week. He explained that the Chancellor had agreed to build in the review after four years using a totally different committee from the transition team to assure objectively.
Chair Ray: "I feel very good about his willingness to ask our input and I think he is responsive to it." He said that the Chancellor had accepted a number of suggestions to improve the restructuring.
He briefly reviewed the broad outlines of the restructuring in terms of the Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, the Vice Chancellor for Operations and Vice Chancellor for Student Life. He felt that the new structure placed the Provost in a stronger position to prevent resources being shifted from the academic mission to other uses. He felt this was a really positive turnaround.
Committee on Elections: No report.
Reports on Sesquicentennial Proposals: Frank Wiebe, reported that the Excecutive Committee had planned a special meeting October 20 at 3 p.m.to discuss the proposals. He explained that a prioritization sheet would be passed out so the Faculty Senate could numerically assign priorities and add comments and suggestions.
"This material will be turned over to the Chancellor's office. Now is the time to influence the choices being made. The proposals are posted at http://www. olemiss.edu/~soffice. You may leave comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. For hard copy, call Donna at X-5826. FAX comments to X-5689, if you can't make the meeting. Eleven or twelve more proposals are to be considered (in the next few months.)" Sometime right after the October 20 meeting, Dr. Wiebe will put another set of proposals at the above Internet address.
Due to the ground breaking for the Business School facility, the meeting was backed up from 3:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m., on October 20.
Regarding the position searches, it was suggested that the positions be posted on the Home Page with the job description. Senator Bolen pointed out that we seemed to using the WWW as an internal method of communicating (among faculty.) Is there a more appropriate way to do this? Senator Johnson asked whether it would be more appropriate to have a web address where people on the campus can access the information about the positions versus putting it on the web for all the world to see. Chair Ray said that these questions touched on the larger issue of how the University page should be managed. He noted that based on an agreement with the Vice Chancellor's office, the student evaluations would not be out on the web. His conversations with Carolyn Staton concerned the need to talk about the access to (or distribution) of the evaluation information. Someone reported that the evaluations had already been put onto the web. Chair Ray said he would check into this.
On October 21, some of the faculty will visit with the Foundation Board. He invited the Foundation members to meet with us at the November meeting.
OLD BUSINESS: None
NEW BUSINESS: None
Chair T.J. Ray adjourned the meeting at 3:07 p.m.