SENATE OF THE FACULTY, September 11, 1998

 Present: D. Adler , J. Aubrey , M.L. Baggett (1), T.Bates , A. Bomba, J. Bradley , G. Buskes , S. Conlon (1), A. Elsherbeni (P), R. Ethridge, A. Fisher-Wirth , P. Goggans , R. Gordon, D. Graves, K. Green , F. Gu, L. Hanshaw (P), L. Harper, R. Klein , L. Kravitz (1), F.Laurenzo, T. McCarty, K. McKee, L. McLary , J. Mizenko (1), M. Overby (P), A. Paterson, J. S. Payne , L. Pittman (1), K. Raber (1), T. J. Ray , J. Reidy , J. Rimoldi , S. Skemp , M. Slattery , L. Smith, K. Sufka, C. Taylor, M. Tew, M. Van Boening (1), M. Vinson, Jay Watson, J. Williamson.

Absent: J. Cassidy* (P), M. Deighton* (P), R. Dorsey (2), D. Feller* (P), S. Hargrove (2), R. Haws (2), J. Murray (2), W. Rayburn (2), E. Sisson* (P), H. Sloan (2), W. Staton (1), D. Sullivan-Gonzalez (1), John Watson (1), R. Westmoreland* (P), C. Williford (1).

* = prior notification of absence given for this meeting; (x) = number of absences this session, excluding summer meetings; (P)=number of prior notifications given this session, excluding summer meetings. 

Chair John Williamson called the meeting to order at 2:05 p.m. and introduced Sen. Karen Green, past-chair of the Senate. Sen. Green gave a brief explanation of the importance to the University of Senate service. Chair Williamson remarked that the Senate committees had been given assignments and should be meeting soon.

Next, Christy Wyandt introduced a proposed "Policy to Allow for the Extension of the Pre-Tenure Probationary Period"


The Commission on the Status of Women proposed this policy, which would allow untenured faculty facing unusual demands in their personal life to request a one-year extension of their probationary time to tenure. The policy was drafted after research into similar policies in effect at other universities. It was taken to the Senate two years ago and received positively, although a vote was never taken. The Academic Council has recently approved it, and Dr. Walton has asked the Senate to consider it. Sen. Ray moved, with a second by Sen. Taylor, that the Senate endorse the policy. Questions raised in the ensuing discussion concerned specifics related to the timing of the request, voting procedures by the tenured faculty, and whether the policy allowed an individual obtain multiple one-year extensions. Sen. Ray, who was not in favor of allowing multiple extensions, withdrew his motion and Sen. Taylor withdrew his second. At the suggestion of Sen. Bradley, the proposal was referred to the Faculty Governance committee for revision, with a report due at the October Senate meeting.

Chair Williamson gave an update on faculty involvement in Project Discover (re-engineering) activities. On Sept. 1, the Senate Executive Committee met with several Arthur Andersen employees who are among the Project Discover team leaders and with Buster Clark, who is leading the "Communication Team." The purpose of the meeting was give us an overview of current activities and to determine the best means of gaining faculty input in the process in the future. Software vendors will be making presentations in early October and faculty will be invited to participate. Faye Gilbert has been appointed to the "Communication Team" as a faculty representative. She has volunteered to draft a survey to be sent to all faculty listing the major problem areas identified in the KPMG study, and asking faculty to rank these problems and to suggest others. Sen. Green stated that hiring practices were her top concern. Sen. Ray and Sen. Laurenzo explained that the senators present at this meeting told the AA people that focus groups had been overdone, and the survey would allow all faculty to voice their opinions, which would be summarized in a report from the executive committee to the Project Discover team. Any senators interested in participating in helping draft the survey were asked to contact their standing committee chairs. The focus of reengineering is still non-academic, though the AA team assured the senate group that our participation is vital to the process.

The minutes of the May 1998 minutes were approved (moved Mark Tew; second Marc Slattery). The June and July minutes cannot be formally approved as those meetings lacked a quorum, but will be preserved as "notes."

Mr. Ken Boutwell, Director of the Teleproductions Research Center, gave a presentation on the resources and services available at the center, which will have more of an academic support role than in the past. In addition to providing AV equipment (including laptops and video/data projectors) for classroom use, the Center can produce videos, both on location and in the studio, which can be accessed via the local cable channel. The Center's mobile satellite uplink is underutilized, but can produce live broadcasts or download programs for playback. Mr. Boutwell asked the Senate's help in advising him on the future direction of the TRC. He can be reached by e-mail at Chair Williamson asked if a group of interested senators could serve as a focus group for Mr. Boutwell. Sen. Laurenzo and Sen. Green suggested that the University Services Committee, chaired by Marc Slattery, would be the appropriate group to work with Mr. Boutwell.

Chair Williamson next introduced Dr. Andy Mullins, executive assistant to the Chancellor, who spoke about legislative funding for higher education. Lt. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove is tentatively scheduled to speak to the Senate at the October meeting.

Dr. Mullins: September is the legislative budget month. Musgrove is the chairman of the Legislative Budget Committee, which hears budget requests from all state agencies. The Legislature meets in January to appropriate funds for the next fiscal year. Dr. Mullins used slides to illustrate his talk. The first slide showed the differences in the sources of funding for K-12, community colleges, and IHL institutions.

K-12 schools get 60% from the state, 25% from local taxes, and 15% from the federal government, largely for free lunch, vocational and special ed programs. Their level of state funding is very high, the third highest in the nation. The local school districts have the authority to raise funding from taxes.

Community colleges get a very high percentage from the state - 56%. Their board is a statutory board, which has a lot of power. Superintendents and supervisors sit on these local boards, and have the authority to raise taxes at the local level and charge tuition. They don't have to charge a high tuition because of the general high level of funding. They get 31% from local ad valorem taxes and tuition. They get 13% of their funds from federal sources.

IHL receives only 35% of its funding from the state, with most of our money - 50% - being self generated from tuition, auxiliaries. Federal grants amount to 15%. If state funding goes down, and the board won't raise tuition, we're in a mess. Our board is constitutional - it can't raise taxes - and it has to get legislative approval for bond issues for building and renovation.

There is a constant fight between the CC and IHL, especially on bond bills. A favorite ploy of the legislature is to pit educational entities against one another. Luckily when we're in good times they don't do that as much.

The budget is $11 billion this year. $7.4 billion is earmarked for highways. Education at all levels is funded from $3.4 billion in the general fund. An oft-repeated fallacy is that education gets 60% of every dollar of revenue. What education gets is 60% of $3.4 billion in the general fund.

The percent of general funds appropriated for education has declined over the last 18 years. Funding for prisons has increased. Corrections is out of control in terms of increased appropriations because of the 85% law - offenders must spend 85% of their time behind bars, so more prisons are needed.

IHL asking for a $99-100 million increase this year (18%). We don't expect to get that. This would include a salary increase of at least 3% - the third year of a three-year commitment. This is unprecedented. It would also include an increase for "built-ins" - maintenance of new buildings or of renovated buildings with new functions at $4.97/sq. foot of building space. Institutional priorities are operations and maintenance and program support. These are the two areas of the general education budget where we're hurting the most. There has been no increase in supplies or commodities in over twelve years. The Legislature wants to put money where they get more show - salaries, buildings. We're trying to get more money to operate the universities. That will lead our testimony next week.

IHL has compared the relative funding of the three research universities with the regional institutions and has found that research universities are consistently under-funded in comparison with peer institutions. Last year equity adjustments totaling $5 million were received -- USM and Mississippi State got $2 million, we got $1 million. This year IHL is asking for $10 million. This equity funding goes into the base, so the sooner the base increases the better. This will be difficult because of the need to find $4.7 million this year for Ayers' funding for the HBCU. Even though the presidents of HBCU universities support the research equity funding, the black legislators will not, unless there is a similar acceleration of Ayers' funding. Other special project are the Gulf Coast study, the Greenville higher education center for the delta (because we got one in Tupelo), and student financial aid.

Line item appropriations are being phased out by IHL, because they proliferate as universities compete for them. Also they represent earmarked items that are no longer controlled by the Legislature. They won't appropriate line items at same rate of increase as general budget, but they were increased 3% last year. We are asking for an 8% increase in line items plus whatever % salary increase is given for salaries contained in these items. Our UM line items are: Law Research Institute, MMRI, RIPS, the Supercomputer, Small Business Development, Court education, and the Medical Center, which skews the total amount of line item funding we get.

One thing that may skew everything is how the Legislature reacts to what USM is proposing for a Mississippi Gulf Coast University, which is opposed by the Gulf Coast Community College. A strong business group wants a full four-year university on the coast. Some want a university center, where all three research universities would offer courses. USM is caught in middle because 50% of their upper class students are community college transfers.

Ole Miss is asking for the base of $59 million plus the 3% salary increase, $2 million equity adjustment, built-ins of $273,000 for the Tupelo Advanced Education Center and the Wetlands Center. Institutional priorities are new faculty positions ($1.593 million), operations and maintenance ($600,000), program support ($571,000), technology ($1.9 million), enhancement of off campus funding at two branches. The relative percentage of requested increases are 25.5% Miss. State, 19% UM, 17% USM. The Legislature will want to know how we are going to use our tuition increases, which are going to new positions, library acquisitions, and operating costs.

So the big issue this session will be to accelerate equity money. This will entail a big fight but will mean a lot to us with increase in base budget.

Q: Sen. Taylor: Reason we're getting half what Southern and State is of equity funding is because we're designated "Doctoral II" and they're "Doctoral I"? A: That's part of it.

Other issues include increasing salaries above 3%; bond bill of $10 million for the Performing Arts Center; some repair money for our buildings; $2 million for remote sensing program through NASA to be put in the Economic Development Department's budget; $50,000 more for our Teacher Training program for national certification. There are a number of Medical Center issues, including a proposed Cancer Center funded with tobacco suit money. Also we're asking for increased funding for the Tupelo Advanced Education Center, which is the result of four entities working together - UM, MUW, Itawamba Community College, and an economic development group.

If you're interested in any bills, let him know. He will get you copies, put updates on the Internet.

Q. Governor proposing a tax cut?

A. Doesn’t think Legislature will pass, because of past history (1978) when Cliff Finch cut $15 per person from income tax, and then we had a recession in 1980-81 and William Winter had to cut $100 million from the budget to cover it. This is an election year and they will want to give the teachers a raise, and will be afraid to cut taxes at same time. Each 1% K-12 teacher salary increase represents a permanent $30 million increase to the budget.

Q.: Sale of forest lands - how much $$$ ?

A: Appraisal will come in between $40 and 42 million. USDA has gotten an appropriation of $10 million for FY '98, and an additional $5 million from FY '99 is being debated now. So it looks like this year $15 million would go into a University of Mississippi endowment (not the Foundation) to fund repair and renovation expenses on campus, as required by state law. If the federal government funds only $15 million, we will carve out $15 million worth of forest acreage. The U.S. Forest Service wants the whole 23,000 acres, with proviso that acres not paid for will be returned.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 PM. The next meeting of the Senate is Friday, October 9th at 2 p.m. in the Anderson Hall Auditorium.