SENATE OF THE FACULTY, January 14, 1999


The Senate of the Faculty met in the Union Ballroom.

Present: D. Adler (1), J. Aubrey (PP), T. Bates, J. Bradley (PP), J. Cassidy (P), B. Choinski, S. Conlon (2), M. Deighton (PP), A. Elsherbeni (P), C. Esposito, R. Ethridge (P), V. Frierson-Adams, P. Goggans D. Graves (1), S. Hargrove (3 P), L. Harper, R. Klein, F.Laurenzo, T. McCarty (1), K. McKee, L. McLary (PP), M. Overby (1PP), L. Pittman (4), T. J. Ray (P), J. Reidy (1PP), J. Rimoldi, K. Sufka (P), C. Taylor, M. Tew, M. Vinson (PP), J. Williamson, C. Williford (2).

Absent: M.L. Baggett* (1P), A. Bomba* (PP), G. Buskes* (P), R. Dorsey (6), D. Feller* (PP), A. Fisher-Wirth* (1PP), R. Gordon (2), K. Green* (1PP), L. Hanshaw (2P), R. Haws (5 P), L. Kravitz* (1P), J. Mizenko* (1 PPPP), J. Murray (6), A. Paterson (1P),), J. S. Payne* (P), K. Raber* (1P), W. Rayburn (6), E. Sisson (3PP), M. Slattery* (PPP), H. Sloan (6), L. Smith* (1PP), W. Staton (4), D. Sullivan-Gonzalez* (3P), M. Van Boening (3), Jay Watson* (P), John Watson* (1PP), R. Westmoreland* (1PPP).

Chair Williamson called the meeting to order at 7:08 p.m. when it was determined that a quorum was present. The first agenda item was a report from the Executive Committee on their project to revise the University Standing Committees.

The secretary had posted the revised list of standing committees on the Senate website with notification to senate members during the preceding week. (Stancomm98_99.html)

Sen. Williamson explained that the goals of the revision effort were to eliminate unnecessary committees, to streamline membership, eliminating non-essential ex-officio administrators, to combine some committees, and to propose a very few new committees.

Sen. Ray moved that the revision be put to a vote at the next meeting. (2nd: C. Taylor). Chair Williamson stated that his purpose tonight is to answer general questions and to determine if the draft document can be publicized to the general faculty for comment. The motion passed by a voice vote.

Sen. Bradley moved an amendment to the charge of the "Faculty and Staff Appeals Committee" inserting the clarifying phrase "and other academic matters" at the end of the second sentence. (2nd: T.J. Ray) [The intent of the motion was to clarify that academic matters are not in the province of this committee.] The motion passed by a voice vote.

Next a lengthy debate was prompted by Sen. Taylorís disagreement with the reporting structure of certain committees depicted in three charts at the beginning of the draft document. He doesnít agree that the Undergraduate Council and Graduate Council should forward their recommendations through the Academic Council to the Provost and finally to the Chancellor. Their unedited minutes should go directly to Chancellor. (Motion: C. Taylor, 2nd: Goggins) Academic Council is a misnomer; it is really an administrative council of deans. Sen. Williamson observed that the minutes of the Undergraduate and Graduate Councils go to the Academic Council for approval before the Chancellor acts on any recommendations. Sen. Adler voiced concern about recommendations that are kicked back down by the Academic Council before the Chancellor sees them.

Sen. Ray observed that the Senate has supported the concept of a strong Provost, so we should strengthen his role, not bypass him. Sen. Williamson commented that the revised membership of the Academic Council would include two more faculty, representing the Undergraduate and Graduate Councils respectively. Sen. Ray remarked that two administrators from the Provostís office had been taken off the Academic Council. Sen. Taylor repeated his concern that the Academic Council is too greatly involved in policy formation and we need to reverse that with having Undergraduate and Graduate Council recommendations forwarded directly to the Chancellor.

Playing devilís advocate, Chair Williamson asked should the Undergraduate and Graduate Councils report to the highest authority before talking to each other? Sen. Laurenzo asked if we need clarification of the role of the Academic Council Ė is it an administrative body or part of university governance? Chair Williamson reported that the Provost likes the idea of getting input from the Academic Council on recommendations from the UG and Graduate Councils. Several senators indicated they had no problem with that.

Sen. Ray asked if we could add language to the effect that if a proposal from the UG or Graduate Council is vetoed by the Provost, these councils can discuss the issue with the Chancellor. Senators Goggins and Taylor agreed that the Chancellor should get the unedited minutes. Sen. Williamson agreed to put this provision into the preface.

Sen. Adler called for the question on Sen. Taylorís motion to change the diagram to show that the Undergraduate and Graduate Councils report directly to the Chancellor. The motion passed on a voice vote.

Sen. Reidy raised a question about the Health and Safety subcommittees of four faculty Ė can a fifth faculty member be added? He is chairing the Radiation Safety Subcommittee now and a fifth member is needed. Chair Williamson replied that we could just write that in.

Sen. Bradley questioned why the Library and the Law School are not represented on the Instructional Technology Committee. Sen. Tew responded that the membership structure duplicates that of the Undergraduate Council. After an e-mail debate today among the Executive Committee, he moves that all references to membership by school on the Instructional Technology Committee be eliminated, and substitute six faculty members [to be appointed by the Committee on Committees.] (2nd: Adler) The reason for this change is that this committee is not a policy making body, just an advisory board on issues relating to instructional technology. The motion passed by a voice vote.

Sen. Williamson moved that all committees report directly to the Chancellor. (2nd: Ray) His reasoning is that if the Undergraduate and Graduate Councils, who are directly concerned with academic matters, do not report directly to the chief academic officer, the Provost, then the other committees that are listed as reporting to the Provost shouldnít. A brief discussion ensued on whether the Senate is now opposed to the Provost model of university governance.

Sen. Taylor questioned the need for an External Academic Affairs Committee. Sen. Ray replied that it is urgently needed; off campus activities are not currently monitored by a standing committee.

Sen. Hargrove asked about the motion on the floor. He offered an amendment that we table the motion with a view toward specifying the appropriate reporting structure for each committee, according to its substance. (2nd: Harper)

The motion was clarified to refer to all committees other than the Undergraduate and Graduate Councils, which Sen. Taylorís successful motion stated would report directly to the Chancellor. Sen. Bradley affirmed the need for careful scrutiny of each committee, as some, like the Tenure/Promotion Appeals Committee have a reporting function specified in other university policies. The motion passed by a voice vote.

Sen. Hargrove next moved to reconsider the motion previous to the motion just passed Ö that the Undergraduate and Graduate Councils, and the External Academic Affairs Committee be included in motion just taken. (2nd: Harper) The motion passed (23 in favor, 7 opposed).

Sen. Taylor then moved that the Undergraduate and Graduate Councils and the External Academic Affairs Committee report directly to the Chancellor. (2nd: Reidy) Chair Williamson pointed out that all that is being decided on tonight is how the draft document presented to the entire faculty via the web will look. The motion failed (7 in favor, 23 opposed).

On a motion by Sen. Adler (2nd S. Hargrove), the November and December minutes were approved.

Chair Williamson announced that because of objections expressed to the Chancellor by he Senate Executive Committee, proposed title of "Dean" for the top administrator of the Tupelo campus has been changed to "Director." Two more faculty members have been added to the University Planning Council, which Vice Chancellor Johnny Williams is making into a real planning body. Sen. Williamson announced that a meeting of the state Senate group would be held on the USM campus January 20th, at 1:00 p.m. If Sen. Green cannot attend, we need someone else to represent us at the meeting.

Sen. Williamson also announced that copies of the Project Discover draft report were distributed to Executive Committee members in early January. The report is available to any senators who want to read it.

Sen. Hargrove reported on the Provost search. The committee is considering nine top candidates with the goal of narrowing the list to three to five who will be invited to interview.

The Senate was reminded that the bylaws amendment regarding summer meetings would be on the February agenda for a vote.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:45 p.m. The Senateís next meeting will be Thursday, February 11, 1999 at 7:00 p.m.




Approved: February 11, 1999