MINUTES OF THE
FACULTY SENATE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING
THURSDAY, OCTOBER 23, 2014
Johnson Center Meeting Room B (room 326), 3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Present: Jim Bennett, Charlene Douglas, Mark Houck, Timothy Leslie, Joe Scimecca, Suzanne Slayden, S. David Wu., Sr. Vice President J.J.Davis
I. Approval of Minutes of September 25, 2014: The minutes were approved as distributed.
At our next meeting, Sr. Vice President J.J. Davis will make a fundraising presentation. Mark Smith, Director, State Government Relations will provide documents about how we interface with state legislators, and how to get involved. Kevin Jackson, of Student Government, will also speak briefly about “Mason Lobbies”. Our students last year eclipsed any other school there.
Sr. V.P. J.J. Davis reported we are transitioning from FY 15 budget cuts to FY 16 working groups. Provost Wu met with all of the deans, a collaborative effort; need to rebuild graduate enrollment process to speed up application process/content management, admissions decisions made at local levels. She distributed a draft of the membership rosters for the FY 2016 Strategic Financial Plan: Key Priorities and Teams (Enrollment, Budget Model and Accountability Scorecard, Operational Effectiveness: Academic and Administrative, and Reserve/Debt). Debt levels are coming down, she noted need for balance to build institutional reserves. In response to tension in wire in community, she noted fundamentals are strong. We need to communicate this more effectively. Reduction in state resources (requires) pivoting, not a crisis. Freshmen enrollment is at an all-time high and growing. Professor Kenneth DeJong will serve as the new interim director of the Krasnow Institute. An interim Vice President for Research from among the current faculty will be announced soon. Provost Wu has decided to make a change – three foci (Research Administration, Economic Development, and all-over Research Development). Please contact Provost Wu for more information.
· Some committee members expressed concern about the terrible messaging/handling of Vice President for Research (vacancy).
· As summer school is separate from the academic year, can we have a report how it works, profit margins, how its revenues are distributed? There is a real need for transparency.
Provost Wu arrived. He has no big announcements, some updates.
· The proposed program in International Security was positively reviewed by SCHEV; it looks like it will go through. It has been in the queue for a long time, as was mechanical engineering.
· Graduate area enrollment has suffered a downturn for five years in a row; a significant issue. The response time for graduate admissions relatively long in comparison to our competitors such as GWU and Georgetown – could be days, for us it could be months. We need a streamlined applications process, collecting materials – decision-making occurs in the colleges themselves. The Task Force put together with expedited goal of September 2015, coordinating with schools/colleges/departments.
· Finally he is working on a message. Over the past couple of months, budget glooms and dooms – bumps in the road – we are a strong institution, to look at how we move forward as premier public institution in this region; to put attention back as to why we are here, our collective mission.
Will the past practices of continually adding new programs continue? No, Provost Wu sees the creation of new degree programs coupled with changing programs which are no longer relevant and are missing enrollment targets. Need to have stable operation relative to resources. Not to stop innovative ideas coming from faculty, but need to think about resource applications. Believes there are many ideas for innovation – cross-disciplinary work to find more opportunities for students to find their passion etc. as opposed to sticking with traditional model.
Follow Up: If more cross-disciplinary (programs), then something disciplinary has to go. Provost Wu sees an evolutionary process, using example of mining engineering programs which most schools got rid of fifty years ago. How to manage evolutionary process? Collectively faculty need to make these academic decisions. For example, Nursing does a very streamlined job in graduate admissions – we take things off the books if little enrollment (cited two examples, units do this themselves) and do not miss enrollment targets. Provost Wu also noted SCHEV also reviews this every six years – if enrollment below a certain threshold, it has to go.
B. Budget and Resources – no report
New Senator Elected: Dennis Sandole (S-CAR).
University Standing Committee Chairs elected: Michael Hurley (CHSS) – Academic Appeals; Betsy DeMulder (CEHD) – Admissons; Andy Carle (CHHS) Adult Learning and Executive Education; Lorraine Valdez Pierce (CEHD) – Effective Teaching; Elavie Ndura (CEHD) – Minority and Diversity Issues; Shelley Wong (CEHD) - Salary Equity Study;
Paula Petrik (CHSS) – UPTRAC.
Budget and Resources
Organization and Operations
Summer School: Chair Douglas received an email from a tenured faculty member concerned that term full-time faculty members chosen to teach summer school course over tenured faculty members to lower costs. From Section 3.3. Summer Salary (Faculty Handbook, p.59 ):
“…Full-time faculty members assigned to teach a summer course shall be paid 3.33% per credit hour (10% per three-credit course) of their nine-month salary. If a course is valued at a higher or lower amount for workload purposes during the academic year, the summer payment will be assigned by the academic unit accordingly. Every full-time faculty member who wishes to teach in the summer shall be afforded an opportunity to teach one 3-credit course (or equivalent) at 10% of their annual nine-month salary, assuming he or she is qualified to teach the course and that the course meets minimal enrollment criteria and appropriate scheduling, curricular, and pedagogical needs. Furthermore, full-time faculty should not be excluded from teaching additional courses at 10% of their annual nine-month salary when no demonstrated financial constraints exist. Grievances over what constitutes financial constraints should be resolved at the local level, but if no agreement can be reached, then the Provost and the Faculty Senate’s Executive Committee will be the designated body to resolve the disagreement.”
A vigorous discussion ensued. Calls for transparency in summer school financing were reiterated. The question of full-time term faculty given preference over full-time tenured faculty to teach is a new one, as full-time faculty could be either term or tenured. Suggestions included basing funding on requests from faculty who wish to teach instead of present allocation of funds to departments based on last year’s enrollment, FTE targets/amounts. If department chair can justify course pedagogically, faculty qualified to teach course should be allowed to do so. The Handbook text does not specify minimum enrollment; importance of pedagogical needs. Per the Registrar’s Office, enrollment standards made at the local/deans level. Department chairs should give deans information to justify funding needed in conjunction with Faculty Handbook. In a school which hardly teaches in the summer; 10% of faculty member’s salaries much more than $2,900 per course; questioned enrollment criteria without financial constraints. Others spoke in support of the Faculty Handbook. Some institutions use trimester scheduling, in which students required to take a certain number of summer courses; faculty choose which semesters they wish to teach. Discussion will continue at the next Executive Committee meeting (Nov. 20th), not for inclusion on the November 5th Faculty Senate meeting.
There is no place where faculty can get together for lunch, as one way to foster interdisciplinary thought.
VII. Adjournment: The meeting adjourned at 4:04 p.m.
Faculty Senate clerk