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1998-1999 - October 21, 1998

Faculty Senate Minutes

October 21, 1998

PRESENT: Bruce Barber, Paul Bauschatz, Dan Belknap, Mary Ellen Camire, Tai Cheng, Steve Cohn, Ted Coladarci, Steve Colburn, George Criner, Chris Cronan, Lee Davis, James Fastook, Ed Ferguson, Mac Gray, Michael Greenwood, Tim Griffin, Michael Grillo, Dan Harrison, Knud Hermansen, Jim Horan, Mel Johnson, Roger King, Janice Kristo, Phil Locke, Cynthia Mahmood, Kathleen March, Kyriacos Markides, Jim McClymer, Jim McConnon, Henry Metcalf, Lyn McLaughlin, Mary Malone, Peter Hoff, Tina Passman, Eric Peterson, Alan Rosenwasser, Steve Sader, Thomas Sandford, Therese Shipps, Jane Smith, Owen Smith, Kristin Sobolik, Haden Soule, Mary Ellen Symanski, Sydney Thomas, Gloria Vollmers, Bruce Nicholson, John Alexander.

ABSENT: Francois Amar, Tony Brinkley, Ivan Fernandez, Ray Fort, Fred Irons, Richard Judd, Leonard Kass, Alan Kimball, Irv Kornfield, Harlan Onsrud, Hemant Pendse, Connie Perry, Paula Petrik, Ione Hunt Vonherbing, Judy Walker, Gail Werrbach, Anatole Wieck.

Meeting called to order by Senate President Mary Ellen Symanski at 3:15 PM.

Introduction of RosalineWeller, new administrative assistant.

I. Roll Call

II. Approval of minutes for September 23, 1998. Motion to approve. Minutes unanimously approved as distributed.


Professor Emeritus Melvin Gershman, (written by Murray Bayne with input from Mel’s friends and read by Bruce Nicholson)

Mel arrived in 1958, when the University of Maine was the only one in the state and was about to begin a phase of rapid expansion at a time when few people in Maine had the slightest notion of what constituted a modern, American university. For all faculty at the state’s land grant university to be engaged in teaching, research and public service outside of the College of Agriculture was virtually unheard of.

The Department of Animal Science and Veterinary Medicine, housed in the Animal Science Building (which with a later addition became Hitchner Hall in 1959), conducted wide-ranging research programs. Primarily these involved the mass production of food animals (cows and poultry), and the diseases associated with these animals. At that time poultry production was a major industry in the State. To cope with the diseases associated with the poultry industry, it was imperative to identify the causative agents and to differentiate between closely related strains.

Employing the methods at that time, a competent microbiologist was fortunate to isolate and identify the causative agent in 72 hours. By then the whole flock would be infected, or dead.

Mel’s research focused on a group of bacteria called the “enterics”, such as Salmonella, and Escherichia coli (little did we know then how this group of micro organisms was going to “plague” us today.) He isolated numerous strains of the bacterial viruses to develop a bacteriophage typing system leading to the identification of a specific strain of salmonella in less than 24 hours. For many years after the development of this salmonella phage typing system, Mel continued to do research in this area and developed a phage typing system for Escherichia coli as well. These phages (viruses) were so specific that unknown strains of the bacteria could be identified and epidemiologically traced to their original source. The application of this research led to the development of a Serotyping and Phage Typing Center at the University, which he headed. Cultures were received for phage typing from laboratories in the United States and abroad. Mel continued his research on bacterial phages to include the Staphylococcus, klebsiella and Microplasma.

On his sabbaticals he was invited to work with colleagues at major centers in Europe and the United States, (i.e. the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, the State Serum Laboratory in Copenhagen, the Pasteur Institute, the Central Public Health Laboratory in Copenhagen, the Pasteur Institute, the Central Public Health Laboratory in London, the National Institute of Health in Utrecht, and the National Institute of Health in Bethesda). His research publications, (over thirty) are in refereed journals, (i.e. the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, Canadian Journal of Microbiology, Journal of Bacteriology). In 1982 he presented an invited paper at the 13th International Congress of Microbiology entitled “A Single Type Phage Set for Typing Salmonellae.” The bacterial phage sets that Mel developed for specific bacteria over the years are used by The Center for Disease Control and other major laboratories in the United States, Europe and Asia.

Mel enjoyed his field and said that if he were to begin all over, he would have chosen Microbiology again. He looked on research as detective work. He couldn’t wait to see the results of his endeavors. On campus, however, he was better known for his dedication to teaching. He devoted over 35 years to teaching graduate and undergraduate students in learning environments that ranged from honors courses and graduate seminars to large introductory courses. He was reminded of the number of years he had been teaching when a first year student stood in his doorway looking at him. Mel greeted him and asked how he could help him. He replied, “I’m trying to get into your course because my grandmother had you as a teacher when she was here.” In 1975 he was chairperson of the Honors Freshman Seminar Task Force and was instrumental in developing an interdisciplinary curriculum for first year students. He was the chairperson of Freshman Honors from 1976-1981. Mel was also instrumental in developing the curriculum for the Sophomore Honors program, and taught this course until 1994. He supervised students for their undergraduate honors thesis, and voted on the level of honors for senior students. Mel was honored by his peers in 1977 when he was given the Distinguished Professor Award at the annual honors banquet.

As some of you may recall, (as faculty or students) during the 1960′s and 1970′s, the university changed dramatically. Our students were the baby boomers. The civil rights movement and the Vietnam War brought student uprisings to our campus: sit-ins, bomb threats, and protests demanding relevance in course contest. Grade inflation became a problem because good grades kept students in college and out of the service. Mel told his students that he had joined the service after high school so that he wouldn’t have to go to college.

The late seventies brought AFUM, faculty union, and a flurry of university committees. Mel served as chairperson of several; among them were the Evaluation of Administrators, the AFUM Grievance Committee and the University Grievance Committee. He also chaired the Cultural Affairs Committee and the Research Funds Committee for several years. His quiet presence, well-reasoned solutions and opinions, his sense of humor, and his efforts to bring congeniality as well as collegiality to the discussions during those stormy times were appreciated and something of an enigma. In fact, Mel liked to joke about himself, quoting his esteemed colleague, the late Louis Goodfriend, who said: “If you can keep your reason when the rest of your colleagues have lost theirs, then you had better reassess your position”. As one of his colleagues said last month at his funeral, “With Mel’s passing, all of us see the passing of an era”. It is with nostalgia and sadness that we thank him for a splendid and memorable contribution to our university.

[Next Thursday, Oct. 29 there will be a memorial for Mel in Memorial Union.]

Professor Ulrich Wicks (read by Paul Bauschatz, associate professor of English)

It is my unhappy task to say a few words in memory of my colleague Ulrich Wicks. The task is an unhappy one, not because there is little to say–rather, there is much–but, as we all know, the sudden, shattering circumstances of this memorial render it difficult for any of us to speak with ease or equanimity. I should also point out that I am somewhat apprehensive about this because, having observed Ulrich for 29 years, I know that one of the things that could cause him real physical pain was having to listen to someone blab on endlessly to no point. I never consciously used this weapon against him when he was alive, and I will try not to do so now.

Ulrich Wicks came to the University of Maine in 1969 from the University of Iowa where he had just completed his Ph.D. in comparative literature. From that day, he taught courses here in that field and pursued research in the European novel, particularly in Picaresque fiction. This research led to the publication, in 1989, of his book Picaresque Narrative, Picaresque Fictions, a research guide still central to study in the field. Over the years he broadened his scholarly interests to include film. In particular, he developed and taught courses in the history of film and in the evolution of film technique.

Early in his career, he discovered an aptitude for administration. In 1976, when the English Department was going through a difficult transition from earlier Head-oriented governance to its present chair structure, Ulrich served as the department’s first chair. Performing with his customary efficiency and tact, he established procedures which have made the job easier for all of the subsequent chairs. From 1981 to 1987, he served as Director of the University’s Honors Program. In 1996, when he was serving as Graduate Coordinator, the department once again was having administrative difficulties. Ulrich accepted appointment as interim chair for two years while continuing to serve as Graduate Coordinator. After the two years he accepted–with virtual acclamation of the department–the subsequent three-year position he held at the time of his death.

Ulrich Wicks was organized, reserved, and dedicated. Actually, to say that Ulrich was organized is clearly to land wide of the mark. He was capable of completing even the most complicated form or request speedily. Deadlines did not seem to exist for him. He always finished things long before they were due, circumventing those moments of panic in which the rest of us seem ever to find ourselves. To say that Ulrich was reserved is to land even wider of the mark. Although he was always pleasant and friendly, he avoided unnecessary social interaction. He was not a glad-hander. Yet, if one approached him with a matter of interest or concern, he always responded warmly and openly. He could be quite spirited and forthcoming once his attention was engaged. And he was interested. Often when I talked to him about something that concerned me–an unattributed quotation or the exact form of some text, or the date when something had happened several years ago–he would take the task to heart–try to remember it, try to locate it. More often than not, I would find a brief note in my box the next day with the date, the author of the quote, or a photocopy of the missing text. To say that Ulrich was dedicated is not really to have noticed the mark at all. Those of us who knew him–whether well or briefly–knew him to be a man so dedicated to his family, his scholarship, and to his academic work that they all seemed but varying aspects of a single, fully integrated and considered life. Somehow we must now come to see his death as consonant with this. Plato has Socrates say this in the Apology:

“You are mistaken my friend, if you think that a man who is worth anything ought to spend his time weighing up the prospects of life and death. He has only one thing to consider in performing any action–that is, whether he is acting rightly or wrongly, like a good man or a bad one.”

Ulrich Wicks was a good man, and the rest is silence.

A motion to have tributes sent to family members passed unanimously.

V. Announcements

Polly Karris, for Employee Assistance Program. EAP now offers up to 6 free counseling sessions on any issue, for employees/families. Staff includes Dr. Karris and Dr. Nancy Roberts, who have been very committed to offering support for smaller as well as larger issues. Three Brown Bag luncheons are planned for Fall 1998. EAP has started a group for chairs, with 6 sessions, to discuss issues faced by department chairs. EAP wants to come into departments, either to tell about the services or to do sessions.

Valencia Daigle and Kathy Belyea- Students – scholarly communities.

This year there is a better environment for students. There are more programs, and resources, educating students about support services.

Another area is more interaction with faculty. The Last Laugh Series (formerly Last Lecture Series): faculty can give a lecture on anything they would like, on any topic. Goal is to give faculty and students another way to connect outside classroom. Faculty Sleepover: Faculty is invited to spend an evening with students, stay overnight, attend program, have breakfast next morning. Contact either Valencia or Kathy to participate.

Accreditation. Kathleen March provided an update; the self-study is in its final stages and will be ready in about another week. Open fora will be held for input on the published draft.

VI. Questions for Administrators. There were no questions.

VII. Committee reports

University Environment (Rosenwasser): Dr. Phil Pratt gave a presentation to the committee at its last meeting on the results of the spring 98 survey on student perceptions of the academic environment. 1100 students completed the survey. The hope is to have Phil come to the December senate meeting for presentation of the survey data.

Parking issue: Response to student resolution: Faculty informally polled colleagues and most responses were not favorable to single-sticker system. Next meeting will be in mid-November.

Finance & Institutional Planning (Metcalf): The Committee met last week and A. Wihry discussed plans for south side of campus. She will come to the November meeting to present these plans to the Senate.

Discussion of problem caused by student drop-out dates in latter part of semester. There is a federal mandate to determine when students actually drop out, or they must return funds given to them. We need something in place. Liability could be $1 – 2 million a year. Committee expects to have recommendation in near future.

UMaine has examined a little the idea of tuition cap. F&IP needs more time to discuss issues and look for support for the essence of that motion in November meeting.

Research & Public Service (Sobolik): Committee met last week, discussed meeting with Dwyer and formation of ad hoc administrative committee to discuss the research mission. Main issue for the Senate R&PS Committee is to revisit indirect cost issue. Where should indirect costs be going? There may be some overlap between the senate committee and the administrative committee.

Committee on Committees (Kristo for Perry): Openings notice was sent out 10/15 to entire senate. Only student administrative appeals board left. VPAA search will solicit names for all faculty members and deans for each college. President Symanski and Connie Perry will meet Monday with President Hoff to discuss VPAA.

President Hoff: There are 4 vacancies on honorary degree committee.

Constitution and Bylaws Committee (Vollmers): no report

Board of Trustees (Vollmers for Fernandez): The BOT approved biennium budget. It has 2 major parts: (1) 3.4% increase in base and $1 million for ATM hook-up; (2) an additional $6 million for R&D. Over-all budget package is very ambitious. BOT approved the Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Center, with approval for establishment of the center at UMaine. All campus presidents reported increased enrollment. There was agreement that maintenance of buildings and property needs to have greater priority. Community college: There was significant discussion of the emerging plan for community college system.

Library Advisory Committee (Grillo): The committee met one and a half weeks ago with Dean Albright. They will be looking at results of survey sent out to all faculty in May. The Library Committee will also send out its own survey on library needs.

Academic Affairs committee (Horan): Committee is trying to arrange priorities. Will meet twice prior to next senate meeting. Will deal with issue regarding charter school and request for AP credit. Will be reviewing evaluation document submitted by several members of Engineering faculty. Also will discuss how to proceed with review of general educational requirements. Since the last meeting of Faculty Senate, a number of faculty members expressed interest in contributing to evaluation work. President Symanski did not mind having additional volunteers for this matter.

VIII. Old Business: None

IX. New Business. John Beacon, Dean of Enrollment Management, discussed several strategies to increase enrollment, including: publications, telemarketing, the Portland Open House, Spring reception, merit scholarships, the return of toll free number for Admissions. Beacon Presented the 98/99 recruitment plan. Over-all enrollment increased by 237 students, or 2.3% in University of Maine. The new 12 minute video was shown. Copies are available. This year they have worked on changing inquiries into actual applications. eg, This year, the practice has been early contact and then follow-up. Retention rate is 75% between 1st and 2nd year on average. UMaine is at about 81%, which is better than the norm. Questions asked included: Use of the WWW site? (R: Will be used more in future; about 10% of applications derive from it.) What is being done to recruit international students? (R: Nothing. Non-traditionals will be more heavily recruited.). President Hoff remarked on the number of hours taken by non-traditinals. More data will be obtained on the CED gateway. What is being done in southern part of state? (R: There is on-going effort to recruit there. Matt Islam has been hired for outreach in Portland area.) Horan noted quality of publications, but catalog needs upgrade and is not competitive. Grillo noted that in the new brochure “Academic” is not linked to College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. Smith suggested Pacific Northwest as target. Nicholson noted there are sophisticated students and parents entering college, and they expect sophisticated answers to questions when applying or considering it.

Meeting adjourned at 4:40 PM.

Respectfully submitted by
Kathleen March, Secretary


Back to 1998-1999

Faculty Senate
Kimberly Junkins, Faculty Senate Office
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Phone: (207) 581-1167 | Fax: (207) 581-2640
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469