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1999-2000 - December 15, 1999

Faculty Senate Minutes

December 15, 1999

Present: Bruce Barber, Paul Bauschatz, Darlene Bay, Richard Brucher, Tom Byther, Hsiang-Tai Cheng, Steve Cohn, Ted Coladarci, Richard Cook, Chris Cronan, Shirley Lee Davis, Rebecca Eilers, Bill Farthing, Ed Ferguson, Marc Girard, Michael Greenwood, Timothy Griffin, Michael Grillo, Theresa Grove, Diane Haslett, Knud Hermansen, Peter Hoff, Jim Horan, Dana Humphrey, Keith Hutchison, Richard Jagels, Leonard Kass, Roger King, (Paul Pawson) for Irv Kornfield, (M. Symanski) for Judy Kuhns-Hastings, John Maddaus, Cynthia Mahmood, Ivan Manev, Kathleen March, Kyriacos Markides Jim McClymer, Jim McConnon, Bruce Nicholson, Harlan Onsrud, Howard Patterson, Eric Peterson, Wesley Petteway Robert Rice, Donijo Robbins, Steve Sader, Thomas Sandford, Jane Smith, Owen Smith, Gloria Vollmers, Ione Hunt von Herbing, Anatole Wieck, James Wilson, Dorothy Klimis-Zacas, Don Zillman

Absent: Phyl Brazee, Daniel Dwyer, George Elliott, Ray Fort, Duane Hanselman, Melvin Johnson, Richard Judd, Harvey Kail, Justin Kelleher Paula Petrik, Andrew Reeve, Alan Rosenwasser, Judy Walker

Welcome
The meeting was called to order at 3:15.

Approval of Minutes
Owen Smith moved and Bob Rice seconded that the minutes from the prior meeting be approved. The motion passed.

Announcements
The decision regarding how the Coke monies will be spend has been made. The final allocations are close to what Faculty Senate had suggested.
According to rules promulgated by faculty senate no exams of any sort are to be given during dead week. An exception requires approval by the associate dean of the unit.
Bruce Nicholson stated that clarification is needed, especially regarding labs. What if the class asks to have the final during dead week? Also, since there is no monitoring and no consequences, how is the policy expected to be upheld? Patterson stated that new faculty may not be aware of the policy. Perhaps the information should be disseminated at the beginning of the semester to all faculty. Dana stated that perhaps this policy should be administered by the administration. Kass believes that if the body is serious about this policy, some consequences for violation must be instituted.
Grillo announced that the search for the Provost is entering the interview phase. Several candidates will be on campus. He encouraged members to attend sessions that are scheduled for faculty.
Dana Humphrey announed that the Life, Work and Stewardship Workshop will be held on January 26. He said that it is imperative for faculty to provide their input into developing a statement of what constitutes a liberal education.
Questions of Administrators
There were no questions.

Committee Reports
Academic Affaris—Owen Smith
The committee is concluding its work on Maine Day and the start date for the year 2004. Motions will be brought forward in January. A subcommittee has been formed on the evaluation of administrators. A motion is expected in February. The committee is also looking at the residency requirment issue and is comparing policies of other institutions. The issue of the separation of the international perspectives and cultural diversity requirement has been tabled. The Class Book committee needs faculty from the colleges of Business, Public Policy and Health, Engineering and Education to serve a 2-year term. Members from the same three colleges are also needed to serve on the new committee to assess the general education requirements.

b. Constitution and Bylaws—Michael Grillo

The committee has two motions to present.

Research and Public Service—Harlan Onsrud
The committee is working on indirect cost distributions from research grants, including providing fringe benefits such as workman’s compensation and health insurance for graduate students who work on grant supported projects. A motion is expected next year.

University Environment—Ed Ferguson
The committee is presenting a motion about Maine Hour.

Finance and Institutional Planning—Bob Rice
The committee suggests that the credentials of the administrators be included in the next catalog. Bob Duringer has asked for input into the budget. Copies of the proposed budget were distributed. Questions can be addressed to members of the committee. Input should be through unit Deans. Hoff stated that most of the available funds were largely eaten up by salary increases and increased health care costs. There is a need to prioritize how the rest will be expended.

Committee on Committees—Jane Smith
Vacancies exist on several committees. These can be investigated on the first class folder.

g. The next meeting of the Board of Trustees will be Janaury 23-24 on this campus. The meeting is open to the public.

Old Business
Motion to Monitor and Encourage Faculty Senator Attendance
Motion presented by Michael Grillo

The Faculty Senate can only represent its diverse constituencies in all of the colleges if their elected members attend, or appoint subsitutes to attend the meetings so that we may act in a responsive, timely, and comprehensive manner in the interests of the University of Maine.

Motion:

To insure adequate college representation on the Senate and its committees, provide for equitable Senate work loads, and also prevent abusive reporting (e.g., absentee faculty claiming Senate service on promotion requests), the Constitution and By-Laws Committee recommends that the Senate limit each senator to three unexcused absences per year from the Elected Members and the Full Senate meetings. Should a senator miss more than that without sending a substitute, the President of the Senate will ask the College represented by the member to hold new elections to replace that senator.

The motion was seconded by Jim Horan.

Discussion:

Kass asked what would happen if the member appointed a substitute, but the substitute failed to attend. We should give the senator a chance to address that circumstance before action is taken. Grillo replied that communication should always be open. Patterson moved that a friendly ammendment be added: “Should a senator miss more than that without sending a substitute, the President of the Senate will send a letter to the member. Should the member fail to respond credibly, the President will send a letter to the Dean of the College represented by the member.”

Kass seconded the friendly ammendment.

March asked about the case of members on sabbatical. This situation is already covered by the constitution. The member must get a long-term substitute. James Wilson stated that many faculty have obligations off-campus. Under these circumstances they will not run for Faculty Senate. This creates a bias in the membership. Horan replied that whenever a member can’t come, they must arrange for a substitute. Grillo stressed the frustration experienced by members when discussions must be repeated. Hermansen stated that we would never accept such absenteeism from our students. We cannot represent our colleges if we are not here. Nicholson believes that the elected members meeting is different, and should not be included in the motion with the full meeting. Grillo replied that the Senate needs to take itself seriously. The elected members meetings are productive and important. March stated that she believes the motion is a good idea. When people are not at the elected members meetings, it is difficult to get things done. The motion would make the Senate stronger.

Dana Humphrey stated that a specific procedure is needed. Onsrud asked for specifics about what is considered an excused absense. Grillo replied that some wiggle room is needed. Owen Smith again compared the matter to student absenses. Just like our students, senators should show commitment, and need to make choices in their obligations. Mary Ellen Symanski noted that the President already has the power to remove members from the Senate. Kass stated that the motion is too vague, it needs to be defined.

Horan stated that the Senate has survived so far with the existing By-Laws.

Jagels moved to table the motion. 26 members voted for this motion and 16 against. The motion is tabled.

Motion to Change the Procedure for Selecting Members of the Committee on Committees:

Motion presented by Michael Grillo

While Article VII, Section 2, of the Constitution defines the membership of the Committee on Committees, it does not prescribe a process for their selection. Currently, we elect members from a list of all Senate members, except those who, just before the election, ask from the floor to have their names removed. Last year, several senators complained that this system rankled them, in working in reverse from what one would normally expect, naturally, that one receives nominations or self-nominates.

Motion:

The Constitution and By-Laws Committee recommends that the Faculty Senate select members to the Committee on Committees as follows: By the end of the Spring semester, the Faculty Senate shall hold elections for the Committee on Committees, by calling for nominations or self-nominations from the floor. Once each college has at least one candidate listed, the President will ask the whole Senate to vote on Committee’s membership, college by college, to ensure the prescribed representation.

Discussion:

Jagels asked what the Committee does. Jane Smith replied that it finds faculty to serve on administrative committees and controls the election of the President of the Faculty Senate.

The motion passed by a clear majority.

The person who was to have done the Update on concerns about the Academic Computing Advisory Committee was not in attendance.

Michael Grillo moved to add the report on Maine Hour to the Agenda. Bob Rice seconded.

Report on Maine Hour – Ed Ferguson

Background:

The committee met on 6 December with Scott Anchors and student intern Molly Putnam (Judy Kuhns-Hastings absent). Our charge is to prepare a recommendation to the Faculty Senate regarding the continuance of the Maine Hour. Following is an attempt to both summarize the meeting and form a report for the Senate.

The Maine Hour as an institution was recommended by the Blue Ribbon Panel to give a convenient time which most faculty and students would have unencumbered by classes for conferences, meetings, speakers, etc. It was implemented this Fall on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 2:10 to 3:00 PM. To evaluate its success, Scott Anchors put together two surveys, one for faculty and the other for students.

150 surveys were sent to department chairs and Senate members. Responses were received from 56 of them. Of these roughly a third reported using the Maine Hour for department meetings; approximately the same number reported the Maine Hour limited the number of sections or classes their departments offered. There was no increase in student contact reported by

86% of the responders; 61% would not endorse continuing the experiment (23% would).

76 surveys (paper) were sent to the putative leaders of student organizations. One was returned. There may have been problems in the mailing: the listed leader may no longer be in charge, the address on record may be out of date, etc. The survey was posted in a folder on First Class. Several hundred students looked at it; 24 filled out a response. Exactly half reported attending something which took place during the Maine Hour. 9 said their club or organization had used the time. 8 reported an increase in attendance at meetings while 2 reported a problem in their scheduling. 20 would support continuing the Maine Hour.

Our view of these results is that there is a large amount of indifference toward the Maine Hour. This is possibly due to many people not knowing of its existence.

An attempt was made to minimize the number of students and faculty in classes at this hour. The effect of this was less than might have been hoped. Comparing class activity at the 2:10 hour in Fall, 1998, and Fall, 1999, we have:

1998 1999
Section Students Section Students
Monday 69 1117 42 675
Wednesday 76 1231 59 859
Friday 59 916 37 494

The reduction is significant, but there are still many students and faculty who are unable to take advantage of the Maine Hour.

Given all the above, the committee does not find the Maine Hour to have been of great value. However, the Blue Ribbon Panel put much thought into this and had certain expectations for it. We are unwilling to discard the idea on the basis of what may have been a poorly organized test. We submit the following

MOVED:

It is the recommendation of the Faculty Senate that if the goals of the Blue Ribbon Panel still seem viable to the President, that the Maine Hour be reinstituted in Fall, 2000. If this is done, the time should be given a specific focus, for example:

the time is for faculty – student meetings the time is for seminars, colloquia, visiting speakers, etc.

the time is for meetings of campus organizations

The time of the Maine Hour should be chosen with its purpose in mind and a concerted effort made to eliminate classes at that hour. A specific exception procedure should be instituted and a record of exceptions kept.

The time and philosophy of the hour should be widely publicized. The groups which are specifically targeted as the focus should also be targeted for specific publicity on its existence and encouraged to use it.

An evaluation procedure should be decided on before Fall, 2000.

The motion was seconded by Eilers.

Discussion:

Hermansen stated that apparently most people don’t care about Maine Hour. Why give a bad idea another year when valuable class time is needed? Cook said that in his department, club attendance is up. Use of Maine Hour must vary by unit, and it was aggressively advertised in his unit.

Farthing moved that the motion be amended to call for discontinuance of Maine Hour. Hermansen seconded.

Nicholson noted that since many classes were still held during Maine Hour, the time was not really available. Hoff stated, that although the burden of proof is on the proponents of the initiative, Maine Hour has only been in place for 10 weeks and was evaluated when it had only been in place for 5-6 weeks. Petteway stated that the idea has really not been generally supported. Classes are still being held. Also, the survey did not always reach the intended respondents, since he did not get one. Kass stated that Maine Hour needs to be made more public—the idea has never really been tried or treated seriously.

Eilers stated that students do perceive a need for a greater sense of community, and that the idea does have potential for building community. It needs to be tried for at least 2, maybe as many as 4 years. Grillo does not agree that this is the way to build community. The important intangibles (the Maine Hours effect on programs) cannot be measured. The Maine Hour is too destructive to the academic day. Bob Rice noted that we currently have no time to come together across campus.

Jagels stated that the initiative treats units with a subtantial number of lab courses as second class citizens. It divides the University. Perhaps one hour a week would be more reasonable. Jim McConnon asked if other institutions had instituted a similar idea. Donijo Robbins replied that at Rutgers there was a 1 ½ hour time period every day and that it was an effective measure there. She also noted that, to date, there has been no real reduction in the amount of classes held during Maine Hour.

Owen Smith said that he had initially opposed the idea, but had served on a committee over the summer and had come to understand its worth. Perhaps the Maine Hour could be constituted differently, such as being held for 2-3 hours once a week. March stressed the need to consider other scheduling issues, such as childcare, work hour, etc., that would be impacted by Maine Hour.

Hoff noted that the numbers show that no real change took place, but only a very minor shift. He recommended working with the idea more. Petteway said that the students are in favor of the idea—those who know about it, use it.

The vote on the substitute motion was 10 in favor. It failed.

The vote on the original motion was 32 in favor, 12 opposed. It passes.

New Business
Resolution in Favor of Increasing Graduate Student Stipends—Teresa Groves

Preamble

Graduate Students make significant contributions to the teaching and research mission of the University of Maine. They offer critical instruction in many of the core undergraduate courses, facilitate hands-on experiences in laboratory settings, and provide the drive that fuels many of the more innovative research projects on this campus. A high quality graduate student can enrich the undergraduate experience as well as increase the productivity of faculty members in their research endeavors.

Providing an attractive stipend is one of the best ways of attracting the best graduate students to this campus. Yet the University of Maine continues to lag behind in meeting this challenge, both with its primary competitors as well as on a national scale. For example, the minimum UMaine teaching assistant stipend of $7,236 falls well below that of other northeastern land grant institutions (UNH: $10,400, UVM: $10,225, University of Rhode Island: $9,555, UConn: $14,155). Other institutions across the country often offer other benefits as well, such as health insurance, twelve-month appointments and pay raises based on time of service.

The recent support from the state legislature for R&D and the university as a whole offers an unprecedented opportunity for progress on this issue. The Association of Graduate Students and the Graduate Board have made the raising of stipend levels a priority for the coming year in order to maintain the excellence of our graduate programs.

Motion

The Faculty Senate supports the raising of graduate student stipends on campus and encourages the provost to work with college deans and other University of Maine administrators to develop plans to address this issue within the context of the individual colleges. Furthermore, the Faculty Senate would request that the president and his administration make these plans a priority item for discussion during the upcoming budget development process.

Roger King seconded the motion

Discussion:

Onsrud proposed the motion be ammended to read “and/or health insurance.” Groves noted that would not help all graduate students since some already have health insurance. Eilers noted that the Deans have asked that this issue be given priority. Cook stated that we need to maintain the current number of graduate assistants, not have fewer, more highly paid students. Richard Brucher stated that clerical and professional employees are also being paid less than national norms.

Owen Smith asked why the language read “with the context of the individual colleges”? Sean replied that each college apparently has different idea about how to implement the raise, and flexibility was desired. Jim McConnon asked if the minimum would be raised, or all stipends. Groves replied that the minimum would be raised. Jim McClymer stated that graduate students raises are supposed to be tied to faculty raises. Sean stated that has not happened.

The motion passed by a clear majority.

Adjournment
Hermansen moved and several seconded that the meeting be adjourned.

 


Back to 1999-2000

Faculty Senate
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Phone: (207) 581-1167 | Fax: (207) 581-2640
E-mail: kimberly.junkins@umit.maine.edu
The University of Maine
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