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2000-2001 - December 13, 2000

Faculty Senate Minutes

December 13, 2000

Present: Paul Bauschatz, Eric Brucker, Willem Brusaert, Steve Cohn, Richard Cook, Chris Cronan, Shirley Lee Davis, Ed Ferguson, Marc Girard, Michael Grillo, Sandy Butler for Diane Haslett, Knud Hermansen, Peter Hoff, Jim Horan, Keith Hutchison, Richard Jagels, John Jemison, Melvin Johnson, Richard Judd, Leonard Kass, Theresa Grove for Mel Kelley, Robert Kennedy, Carol Kim, Dennis King, Dorothy Klimis-Zacas, Jan Kristo, Judy Kuhns-Hastings, Robert Kennedy, Daniel Lux, John Maddaus, Chuck Maguire, Ivan Manev, Kathleen March, Kyriacos Markides, Jim McClymer, Jim McConnon, Chris Moody, Bruce Nicholson, Raymond O’Connor, Harlan Onsrud, Glenn Reif, Robert Rice, Jane Smith, Roy Turner, Gloria Vollmers,

Absent: Mark Anderson, Bruce Barber, David Batuski, Hsiang-Tai Cheng, Daniel Dwyer, George Elliott, Bill Farthing, Ray Fort, Dana Humphrey, Edward Jadallah, Harvey Kail, Justin Kelleher, Phil Locke, Cynthia Mahmood, Ali Ozluk, Howard Patterson, Eric Peterson, Paula Petrik, Owen Smith (sabbatical), Ione Hunt von herbing, Judy Walker, Anatole Wieck, James Wilson

I. Welcome and Signing in:

The meeting was called to order at 3:19 p.m.

II. Approval of Minutes from 29 November Meeting.

The minutes for the 29 November meeting were approved.

III. Announcements:

A) There has been a poor return so far on evaluation of administrators. Get out the vote! We need the widest body of faculty response for it to be a valid process. Please make the forms available and get out the vote.

B) K. Hermansen is leaving the post of parliamentarian. If anyone is interested in becoming the new parliamentarian, please contact President M. Grillo.

C) Provost Kennedy provided an update on the Strategic Plan. He has begun the process of spending time in each of the colleges (1½-2 hours). Faculty are quite informed and engaged in the discussions, which have already had a substantial impact. He reiterated that this is very much a draft document.

M.Grillo encouraged participation in discussions of the Plan. According to President Hoff, although the Strategic Plan is distinct and separate from the Dorrer-Wihry Report, the two are linked, and anyone reading the Strategic Plan should read the other report.

D) The Board of Visitors will meet with the Faculty Senate on 2 February 2001. Please consider what format we would like for this meeting and send contributions to M. Grillo via e-mail.

E) A question was raised asking whether anyone remembers the Faculty Senate’s having dealt with when grades are to be turned in to the registrar. S. Cohn remembers some discussion about courses in which papers are due at the end of exam week, which makes it impossible to get grades in by the 3-day post-exam/post-last class deadline.

K. Hutchinson asked if there was an official change to this at some point, to which D. Gelinas responded that the current time limit allows for academic action. We have an extra week now because of the later start date in spring semester, but it’s still fairly tight. B. Nicholson reiterated the difficulty of getting grades in with a paper and all-essay exams, even for 22 students. R. Cook said student input indicates they feel a crunch in the last week. Why can’t we return to the old system of having that week?

M. Grillo responded that we should stay tuned, there will be a motion regarding this in January.

IV. Questions to Administrators:

K. March asked what might happen if a faculty member or instructor does hold the exam anyway, when all the students agree except for one? Sometimes that’s what the students want and the instructor is caught in the middle because the students have tickets to leave and request the final be given during the last week of classes. D. Gelinas replied, saying that if he learns that a faculty member is giving an unapproved final exam during the last week of classes, he contacts the associate dean of the college in question. Students should be told that university policy is not to give exams before the scheduled exam week. If they choose to leave before finals week, they’ve made a choice they shouldn’t have made.

V.) Committee Reports:

A.) J. Kuhns-Hastings, University Environment: No report.

B.) J. Kristo, Committee on Committees: The Library Committee will call its first meeting at the beginning of the spring semester. Two faculty members responded to the call to serve on Provost Kennedy’s Commission on Summer Programs, and those names have been forwarded to him.

C.) H. Onsrud, Research and Public Service: No report.

D.) D. Humphrey, Board of Trustees Representative: No report.

E.) P. Bauschatz, Academic Affairs: The committee has met but has no motions to bring forward at this time. It is working on all of the interesting topics and will report in 2001.

F.) R. Rice, Financial and Institutional Planning: No report.

G.) J. Maddaus, Constitution and Bylaws: The committee has one issue to deal with, and that is implementing some language in the constitution or by-laws about evaluation of administrators by faculty. More on this issue in 2001.

VI. Special Committee Report:

A.) J. Maddaus, General Education: (See written report). The committee is looking at descriptions and working on a draft, which it expects to report on in February or March. Once the areas have been clearly identified, they’ll work on implementation.

VII. Old Business:

None.

VIII. New Business:

A.) K. March, Faculty Handbook Committee: (See written report.) The first five sections, in their current version, are being passed around for our approval today. These sections have also been posted to the website, but they need to be updated to correspond to today’s handouts. Most of the changes being made entail updating information. Some policy changes have been identified and are not in what we have before us. We will be advised when they come along. Any specific changes will be submitted to the Faculty Senate in the proper format. The committee asks President Hoff to review and confirm the accuracy of these sections and respond within 30 days. The committee will continue to receive and respond to observations. If something’s missing or inaccurate, changes will be made. K. March moved that the Senate accepts the report and adopts these sections pending verification by President Hoff. Seconded by G. Vollmers.

Discussion:

The committee hasn’t gotten to the section on department chairs yet. They are currently working on Sect. 5.

The question was raised as to how many faculty senators have read all five sections. Only two faculties responded affirmatively. H. Onsrud would vote not to accept the current versions based on that fact alone.

K. March replied that this has been on the web and the committee has made every effort to let people know it was coming up. K. Hermansen said revisions could be made at any time. It’s merely a matter of bringing forward the motion. K. March stated that she is more embarrassed by and concerned about having a 1983 edition.

R. O’Connor hates looking at this piecemeal and prefers to see all the sections in front of him so that he can check cross-references. It makes much more sense to have the whole thing voted up or down at one time. K. Hermansen responded, saying that this issue was raised before and the general consensus was to present it in segments.

The possibility of tabling this item until the next meeting was raised. K. March replied that a number of the sections coming up are considerably more complex for faculty and they want to present them individually so as not to get bogged down. They did not want to be doing policy changes at the same time as editorial changes. S. Cohn seconded K. March’s point that the upcoming sections will spark considerable discussion. R. O’Connor reiterated that actual fact would indicate that the piecemeal fashion does not work. K. March believes the committee made an honest effort in good faith, and the final verdict rests with the President of the University.

R. Jagels requested clarification of what was being voted on: He sees this as only a tentative approval until we have the whole thing in front of us. K. March again reminded the senate that the current version dates from 1983, and the policies it proposes are currently in effect and were not formulated by the committee. R. Cook pointed out that the vote today really only gives the committee approval to proceed and that in the end the senate will vote on the whole document. R. O’Connor asked if it would not be more logical to wait until we have President Hoff’s comments. D. Gelinas has not had a chance to read it either.

A motion was made to move the question, the question was called, and the motion passed.

B. Nicholson pointed out that some editing of the description of the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture would be required.

B.) R. O’Connor made the following motion, which was seconded by R. Rice.

First Year Experience 100 Courses

Preamble

A variety of courses are in place across the University of Maine to assist first year students as they join the University community and develop a sense of the academic goals most appropriate to their interests and abilities. The format of these courses and the nature of the teaching and advising resources devoted to them vary substantially across colleges and departments. Informal discussion and feedback among faculty, both those directly involved in the teaching of these courses and those whose feedback comes through their advising roles, suggests there exist substantial differences of opinion as to the effectiveness of these courses. It is unclear whether the perceived effectiveness of the different courses is a systematic outcome of the format and resources of particular courses, of the teaching by individual instructors, or of differences between colleges and departments as to the background and interests of the students in the various classes. An effort to determine why some 100-level courses are perceived as highly effective while others are perceived as a waste of student time and University resources therefore promises an opportunity to improve the overall quality of the first-year student experience at the University of Maine.

Motion

This Faculty Senate requests the Center for Teaching Excellence to assist the Senate address its concerns over this issue by creating, in consultation with the Senate’s Executive Committee, a Teaching Circle with membership reflecting the first year teaching and advising expertise within the University, by developing an agenda for that Circle which will explore the issues here stated as of concern to Senate, and by reporting the findings from the resulting discussions to the Senate Executive Committee for eventual discussion by Faculty Senate.

Discussion:

P. Hoff asked if there’s a formal definition of a teaching circle, to which R. O’Connor replied that it is a term used by the Center for Teaching Excellence.

This issue was brought up with the associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. These courses are seen as college courses and some wonder why the Faculty Senate is getting involved. R. Jagels replied that the Faculty Senate felt it went across enough colleges to warrant Senate involvement. It is a course offered for credit so it falls within our purview. K. March asked for a clarification of the process of forming a teaching circle, and D. Gelinas volunteered on behalf of the Center to put one together. P. Hoff suggested that the course itself is not the main issue, but the broader issue of what it means to be a college student, which is relevant to the Faculty Senate’s purview.

IX.) Adjournment:

K. Hermansen moved to adjourn, and the meeting was adjourned at 4:05 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Jane S. Smith, Secretary

 


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