2002-2003 - February 26, 2003
Faculty Senate Minutes
February 26, 2003
PRESENT: Jim Acheson, David Batuski, Darlene Bay, Douglas Bousfield, Thomas Brann, Phyllis Brazee, Martha Broderick, Kathrine Carter, Laura Cowan, Eugene Del Vecchio, Richard Eason, Ed Ferguson, Todd Gabe, Alla Gamarnik, Sandy Gardner, Gail Garthwait, Michael Grillo, Ludlow Hallman, Don Hayes, Peter Hoff, Jim Horan, Mike Howard, Dana Humphrey, John Jemison, Robert Kennedy, Carol Kim, Dorothy Klimis Zacas, Irv Kornfield, Bjorn Lake, Jenny Londot, Ngo Vinh Long, John Maddaus, Kathleen March, Stephen Marks, Michael McCauley, Jim McClymer, Kim McKeage, Charles Moody, Howard Patterson, Bryan Pearce, Judith Rhymer, Robert Rice, Matthew Rodrigue, Linda Rottmann, Thomas Sandford, Christa Schwintzer, Phillip Silver, Jane Smith, Mary Ellen Symanski, Stylianos Tavantzis, Andrew Thomas, Roy Turner, Jim Worhola, Gregory White, Dave Yarborough
ABSENT: Peggy Agouris, Eisso Atzema, Robert Cashon, Robert Causey, Thomas Christensen, Paul Grosswiler, Marie Hayes, Dianne Hoff, Melvin Johnson, Joseph Kelley, Dennis King, Roger King, David Lambert, Daniel Lux, Larryl Matthews, Martha McNamara, Douglas Ruthven, Bruce Segee, Ken Tudor, Bob Whelan,
I. Welcome and Signing-in.
II. Approval of Minutes from the January 29, 2003 Meeting
Mary Ellen Symanski moved and Michael Grillo seconded. The minutes were unanimously approved.
III. Announcements from Senate President Rice
President Hoff has responded to motions passed at the December 22 meeting. He approved the motions regarding homeless faculty, peer committees for joint appointments, and faculty input into the budgeting process. He reviewed and agreed with the resolution to support graduate students in seeking child care subsidies and will write to the governor and key legislators in this regard. President Hoff reviewed the workload evaluation motion and thanks the senate for raising key issues. He will encourage the provost and the deans to consider these issues and to involve the Faculty Senate in their deliberations.
The following bills are under discussion in the State Legislature. LD 440: Motion for equitable treatment of graduate students by DHS (re child care); LD 502: Expansion of Education Tax Credit for students; LD 590: An act to regulate disposal of computers; LD 595: An act to appropriate funds to study the feasibility of a medical school in Maine; LD 597: Establishes a community college system from the existing technical colleges. Details are available on the web and from Kassie Stevens-Walker.
Update on searches: There are currently 32 candidates for the position of Vice President of Research and this list will be shortened very soon. There has been one meeting of the search committee for Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and another is in the planning. The field of 63 candidates for Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences has been narrowed to ten. Phone interviews further reduced the field to four candidates who will be visiting campus, two before and two after spring break. Details about their visits will be available soon.
Bookstore director William Hockensmith urges faculty to help students save on book expenditures by getting textbook orders in on time. Anyone who is unable to meet the deadline should let the bookstore know. Please refer to handout.
The handout with pie charts showing General Fund Comparison reflects where Maine stands in comparison to other states with respect to the amount of money sent forward for higher education.
George Jacobson has issued “A Call for Communication with Maine State Legislators” that lists email addresses for Senate and House leaders in Augusta . Please contact them to thank them and request their continued support of the University.
The Center for Teaching Excellence will be sponsoring a workshop with Skip Downing titled, “Getting Students on Course: Empowering Students for Academic Success and Retention”. The workshop will be held on May 13, 2003 . Please refer to the brochure for details.
The Athletic Department is offering faculty and staff two free tickets to the women’s basketball game on March 8, to thank the university community for its support.
President Rice asked the Senate to welcome new Vice President for Administration, Janet Waldron, who comes to the University from the State House in Augusta . She will be overseeing the budget.
IV. Questions to the Administrators
Referring to the financial sheets distributed at the January 29 meeting, Jim Warhola requested more specificity regarding the $17 million shown as “All other revenues”. President Hoff indicated that Janet Waldron would be happy to address this. When asked if fees are included in the “Tuition” category, she indicated that they are separate. In reference to the apparent decrease in faculty, David Batuski pointed out the discrepancies on these sheets as compared to numbers kept by various groups.
Roy Turner asked how research faculty are classified with respect to homeless faculty. Doug Gelinas responded, saying that tenure is not an issue. Research faculty with continuous employment are eligible for the post-tenure merit award and are attached to a tenure home.
V. Committee Reports
A) Michael Grillo, University Environment: The committee met with Doug Gelinas and will form an ad hoc workload committee to be headed by Marie Hayes.
B) Roy Turner/David Batuski, Research and Public Service: The committee will have a report and a motion regarding release time. A motion on indirect cost recovery might be coming forward soon, and he will report on the status of research professors at the next meeting.
C) Christa Schwintzer, Finance and Institutional Planning: No report.
D) Howard Patterson, Academic Affairs: At the next meeting, the committee will present a motion regarding transcript evaluation for students who change majors. There will be a discussion of English, math, and Gen. Ed. competency next Wednesday, March 5, at 1:00 , and the committee is seeking faculty input in these areas. The committee is presenting two motions at today’s meeting, one on student retention and the other on the printing of the university catalog.
E) Carol Kim, Committee on Committees: Two members are needed for the ad hoc committee that is being formed by the University Environment Committee to look at workload issues.
F) Bryan Pearce, Constitution and By-laws: The constitution will be changed with respect to the Committee on Committees. The faculty handbook is coming out for faculty review and comments.
President Rice reminded senators that the post of Vice President/President Elect will need to be filled for next year and asked interested parties to come forward.
G) Dana Humphrey, Board of Trustees Representative: The next B.O.T. meeting will be March 23 and 24 and it will surely snow.
H) Dianne Hoff, Library Advisory: Dianne Hoff was not present but it was reported that the committee has met to formulate short- and long-term strategies. Provost Kennedy said that the System has capped its share of indirect costs at 20% and beginning with the FY ’04 budget, any increases in indirect costs will stay with the campus. These funds are a possible source for future acquisitions. Money from the technology fee has been awarded to the library. The acquisitions’ budget has been separated from the general budget. Provost Kennedy welcomes Senate comments and suggestions about the library budget, which was distributed at a previous meeting.
I) Jim Warhola, Interdisciplinary Programs: A formal recommendation for the committee’s status is forthcoming.
VI. Old Business
VII. New Business
Howard Patterson presented the first motion brought forward by the Academic Affairs Committee. Advising differs in the different colleges, as does the retention rate for first- and second-year students. This motion urges the administration and faculty to make student retention a top priority. Bryan Pearce moved and Michael Grillo seconded the motion.
Motion on Student Retention
The University of Maine has the lowest retention rate (First Year students returning for their sophomore and junior years) of any New England Land Grant University. Some factors contributing to this outcome are beyond our institution’s control (e.g., relatively low income levels of Maine families, relatively small population base within commuting distance, relative geographic isolation from major population centers). However, other factors are within our control, and we should attempt to address them. Two major factors are the quality of advising and the level of academic engagement, especially for First Year and sophomore students.
The quality of academic advising students receive varies greatly, especially for First Year and sophomore students. Students in the first two years of study are frequently uncertain about their choice of major, often switch majors, take relatively few courses in their majors, and take many classes outside their majors with large numbers of students. All of these situations make it difficult for students to connect with their assigned advisors in their majors. These students need access to more consistent advising that will help them find and achieve success in the best program of study for them within the university. The advising center in the College of Education and Human Development, which advises First year and Sophomore students, has been successful in raising the retention rate of students initially enrolled in that college.
The National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) has gathered data indicating that full-time students at our university spend an average of 14 hours per week studying outside of class, with the largest number of students reporting that they spent only 6-10 hours per week studying outside of classes. While these results are similar to findings for doctoral/research universities nationwide, they are still cause for concern. The Institutional Studies office also reports evidence of a high rate of absenteeism in larger classes.
The Faculty Senate urges the administration and faculty to designate increasing the retention rate of students in the first two years of study as a top institutional priority. Specifically, the Faculty Senate encourages colleges which do not currently have advising centers for their majors to study the need for creation of such centers, targeted to First Year and sophomore students. Further, the Faculty Senate urges all faculty to make efforts to increase student academic engagement by increasing (a) opportunities for active learning experiences during classes, (b) opportunities for students to engage in small group learning experiences both inside and outside of regular class times, (c) regular homework assignments with clear connections to both classroom instruction and course assessments, and/or (d) opportunities for academic engagement with students beyond the classroom through such activities as field trips, student societies, honor societies, lecture series, colloquia, etc.. Finally, the Faculty Senate urges the administration to adopt a regular schedule for the administration and analysis of NSSE to assist us in monitoring and improving the level of student engagement on our campus.
John Beacon distributed statistics on student retention that show that UMaine does better within the System for both retention and graduate rates. He pointed out that the retention rate fluctuates within two percent. One senator asked why U.S.M.’s graduation rate is lower, and President Hoff answered. He suggested that because of the number of part-time students there, a 6-year graduation rate is unreasonable. Moreover, that rate is hard to calculate with students’ transferring in and out. One can count really only those who start and finish here at UMaine. He is not against the resolution, and no matter what the rate, we can do better. Howard Patterson said that emails to him show that faculty are in support of this motion. Darlene Bay expressed concern about having professional advisors because it decreases faculty contact with students. Howard Patterson clarified the motion, saying that each college has the freedom to improve interaction between faculty and students any way it wants. Some colleges do very well while others do not. The issue of rewarding advising was raised. Darlene Bay feels very strongly that teaching has to be highly valued. Until it is, we’re not going to improve retention. It was pointed out that resources for teaching at this campus will need to be increased in order to do (b), (c), and (d) of the motion.
Vote: 28 in favor, 4 opposed, 12 abstentions. The motion was passed.
Howard Patterson introduced the second motion from the Academic Affairs Committee, which calls for continued printing of the catalog until all, i.e. parents, students, and faculty, are fully comfortable with the electronic form.
Motion Regarding Printing of the University Catalog
Discussions are under way to do away with the printed format of the University Catalog, citing printing expenses and the speed with which the catalog becomes obsolete. Faculty response encompassed a wide range of concerns. Primary among these was the perceived difficulty of utilizing electronic formats for promotional purposes, specifically discussions with prospective students and their parents. Most faculty were not comfortable with the notion of having to gather people around the computer screen to look at the catalog, and many faculty noted that the relevant systems to support electronic access experience frequent outages. A number of faculty also thought that prospective students and their parents would like a printed copy of the catalog to take with them for reference, and that it is still premature to assume that all families would have convenient access to electronic materials, whether on the internet or on CD. Finally, the faculty also expressed concern about the idea that the printed catalog to some extent forms a contract with students that is identifiable to some period in time, and the very ease with which online resources can be updated also makes them inconstant in terms of forming a consistent body of expectations and regulation.
The Faculty Senate recommends that a limited number of printed copies of the catalog be issued for promotional and reference purposes. The number printed should be based on (1) the number of student requests per year, (2) an additional number to be housed in the primary administrative units for academic reference such as College and Departmental offices and (e) an allotment, based on a complete poll, for individual faculty who need a printed copy. The Senate further recommends that materials used to solicit inquiries about the University’s programs allow the prospects to indicate whether they would prefer to receive electronic or printed materials, thereby further reducing the demand for printed copies over time.
Matt Rodrigue indicated that ten of the fifteen student leaders are in favor of keeping the printed catalog for advising and individual perusal, though they understand the need to cut costs. Michael Grillo asked how much the savings would be if printing were discontinued. John Beacon said that 15,000-16,000 catalogs are printed annually at $3.00 each, plus postage. The total is anywhere from $50,000 to $70,000 a year. He added that some guidance counselors prefer to have the printed copy on their desk for easy reference.
Jim Horan expressed concern that if the catalog is cut further and printed copies are given only to faculty, prospective students will not get them, and they should. Tom Brann pointed out that paper copies allow high school guidance counselors to compare different institutions when they’re advising students. Michael Grillo reiterated the concern that Web DSIS crashes when the system is taxed. Will the savings from cutting out the printed catalog guarantee access and computational power? John Beacon replied, saying that the catalog will still be printed. Christa Schwintzer raised the issue of ancient computers, which are also a problem if they don’t allow access to Web DSIS.
Jim Warhola made a friendly amendment to the motion to keep class lists accessible. Michael Grillo seconded the amendment. Howard Patterson stated the need to take care of this issue first and indicated that the committee would be happy to address class lists and other related documents. Jim Warhola withdrew the friendly amendment.
Jim Horan indicated that he was going to vote in favor of the motion because it’s half a loaf. He added, however, that if enrollment goes down, we’ll have lost a lot of what we’ve gained thanks to efforts by faculty, staff, and President Hoff to build enrollment. Dorothy Klimis-Zacas pointed out that some universities charge for their catalogs.
Vote: 45 in favor, 0 opposed, 2 abstentions. The motion was passed.
Michael Grillo moved that the meeting be adjourned, and it was so moved. The meeting was adjourned at 4:15 p.m.
Jane S. Smith, Secretary