Skip Navigation

2003-2004 - April 28, 2004

Faculty Senate Minutes

April 28, 2004

Present: Jim Acheson, Dean Astumian, Robert Bayer, Mary Brakey, Thomas Brann, Robert Cashon, Thomas Christensen, Scott Delcourt, Richard Eason, Mahmoud El-Begearmi, Todd Gabe, Alla Gamarnik, Doug Gelinas, Stephen Gilson, Michael Greenwood, Michael Grillo, Paul Grosswiler, Vince Guiseppe, Robert Gundersen, Nancy Hall, Ludlow Hallman, Marie Hayes, Cortlyn Hepler, Dianne Hoff, Peter Hoff, James Horan, Mike Howard, Dana Humphrey, Dan Innis, Mel Johnson,  Robert Kennedy, Dennis King, Irv Kornfield, David Lambert, John Maddaus, Kathleen March, Jim McClymer, Martha McNamara, Charles Moody, Howard Patterson, Bryan Pearce, Bob Rice, Joyce Rumery, Thomas Sandfod, Dan Sandweiss, Christa Schwintzer, Evelyn Silver, Stylianos Tavantzis, Andrew Thomas, Ken Tudor, Michael Vayda, Janet Waldron, Gregory White.

Absent: Peggy Agouris, Eisso Atzema, Douglas Bousfield, Laura Cowan, Sandy Gardner, Alexander Grab, Scott Johnson, Carlos Islam, Joseph Kelley, Chuck Maguire, Stephen Marks, Bruce Segee, Roy Turner, Bob Whelan, Dave Yarborough.

I. Welcome and signing in

The meeting was called to order at 3:20 PM.

II. Approval of Minutes

The minutes from the March 31, 2004, meeting were approved unanimously.

III. Announcements

Senate President Bryan Pearce opened the meeting by mentioning that it was the last meeting of the 2003-2004 year.  There were no new announcements.

IV. Special Topics – Elections

The process of electing members to the Committee on Committees was explained.  The nominees are:

James Horan – BPPH
Michael Greenwood – NSFA
Thomas Christensen – ENG, Dr. Christensen will no longer be a nominee;
Thomas Sandford – ENG, has agreed to take his place.
John Maddaus – EDHD
Stephen Gilson – BPPH

Bryan asked if there were any other nominees, there were none.  No one volunteered to be a nominee.

Senator Grillo pointed out that there was no nominee from LAS.  No one from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences volunteered to be placed on the ballot.

Jim Acheson said that he had erred in listing the nominees, as he thought Stephen Gilson was in LAS.  Michael Grillo asked if Senator Gilson could be reassigned to another college.  Jim Acheson said he would find another nominee immediately.  James Horan removed his name from the ballot.  Howard Patterson asked Alla Gamarnik if she would consider placing her name on the ballot.  Senator Gamarnik agreed.

The new slate of nominees was voted on.  The slate of candidates was approved unanimously.

The Committee on Committee members for 2004-2005 are:

Alla Gamarnik – LAS
Stephen French Gilson – BPPH
Michael Greenwood – NSFA
John Maddaus – EDHD
Thomas Sandford – ENG

Bryan Pearce introduced Marie Hayes, LAS, who had accepted the nomination of Vice President/President Elect.  Bryan asked if there were any other nominees, there were none.  Senator Hayes was elected unanimously, to a loud round of applause and congratulations.

V. Committee Reports

A. Jim Acheson, Committee on Committees

No report, other than the election which was just held.

B. Stephen French Gilson, Research and Public Service

He pointed out that there was an error on the Agenda, where the Motion to Support Indirect Cost to Fogler Library was listed as a Library Advisory Committee motion, it is not.  The Research and Public Service Committee will be putting forth the motion.  The committee’s end of the year report will be available in the next week or two.

C. Finance and Institutional Planning

No report.

D. Michael Grillo, University Environment

Senator Grillo stated they had a motion on tap, Motion on Increased Participation in Improving Higher Education in Maine, under New Business.  Senator Grillo explained that he brought with him to the meeting a new and updated version of the motion.  He also thanked the members of his committee for their work this year, Sandy Caron, Chuck Maguire, Mary Brakey, Greg White, and Corey Honkonen.

E. Marie Hayes, Academic Affairs

Senator Hayes opened her remarks by stating that the Academic Affairs Committee had had an exciting year, starting with Michael Howard’s motion in the Fall Semester endorsing President Hoff’s Five Principles for University of Maine involvement and conflict of interest in conferences outside the University.  Thanks to their sub-committee on General Education Requirements a Motion was passed to establish a Faculty Senate committee to further review gen-ed development, the motion was tied into the NEASC report.  They had a graduate education sub-committee report that was rejected by many people and endorsed by only a few.  They have a meeting with the Graduate Board to discuss the report, and faculty concerns regarding the grad school.  They are presenting a motion at this meeting regarding student evaluation of faculty teaching.  She thanked everyone who served on sub-committees and the Academic Affairs Committee.

F. Dianne Hoff, Library Advisory Committee

Senator Hoff also wanted to make known that it was not the Library Committee who has a motion on the agenda.  She said that the Library Committee had made tremendous progress this year.  The process that was put in place for faculty members regarding potential library cuts appears to be working at this time.  The library did receive questions and responses to a list that was distributed, and the library is working to make that process more effective.  The position announcement for the Dean of Libraries will be ready soon, presently it is in the draft stage.  They are hoping the announcement will be made by June.  She feels that the dialogue on campus about the importance of the library, the critical issue of why a library is important, even despite our on-line age, has increased dramatically this year and she feels this is a positive thing.  She has agreed to chair the committee again next year, they have a huge agenda, so the issue of the Library is not going away.  She thanked members of the Library Advisory Committee, Don Hayes, Todd Gabe, Kathleen March, Joyce Rumery, Mary Brakey, Bob Rice and Michael Grillo.  There were two students who also served on the committee, Anastasia and Sarah Drinkwater, one undergraduate and one graduate student, Senator Hoff praised the passion the two students had for the library.

G. Dana Humphrey, Board of Trustees Representative

The next meeting of the Board of Trustees is May 23rd and 24th on this campus.  This will be the meeting where they discuss the budget and tuition increases for next year, it will be a very important meeting.  He also thinks there will be some interesting behind the scenes discussion regarding the strategic plan.  Most of the meetings will be open to the public, and anyone who is interested in attending should take advantage of the opportunity.

H. Howard Patterson, Constitution and Bylaws

The members of the Constitution and Bylaws committee this year were James Horan, Dennis King, Kathleen March, James McClymer, and from the administration, Doug Gelinas and Evelyn Silver.  They held a number of meetings this year trying to get a concensus on what should be included in the Faculty Handbook.  The committee is hoping that they will have something for the senate to look at in the upcoming year.

I. Thomas Sandford, Workload Committee

Tom thanked all of the committee members, Alex Grab, Mary Ellen Symanski, Robert Lehnard and Jim McCleave.  The year end report from the Workload Committee is available to everyone at the meeting.  It is a summary of the issues the committee has been working on this year.  There are three major areas to their report.  The response to the documentation of the administration response to our report on the workload metric which was prepared last spring and presented this past fall, which resolved faculty concerns with that particular metric.  They expanded the original charge by looking into some particular cases that were submitted by faculty members who thought there was some excess workload.  These were included in the report.  The report also comments on the UMS Strategic Plan as it pertains to workload.  The plan raises many of the same concerns that the faculty and administration have relative to workload.  There are many workload issues that remain to be resolved within the strategic plan.

J. Dan Sandweiss, Interdisciplinary Program Committee

This semester the committee was reduced in number by the death of Michele Alexander, who passed away in December, and the departure of Jim Warhola, who is on sabbatical this spring semester, which left Dan Sandweiss, Stephen Gilson and Susan Pinette and the only three members of the committee.  They did manage to bring forward and have passed the motion to include the section on Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs in the Graduate Catalogue.  The committee feels that there are many important interdisciplinary issues that remain for next year.  It is an area of growing concern, with much importance to the University.   Stephen Gilson has agreed to head the committee next year and their first order of business will be to reauthorize the committee, as it is an ad hoc committee.  He encouraged everyone who will be present on the senate next year to positively support reauthorization of the committee.

End of Year Remarks from President Bryan Pearce

President Pearce took a moment to thank everyone who served on the various committees during the year.  He also thanked all the senators for their service and thanked them for the time involved in working with the Senate.

VI. Old Business

No Old Business.

VII. New Business

A Motion on Review of the Student Evaluation Form for Faculty Teaching

Academic Affairs Committee

Effective teaching is vital to the accomplishment of the University’s mission of providing quality education to the citizens of Maine. Evaluation of teaching must be conducted in the most appropriate way to reflect this goal.

Student evaluations are mandated in the AFUM agreement as a means of improving instruction.  Each department or unit can change its evaluation instrument, in conjunction with administrative review.  The student evaluation instrument, which is often used as the default form by the University of Maine community, was introduced on a trial basis over 20 years ago and has not been revised since.  It is not clear which aspects of teaching performance the form measures, and the form has never been validated, i.e. compared to other instruments.

Whereas student evaluations are the only way in which many units assess teaching performance for purposes of reappointment, tenure and promotion,

Whereas the non-traditional teaching approaches such as encouragement of active learning and team work, which are vital to the faculty mission to improve retention, are underemphasized by the current default evaluation instrument, and

Whereas the current instrument may negatively impact academic quality by emphasizing instructor qualities rather than performance (for example, question #13), it is proposed that:

Motion

Faculty Senate will establish an ad hoc standing committee to review and revise the current default student evaluation instrument.  The committee will work closely with faculty senators, the Center for Teaching Excellence, representatives of the Provost, students, and other groups on campus concerned with this issue.  The committee will consult contemporary research studies to recommend revisions to the current student evaluation instrument in a report to the Senate early in 2005.

As a result of these recommendations, departments or units may wish to change to the revised instrument, which may be done without initiating and undergoing administrative review.

Discussion

Alla Gamarnik presented the motion of behalf of a sub-committee of Academic Affairs.  She began by explaining that the student evaluation form that is presently used is old and out-dated.  It does not reflect what is currently considered important practices for teaching.  Article #10 in the AFUM contract outlines general procedures in changing the student evaluation form and also why it is used.  Also referenced was a motion passed by the Faculty Senate the previous year regarding student retention.  Dr. Gamarnik stated that all faculty care what is written about them on evaluation forms not only faculty who are up for tenure and promotion.  In many units this is the only way a faculty member is evaluated.  What the motion is proposing is for the ad-hoc committee to produce an alternate form which should be presented to the Faculty Senate in 2005.  If it is approved by use by the senate and the administration the units may then decide whether or not they wish to utilize it.

Dean Astumian stated that he is troubled that the student evaluation form would be the only method used by units to evaluate teaching.  They are Student Evaluations which should be useful for the feedback the instructor receives, but he thinks a widespread academic tenet is that professors are evaluated by professors.  So the evaluations form should be used as a flag for instructors as to what students think, but to take the information unfiltered from the forms and used them in factors of promotion and tenure is an abdication of the responsibility of the peer committee who can find out this information personally than by simply reading evaluation forms.

Alla Gamarnik agreed.  The motion as it stands just pertains to the form and the form needs to be changed.

Jim Horan questioned the last paragraph specifically “by emphasizing instructor qualities rather than performance”, he wanted to know what this means.

Question #13 on the evaluation form states “Overall, how would you rate the instructor?”  This question is disconnected from the rest of the previous questions asked on the form.

Alla Gamarnik thinks that it is this question that is looked at by the administrators.  She gave an example of how she averaged the answers on question #12 and compared that figure to an average of the answers on question #13.  She also got permission from another instructor in her department to compare the same two questions.  There was a large difference between the two averages for both.  She thinks that sometimes a student can use any kind of reason to give a bad answer on 13.

Marie Hayes also wanted to mention that in the study the sub-committee did on this subject which was done in conjunction with the administration over an academic one-year period, one of the issues for many of the people involved is the worry that academic quality may be at stake for either question 13 or the idea of being popular with the students.  Because as we know, when we push for higher performance, give more difficulty tests, ask students to do additional assignments, they sometimes to do not get positive feedback from that.  In fact those are the activities we should be rewarding.  As Dr. Nunez stated, we want to produce a University of Maine graduate that will be recognized as distinctly from this campus.  Anything that would improve academic quality without a cost should be taken seriously.

Peter Hoff commented that not only as a university officer but also as a person who devoted 10 years to helping work to define the evaluation of teaching and helping people become better teachers.  He said that if he had a vote he would vote to approve the motion.  He said he would vote for it more enthusiastically if the motion was even broader in its scope.  He said that a task force should be formed to look at all the ways we encourage and evaluate teaching at the university, not just the evaluation form.  What research that has been done on this subject is strongly supportive of the notion that students are very good judges of teaching.  The debate over student evaluations could go on forever.  The fact is that we should listen to our students and they can tell us a great deal.  He still feels that peer committees should be encouraged to go into the classroom and watch an instructor.  The best definition of teaching he’s ever heard is to define teaching as the act of creating circumstances where learning will occur.  This is where he comes around to question 13 being the sum of the parts issue.  He’s not sure if you added up the sum of all of the parts is any of them really get at the definition of what does this professor do to create circumstances where learning will occur,  no matter what the performances are that lead to that point.

Kathleen March gave an example where she discussed the evaluation form with some of her upper level students in her Spanish class.  She said, referring to question 1, “How prepared was the instructor for class?”, that some of her students were not sure what “prepared” meant in the question.  On question 4, “How clearly did the instructor present ideas and theories?”, she questioned who defines “clearly”, is it clear to the student or the instructor.

Someone mentioned that they will try to include a friendly amendment to the motion to include student representative as part of the group who will work on the new alternate form.

Alla Gamarnik questioned what a student representative would add to the committee.  She said the purpose of the motion is not to count the forms as they are used now as less important or more important.

There continued to be some discussion about including student representatives in the process.

Kathleen March clarified the friendly amendment reading the portion of the motion that it would affect as “ The committee will work closely with faculty senators, the Center for Teaching Excellence, representatives of the Provost, students, and other groups on campus concerned with this issue.”

President Pearce called a vote on the amended motion.

The motion passed unanimously.

Motion for Increased Participation in Improving Higher Education in Maine

The Environment Committee

The Faculty Senate of the University of Maine recognize the need for the Draught Strategic Plan released by the University of Maine System on March 26, 2004, and welcomes its call for increasing the effectiveness of the System, particularly in building the “reputation and presence of the University of Maine, the breadth of its programs, and its strengths in research”, and the recognition of the University of Maine as the Morrill Land Grant University and Sea Grant University, with the Fogler Library as the research library for the System.

As discussions of a plan move forward, the Faculty Senate requests elected representative members of the faculty participate with the University of Maine’s Administration, the Chancellor’s Office, and the Board of Trustees in the creation of the System-wide Strategic Plan, its implementations, its funding determinations, and its evaluation.  Only through closely working together can these complementary components serve the vital higher educational needs of the people of Maine.

President Pearce gave a little background on this motion by stating that the Chancellor’s Office was concerned because the union had not given the Strategic Plan a vote of approval.  They felt that the Orono faculty of all the campuses would approve the plan, but because of the vote they were not so sure of this.  Bryan felt that the faculty would probably be better of being a part of the strategic plan process than not having any part at all.  So as a result of that, the Executive Committee got together and they came up with this two paragraph motion.

Michael Grillo wanted to clarify that this motion comes from the Environment Committee, who took some direction from the Executive Committee.

There was some discussion on who is presenting the motion.  It then was mentioned that a motion could be made to include the Motion presented by the Environment Committee not the Executive Committee be the one voted on.  There was a difference in wording in the second paragraph of the motion presented by the Environment Committee which stated the “the Faculty Senate requests elected representative members of faculty participate with the University of Maine’s Administration, the Chancellor’s Office….” The original motion, which was on the agenda did not mention elected representatives.  The major theme of both motions was to make sure that faculty are participant in revising the plan, that faculty are participant in implementing the plan, that they are participant in the funding and that they are participant in the assessment of the plan.

Dianne Hoff requested a clarification of how the motion came about.  She stated that the intent of the motion wasn’t very clear.  She said it sounded to her like the faculty senate put forth this motion to show support for the Strategic Plan.

Bryan said that the purpose of the motion was to show there were things in the strategic plan that the Orono faculty could support.

Jim Acheson moved that the senate support the first motion.  He felt it was shorter and clearer.

The motion was seconded.

Dean Astumian requested that the motion included “elected representation” in its wording.  Senator Grillo said that he would take that as a friendly amendment and that he would agree to the change if it pertained to the first motion.  Jim Acheson agreed to the amendment.

There was discussion about the two motions.  There was discussion about the proper process to discuss the two paragraph motion or the four paragraph motion.

Jim Horan commented on the motions, saying that he felt that these motions probably did not represent the opinion of the faculty of the University of Maine.  Even though the senate technically represents the faculty, he felt that there would be some faculty who would not be in support of the motion.  He felt the wording should say that the “faculty senate” supported the plan, rather than the whole faculty of the university.

Some concern was shown as to whether the motion would give the campus the appearance of being divided because AFUM voted against the strategic plan due to procedural reasons.  Not because they didn’t want change but because of the process.  Kathleen March stated that it made her uneasy, not because of one motion, two motions, or four motions being brought to the floor, but because making this statement for the University of Maine, and not having a clear plan, and not bringing the motion before the elected members, which is the normal accepted procedure.  She said the strategic plan has a lot of good points, but she could not vote for the motion.

Michael Grillo said that the motion says that we recognize the “need” for a strategic plan.

The discussion continued.  There was still concern that the motions had not been brought before the elected members meeting.  Dianne Hoff brought up the comparison that in doing this the senate was behaving in much the same manner at the System Office, trying to forego the correct procedure, and not including other people in developing the motion.

Dean Astumian stated that it was the senate’s responsibility to make sure the faculty had some say in the plan, which he thought, was going to go forward.  He said that the senate can either participate with the process from this point forward, or not.

Michael Grillo once again tried to explain the purpose of the motion by likening the plan to a train that is leaving the station; we’re not going to stop the train, and it was a question of taking the opportunity and insuring that there is representative faculty at each and every step of the way.  Not just in the crafting and implementation, but in the funding and the assessment, and working with the other participants, the administration, the system office, and the BOT.

Kathleen March wanted to make a friendly amendment to the longer motion, the one that was on the table.  Michael Grillo did not agree.

The discussion then focused on the first version of the motion.

There was a motion to replace the two-paragraph motion with the four-paragraph motion.

A vote was called, the vote was in favor of the two-paragraph motion (19 to 14).

The motion was modified by friendly amendments.

The question was called.  A vote was taken to vote on the two-paragraph motion, including the friendly amendments.  Michael Grillo read the final version out loud (see above).  The vote passed.

A vote was taken on the motion.  The motion carried.

Motion to Support Return of Indirect Cost To Fogler Library

Research and Public Service Committee

Preamble

The University of Maine Fogler Library and its research collections are critical for the success of research in the State of Maine.  Currently, the Library is seriously under-funded, and one of the things that are hardest hit by this are the journals, other serials, and books that scientists and other scholars need to support their research.

According to the indirect cost (“overhead”) agreement negotiated with the Federal government, 1% of the indirect cost is to support the Library.  Provost Kennedy has recently agreed, in principle, to earmark 1% of the indirect costs recovered (IRC) for the Library above and beyond the amount currently budgeted for the Library, subject to budgetary needs.  This is good news indeed, and we applaud the Administration for this initiative, yet it does not go far enough.  In the present budgetary climate, this 1% cannot be allocated.  Also, 1% of the IRC is insufficient to support the research collections of the Library that support the University’s research efforts.

The Library needs this money as soon as possible, possibly even at the expense of other worthy uses for the IRC.  The Library also needs additional funds, and the money generated by grants seems a logical place from which to obtain them.

Motion

Be it resolved that:

1.                  The Faculty Senate fully endorses the Provost’s plan to earmark a minimum of 1% of the total indirect cost recovered to the Library for acquisitions to support research collections.

2.                  The Faculty Senate strongly urges that this money be given to the Library immediately.

3.                  The Administration establish additional “earmarks” from the System’s revenue sources (such as the comprehensive fee) to help ensure appropriate future funding of scholarly materials and relevant IT infrastructure.

4.                  The Faculty Senate Library Advisory Committee is consulted to provide input towards the allocation of the above funds.

5.                  The Administration establish a mechanism whereby campuses throughout the UMS participate in earmark support of Fogler Library resources that are deemed or utilized as system-wide resources.

Discussion:

The purpose of the motion was to recognize additional resources for the library.  Item #5 in the motion was added at the last elected members meeting.  Because the library is recognized as the University of Maine System wide library, that there should be some kind of mechanism whereby campuses thoughout the university system participate in an earmark system of support for the library.

Someone asked how much other campuses use Fogler.  Joyce Rumery answered that she didn’t have the data with her at the meeting, but that the library does a lot of work for the other campuses.  She also stated that she didn’t know if they had any money to support the library, but that the library does support them.

Provost Kennedy said that he supported the five points in the motion.

Dean Astumian said that in item #4, the wording should be changed to the Library Advisory Committee. (The original wording stated “an appropriate faculty senate committee”).  He felt the wording should be specific, after all the senate does have a library advisory committee, and presumably they should be the ones to be consulted.  He offered the changed in wording as a friendly amendment.

The motion, with the friendly amendment, was put up for a vote.  The motion carried unanimously.

Bryan Pearce made some closing remarks to the senate, thanking everyone who attended meetings, he said it had been an interesting year and wanted to thank everyone for their support.  He thanked the Executive Committee for all their work during the year.  He said when he first started last fall, that economic development was his primary goal for the University.  He thought the elected representatives in Augusta had forgotten how important the University was to the future of the State of Maine.  He said that it is interesting that elements of that are included in the Draft of the Strategic Plan.  He acknowledged Howard Patterson and thanked him for his support this year, and Marie Hayes, thanking both of them for their willingness to take on the responsibilities they will encounter next year.

Howard Patterson presented President Pearce with a plaque commemorating his tenure as 30th President of the Faculty Senate.  Howard praised Bryan for his efforts to build a bridge between the Chancellor’s office and the faculty at the University. Howard stated that the Chancellor, the President, the Provost, and the faculty would continue to have informal meetings to discuss issues pertinent to campus, and credited Bryan with the positive relationship that had developed among all constituencies involved.

Howard said that the issues he wants to concentrate on next year would be Academic Affairs, retention and graduation rates.  Research and Public Service, more grant money, more emphasis put on this area.  Outreach, how do we make a stronger presence in Washington, how do we secure more grants.   We also should have a reputation as an open campus, we should encourage more legislators to visit campus, encourage them to talk with faculty, staff, students, and local citizens.  He wants people who visit campus to know that this is their university, it’s a good place to be, and that they can support it.

Repectfully submitted,

Ellen Woodhead
Faculty Senate Office

 


Back to 2003-2004

Faculty Senate
Kimberly Junkins, Faculty Senate Office
205 East Annex, Orono, Maine 04469
Phone: (207) 581-1167 | Fax: (207) 581-2640
E-mail: kimberly.junkins@umit.maine.edu
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207.581.1865