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2003-2004 - February 25, 2004

Faculty Senate Minutes

February 25, 2004

Present: Jim Acheson, Dean Astumian, Martin Stokes (for Bob Bayer), Darlene Bay, Mary Brakey, Thomas Brann, Tony Brinkley, Bob Cashon, Dick Cook, Laura Cowan, Scott Delcourt, Richard Eason, Mahmoud El-Begearmi, Sue Estler, Todd Gabe, Alla Gamarnik, Doug Gelinas, Stephen Gilson, Alex Grab, Michael Greenwood, Michael Grillo, Vince Guiseppe, Bob Gundersen, Nancy Hall, Ludlow Hallman, Dianne Hoff, Peter Hoff, Jim Horan, Mike Howard, Dana Humphrey, Mel Johnson, Scott Johnson, Dan Innis, Carlos Islam, Bob Kennedy, Dennis King, David Lambert, John Maddaus, Chuck Maguire, Kathleen March, Jim McClymer, Martha McNamara, Charles Moody, Howard Patterson, Bryan Pearce, Tom Sandford, Dan Sandweiss, Howard Segal, Bruce Segee, Evelyn Silver, Mary Symanski, Stellos Tavantzis, Andrew Thomas, Ken Tudor, Roy Turner, Michael Vayda, Bob Whelan, Gregory White, Dave Yarborough.

Absent: Peggy Agouris, Eisso Atzema, Douglas Bousfield, Sandy Gardner, Paul Grosswiler, Marie Hayes, Joseph Kelley, Irv Kornfield, Stephen Marks, Christa Schwintzer, Janet Spector.

I. Welcome and Signing In

The meeting was called to order at 3:19 P.M.

II. Approval of minutes

The minutes from the January 28, 2004 meeting were approved unanimously.

III. Announcements of the President

Senate President Bryan Pearce requested that the committee chairs expedite their reports so there would be time for discussion and New Business.

IV. Committee Reports

A. Jim Acheson (Committee on Committees)

The following vacancies need to be filled: 1) A faculty member of the College of Education and Human Development to serve on the Research and Public Service Committee; 2) One or two faculty from any college to serve on the Interdisciplinary Committee 3) a Senator to serve on the Five-Year NCAA Recertification Review Committee; 4) A faculty member of the College of BPPH to serve on the Athletic Advisory Board.

B. Darlene Bay (Finance and Institutional Planning).

The committee is making progress in getting financial data from Janet Waldron, so they should have a report ready for the senate next month.

C. Michael Grillo  (University Environment)

The Environment Committee will be presenting a motion brought forward by an ad hoc faculty group representing all of the colleges under New Business.

D. Marie Hayes (absent) (Academic Affairs)

John Maddaus stated that the committee has two motions on the agenda.

Dana Humphrey stated that Marie Hayes asked him to introduce a report on the functions of the Graduate School prepared by sub-committee of the Academic Affairs Committee. The report addressed issues concerning the 1) approval of Graduate Faculty, which has outlived its usefulness, 2) approval of Graduate Committee members, 3) registration of Graduate students, an unnecessary layer of red tape, 4) role of the Graduate Board, which should be better defined, and 5) size and efficiency of the Graduate Board.

E. Dianne Hoff (Library Advisory Committee)

The committee will present a motion, which is an outgrowth of a previous motion on the process for selection and review of journals, under New Business. They are also monitoring the upcoming search for the Director or Vice President for Libraries.

F. Dana Humphrey (Board of Trustees Representative)

The Board of Trustees is focusing on the Strategic Plan. The summaries of the campus visits by the UMS representatives are now posted on the UMS web site. Humphrey encouraged everyone to review them and provide comments to the UMS.

G. Howard Patterson (Constitution and By-laws)

The faculty handbook committee and the administration have agreed on a process for updating the handbook.

H. Tom Sandford (Workload Committee)

The committee has two workload cases and is taking them under advisement.

I. Dan Sandweiss (Interdisciplinary Committee)

No report.  They are in the process of reconstituting the committee.

Dialogue with the Administration:

Resolution on Faculty Tenure was submitted by Senator Michael Grillo, Chair of the University Environment Committee (UEC). He introduced the motion which was brought forward to the UEC, and explained that he did not want to change the ardor of the original voices that proposed the motion. Grillo said ultimately the resolution was a call for opening communication between faculty and the administration.

Resolution for the Faculty Senate

Preamble

University of Maine faculty members have expressed to faculty senators and UM-AFUM representatives grave concerns regarding promotion and tenure decision making on this campus.  Concerns include the administration’s unilateral attempt to change the process by which promotion and tenure criteria are defined, and the administration’s use of promotion and tenure other than department criteria in its Spring 2004 decisions.  Decisions made by the Provost’s office overturning positive recommendations by peer committees, chairs, directors, and deans have caused an unprecedented amount of skepticism among faculty members regarding the academic fairness, consistency, objectivity, and defensibility of the review process in the Provost’s office.

Faculty see evidence of the Provost’s office substituting its own criteria for those defined by peer committees, thus appropriating peer committee authority and diminishing the pre-eminent roles of peers, chairs, directors, and deans in the tenure and promotion process.  As well, faculty members question the composition of the Provost’s advisory committee and thus its academic authority in promotion and tenure.  The Provost’s advisory committee appears not to be appropriately credentialed to represent the University’s broad range of disciplines or its missions in teaching, service, scholarship, and research.  The Provost’s office unprecedented attempt to control the tenure and promotion process and the resulting erosion of shared governance represent an overreaching that is not acceptable to University of Maine faculty.

Resolution

Whereas the Provost’s office appears to have made an unprecedented number of promotion and tenure decisions contrary to department criteria and college review, the Faculty Senate resolves that the decision process be temporarily suspended in those cases in which positive recommendations by peer committees, chairs, directors, and deans have been overturned by the Provost’s office.  Those decisions shall be held in abeyance until such time that the Provost’s office can demonstrate that its review process is fair, objective, and informed, and in accordance with peer committee criteria.  The Senate further resolves that Provost’s advisory committee should meet with the peer committees and faculty members in the affected cases so that the advisory committee can demonstrate that 1) it based its decision to deny on verifiable and reliable information, and 2) its own membership has the expertise and experience to evaluate the faculty member’s credentials.

Discussion on Resolution:

Dr. Dean Astumian, Physics, had some concerns with the preamble to the Resolution.  While the number of cases is alarming, it is not clear where the problem lies. It could be the peer committees putting forward a lot of weak cases or the Provost is applying unfair criteria. With regard to the resolution itself, he thought the idea of better communication was great. He was not familiar with the instances that have been overturned by the Provost but felt that we should keep a neutral tone in discussing this issue.

Dr. Knud Hermansen, Engineering Technology, said that the peer committee has a duty to carefully monitor a faculty member from the time they start until they are up for promotion.  It is the peer committee that gives the guidance, and a faculty member should be informed as to where s(he) stands in terms of tenure. It is wrong when a faculty member receives positive feedback by their peer committee and then is turned down by the administration.

The discussion that followed the above comments revolved around the question: If the AFUM contract and departmental guidelines are in place, did the Provost’s office follow them during the promotion and tenure deliberations.

Dr. Tony Brinkley, English, said it was important for the Faculty Senate to ensure a balance between faculty governance and administrative governance.  Chairs and Deans are also involved in this process. It is wrong for a faculty member to work for seven years to a point where they have established their criteria for P & T, and have been encouraged by all of these levels, all of that time, and then have the tenure turned over at the upper administrative level, by a person who is in the least position to know the merits of the particular case.

Senator Mary Ellen Symanski, Nursing, talked about the overriding anxiety across the campus, regarding the missions of teaching, service, and scholarship. There seems to be an overwhelming emphasis on scholarship, which surpasses the other two. Also, in reference to the issue of publications, there is a standard, and other forms of publication do not count. The work of peer review committees is not recognized. Other standards are being applied to the process.

Senator Michael Grillo reiterated that there is a process within departments where faculty are evaluated and, in some cases, some of them do not make it into the fourth or fifth year. We would like to keep the discussion focused on respecting the peer and tenure committees and setting the guidelines of each candidate’s progress. He referred to the last paragraph of the resolution in which the faculty senate was asking that the Provost and the Provost’s T & P Committee to meet with the peer committees of the affected faculty as a means of clarifying how these decisions were made. Grillo also said that although this motion is a moratorium on the cases we have now, he hoped that this event will open communication channels between the Faculty Senate and the administration in terms of clarifying the process on tenure and promotion.

At this point, there was a request to move the resolution but President Hoff asked that it not be moved as he wanted to make a statement after everyone had an opportunity to discuss the issue.

Senator Jim Horan addressed the T&P issue as it pertains to the AFUM contract. The contract takes a general approach to T&P and has certain guidelines. The various departments set their specific guidelines for P&T. These guidelines are approved by the administration. He thought that the departmental criteria might have not been followed by the administration.

President Peter Hoff said that he did not want to persuade anyone on how to vote on this motion, but he did want to make a statement so people would know his opinion.  He felt that the discussion was very positive and constructive, and a number of good ideas had emerged. He pointed out that the administration was engaged in changing the process by which P & T criteria are defined. This was an ongoing conversation between AFUM representatives and the administration.  He and the Provost had sent forward a memorandum to clarify how to conduct the routing of alterations in the criteria that need presidential approval. He thought that this will clarify the process of how the administration adheres to the contractual agreement with AFUM.

The President said that having reviewed the cases himself, he is not convinced that anyone used criteria other than those used by the respective departments.  Based on his review, he had no reason to believe that anyone at any level acted in any way other than with fairness, objectivity and defensibility of their position. He agreed that the decision essentially should rest at the department level but recognized that there are differences of opinion about how well that process has been working. He agreed that the candidates deserved every consideration, and this is what the resolution was committed to provide, but altering the process at this point was not the best way to do that.  The existing process allows candidates to appeal through the grievance course of action.

A question was asked as to whether or not the administration provided letters listing the reason or reasons why a faculty member was denied tenure. Provost Kennedy said that traditionally the letters do not specify reasons. It is his position that this is an ongoing process, so until the process is defined, no reasons are given.

Dr. Richard Brucher, English, disagreed with the President’s take on the issue.  He felt that the decisions of the upper administration lacked credibility and what the resolution was an attempt to restore credibility to the T & P process. If the university is going to be healthy, then credibility needs to be restored.  At this time, assurances from the upper administration that their decisions were credible, did not seem credible to the university community. Brucher said that this credibility needed to be reestablished, and he was certain that neither the President nor the Provost wanted to preside over a process that lacks credibility.

Dr. Sue Sullivan, Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN), said that the departmental guidelines were not followed by the administration and, as a result, she was denied tenure this year. The FSHN T & P guidelines state that published abstracts were acceptable. She had six published abstracts. Grant applications were a legitimate part of research and scholarship according to the FSHN guidelines. She had five national grant applications. In the letter she received from the Provost’s office, it was stated that she was denied tenure because she had only one peer review publication. She said that her department’s guidelines did not indicate that one refereed publication is not enough.

Dr. Sue Estler, Education, identified herself as another faculty member who was recently denied tenure.  Her department’s P & T guidelines recognize a variety of scholarship including refereed national presentations, book chapters, applied scholarship, technical reports.  The decision to deny her P & T, however, was based on the luck of refereed journal publications. She believed that the proportion of tenure-track female faculty awarded tenure was significantly lower than that for male faculty. Provost Kennedy disagreed with some of her facts, but said it was not appropriate to discuss cases that have not been resolved.

Dr. Howard Segal, History, spoke of the continued inability of the system to try to make sense of the differences among disciplines including availability and size of grants, graduate students, etc. He thought the problem had a lot to do with the differences in the nature of the work in which each department is engaged.

Senator Darlene Bay pointed out that although according to the AFUM contract P & T criteria should be determined by departments, it was doubtful that different criteria were used in T & P cases from different departments.

Dr. Harvey Kail, English, thought the resolution was trying to bring some clarity to a very murky problem.  There are problems with the interpretation of criteria.  The idea that it is the Provost’s office that must enforce quality on this campus is not acceptable.  The forum for defending quality is simply not making some negative decisions with a committee that does not seem to be representative of the university. He would rather see the administration focus on building circumstances where we can nurture quality and enforce it at T & P time.

Provost Kennedy said that they took peer guidelines into careful consideration, looked at the diversity of disciplines and diversity of talent, realizing the importance of the individual.  Each case was considered on an individual basis.

At this point, there was motion to call the resolution, and it was seconded. Voting was as follows: In favor of moving the question – 16, opposed – 21. Discussion continued.

Senator Michael Grillo addressed the President’s comments about changing the process.  He reiterated that the purpose of the resolution was not to change the process but to put a moratorium on the process, and pursue more communication during the different stages of the process.

President Hoff said that it was conceivable that the BOT could be asked to hold off on the vote for tenure, which would basically be a change in the process, but he still felt that the appeal procedure was in place.  Several people have said this was an issue of credibility of the administration, but he felt that there was a mutual credibility issue. For example, a peer committee continually told a faculty member that s(he) needed to improve to obtain tenure, but the faculty member did not respond accordingly. Eventually, the peer committee recommended the faculty member for tenure, but tenure was denied by the administration. This case was an example of a credibility problem between the Provost’s committee and the department peer committee. He thought the suggestion that there be conversation between the peer committee and the Provost’s committee might be a very good idea.

Senator Michael Grillo believed the BOT would be willing to consider a month’s delay in the P & T decision because they would rather have a university that is operating in good faith, and have mutual respect among all of its ranks.

Senator John Maddaus said this was a special case of an assessment process.  In Education they do a lot of studying about assessment. An effective assessment process is based on a number of factors including consistency among various reviewers and applying criteria. In rare exceptions there are differences in conclusions, if the criteria are adequately discussed in advance and understood.  Uniform criteria lead to a uniform opportunity for a successful assessment according to the criteria.  Unfortunately, there exist different opportunities to be successful in one’s discipline.  We have people teaching three courses a semester, and some who teach one course a semester. We have people who have access to federal money, and those who have very little access to federal money. There are significant differences in opportunities to produce refereed journal articles. There should be more discussion about this issue, which has been dragging on for a long time.

Senator Grillo said he hoped when the Provost or the President do their evaluations, they have two documents on their desk, that of the departmental criteria and the candidate’s record, and they are referring from one to the other to make a specific comparison. Provost Kennedy said that that was happening.

President Hoff emphasized that the process was not financially driven. It is wrong to think that the administration may want to reduce the number of positions available and, that to deny tenure to a candidate would be a way to expose a department to financial peril because the department would lose a position. The Provost and the President have been discussing this and have always held this as a principle: If a departmental peer committee denies tenure to a candidate because they believe the candidate does not meet the standards, under no circumstances will they eliminate the position.

A question was asked if the Provost’s committee denied tenure, would the position eliminated. The President responded that it is treated like any vacant position.

Dr. Dan Innis, Dean BPPH, Dean’s Council Representative, said that there appears to be a breakdown of communication between the deans and the provost. The Deans need to work with the Provost and his advisors, and the faculty should be aware of this process.

Senator Jim McClymer said an appeal is very difficult to win. AFUM looks for procedural problems. At any time during the process the candidate can interject clarification of fact.

The resolution carried with 41 in favor, 1 opposed, and 4 abstaining.

Motion to approve the Process for Reviewing and Updating The Fogler Library Journal Collection

Dr. Sue Sullivan introduced the motion on behalf of the Library Committee.

INTRODUCTION:

In fall semester, 2003, Executive Vice President and Provost Robert Kennedy appointed a Task Force to make recommendations on how best to make adjustments in the Fogler journal collection in light of substantially increasing cost of journals, the increased number and specialization of journals, and Fogler Library storage issues. The Task Force approached this assignment with the following five postulates guiding its deliberations:

1)      The Fogler acquisitions base budget must increase annually.

2)      No increase that the University can sustain will be sufficient to allow business to continue as it has in the past.  Hard decisions will need to be made often, if not annually.

3)      A static journal collection, or one that changes only by attrition, is not acceptable.  The collection needs to be reflective of the changing needs of the students and the faculty, which requires a continuing reassessment of the titles in the collection.

4)      The monograph budget must not be starved to support an increasingly      ravenous journal budget.

5)      The problem of maintaining and improving access to information through the Fogler Library is not an issue internal to the University ofMaine, to be dealt with by this institution alone. Fogler is Maine’s only research library and serves a statewide clientele.  Its resources must be available to all who need them, and this means the responsibility of maintaining them has to be shared more broadly by the UMS and the State of Maine.

The Task Force recognized that there had not been a well-articulated, inclusive process

for culling, changing, or adding journals to Fogler Library. It recommended that a new process be devised that will give faculty members a more direct voice in the decision-making, provide equity across disciplines, and include a communication component that will help keep the university community informed and involved.  Because the Faculty Senate represents the faculty of the University as a whole, the Library Committee of the Senate was charged with the task of developing a recommendation for such a process.

MOTION:

In light of the substantially increasing cost of scholarly journals and the essential nature of these journals to the research and pedagogy of the faculty, the Faculty Senate supports the following inclusive process for reviewing and updating the Fogler Library journal collection each year:

By February 1 Each Year: The faculty will submit any requests for new journals (using the Fogler Library website), including information as to whether this request is to be held in case additional funds become available or whether this new journal should replace an existing one.

By February 15 Each Year: The Faculty Senate will inform all faculty that the annual review of scholarly journals will be conducted in March and encourage their participation in the process.

By March 1 Each Year: The Fogler Library Staff will provide information to the faculty, including:

·        The estimated annual library collections budget, and the impact this will have on the journal collection;

·        A list of all journals to which the library subscribes; and

·        A list of the journals that are on the library’s “Watch List” for possible cancellation and the reason, which might include:

  • The journal is duplicated within the collection
  • The journal is rarely used
  • The journal has had a dramatic price increase
  • Feedback that a journal is dated, no longer needed, etc.

By March 15 Each Year: The faculty will review the Watch List and respond to the library staff in writing if they feel a journal on the list is critical to their program or research.

By Mid April (Prior to the April Faculty Senate Members’ Meeting) : Library staff will review the faculty responses and revise the “Watch List” as appropriate and feasible.

By April 30: The Faculty Senate will review the revised Watch List and respond if necessary.  The Library Staff will use the feedback from the Faculty Senate to formulate the final “Watch List,” which will form the basis for cuts if necessitated by the budget.

By the First Faculty Senate Members’ Meeting of the Fall Semester: Since many actual acquisitions and cuts are made during the summer, the Library Staff will provide an update to the faculty about the status of the collection each fall.

It was mentioned that the March 15 deadline was to be pushed back because of spring break.  The date will be changed to late March.  No one was opposed to changing the date.

The motion carried unanimously.

Motion on General Education

John Maddaus presented the motion on behalf of the Academic Affairs Committee.

PREAMBLE:

The Faculty Senate adopted general education course requirements for all undergraduate degree students at the University of Maine in 1995. When the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC) continued the University’s accreditation in 1999, it requested that our five-year interim report (Spring 2004), include a review of the University’s efforts towards assessment of student learning outcomes with respect to general education. NEASC believes that outcomes assessment will provide data that can be used to promote program improvement and enhance student learning. The Faculty Senate adopted a resolution in January, 2003, calling for cooperative efforts to develop outcomes assessment for general education. During 2003, the Center for Teaching Excellence organized faculty workshops that identified potential outcomes for general education requirements and sample procedures for assessing those outcomes. On December 4, 2003, Virginia Nees-Hatlen, Interim Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, submitted a detailed report to the Faculty Senate and the Administration describing the progress made and offering six (6) recommendations for further action, which form the primary basis for the following motion.

MOTION:

1)      The Faculty Senate thanks the staff of the Center for Teaching Excellence and all faculty and administrators who have participated in discussions of outcomes assessment in general education for their efforts.

2)      The Faculty Senate endorses the plans made by the Center for Teaching Excellence for an expanded dialogue on outcomes assessment in general education, and encourages all faculty members to attend those sessions. It encourages the CTE to continue its work regarding assessment through the 2004-2005 academic year. It encourages the use of the Bird and Bird Fund to support the development of faculty expertise in assessment of student outcomes in general education.

3)      The Faculty Senate hereby creates an ad hoc Committee on General Education (Constitution, Article VII, Section 3). This committee will serve through the end of the Spring 2005 semester. It will monitor progress and develop policies on general education, as described in section 4) of this motion. The chair of this committee shall be appointed by the President of the Faculty Senate and shall be a member of Faculty Senate. One member of the committee shall be selected by the Committee on Committees for each general education requirement, from among the faculty teaching courses that qualify for that requirement. Additional faculty members shall be added, if necessary, to ensure that each College (including the Honors College) is represented. The Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence, the Chair of the Undergraduate Program Curriculum Committee, and the Director of Institutional Studies (or their designees) shall serve ex officio on the Committee.

4)      The ad hoc Committee on General Education shall work with the Provost or designee to investigate policies and practices regarding outcomes assessment at other universities and to develop and submit to the Faculty Senate a University policy statement(s) on the following issues:

1)      how and when outcomes assessment data will be collected

2)      the management and appropriate use of outcomes assessment data.

3)      procedures for future revisions of the list of courses that qualify for each general education requirement, as well as of the categories themselves.

To the extent possible, decisions about general education should be based on analysis of data from existing general education courses.

5)      The Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence shall report to the Chair of the ad hoc Committee on General Education and to the Provost or the Provost’s designee by no later than February 15, 2005, on progress made with respect to outcomes assessment in general education. The ad hoc Committee on General Education shall report to the Faculty Senate no later than March 15, 2005.

The motion carried unanimously.

Motion on Improving Assessment of Faculty Teaching

Senator Alla Gamarnik presented the motion on behalf of the Academic Affairs Committee.

Effective teaching is vital to the accomplishment of the University’s mission of providing

quality education to the citizens of Maine.  Thus, good teaching should be rewarded and encouraged by administrators at every level.  One important means of accomplishing this goal is to ensure that processes and procedures are in place that are specifically intended to improve the quality of instruction and that performance evaluation of teaching is conducted in the most rigorous manner possible.

Student evaluations are mandated in the AFUM agreement as a means of improving instruction.  However, they have become the primary means used by tenure and reappointment committees in the process of evaluating teaching performance.  Unfortunately, student evaluations primarily measure short-term student satisfaction and are often at odds with high standards and rigorous course requirements reflective of academic scholarship.  To the degree that good teaching encompasses these higher goals, new measures that reflect professorial academic excellence and rigor are needed to develop an effective performance evaluation system.

Faculty Senate encourages every unit to monitor and improve, if necessary, its performance evaluation process.  Faculty Senate also suggests that the administration support units in this initiative.  The following actions are recommended:

  • Adopt a student evaluation form that is specifically constructed to be used to provide feedback to improve instruction.  The questions on the form should allow the instructor and his/her mentors to analyze such specific criteria as the following: how understandably the material is being presented, how well the course is organized, and whether the students were treated with the appropriate degree of respect.
  • The primary responsibility for evaluating good teaching shall be undertaken by the peer committee.  The assessment methods used should not be limited to a single tool and should be determined by the unit in concert with the peer committee.
  • Student evaluations may be one measure, but should not be viewed as the most important by the peer committee.   Peer evaluations, outcome assessments, syllabi and teaching portfolios are some of the potential tools that can be applied to this process.
  • The faculty senate shall charge the Academic Affairs Committee to study and propose specific changes to the UM student evaluation instrument in general use to better reflect these goals.

Discussion:

Provost Kennedy said there are other ongoing informal discussions on campus regarding teaching evaluations.

After a short discussion, Senator Jim Horan made a motion to table the motion “Improving Assessment of Faculty Teaching”.

The motion to table carried 27 in favor, 4 opposed.

The meeting was adjourned at 4:48 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,
Stellos Tavantzis, Secretary

 


Back to 2003-2004

Faculty Senate
Kimberly Junkins, Faculty Senate Office
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E-mail: kimberly.junkins@umit.maine.edu
The University of Maine
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