Skip Navigation

2003-2004 - March 31, 2004

Faculty Senate Minutes

March 31, 2004

Present: Jim Acheson, Darlene Bay, Bob Bayer, Douglas Bousfield, Mary Brakey, Thomas Brann, Tony Brinkley (for R. Whelan), Joe Carr, Robert Cashon, Thomas Christensen, Robert Cobb, Laura Cowan, Scott Delcourt, Michael Eckhardt, Mahmoud El-Begearmi, Todd Gabe, Alla Gamarnik, Michael Greenwood, Michael Grillo, Paul Grosswiler, Vince Guiseppe, Nancy Hall, Ludlow Hallman, Marie Hayes, Cortlynn Hepler Dianne Hoff, Peter Hoff, James Horan, Mike Howard, Dana Humphrey, Dan Innis, George Jacobson, Mel Johnson, Scott Johnson,  Robert Kennedy, Al Kezis, Dennis King, Irv Kornfield, John Maddaus, Deirdre Mageean, Chuck Maguire, Kathleen March, Stephen Marks, Jim McClymer, Charles Moody, Bryan Pearce, Robert Rice, Linda Rottmann, Joyce Rumery, Thomas Sandford, David Scheidt, Evelyn Silver, Stellos Tavantzis, Roy Turner, Michael Vayda, Gloria Vollmers, Janet Waldron, Gregory White, Robert White, Dave Yarborough.

Absent: Peggy Agouris, Dean Astumian, Eisso Atzema, Richard Eason, Sandy Gardner, Stephen Gilson, Alexander Grab, Robert Gundersen, Carlos Islam, Joseph Kelley, Martha McNamara, Howard Patterson, Dan Sandweiss, Christa Schwintzer, Bruce Segee, Janet Spector, Andrew Thomas, Jim Warhola.

I. Welcome and Signing In

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

II. Approval of Minutes

The minutes from the February 25, 2004, meeting were approved unanimously.

III. Announcements

Senate President Bryan Pearce announced that the next elected member meeting would be at the University Club on April 14 and the next full member meeting would be in the main dining room at Wells.

President Peter Hoff presented the following statement:

“First, I would like to thank the many, many people who have called, written, and spoken to me in the past several weeks, complimenting the university’s achievement, expressing a desire for the university to continue moving ahead, and offering to help.  These people are significant in number, they are spread across many occupations and roles at the university and in the community, and they are strong in their feelings for our university.  Some of you are here this afternoon, and I thank you.  And I beg your indulgence while I address a few topics too important to ignore.

Seven years ago you asked me to come to UMaine, to help you—in your words—“turn the university around.”  You asked me to provide stable and lasting leadership after several decades of short-term leaders and a somewhat fragmented campus.

Together we have achieved those things.  We increased the size of the entering class by 50%.  We added more than two thousand students to our enrollment.  We reclaimed bragging rights as “the largest university in Maine.”  We did all that while increasing our standards and expectations.  We hired outstanding new faculty members.  We tripled the external funding for research.  Before the recent budget cuts, we had gained a remarkable series of budget increases, plus successful bond referenda.  Private gifts to the university have never been more generous and plentiful.  More than $150 million of renovation or new construction is complete or underway.  We achieved the highest level classification in the new Carnegie system. All that and more have been part of our record of achievement for the past seven years.

Now we are experiencing a phenomenon that seems to come up every time a major milestone is reached.  Before the year 1000, many people were deathly afraid that God would certainly bring the world to an end on January 1.  The day came and went without any cataclysms.  We inflicted the same fears on ourselves with Y2K, except that God had become the computer, and we feared that Microsoft would end the world on that date.  Again we somehow got past it.

Now our university faces a milestone specific to my presidency.  On September 30, 2004, I will become the longest serving president since Arthur Hauck (1934-1958)

Like Y1K and Y2K fears, rumors of my imminent departure have been rampant.  They started at least two years ago; they resurfaced one year ago. Now there appear to be daily rumors.  Last Friday at 5pm was a popular guess.  It didn’t happen, did it?  I have no plans or expectations of leaving.  So enough already!  If you have a particular date in mind for the office pool, don’t bet your mortgage on it.

This week, I turned down three invitations to put my name in for jobs that would make me the head of a major state university system or statewide governing board. Two of these were not just candidacies, but offers to move immediately to the search’s short list.  My refusal to participate is not the behavior of someone who thinks his days are numbered.

Still the rumors persist.  It has reached the point where people are getting distracted, some people seem tempted to look elsewhere for leadership, and some people even seem to feel they would prefer not to have campus unity and common direction.  To the extent these problems exist, we must all come together and extinguish them for the good of the university.  What is at stake is all the significant progress the university has made.

We must not let anyone reverse our course now.  We must not let our own anxieties reverse that course.

So what’s next?

First, our Trustees have announced a new strategic plan.  For us it is an excellent plan, because it reaffirms our role as the premier university in the state—the flagship, the leader, the research university, the only doctoral-research-extensive university in the state.  How could we possibly quarrel with that vision for UMaine?  How could we not embrace that vision?

As with all plans of this kind, the devil—if there is one—is in the details.  We certainly want to know where the resources are going to come from to finance our great leap forward.  No one has said—not in print anyway—that the money is going to come from savings at other campuses.  Nor would we want to impoverish our partner campuses in the University of Maine System in order to fund UMaine.  The draft plan says that the funds will come from “new revenue sources” and from “internal reallocation.”

We would certainly like to know what “new revenue sources” the trustees have in mind.  And anyone who faces the words “internal reallocation” has to worry which of our services and programs will suffer or be eliminated in order to finance the greatness of others.  While it is too early to stress over details, questions like these are not in themselves minor details.  They lie at the core of the plan and its prospects for success.

The essence of our response must be that, if the plan calls for the university again to pull itself up by its own bootstraps, that is exactly what we will do, given sufficient autonomy and responsibility for charting our destiny though our own ongoing strategic planning process.

And while the Trustees’ plan speaks of the greatness of The University of Maine, remarks in last Friday’s Bangor Daily News, and attributed to Chancellor Westphal, appear to be quite negative and critical about UMaine’s current state of affairs.  Having been quoted out of context and misquoted myself on occasion, let me say that I am certain that Chancellor Westphal did not say the things that were attributed to him in this regard.  I am, however, concerned that these negative perceptions were circulated in the media, and I hope the record can be corrected.

One quotation, for example, claimed that we take the brunt of budget cuts and “spread them throughout the campus instead of strategically investing in the future.”  Since the chancellor regularly reviews our budget with us, and he knows that we have specifically tied our budgeting to our strategic plan, and we have protected and invested in key priorities, such as the library, the honors program, and graduate education, he could not have been the source of such a quotation.  Without question, such priorities (and many others) need greater resources.  But we have done much to direct what funds we have to strategic areas.

The article said that “UM needs reform and change . . . in its culture and direction.”  In fact we have come incredibly far since the most difficult days of the 1990’s.  Our culture and direction have been responsible for the progress in all areas that I cited at the beginning of my remarks.

We also read, “people need to be excited about the place, and we need to give them the tools to get vitality back into the institution.”  Yet everywhere I go—on and off campus—I hear from people who have been following this premier university.  They recognize the vitality and excitement that characterizes us.  It has made us the state’s university of choice and the university most engaged with the entire state—helping it move forward socially, economically, and culturally.  If the people of Maine would like to give us tools for vitality, let them respond with better pay for our employees, who have devoted themselves to UMaine, seldom complaining, and working long and hard for its success.

Finally, the article continued, “the issue is how good is the faculty, how productive is the faculty, and how strong is UM in performing its mission.”  And of course we all know the very affirmative answers to those questions.  Every legislator, governor, business leader, and citizen who has come to Orono to see our teaching and learning vitality and our vast research enterprise, has come away with a deep appreciation for what we do here.  So I say to anyone who doubts our faculty quality, productivity, and strength: “let them come to Orono!”

Does all this mean we are perfect, and all is well at UMaine?  Of course not.  Every major university in America is currently facing challenges almost unparalleled in history.  Public disinvestment in higher education has generated a crisis that will take all of our ingenuity to resolve.  Old approaches cannot be counted on to work any more.  However, we must discover and embrace new approaches together and in unity and harmony.  They cannot be imposed from without or from above with any hope of success.

And in order to move forward with unity and harmony, we must get our house in order.  To start, the rumor mill I mentioned at the outset needs to slow down and quiet down.  Communication must be in the open and not consist of whispers passed along one by one, where they inevitably become jumbled.

We need to acknowledge that members of the faculty, staff, and administration of this university have raised valid questions about the way we operate.  These concerns hit me especially hard, because what they imply runs counter to everything I believe in and have—as a professor and leader—devoted my career to:  academic values and standards, shared governance, openness, accessible information, orderly and fair processes for hiring and promoting personnel, a level playing field for everyone in our academic community.  I still believe we have those things.  But I worry about the possibility that, in spite of the best intentions, we may occasionally have strayed.  If so, I find it unacceptable.

These are some of the concerns I am hearing:

Some searches may not have been sufficiently open or procedurally sound.

Some persons have questioned the process by which we judge candidates for tenure—and the results of those processes.

Some vacant positions have not been filled as quickly as we would have wished.

There are questions as to whether funds expected or promised have been delivered.

I have to say to you in all honesty that I believe the record shows that these worries have been exaggerated in some people’s minds.  People are again concerned because they hear rumors and repeat them.  Nevertheless, the very existence of these perceptions and beliefs is reason enough to stop, examine the record, and examine our process—openly and in the light of day so that all can participate in judging whether the university’s direction is the right one.

I am therefore taking the following steps:

I am asking the provost to suspend the search for a Dean of the Graduate School, while we review the search process.  Our interim dean has accomplished a great deal, and there is no urgency to rush to the selection of a new dean, since questions about process have been raised.

I am also asking the provost to move quickly toward starting a national search for someone to head our library and information resources operations.  It is important for this search to move ahead, using agreed upon procedures, and find someone to lead the Fogler Library and related statewide services into the future.

I am asking the University Community to go into “BearWorks mode” to address the questions and concerns that have been raised.  By that, I mean I would like to organize an academic retreat where we could openly discuss a variety of concerns as academic equals—no ranks, no titles, no constituencies other than the university as a whole, with an external and neutral facilitator to run the meeting.  Since Maine Day is traditionally the day when we clean up the campus, I suggest we hold our retreat on Maine Day.

This retreat could lead to task forces to address specific areas that need further attention, including one that would address the requirements and implications of the System’s Strategic Plan.

At the end of the proverbial day, I am still the president, the Faculty Senate is still the Faculty Senate, the deans are still the deans, etc.  We all have different roles and responsibilities.  I intend to play my role fully, not abdicating responsibilities to anyone.  I expect all of you to do the same.  If we work together in this way, with no one worrying about who gets the credit, it will be amazing what we can achieve.

As I said before, anyone who thinks this university needs to be revitalized is, in my view, missing an enormous amount of the vitality all around us.  What we need to address is actually a byproduct of our own vitality.  Because we have started to move faster, stresses and strains have materialized.  People have new uncertainties, and they worry that things might be happening without their knowledge.

I want to allay those anxieties by convening a better conversation and better communication.  I have given this university the most energetic and most enjoyable seven years of my entire career, and I have come to love it immensely.  I would hate more than anything to see us step backward.  I intend to be here as long as you want me, and to do everything I can to help the university advance.  Please join me in this commitment.

Thank you for your attention”.

Vice President and Provost Robert Kennedy gave the following update on the P & T decisions:

“I want to give you an update—and address as much as I can—concerns about this year’s promotion and tenure decisions, specifically those raised in the Faculty Senate Resolution passed in February. Many important concerns were raised in that resolution.

Although I can’t be specific, I can say that there is a grievance process now underway that will include gathering information from many people, including the faculty members and peer committees involved.

The process of responding to the grievances has been intentionally modified to include the concerns expressed by the Faculty Senate, namely that peer committees have an opportunity to meet with those who advised me.

I hope you understand that I cannot provide any additional information because of the confidentiality of the grievance process, including the identification of grievants and the specific allegations contained in a grievance.

Beyond the concern about decisions made this year, there is a broader concern about the promotion and tenure process itself—I share many of those concerns. I am proposing the formation of 2-3 groups to deal with different aspects of these concerns:

First, I hope that I can work with the AFUM leadership on the process for developing and approving departmental promotion and tenure criteria.

A memo that President Hoff and I sent out earlier this year—that we were advised to send out—needs to be changed.

It is my hope that—working together—we can clarify the process and come up with one that works for departmental peer committees and for the administration.

Second, I have informally proposed—and talked to Bryan about this preliminarily—a joint Faculty Senate/administration committee to consider changes in the promotion and tenure process.

Some examples might include, the consideration of a broader faculty-based committee to advise me, and meetings between that committee and a peer committee in the event of disagreement over a tenure recommendation (also as recommended in the Senate’s earlier Resolution).

Third, I have already announced to the Deans my intention to appoint a Task Force on the Retention of Women Faculty by the end of this semester.

This Task Force, staffed by Sharon Barker, Director of the Women’s Resource Center, is an outgrowth of an informal gender issues group that has been working with me for two years. I would expect the Task Force to consider and recommend policies and procedures that can enhance the success of women faculty members. Of course, I expect the Senate to be represented on the Task Force”.

IV. Committee Reports

A. Jim Acheson (Committee on Committees)

The Provost’s office needs a faculty member for a committee being formed to oversee Sabbatical leave requests.

Nominations are sought for vice president as well as chairs and members of the various committees of the Faculty Senate for next year.

B. Peggy Agouris (Research and Public Service)

Peggy was absent, no report.

C. Darlene Bay (Finance and Institutional Planning)

No report.

D. Michael Grillo (University Environment)

No report.

E. Marie Hayes (Academic Affairs)

The committee has met with VP Doug Gelinas and they are preparing one more motion for this year. The report from the NEASC was very favorable.

F. Dianne Hoff (Library Advisory Committee)

They are encouraged by President Hoff’s announcement regarding initiation of the search for the chief librarian’s position. The committee will review journals on the cancellation list before the summer break.

G. Dana Humphrey (Board of Trustees Representative)

Sixteen candidates for Promotion and Tenure have been approved by the BOT.

Expansion of the Shawn Walsh Hockey Center at Alfond Arena has been approved.

The BOT has proposed to consolidate some of the “back office” functions here on campus with the UMS office in Bangor. The campus will be charged back for the services performed by the UMS office.

Senator Hoff reminded the senate that when Vice Chancellor Elsa Nunez spoke to the senate, she said the UMS office will be reduced in size but will have more responsibility.

Dana Humphrey encouraged everyone to read the strategic plan carefully.  He said that at a strategic plan briefing, UMS VC Nunez explained that “the performance driven budget process” will recognize the differences in costs of various programs. Humphrey hoped that when the budget is studied, the Chancellor’s office will weigh equally teaching, research and public service.

Provost Kennedy announced that the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, Elsa Nunez, and some members of the Board of Trustees will be on campus April 13th to discuss the strategic plan with members of the campus community.

Senator El-Begearmi asked as to how the UMS strategic plan would affect UM’s strategic plan. Provost Kennedy said that UM’s plan already addresses some of the issues raised in the UMS plan.

Dr. Tony Brinkley stated that he hopes the university will use its resources more fully in the developing the plan.  One of the problems is that the people developing the plan are not familiar with the challenges of the people whom the plan affects. He suggested that department chairs should be more involved in the process.

H. Jim Horan, for H. Patterson (Constitution and By-Laws)

A group is working on the Faculty Handbook.  Nominations for Faculty Senate President-Elect and volunteers for various senate committees should be sent to either Jim Acheson or Senate Vice President Howard Patterson.

I. Tom Sandford (Workload Committee)

No report.

J. Dan Sandweiss/Jim Warhola (Interdisciplinary Programs)

No report. A motion will be presented under New Business.

V. Discussion

On behalf of the Graduate Board (GB) Executive Committee, Senator (and member of the GB) Scott Johnson submitted to the senate a response to the Academic Affairs subcommittee report on the Graduate School. Copies of the response titled, Graduate Board Executive Committee Response to Review of the Role of the Graduate School Executive Summary, were made available to all senators.  Vince Guiseppe, President of the Association of Graduate Students, supported the response of the GB.  He suggested that the academic affairs sub-committee working on Graduate School matters should include a graduate student representative.

Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee Marie Hayes said that one of the problems was that people interpreted the report as saying we do not need a Graduate School or the Graduate School does not fulfill its mission.  She quoted from the report, “These comments are offered to the administration as suggestions for improvement of current practices and policies…”  She said the report was meant to start a conversation about how the Graduate School can function more efficiently.  The sub-committee will appear before the Graduate Board and will have a discussion about issues of concern.

VI. Old Business

No old business.

VII. New Business

Senator Grillo introduced the following motion.

Motion:

Inclusion of the Section on “Graduate Interdisciplinary Endeavors at The University of Maine” in the Graduate Catalog at The University of Maine.

The Interdisciplinary Studies Committee
March 31, 2004

Motion: The Faculty Senate proposes that the Graduate Catalog include a section on “Graduate Interdisciplinary Endeavors”, and that the substance of that section be the following description and categorization of programs and endeavors currently operating at the University of Maine.  The IDS Committee proposes that this list be included in the current on-line catalog as soon as practically possible, and in the next printed version.

Graduate Interdisciplinary Endeavors at The University of Maine

The University of Maine is firmly and deeply committed to the expansion of knowledge and understanding by encouraging various forms of interdisciplinary academic endeavor.  Such activities have become the hallmark of academic excellence and a clear indicator of the intellectual vitality of modern institutions of higher learning.  The University of Maine accordingly boasts a vibrant array of interdisciplinary activities that provide an exceptionally wide range of opportunities for all members of the University community—undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty members, staff members, and administrators—to participate in scholarly undertakings that involve multiple academic disciplines.  The following list covers opportunities currently available to graduate students at the University of Maine; other endeavors may be in the planning stages, and the University actively fosters the expansion of this critical aspect of its overall mission of teaching, research, and public service.

I.  Interdisciplinary Graduate Programs

Composite Studies (Graduate Certificate in Advanced Engineered Wood Composites) Disability Studies (graduate core)
Ecology and Environmental Science
Financial Economics (M.A.)
Food and Nutrition Sciences (Ph.D. program)
Forestry (MFY{non-thesis}, MS, Ph.D.)
Health Care Administration (grad. certificate)
Historical Archaeology (M.A. option)
Information Systems  (MS and graduate certificate)
Interdisciplinary Ph.D. (various concentrations available,  e.g., Functional Genomics)
Landscape Horticulture emphasis within the M.S. degree program in Horticulture
Marine Bio-Resources
Master of Arts in Liberal Studies
Master of Science in Teaching  (concentrations in Physics,  Earth Sciences,  Mathematics, ,or  Generalist Option)
Plant Science (Ph.D. program; multi-departmental)
Quaternary and Climate Studies
Marine Policy  (M.S.)
Marine Sciences and Marine Policy Dual Degree Program (3 years: with an M.S. in Policy and an M.S.  in one of the marine sciences)
Water Resources (graduate concentration)
Women’s Studies (graduate concentration)

II. Other interdisciplinary endeavors:

Academy of Public Service (joint endeavor of UM Dept. of Public Administration; M.C.Smith Center, and the Muskie Institute of USM)
Advanced Engineered Wood Composites Center
Canadian-American Center
Center for Community Inclusion
Cooperative Extension
Division of Lifelong Learning
Franco-American Center
Institute for Quaternary and Climate Studies
ITHCRA (Interdisciplinary Training for Health Care for Rural Areas Project)
Laboratory for Surface Science and Technology
Maine Folklife Center
Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy
Pulp and Paper Process Development Center
Research Collaborative on Violence Against Women
Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Environmental and Watershed Research
Solar Vehicle Team (College of Engineering)
University of Maine Center on Aging
Wabanaki Center
William Cohen Center for Public Policy and Commerce

President Hoff said that he and VP Doug Gelinas had reviewed the motion and they were satisfied with the list of programs.

The motion carried unanimously.

The meeting adjourned at 4:30 P.M.

Respectfully submitted,

Stellos Tavantzis, Secretary

 


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