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2004-2005 - September 22, 2004

Faculty Senate Minutes

SEPTEMBER 22, 2004

(Recording device was broken, from notes)

Present:  Jim Acheson, Eisso Atzema, Carla Billitteri, Richard Borgman, Mary Brakey, Tony Brinkley (for Bob Whelan), Rodney Bushway, Sandy Caron, Joe Carr, Laura Cowan, Habib Dagher, John Daigle, Raphael DiLuzio, Marcia Douglas, Mahmoud El-Begearmi, Jeff Frank, Amy Fried, Todd Gabe, Doug Gelinas, James Gilbert, Stephen Gilson, Alexander Grab, Michael Greenwood, Michael Grillo, Robert Gundersen, Nancy Hall, William Halteman, Marie Hayes, Dianne Hoff, James Horan, Dana Humphrey, George Jacobson, John Jemison, Mel Johnson, Scott Johnson, Robert Kennedy, Dennis King, David Kotecki, David Lambert, John Maddaus, Dierdre Mageean, John Mahon, Kathleen March, Stephen Marks, Jim McClymer (for Dean Astumian), Kathleen McIntyre, Jessica Miller, Howard Patterson, Paul Rawson, Liam Riordan, Alan Rosenwasser, Linda Rottman, Douglas Ruthven, Thomas Sandford, Ann Schonberger, JulieAnn Scott, Michael Scott, Evelyn Silver, Denise Skonberg, Touradj Solouki, Stylianos Tavantzis, Mario Teisl, Roy Turner, Janet Waldron, Gregory White.

Absent:  Peggy Agouris, Aria Amirbahman, Robert Bayer, Robert Cashon, Nellie Cyr, Ludlow Hallman, Harlan Onsrud, Michael Peterson.

Welcome and Introduction of Members

The meeting was called to order at 3:20 pm.  All members of the senate who were present introduced themselves.

Memorial Tribute to Welch Everman

A memorial statement for Welch Everman was read by Margo Lukens, Chair of the English Department:

Last Friday morning we received word that our colleague, Welch Everman, had died.  He had been ill with lung cancer for two years and spent the last few months of life at home with his family.

Yesterday, I sat in my office with a student reporter from The Maine Campus, trying to put into few words some reflections on Welch.  I said he had a huge sense of humor and was beloved by his students—I knew this from having an office next to his for the past five years, following his return from a long stint as Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts.  There was always someone coming to see him, even when he wasn’t in.  When he was in, the students sat in a maroon leather wingback chair, enjoying the chance to have Welch all to themselves.  Welch was generous that way, and also in the way that matters to colleagues—he was always willing to serve, willing to work on the next Augean task.  And he was utterly trustworthy.

He was a brilliant writer, too, a prolific scholar of literature, film, music and visual arts—but the only horn he ever blew was, literally, his trumpet.  If you were lucky enough to do a peer review of Welch’s work,then you got a sense of the full power and range of his intellect.

The young reporter asked me what Welch’s death meant for the department’s creative writing program—was this the end of an era? he said.

Yes and no, I replied.  We’ll need to find a writer and teacher of great promise to meet the expectations of students who come here to learn the craft of fiction, but no matter who we find, Welch will be a terribly hard act to follow.  In every sense of the word, he was our friend.

Kathleen March also read a tribute she wrote in memory of Welch Everman:

From a course I took with my advisor Welch Everman a few years back, I’ve always remembered his simple directive for creative writing: it needs a hook.  So Welch, what would the hook be here for the listeners to this text?  What will help them to best see and remember what a talent you were, how fortunate this place was to have had you as a member of the faculty?  Surely your work here will speak for itself…

Many of us have mourned the loss of an extraordinary colleague on Friday, September 17.  How can we even begin to document the reasons for this feeling?  Welch Everman in his eternally casual appearance  – which was simply an honest, “this is the real me” approach to things – was not exactly the type to be on vast numbers of administrative committees across campus.  We cannot forget, however, that he did a stint as Associate Dean of his college and was constantly on call in that capacity.  There was never a question he did not try to answer, a solution he did not try to find, a student he did not hope to help.  Nor can we forget that eventually Welch decided to leave that administrative mode to return full-time to his teaching in the English Dept.  As his wife Liz Bard says, he had found himself in teaching.

We too know that was the best fit for him.  And it showed off his talent for people.  Committees, fine.  Reports, well, all right.  But it’s always about learning and people, let’s not forget.  Welch, you constantly reminded us of that.

The talent for people seemed to begin and end with Welch’s frequent, spontaneous laughter.  He could laugh at himself as writer, parent, biker, working class, and even educator.  He might even laugh at you as colleague or student, or parent.  It was a way of including you in his enjoyment at being a part of the U of Maine and state of Maine communities.  It was a laugh of inclusion and encouragement.  It put you at ease.  It told you he liked you and was interested in what you had to say.  It gave you strength to follow some of your most secret fetishes or dreams, such as becoming a writer.  No matter what your age, background, or taste in literary styles.

One of the funniest things about Welch was his phobia about squirrels.  A lot of people knew about that anguish he felt when in the presence of the beastly little things.  He had a ball with that emotion, though, and one of the results was the story “Nuts”.  When told it would be impossible to translate that story or even the title into another language (“nuts” only means crazy in English), he laughed even more, mischievously.  Another great lesson was how he took writing so seriously yet made it so accessible to students.  He chuckled over his early novels, written for purely monetary reasons, and refused to reveal the titles so we couldn’t get hold of them and blackmail him.  In the midst of teasing himself, he would reminisce about another writer and immediately focus on his listeners, saying, “That’s somebody you must read.  Have you read him/her?”  You knew then that you had just been given “an assignment” and had better do it so you could “pass the test”.  “Test” being your commitment to your own learning process.

Despite a fondness for and scholarship on the horror genre of film and literature, Welch made the university kinder and gentler.  He always had “Another Way of Seeing” (as author John Berger would term it) that was respectful, mentoring in tone, no frills, spacious.  Spacious, because with him as colleague, professor, parent, or friend, you always had the space you needed to do the work you needed to do and to think to your best ability.   Words like bullying or top-down weren’t even a part of Welch’s vocabulary.

A few years back, a community member approached the university with a proposal for a center on creativity.  Just that: creativity.  It was hard to articulate that concept for an institution of higher education even then, but Welch was right there with the rest of the group trying to see what potential it might have.  It took hours of time, moved along without a set structure, and in the end did not result in a “product” or a grant.  He wasn’t concerned.  The group had enjoyed its time collaborating on ideas.  We’d all learned something.  We’d all grown.  And Welch truly measured human worth in those terms: not what hadn’t been accomplished but what had been and what could be, or even what was likely to be accomplished.  If you wanted to do something, he had faith in you.  Can you imagine what a lesson that is for students?  How grateful many of them are to have had him as a professor?  What a great gift that leads a person to believe in the capacity of so many people to reach their goals!

Maybe it was in Welch’s favorite drink – he was a confessed Moxie lover.  Maybe it was his own creativity which led him to see the stark, scary reality that is embedded in Stephen King’s profound portrait of US society, where people can become “needless things” in their race to acquire material possessions, to OD on the junk food of pop culture.  Or maybe it was growing up in a certain way in a certain time or place.  Whatever it was, Welch Everman and the U of Maine were a really good fit.  For all of us.  To Welch’s family – wife Liz Bard, and sons Charlie and Johnny – we thank you for sharing him with us.

James Horan noted that the University had lost two past presidents in recent months, Dr. Arthur Johnson, and Dr. Paul Silverman.

A moment of silence was observed in memory of Dr. Everman, and Presidents Johnson and Silverman.

A Motion was made to dedicate the meeting to Welch Everman, which passed unanimously.

Approval of  Minutes from April 28, 2004 meeting

The minutes from the April 28, 2004 Faculty Senate meeting were approved unanimously.

Introductory Comments:

President Patterson stated that there were many issues to be discussed this year and that even though people had differing opinions everyone should try to be considerate for each other.  He also stated that communication with the Administration and the System Office be a goal of the senate this year.

The faculty representatives to the Promotion & Tenure committee are Laurie Hicks, Bob Rice and Bruce Sidell.

Questions for Administrators:

Senator Grillo asked about the Strategic Plan for the UM campus, where it is and what is the process.  The response by Interim President Kennedy indicated that there had been a committee under Doug Gelinas, co chaired by Bob Rice.  President Kennedy had 77 pages of material on this.  All campuses are now being asked to see how the Strategic Plan of the University of Maine System impacts each campus.  We are in the articulation phase now.  The Chancellor sees the whole process being transferred to the campuses.

Senator Tavantzis asked a question about the implications of internal reallocation.  President Kennedy mentioned having worked through the faculty senate on the Strategic Plan.  There is no talk of additional revenue, only or reallocation, but we desperately need additional money.

Senator Hayes asked another question regarding the Strategic Plan.  What does the president see for faculty governance in this new situation?  We find the possibility of retrenchment alarming.  President Kennedy affirmed faculty governance is dominant in this sense, especially in curricular issues.  We’ll need additional people in many areas.  Faculty Senate President Patterson noted that the Chancellor has agreed to discussion of faculty governance.  Senator Horan had heard a BOT member say this would not occur.

Senator Grillo asked a question about the Presidential Search Committee.  What is the origin of the rules on who is on the search committee.  Tony Brinkley, substituting for Senator Whelan, noted that the search committee should include chairs and directors.

Introduction of Committee Chairs and Committee Assignments:

Committee on Committees:  Stephen Gilson, Chair, John Maddaus, Jim Horan, Carla Billitteri, Thomas Sandford and Mike Greenwood.  Senator Gilson stated that the process of the committee will be open and transparent.  The Committee on Committees needs nominations for the Presidential Search Committee, for the Strategic Plan process and two faculty members for the Student Conduct Code Committee.

Research & Public Service:  Douglas Ruthven, Chair, Dennis King, Jessica Miller, Paul Rawson, Liz Depoy and Mahmoud El-Begearmi

University Environment: Laura Cowan, Chair, Sandy Caron, Roy Turner, John Daigle

Aria Amirbahman, John Jemison, Alan Rosenwasser and Mary Brakey

Academic Affairs:  Michael Grillo, Chair, Mary Brakey, Dianne Hoff, David Kotecki and Greg White

Constitution & Bylaws:  Marie Hayes, Chair

Interdisciplinary Programs:  Kathleen March, Chair, Stephen Gilson, Eisso Atzema, Mike Scott, Dan Sandweiss, Ann Schonberger, Joline Blais and Carol Toner

Library Advisory Committee:  Dianne Hoff, Chair, Joyce Rumery, Bob Cashon, Rod Bushway, Kathleen March, Bob Rice and Eisso Atzema

Finance and Institutional Planning:  Todd Gabe, Chair, Bob Bayer, Rick Borgman, Mick Peterson, John Maddaus, Marcia Douglas and William Halteman

Workload Committee:  Thomas Sandford, Chair and Mario Teisl.  The Workload Committee needs a member from each of the following colleges; Liberal Arts & Sciences, Business, Public Policy & Health and Education & Human Development

BOT Representative: Dana Humphrey.  Dana discussed the biannual budget, and further aspects of the Strategic Plan.  The UMS budget request is faced by a $1 billion gap faced by the State of Maine.  The Palesky tax cap will increase this figure.  The Strategic Plan savings of $12 million are built in to the request.  The BOT approved a change of title for Dr. Charles Slavin from Director of the Honors College to Dean of the Honors College.  Regarding the Strategic Plan, some recommendations from the summit did make the plan.  Fundraising for the Maine Center of the Arts-Hudson Museum was approved for $10.3 million.  He doesn’t know about shared governance, but the trustees were very pleased by some of the displays that were set up for the meeting.

Motion to Reauthorize the Workload Committee of the Faculty Senate

The Workload Committee Motion passed unanimously.

Dialogue with the Administration:

Dr. John Mahon, Interim Academic Vice President & Provost gave the senate an update on the Promotion and Tenure issue.

Interim President Robert Kennedy gave an update on the Strategic Plan and the implications for this campus.

Howard Patterson asked what the feeling was about the Strategic Plan among UM’s strong supporters.

There was a question about graduate programs at other campuses.  President Kennedy stated that there is still language in the plan about graduate programs at other campuses.

There are still unanswered questions about University College at Bangor.  Michael Grillo asked how much the Maine Economic Improvement Fund has shaped the Strategic Plan.

Ann Schonberger remarked on the value of UCB non-traditional students.

Old Business:

None

New Business:

James McClymer (substituting for Dean Astumian) read a motion by Senator Astumian calling for a vote of  no-confidence in Chancellor Westphal, in regards to his action during the summer when UM President Peter Hoff was asked to resign his position.  Considerable discussion ensued before there was a motion to table, it was seconded.  This included a statement by Senate President Patterson that an Ad Hoc Committee would be created through the Committee on Committees.

Motion to table the motion.  41 yes, 6 abstentions, 0 against.

Nominations will be sent to the Committee on Committees.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:05 pm.

 


Back to 2004-2005

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