2005-2006 - October 19, 2005
FACULTY SENATE MINUTES
OCTOBER 19, 2005
Present: Aria Amirbahman, Shari Baxter, Richard Blanke, Emmanuel Boss, Mary Brakey, Tony Brinkley, Rodney Bushway, Sandy Caron, John Daigle, Marcia Davidson, Michael Eckardt, Sue Estler, Amy Fried, Todd Gabe, James Gilbert, Nancy Hall, William Halteman, Marie Hayes, Scott Hobbs, Dianne Hoff, Karen Horton, Sue Hunter, Mel Johnson, Scott Johnson, Leonard Kass, Robert Kennedy, Dennis King, Irv Kornfield, David Kotecki, David Lambert, Kathleen March, Stephen Marks, James McClymer, Kathleen McIntyre, Brigham McNaughton, Harlan Onsrud, Eric Peterson, Mick Peterson, Paul Rawson, Robert Rice, Alan Rosenwasser, Linda Rottman, Joyce Rumery, Dan Sandweiss, Ann Schonberger, Evelyn Silver, Kathryn Slott, Touradj Solouki, Clarie Strickland, Roy Turner, Janet Waldron, Stephanie Welcomer, Beth Wiemann.
Absent: Jim Acheson, Dean Astumian, Eisso Atzema, Robert Bayer, Carla Billitteri, Richard Borgman, Hsiang-Tai Cheng, Alan Cobo-Lewis, Laura Cowan, Dorothy Croall, Raphael DiLuzio, Mahmoud El-Begearmi, Stephen Gilson, Alexander Grab, Michael Greenwood, Robert Gundersen, Ludlow Hallman, John Jemison, Dorothy Klimis Zacas, Jessica Miller, Michael Scott, Denise Skonberg, Stellos Tavantzis.
The meeting was called to order at 3:18.
Minutes from the September 21, 2005, senate meeting were approved.
Dr. Marie Hayes opened the meeting. She began by mentioning the forum held the previous week with Dr. John Mahon and the senate. She explained that there has been concern between regarding the Provost’s idea that it might be useful to visit classrooms and the letter of request which was sent to some faculty. The meeting was an open dialogue about the issue. After the meeting the Provost indicated in a letter to Dr. Hayes that he would be open to further discussion. He said that he would continue to visit those classrooms in which the instructor has invited him to visit, but would not contact those who had not responded to his letter for a visit. He asked if faculty senate and other faculty would like to engage in further conversation regarding the teaching evaluation issue. Senate committees will be discussing this during the meeting today, particularly Academic Affairs committee.
Questions for Administrators:
Brigham McNaughton, Vice President of Student Government, asked VP Janet Waldron to update the assembly on the Green Campus Initiative. He brought copies of the Green Campus 2005-06 calendar for distribution to senators. VP Waldron said that there are two areas of focus: the sustainability area concerning the carbon challenge and greenhouse gasses. The Governor has an executive order on this; employers in the state will sign on to the carbon challenge. President Kennedy is very supportive; we are beginning to work on this. There is another effort in progress has to do with solar energy and energy cost conservation. We will be working with the finance committee and will be asking the faculty senate to support initiatives in conservation on campus. UMaine has supplied the Chancellor’s office with a list of items that this campus has been working on. The Chancellor is asking the Governor for a supplemental budget increase to cover increasing energy costs. Waldron thanked Student Government for pushing these initiatives on campus in dining halls and dorms.
Dr. Hayes had a question for VP Michael Eckardt regarding the request for proposals for new and emerging focus areas. Dr. Eckardt replied that there are strategic focus areas, and developing and emerging areas. The intention is to encourage areas that bring together different disciplines. Proposals are due October 21.
President Robert Kennedy announced that requests for honorary degree recipients were sent out to campus at the end of September; deadline is October 31. His office has received no nominations at this time. Because of new policy, nominations are being requested for May 2006 and 2007. We may not get another opportunity to nominate for 2007. He brought some nomination forms to the meeting. Dr. Schonberger pointed out that in the past she has submitted nominations nearly every year, but wanted people to be aware that if a person has received an honorary degree from another UMS campus, they cannot be eligible for a UMaine honorary degree. President Kennedy replied that the system has just revised policy. If a person received an honorary degree from another campus more than five years ago, s/he would be eligible to receive one from UMaine.
Dr. Irv Kornfield reported on the University Teaching Council. The UTC has met three times. Its subcommittees have also met. A handout was distributed at today’s meeting with two resolutions sent to the Provost for response (copied below). This is for the senate’s information only. The first resolution directs the Provost to direct chairs of all units to explicitly encourage sabbaticals related to teaching missions of the university. The second resolution recommended Deans of several colleges, including Education & Human Development, Business, Public Policy & Health, the Graduate School and the Honors College, to initiate annual teaching awards to formally recognize outstanding teaching instruction by the faculty.
University Teaching Council
Resolutions adopted October 12, 2005
Pedagogical research, the revision of extant curricula, and the development of new curricula are vital to continued growth of teaching at the University of Maine. Excellence in these activities requires concentrated, organized effort.
The University Teaching Council unanimously recommends that the Provost direct the chairs of all units to explicitly encourage sabbatical leaves related to the teaching mission of the University. Sabbaticals that investigate pedagogy and curricula are as important as those devoted to conventional research, e.g. laboratory experimentation or library study.
Recognizing outstanding instruction at all levels enhances the profile of teaching and emphasizes its centrality at the University of Maine. Three colleges — Engineering, Liberal Arts & Sciences, and Natural Sciences, Forestry & Agriculture — annually recognize faculty for outstanding teaching.
The University Teaching Council unanimously recommends that the Provost direct the deans of the College of Education and Human Development, the College of Business, Public Policy & Health, the Graduate School and the Honors College to initiate annual teaching awards to formally recognize outstanding instruction by their faculty. These awards should commence in the 2005-2006 academic year. Annual college teaching awards shall not be given to members of the UTC.
[Note to accompany Resolution 2: If desired, the UTC can provide assistance in formulating criteria for awards.]
UTC Resolutions are sent to the Provost for his action.
Dr. Eric Peterson gave the report for the Academic Affairs Committee. Academic Affairs has met and has topics that they will be dealing with immediately, eg, the CED question. Jim Toner will be speaking to the committee about in the near future. They are also working with UTC on evaluation of courses.
A question was asked for Dr. Peterson to expand on the CED issue. He explained that it was in response to a question asked about policies regarding cancellation of courses, reduced salary, on-line courses. An undergraduate course is cancelled if there are less than 12 students enrolled, 6 for graduate level. The question was raised as to what if a course is required or important to a student’s program and there were only 9 people enrolled, is there some other arrangement? They will be working on these issues.
Constitution and Bylaws – Dr. Leonard Kass
The committee is starting work on revision of the faculty handbook. Dr. Doug Gelinas, very central in the work done on the handbook three years ago, has begun looking at the handbook and when he gets to a point that he has progressed as far as possible, he will then meet with the C & B committee to collaborate with them. Dr. Kass received an e-mail from Dr. Gelinas indicating that he was ready to begin work with the committee. He will meet with them and then the committee will continue working on revisions. We hope to have a revised edition by the end of this year.
University Environment – Dr. Amy Fried and Dr. Sandy Caron
Dr. Fried opened by explaining that the committee has a resolution to place before the senate today: UMaine Won’t Discriminate. The committee is meeting next week and if anyone wants to be a part of the committee, please contact either Dr. Caron or Dr. Fried. Issues discussed so far have been civility, academic freedom and faculty governance.
Research & Public Service – Dr. Mick Peterson and Dr. Scott Johnson
Dr. Peterson opened by stating that the committee had an organizational meeting. The primary focus for the committee will be bridging funds, impact on research and economic development and broader impact on campus, recognition of research activities across units, especially units not normally associated with large dollar amounts, and the impact of graduate education.
Finance & Institutional Planning – Dr. Todd Gabe
Dr. Gabe said the committee met on October 7. VP Janet Waldron, Claire Strickland and others gave a broad conceptualization of the FY ’07 budget. Like last year they are expecting new additions to the budget to total anywhere between $10-12 million. Examples of additional priorities: perhaps $5 million to cover faculty/staff raises, $600,000 for increase in graduate student stipends, and $750k to 1 million in increased energy costs. There is $400k for facilities maintenance. The idea is to totally eliminate the 80/20 campus tax on units. Each year if a department carries over money to the next fiscal year it is taxed 20% of that amount, a tax going to facilities maintenance. The idea now is to have that amount officially in the budget. They are also looking at a $400k addition to the libraries and there are other priorities that may come along. Right now they are in a similar situation as last year and are looking for additional revenue to cover these additional costs. There is also good news. Thanks to the hard work of the administration, faculty and others, we helped convince Standard & Poors to retain our University’s current bond rating of AA- which is quite good. At the next committee meeting in November they will start looking at the financial strength of the University.
A question was asked what the Standard & Poors rating actually means. Dr. Gabe said that it signals to the outside world the financial strength of the institution, which is largely determined by the vitality of the institution. It also affects the cost of borrowing money; with a high bond rating you can borrow money at a lower rate. VP Waldron added that it is a vote of confidence in the institution. She said it was truly a concerted effort across the board. There was a site visit from Standard & Poors (not a typical event). We normally follow the state’s bond rating: if the state’s is lowered, the public institution’s is lowered. This is called grading.
Committee on Committees – Dr. Stephen Gilson was not able to attend
Senate President Hayes took this chance to address the senate regarding service on the various committees on campus. She said there seems to be a crisis in volunteering. For two recent committee vacancies, one received no volunteers, the other one volunteer. The Provost search and NSFA search committees both had many volunteers, however.
Library Advisory Committee – Dr. Robert Rice for Dr. Dianne Hoff
The Library Advisory Committee did a brief survey on campus. They have received over a hundred responses and will use the information to see where the library stands in terms of collections and other items. Please send surveys if you have not yet done so.
Board of Trustees Representative – Dr. Robert Rice
The Board of Trustees met at UMF on September 25 & 26. Dr. Tom Longen, formerly of AGB Associates spoke about collaborative decision making, meeting for 2 hours with the BOT Representatives and two hours with the BOT. He talked about what we normally call Shared Governance and how it can be done well. He described how faculty can participate in decisions that affect both academic and other areas of the campus, how change on the campus occurs through collaborative decision making, how it goes more smoothly, and how the role of faculty should be defined in terms of their ability to make decisions on campuses. The Chancellor has appointed a committee to develop a white paper by the end of this year for the BOT and us.
Representatives from each campus spoke about efforts to aid victims of hurricane Katrina. Response from UMaine was by far the greatest. Dr. Rice said the amount of donations received from this campus was astounding.
A revenue bond, one issued by the system, not one that is voted on, will be issued by the system. $21 million for a recreation center on campus (revenue bond), $7 million for residence halls for safety and other improvements, and $11 million for revamping dining facilities. Dr. Rice again thanked VP Waldron for the incredible job during the bond rating meetings with the people from Standard & Poors. The annual Program Inventory was published by the systemL we have 387 programs, 132 concentrations, 101 minors across the system. Student numbers are up, 34,000 enrolled in the system. UMaine’s official count, including ITV courses, is 11,435 students. UMaine Graduate Students total 2,237. The endowment report was given at the meeting, total system endowment is $134 million, Umaine has $73 milliion of that amount. Finally, a handful of faculty members spoke to the BOT about UMF’s decision to switch all of their courses to 4 credit hours.
Service & Outreach Ad Hoc Committee – Dr. Kathleen March
The committee has met. Some of the issues discussed were the relationship between Cooperative Extension and the University. She said we have just scratched the surface on this, and discussed the University following through on its Mission Statement as a land and sea grant institution. Public service is mentioned in the mission statement. The committee continued to discuss the definitions of service and the role of compensation if there is public service involved. Another discussion pertains to the issue that UMaine has a University Research Council, a University Teaching Council, so why not a University Service Council.
Dr. Hayes wanted to add to the earlier discussion of teaching evaluations and wanted the senate to know that this issue is now in the hands of the Academic Affairs Committee. In the spirit of inclusiveness the Academic Affairs Committee is asking senators and all faculty to send comments to Ellen Woodhead or the Faculty Senate Folder.
Resolution: UMaine Won’t Discriminate – University Environment Committee
UMaine Won’t Discriminate – Coalition Partner Resolution
WHEREAS Maine has a new non-discrimination law on the books that protects all people from discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation, credit and educational opportunity, regardless of sexual orientation, and
WHEREAS there will be a referendum question on the ballot on November 8, 2005, that is attempting to repeal this law, and
WHEREAS nobody deserves to be discriminated against due to their real or perceived sexual orientation, and
WHEREAS we believe that discrimination is wrong and affects all of us, and
WHEREAS the University of Maine already has its own non-discrimination policy in place,
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that we, The Faculty Senate, show our support and solidarity with all people in who opposing oppose discrimination in the state of Maine. We officially join with UMaine Won’t Discriminate as a Coalition Partner.
Dr. Caron introduced the resolution explaining that it had passed in the elected members meeting on October 5.
A question was asked that Dr. Caron explain who the Coalition is and why they were assembled. Dr. Caron said that they were a grassroots organization started by Matthew Small and Sarah Bigney in order to get various groups and departments on campus together to show support for the issue of discrimination, it is a campus-based organization.
A question was asked regarding the wording in the last paragraph of the resolution, “solidarity with all people in opposing discrimination…”. The person thought that it should be changed to “solidarity with all people who oppose discrimination…”. This was offered as a friendly amendment, which was accepted.
A motion to vote on the resolution was seconded.
A vote was taken, the resolution passed, 35 for, none against, one abstention.
Dr. Hayes had one more item to add. There is a new position announcement for Associate Vice President for Finance which is an essential position.
A Motion was made to adjourn, it was seconded.
The meeting closed at 4:30 pm.