2006-2007 - October 18, 2006
Faculty Senate Minutes
October 18, 2006
Present: Aria Amirbahman, Bahman Baktiari, Shari Baxter, Richard Blanke, Emmanuel Boss, Joe Carr, Alan Cobo-Lewis, Dorothy Croall, John Daigle, Robert Dana, Marcia Davidson, Eugene DelVecchio, Michael Eckardt, Sue Estler, Jacques Ferland, Amy Fried, Gail Garthwait, James Gilbert, Michael Greenwood, William Halteman, Dianne Hoff, Karen Horton, Sue Hunter, Dan Innis, Cary Jenson, Mel Johnson, Scott Johnson, Leonard Kass, Robert Kennedy, Deborah Killam, Adam Kirkland, Irving Kornfield, David Kotecki, David Lambert, Terrence MacTaggart, John Mahon, Jim McClymer, Jessica Miller, Kathleen March, Henry Munson, Ngo Vinh Long, Harlan Onsrud, Mick Peterson, Gregory Porter, Paul Rawson, Robert Rice, Alan Rosenwasser, Linda Rottmann, Dan Sandweiss, Ann Schonberger, Michael Scott, Kathryn Slott, Evelyn Silver, Allan Smith, Touradj Solouki, Aaron Sterling, Claire Strickland, Edna Mora Szymanski, Shihfen Tu, Janet Waldron, Beth Wiemann, David Wihry, Vivian Wu
Absent: James Acheson, Carla Billitteri, Rodney Bushway, Hsiang-Tai Cheng, Raphael DiLuzio, Duane Hanselman, Dorothy Klimis-Zacas, Roger Merchant, Tina Passman, Howard Patterson, Stellos Tavantzis
President Leonard Kass called the meeting to order at 3:20 pm.
The minutes from the September 20 meeting were approved.
BOT Representative – Dr. Robert Rice
The next BOT meeting will be in early November at Machias.
Academic Affairs – Dr. Irving Kornfield, Dr. Aria Amirbahman
Dr. Kornfield reported on the University Teaching Council, which has met once this semester and formed committees. He will have more to report at the next meeting.
Dr. Amirbahman reported that the Academic Affairs committee has met and sent out a request to faculty for opinions or questions regarding Continuing Education. They have received feedback on issues such as minimum/maximum class size, etc. They are hoping to open a dialogue with CED in the near future.
Constitution & Bylaws – Dr. James Gilbert
Dr. Gilbert reported that there are now two members on the committee and he is seeking more individuals to serve.
At this point, Dr. Terrence MacTaggart, Interim Chancellor of the University of Maine System, arrived. Dr. Kass introduced him to members of the senate. Dr. MacTaggart began his presentation on “The Case for Public Funding” by stating that in addition to speaking about funding, he would also address UMS office downsizing and the search for the new chancellor.
Dr. MacTaggart said that about 8 years ago UMS was receiving peak funding for the system from the State of Maine. At one point in his tenure we received 16% increase in funding, which was a substantial increase. For a brief time we increased our funding from 6.5% to 7% from the state. The percentage of State of Maine taxpayer funding that supports the university was in the 60% range then. Now we receive less than half the funding from the state. He thinks that it will continue to decrease. During those years every bond request was approved.
The funding from the state is still very significant. It would take a $2 billion endowment, to equal what the state gives. We shouldn’t minimize the funding that we receive from the state – it cannot be replaced easily. The University of Maine, along with UMFK, has the strongest political support tied to a campus in the state. UMFK has John Martin, which is good for the system. Emily Cain and Elizabeth Schneider are also both strong proponents for UMaine.
He then listed what UMS has asked for from the legislature this year. They have told the legislature that if we can receive the same base funding this year, we won’t have to raise tuition. The chances of us getting what we have asked for aren’t good, so we are probably looking at another tuition increase next year. Affordability and access are things that the legislature wants to see. The second argument has to do with salary. UMS will do studies regarding the disparity of pay for faculty in Maine compared with other states and investments into programs that are not only important to UMaine but also to the people of the state, such as health care programs, nursing, the school of biomedical science, to give us permission to pursue those initiatives.
One of the crushing problems facing the Maine economy is that we have an old population. We lose about 3,000 high school grads every year out of state, especially in northern Maine. How do we build a knowledge based industry if we are loosing our brightest, youngest citizens? What have other states done to reverse this trend? There are other states that have turned this situation around and in two basic ways: financial aid and scholarship money for the affordability piece and the reputation of the expertise of their institution. The University of Connecticut changed its image from a “safety school” to the “go to school”. Other states have done that as well. If we are going to keep the most able students in the state in addition to bringing in a lot of talented students from out of state, and the world we need a first rate institution that will retain our own students and bring in others from both out-of-state and internationally. He congratulated the faculty for raising the reputation of UMaine into a “go to” school and said that this is how he presents his case for more funding from the legislature. UMaine is very good for the economy of the state.
At this point he asked the faculty senators for recommendations on how he should present the case for more state funding to the legislature. One faculty member said that it would help to put a face on the programs here at UMaine such as the doctoral programs.
Another faculty member said that we should push for more funding for the library; it is hard to attract graduate students from other places if our library is not able to provide the journals and publications needed for graduate study and research. We should emphasize the library’s weaknesses to the state. Dr. MacTaggart said that capital funding for the library has increased in the last couple of years. We should make the case that it is not our library but the state’s library, for the people of the state.
Dr. MacTaggart said that he thinks we will have a pretty good chance of retaining the same level of funding from the state for this year, but the state is now paying 55% of the cost of schools in the state which is a lot of money. Someone mentioned the TABOR question in the upcoming election. TABOR will be a problem if approved. Dr. MacTaggart did not think that it would pass.
There will be difficult decisions to make. We will have to decide which programs should be invested in to raise them up to another level, which programs will be maintained because they are important to the university and which ones will have to be let go over time. We will have to do what we can to work with the legislature to receive the all important state funding. We have to show them that the public agenda and the academic agenda do merge.
A senator asked if Dr. MacTaggart knew the percentage of legislators who have a BA degree or higher. Dr. MacTaggart did not, and asked where the senator was leading with the question. The senator said that there seems to be a perception in Maine that people have earned good livings without a college degree, so why can’t today’s youth do the same. Dr. MacTaggart said that attitude may be part of it but for the most part it is changing, because of mill closures, etc. People understand the importance of education. Another senator observed that it is the college educated people who work at places like BIW who get the contracts awarded that keep non-college educated employees employed.
A senator asked about the term “go to” institution. We have a three-part phrase Research, Scholarship and Creative Expression – is Creative Expression in the picture? Are there community engagement opportunities that we should be involved in that would promote our cause to the legislature? Dr. MacTaggart said that the Creative Economy concept has been over-sold to the people of the state. He gave an example of NYU who went from being a commuter school to a “go to” school, during which they pumped a lot of resources into their philosophy department which attracted many students.
A senator asked about the cuts at the system office and whether this would help our request for funding with the state. Dr. MacTaggart said that there has already been 1 million in cuts at the system office and there will be more in the next two years. He said
that if they hadn’t done that it would be hard to make their case. They did not make cuts to parts of the office that would affect enrollment down the line.
Regarding the search for the new chancellor they had decided not to use an outside search company, in part to save money. They are looking for someone who can make our case to the legislature. They have some people who have expressed an interest in the position.
University Environment – Dr. Amy Fried
The committee has met once and continues to work in the area of time off from teaching during family illness, adoption of a child, etc., and to deal with the teaching/unpaid leave aspect of this issue. They will follow up on the retention of women faculty.
Research & Public Service – Dr. Scott Johnson, Dr. Mick Peterson
They have no report.
Finance & Institutional Planning – Dr. William Halteman
The committee has met with Janet Waldron, and have set an agenda for this year.
Library Advisory Committee – Dr. Dianne Hoff
The library committee has met. They have looked at other libraries in New England, UMass and UCONN, which are way larger than ours. They have also looked at UNH and UNV, who are in better shape than we are. They are looking at creative ways to enhance areas of Fogler Library, like sponsored collections.
Service & Outreach Committee – Dr. Kathleen March
The S&O Committee has joined with the Service Learning Leadership Team which is under the Center for Teaching Excellence. They met today and is still working with promotion and tenure criteria. They want to see how service learning relates to promotion and tenure with each department and also how service learning leads to retention of faculty. They need to inform the campus better on what service learning is.
Committee on Committees – Dr. Michael Greenwood
The committee is looking for volunteers and nominations to serve on three committees: Dean Review of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Dean Review for the Honors College, we need one person to serve on this and the Director of the Student Innovation Center Search.
Questions for Administrators
There were no questions.
New Business – Motion on Policy and Procedures for Program Creation and Reorganization
Whereas the Constitution of the Faculty Senate establishes its jurisdiction and responsibility to make recommendations regarding academic matters, including program creation and reorganization, and
Whereas the President of the University of Maine, in his letter of August 14, 2006, to the Faculty Senate, invited the Faculty Senate, in the spirit of shared governance, to provide guiding principles for considering reorganization proposals
The Committee of the Elected Members moves that the University of Maine Policy on Program Creation and Reorganization be approved by the Faculty Senate and recommended to the President for implementation.
The motion was seconded. A vote was called.
The motion passed, 42 for, none opposed, 1 abstention.
Shari Baxter – Graduate Student Government
Shari Baxter, Vice President of Graduate Student Government, introduced herself and referenced some materials that were handed out at the start of the meeting. She encouraged faculty to become involved with graduate student issues on campus. The GSG changed its name from the Association of Graduate Students. If anyone wants the grad student government folder on their desktop, please let her know. The areas that they will focus on this year are: graduate student health insurance, if you have grad students who have complained about the insurance please let her know; the GSG has money available for grants for travel, conferences, etc.; GSG has formed a research committee which will investigate financial packages offered at competitive institutions; the annual Graduate Exposition will be held in April 2007, please encourage your students to participate at the exposition, and hopefully more faculty attend the exposition. They are ask faculty to encourage undergrad students to attend. The GSG needs faculty members to serve as judges and is also looking for graduate students stories to be published in the media. They are also looking at increasing stipends for grad students; 80% of the students surveyed said that they cannot live on what they receive at this time. Survey results were included in the handouts.
The meeting adjourned at 4:30 pm.