Faculty Council Minutes -- April 2013

April 19, 2013
Rosen Center Conference Room
Faculty present
Donn Johnson – ENTO (Chair)
Walter Bottje - POSC
Kristofor Brye – CSES
Ashley Dowling - ENTO
Don Edgar – AEED
Garry McDonald - HORT
Scott Osborn - BAEG
Andy Proctor – FDSC and International Programs
Dan Rainey – AEAB
John Rupe – PLPA, Substitute for Burt Bluhm
Kathy Smith - HESC
Others Present:
Nilda Burgos - Faculty Senate Representative
Mike Thomsen - Ag Curriculum Sub-Committee, Chair
Ethan Branscombe, Nathan Tompkins, Amy West – Bumpers College Students – Student perspective of the Plus/Minus grading system
Administrators Present:
Lona Robertson – Associate Dean
Clarence Watson - Associate Vice President for Agriculture – Research and Director, Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station

Call to Order – Donn Johnson, chair, called the meeting to order at 2:30 p.m.
Approval of Agenda – Motion made and seconded to approve the agenda. Motion adopted by voice approval.
Approval of Minutes – Motion made and seconded to approve the March 15, 2013, Faculty Council minutes. Motion adopted by voice approval.

Administration Reports
Division of Agriculture –Associate Vice President for Agriculture – Research and
Director, Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station – Clarence Watson
With sequestration of the Federal Budget went into effect with budget cuts of 7.6 percent of Federal Formula funds (Hatch and McIntyre Stennis Funds from the Experiment Station and Smith Leaver Funds from the Extension Service). The House, Senate, and President's budgets for FY2014 for the Division of Agriculture are in disagreement. It will be another year before the FY 2014 budget is known. Overall outlook on the Federal side is a bit negative. The state's budget recommended level funding, hopefully for the next two years.
The only major construction project within the Division of Ag is the Soil Test Lab in Marianna, Arkansas. It will be a phased project. Earlier in the week the Forestry and Livestock Station in Batesville, Arkansas celebrated its 75th anniversary including a Field Day on Monday. The Division of Ag hosted the joint meeting of the Southern Experiment Station and Extension Directors earlier this month.
Bumpers College – Donn T. Johnson on behalf of Dean Mike Vayda
Please click on link for Dean Vayda's report.
Bumpers College – Associate Dean Lona J. Robertson
Dr. Robertson has four tickets remaining for Bumpers College Distinguished Lecture Series on April 23, 2013. She also mentioned that Dr. Shah will come to campus on September 4, 2013.
Dr. Robertson is serving on the Higher Learning Commission Steering Committee (HLC) for the University's reaccreditation program. One of the main topics is student retention and graduation rates with much discussion regarding academic advising on campus. Student growth at the UA has now become an advising issue. The current model is not working. She and Alice Griffin have assembled a small group for brainstorming ideas to find a model that will work for Bumpers College without losing mentoring component with students. It was mentioned that it is essential for faculty to spend time on career development rather than the advising/procedural issues or the mechanics of advising. It was suggested during the orientation sessions to emphasize for student to come in with an advising plan rather than ask for the adviser to develop one.
University Prospectus Course will have separate sections for HESC versus agricultural courses. This course would be appropriate to emphasize the students' responsibilities with regard to their course scheduling. The University is purchasing an advising and tracking software package, Starfish, which will talk to UAConnect and Blackboard. Advisors will record in Starfish notes from advising meetings with students. However, if advisors change, that new advisor will be able to view the private notes added by the original advisor.
University 1001 will not count as degree credit. Walton College and Engineering College are exempt as they both already have freshmen orientation classes. Bumpers College was not exempt as its freshmen orientation class was not required by all departments.
Honors Program –Curt Rom, Director, No Report
International Programs - Andy Proctor, Director
Dr. Proctor reported on a vote of 8 of 12 to fund graduate students for international study abroad programs from Bumpers College scholarship funds. Next week two faculty members from the University of Gent will be on campus: - Ms. Hilde Vandecasteele: Director Study Abroad, April 22 and 23; and Professor Koen Dewettinck: Atlantis Exchange Program & International Programs, April 25 and 26. DeDe Long reported to Dr. Proctor 50-55 students are projected to travel abroad this summer and 9 this fall. In 2012, 43 students traveled abroad and in 2011, 25 students traveled abroad.
University Faculty Senate – Nilda Burgos, Representative
Please click on the link to view the Faculty Senate's meeting minutes from April 10, 2013.
Graduate Council Report –Jackie Wiersma, Representative, No Report
Please click on the link to view the Graduate Council's April 18, 2013 meeting minutes.

Standing Committee Reports
Promotion and Tenure Committee – Donn T. Johnson on behalf of John Clark, Chair
Dr. Johnson will request the Committee to elect a chair by May 1, for the 2013 College Promotion and Tenure Committee.
Nominations Committee – Scott Osborn, Chair
Carmen Alessi sent ballots to voting faculty to elect Faculty Senate representatives.
Awards Committee – Lona Robertson, Chair
The Committee has finished their tasks for the year and will meet again late August or early September and will need to elect a chair.
Scholarship Committee - Donn T. Johnson on behalf of Bruce Ahrendsen, Chair
The Scholarship Committee will meet on April 29, 2013 from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm to select current students to receive Bumpers College scholarship awards.
Ag Curriculum Sub-Committee – Mike Thomsen, Chair, No Report
HESC Curriculum Sub-Committee – Donn T. Johnson on behalf of Kelly Way, Chair, No Report

Old Business – Donn T. Johnson, None
New Business – Donn T. Johnson
Amy West of AEAB, Ethan Branscombe of AEAB, and Nathan Tompkins of HORT, presented students' perspective of "plus/minus" grading system. Their concern is more directed on the behalf of those students receiving an "A-"(minus), which translates to a GPA of 3.6 versus a 4.0 for someone who receives an "A". They believe students in other colleges may have an advantage competing for scholarships. They also mentioned the policy is inconsistent within Bumpers College as not all faculty use the "plus/minus" grading system.
Request to Reconsider 12-Point Grade Scale Policy
While students recognize the purpose of having a 12-point grading scale to increase fairness and give more accurate grading measures in the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food, and Life Sciences (DBCAFLS), we do not believe these goals are met. Meanwhile, students are met with frustration of inconsistency in grading scales from class to class in DBCAFLS and request our Faculty Counsel consider reverting back to a 5-point grading scale for DBCAFLS.
Donna Graham is heading up an ad-hoc committee to survey the Bumpers College faculty regarding their use of the "plus/minus" grading system and will report to the Faculty Council in August. A motion was made and seconded for the Faculty Council reps to take the students' perspective and the above statement to their respective departments for faculty feedback.
The fall 2013 Faculty Council meetings are scheduled for August 16, September 20, October 18, and November 15. The College P&T Committee meeting is scheduled for November 18, 2013.
Announcements – Donn T. Johnson
The College Faculty meeting will be on May 3 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm in Hembree Auditorium.
Motion made and seconded to adjourn. The meeting adjourned at 4:00 pm
Submitted by
Carmen Alessi