Faculty Council Minutes -- April 2016

DBCAFLS Faculty Council Meeting
Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food & Life Sciences
April 15, 2016
APC Rosen Center Conference Room


Attendees: Daniel Rainey, FC Chair; Nick Anthony, FC Chair elect; Qiuqiong Huang, AEAB; Don Edgar, AECT; Jason Apple, ANSC; Kris Brye, CSES; Ya Jane Wang, FDSC; Jacquelyn Mosley, HESC; Ioannis Tzanetakis, PLPA; Sami Dridi, POSC; Clarence Watson, Asst. Dir AES; Leslie Edgar, Honors / IP; Jeff Miller, AFLS Curriculum; Doug Karcher, Scholarships; Laurie Apple, Laura Herold, & Jennifer Henk, HESC curriculum; Kalynn Smith, Administrative Specialist


Call to Order (2:30 PM)Dr. Daniel Rainey, Chair


Approval of AgendaApproved


Approval of Minutes (March 2016)Approved



Division of Agriculture – Assoc. V.P. – Research for the Division of Agriculture – Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, Dr. Watson


Dr. Watson’s report for this month concerned a lot of preliminary items, but began by bringing the Faculty Council up to date on budgetary items, nothing that the US House has marked up the Ag appropriations budget. A total of $25 million was added to the AFRI program (which was done with discretionary money). The Senate has not marked up their side yet, but are expected to do so within the next few weeks. It’s likely that an actual budget won’t be seen until after the election. Considering the current environment, level funding may not be too bad the top line number for the Agriculture budget was actually a little lower than last year, so to see any increase in funding in research was pleasing. As for the state budget, the Medicaid expansion and the three percent increase in the fringe benefit rate pose threats to funding. The Division’s budget is tied up with the Medicaid expansion/Arkansas Works; the current program expires this year, so the state must either renew it or drop it. Dropping it will create anywhere from a $60-120 million dollar hole in the budget, that they will have to fill. If it doesn’t pass, a three percent cut in higher education funding is at risk. The best case scenario is level funding from last year.

Two final budget-related items that will affect those writing grants: the three percent increase in the fringe rate for campus will take effect in July (reflects the increase in health insurance, reserves were taken from the fringe benefit pool, and the reserves are now gone) and the department of labor is likely to issue an executive order to raise the level for someone to be exempt from the current 23,000 to just over 50,000 per year. These will need to be taken into account while writing grants in the future.


Bumpers College — Dean and Associate Vice President for Agriculture, Dr. Mike Vayda


No Report


Bumpers College —Associate Dean, Dr. Lona Robertson


(see handout)

Dr. Robertson opened her report by reiterating Dr. Watson’s comment regarding budget – a flat budget is the best case scenario. She then moved on to information on where the University stands with admissions.

Applications are at over 17k for Fall ‘16 (20% increase in applications), 778 last year for incoming freshmen, this year 947; of the 17k, the University accepted 12,150, of 947 students who applied for Bumpers College, the University accepted 621. A question was posed as to why students were turned away if numbers would allow them (approximately a gap of 500), but Dr. Robertson couldn’t respond, as she is not given a reason for the rejections. However, she reminded the Faculty Council that there is some lag between when these numbers are printed and when all acceptances are finished, so it could be that there are some accepted students who simply are not showing in the numbers yet. There is also the possibility that applications were withdrawn.

To help the Faculty Council better understand the handout, Dr. Robertson clarified that “yield” referred to the number of students who actually apply and attend. She also brought up the five-year rolling average of 5.5% who are accepted to the University and who come. Of course, projected numbers are subject to variable such as housing contracts, withdrawn applications, decisions to attend university elsewhere, etc. Of the 5300 in the incoming freshmen class, approximately half will be out-of-state students. The Faculty Council asked how the increase in admissions was reflecting in the drop-out rate; Bumpers College is graduating more in raw numbers than it has in the past, and the percentage rate is going up as well, so while it’s a slow increase, the increase in admitted students is in fact correlating to an increase in graduates.

The Faculty Council then spoke about student attendance in class, focusing on discussion about the quality of students and the issues some professors have had with getting students to class, as well as cheating from students with the use of clickers to mark attendance.

Dr. Robertson then brought up a subject from Chancellor Steinmetz about the point at which we reach the max number of students we can take. A number has never been stated, but it is speculated that 30k would be reaching max capacity, and the University will reach about 28k this fall.

Some changes will be made to the acceptance process in the future, specifically that out-of-state students will be held to a different standard than in-state students (higher scores will be required), as the general belief among campus is that the University must be able to provide access to Arkansas students. Other changes may involve raising the tuition rate, but Dr. Robertson mentioned that the University’s out-of-state tuition is still lower than some of our neighbors’ in-state tuition (such as Kansas).


International Programs Committee – Dr. Leslie Edgar


(see handout)

International Programs is moving forward with 2016 programs; the Study Abroad office is working with faculty leaders and students to go through insurance, what to pack, itineraries, and other information, among which is what costs the students might incur while in-country. Some students have had safety concerns, and those who have them should speak with Dr. Edgar. International Programs will cancel a program up until the hour before a student leaves if there is a reasonable threat of danger.


Honors Program Update – Dr. Leslie Edgar


(see handout)

The Honors Program has just finished poster competition; the intent was to allow Honors students to gain some perspective of possible research and try to educate them that opportunities for research exist outside of a lab. A press release will go out announcing the winners, one from the undergraduate division and one from the graduate division. Three students have entered the Outstanding Thesis competition (date/time moved to April 25th to make sure all students who wanted to participate could), and six Honors students will graduate in May. There will be three incoming seniors to the Honors Program who have accepted fellowships, now up to eight students who are receiving a substantial amount of money. Dr. Edgar encouraged faculty to let her know of any high-achieving students who might qualify for Honors fellowships.

In a list of upcoming events: the thesis competition is currently searching for three faculty judges; student mentor application deadlines were today, also looking for a few students to help fill the Honors Student Board; the Global Food Opportunities Seminar will be April 18th, and the Honors graduating ceremony will be May 13th.

Dr. Edgar also reminded the Faculty Council that deadlines for IP funding and the International Educator award had to be moved to July 1st. Based on recommendations from last month, Dr. Edgar integrated the Honors Committee into the bylaws. The Honors Committee voted on it in favor unanimously. A movement to accept changes to document was made among the Faculty Council. It was seconded and carried unanimously.

As a final note on international travel, Dr. Edgar iterated to the Council that warnings about travel to a certain country receive more attention from the Study Abroad/international travel staff. Given that travel warning typically have a timeline associated with them, a student will be notified about said warning, and if the warning extends to their time overseas, they are pulled from the program. However, grad students can be moved to a petition category, much like faculty (they can delay or cancel their overseas experience). There is a larger discussion at the University level about faculty traveling; if a faculty member is traveling to a country of warning, he/she will need to change status to “mission critical” and make sure time there does not involve personal/vacation time.


Student Networking and Curricular Enhancement – Dr. H.L. Goodwin, Director


No Report


University Faculty Senate- Dr. Don Edgar


No Report


Graduate Council – Dr. Kris Brye on behalf of Dr. Thad Scott


No Report


Faculty Council Report – Dr. Daniel Rainey, Chair


The nominations committee met approximately two weeks prior, where there was some debate about the Faculty Council Chair elect and whether or not the Council will continue to want three nominees, as stated in the Faculty Council bylaws. Currently, there has been difficulty reaching three volunteers, and in the past there have been debates for lowering the number of nominees or to have the Chair elect rotate through departments. The option favoring two nominations seemed to be the consensus of the committee. Because this will constitute a change in the bylaws, it will need to be made into a proposal for a motion to be made during the May meeting. A movement proposing to write these changes was made and passed.

Dr. Rainey then drew attention to the personnel document, which is still currently in process to be approved. However, Dr. Rainey mentioned that he had a faculty council representative approach him to discuss the post-tenure review. Under the old system, faculty had three years to get another review to be voted either up or down. Under new plan, faculty have roughly six months to get a plan of improvement approved by departmental administration and departmental committee, then it is either voted up or down by college administration. If the college administration votes down, the faculty member is let go. Support for this change was defended under the logic to not provide essentially five years to someone who is performing at a sub-par level. A motion was presented to the Faculty Council to open this up for review, and the Faculty Council decided to leave document as-is.


Standing Committee Reports:


Awards Committee – Dr. Kate Shoulders, Chair


No Report


Scholarship Committee – Dr. Doug Karcher, Chair


No Report


AFLS Curriculum Sub-Committee – Dr. Jeff Miller, Chair


(see handout)

One new course went through the committee – Lifelong Agricultural Advocacy 1133 was developed to replace Foundations for Agricultural Education, which was traditionally offered to students who will become agricultural teachers. This new course will be opened up to other students, broadening electives for those students but still serving the same purpose for pre-teaching students. The former course was very traditional, but the replacement will have a lot of non-formal education methods. A movement to accept the course was made, and the motion carried.


HESC Curriculum Sub-Committee –Dr. Kathy Smith


(see handout)

Laura – Due to a clerical error, the Honors section to one of the new courses was left off of the documentation presented to the Faculty Council in last month’s meeting. Submitting this course for approval, as well as updating the titles of a few courses to incorporate the word “families” to more accurately describe the content of the course. A motion was carried to approve these updates.


Old BusinessNone


New Business –None

General Announcements

Faculty Meeting May 6th in Hembree Auditorium, will be voting on bylaws and will have a quorum there


Motion made and seconded to adjourn.

Submitted by Kalynn Smith