Faculty Council Minutes -- February 2008


February 15, 2008
Rosen Center Conference Room

Faculty present: Dick Oliver, (Chair) (CSES), Mike Richardson (Chair-Elect) (HORT), Doug Karcher (HORT), Laurie Apple (HESC), Fred Stephen (ENTO), Gene Milus (PLPA), Jean-Francois Meullenet (FDSC), Park Waldroup (POSC), Dan Rainey (AEAB), Duane Wolf (CSES), Jeff Miller (AEED), Tom Costello (BAEG), David Kreider (ANSC)

Others present: Dr. Greg Weidemann, Dean
Dr. Donna Graham, Associate Dean
Nan Miller, University Faculty Senate
Tim Killian, HESC Curriculum Chair
Donn Johnson, Agriculture Curriculum Chair

1. Call to Order – D. Oliver, chair, called meeting to order at 2:35 p.m.

2. Approval of Agenda – G. Milus moved to approve the agenda, D. Rainey seconded. Motion adopted by voice approval.

3. Approval of Minutes – Motion made to approve the January 18, 2008. Motion was seconded. Motion adopted by voice approval.

4. Reports

A. Administration: Dean Greg Weidemann

The award nominations came back and there were very few nominations for the undergraduate awards. The department heads were given additional time to provide more nominations. The other awards have adequate nominations. Dean Weidemann reminded the department heads the students only get one opportunity for these awards and it is very important to the students.

Honors Day Program has been moved to an evening event which may allow some of the parents of the student awards winners to attend. The College will be able to focus more on student awards and will recognize the outstanding students at the department level.

The retention study commissioned by the college through the Survey Research Center is complete and copies of the executive summary were provided to all department heads. Over 200 students were surveyed. Of those students who withdrew many cited conflicts with work as a factor in their decision to withdraw. Many worked 30 to 40 hours a week while trying to attend college, which signifies we have unmet needs for scholarships. One of the issues for students working so many hours is consumer debt. The Dean sends letters each year to incoming freshmen and to their parents which also includes this issue. Of those students who withdrew most retained positive feelings about the college and their programs of study.

The college piloted a student mentoring program this year with a small cohort of students with mixed results. The program has been substantially revised for next year. Solicitations for nominations for student mentors have been sent out.

B. Associate Dean: Donna Graham

Class and Grade Issues

The Dean's Office has processed 586 forms in the fall of 2007. Dr. Graham proposed the number of incomplete grades be reduced. Last fall the automatic shift from incomplete grades included 1094 grades largely due to faculty not submitting the grades within the 12 week time period. Dr. Graham suggests including in the policy some highlights such as legitimate good cause and the student has to have a passing quality of work completed when the faculty member makes that decision. Each faculty member should write a letter to the student with outline of what is expected of that student to complete the work and remove the incomplete grade. This documentation should then be given to the student, placed in that student's file and a copy should be given to the Dean's Office. This will eliminate the Dean's Office from becoming the arbitrator. The discussion across campus is an incomplete grade should not be given unless the student has completed over 50 percent of the required course work. There were 227 incomplete grades given last fall. Some were internships, which is understandable. The most common incomplete grades were special problems.

Dr. Graham suggested that the faculty not grant any exceptions to this 12 week deadline when they come back the following semester. If it is not changed by the deadline or if the student decides not to enroll, then we will use that existing grade calculation. Situations have occurred when a student has been out of school for 2 or 3 years and then comes back to complete the course. There may be new instructors, new courses, or that student's particular instructor may not be at the college any longer. Dr. Graham asked the Faculty Council members to go back to their departments for further discussion. She proposed this to be placed in the Advising Handbook as a procedure to follow and in the Student Handbook.

Cross Listed Classes

Dr. Graham reported cross listed classes in UAConnect are very time consuming and questioned why we have them and what is more important, the context of the course or the outcome? A caveat is included, the student semester credit hours are linked to the instructor. This will not affect department degree sheets. Dr. Graham asked the Faculty Council members to go back to their departments for further discussion.

Special Problems

Dr. Graham feels we are treating the students with special problems the same as those students who have incomplete grades. The college had 190 percent increase in the number of special problems from the 2003 academic year to the 2005 academic year and it is still increasing. Last year it was down slightly, 173 sections of special problems.

D. Oliver suggested many students are procrastinating and need a class for graduation. Graham suggested special problems should be for individualized instruction, whether it be research or some other technique, not to teach a class, nor to help a student graduate. There will always be a need for special problems, but would like to see it reduced. Preference would be a course substitution over special problems. The form for completing special problems is included on the Web page with procedures for faculty.

Dr. Graham reported that in the college there are 427 students in courses who have not met pre-requisites. She reminded everyone that course substitutions should be submitted so when student are cleared for graduation, this is in the system.

D. Oliver asked about informing instructors when a student drops their class and Dr. Graham will research that.

The faculty has been very helpful in cutting down on late registrations. Campus administration is really tightening up on this. In the future, late registrations will only be allowed because of administrative error. After the 11th day, there will be no more enrollments.

C. Agriculture Curriculum Committee Report: Donn Johnson

D. Johnson gave everyone a hand out. There were some concerns about the two poultry science courses. They basically are the same course but the graduate student course had some extra requirements. That was a partial reason for the 5 to 4 vote on that issue. Some believe there should be totally different numbers for the grad courses and some believe in keeping the same number but allowing grad students to come into a 4000 level course.

D. HESC Curriculum Committee Report – Tim Killian

T. Killian gave everyone a copy of the minutes from their February 6, 2008 meeting.

T. Killian reviewed point number four regarding Interior Design. They presented six minor changes, mostly related to pre-requisites. Some changes were in course descriptions. The Committee passed these six minor changes. Food, Human Nutrition and Hospitality presented two minor changes. There were two major changes presented and approved by the Committee which were: an addition of course HESC 4683, Food and Wine Management and an addition of course HESC 5683, which is the same course, just on a graduate level. Motion was made and approved to accept the changes.

E. University Faculty Senate: Nan Miller

Provost Bob Smith discussed Off Campus Duty Assignments (OCDA). Those interested in this, should include deliverable books in the proposals, which are due November 15. He would like to seek partnerships with other grants to fund the activities. He presented figures for 5 years and 19 to 27 proposals were submitted and only one was denied.

Budgets – Hearings go through the end of March. Dave Gearhart reports they will no longer request the 2 percent (real dollars) giveback from each college's budget.

The provost discussed the new multi-tenant building at the Arkansas Research and Technology Park. It will be completed in 2009 and there is a lot of interest.

The provost reviewed the inclement weather policy and asked everyone to check All Things Academic publication, volume 4, issue 4, December 2003. Each instructor can adopt whatever policy he or she chooses because the one in place is for staff. However, it should be included in everyone's syllabi.

Jeff Long, the vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics and director of athletics reported they are combining the women and men athletic programs. Bev Lewis will be the associate vice chancellor for intercollegiate athletics and executive associate athletic director and will continue to serve as the senior women's administrator. Following the NCAA rules is top priority. Gender equity and graduation rates are also priorities. The most current figures he reported were for 2000-2001 and the graduation rate was 48 percent. Mr. Long is conducting a program assessment within the Athletic Department.

Other topics Mr. Long discussed included class attendance and improving the community image of the Razorbacks. He wants to enhance the student-athlete experience. There is a need to generate more dollars for projects that are unfinished.

The Executive Committee has not been able to find any ADA testing locations for those who need a quiet, controlled environment. They talked to Dave Gearhart about this reallocation.

The provost would like to improve communication campus wide between administration, faculty, departments to departments, etc. The University for years has not been consistent in what they say and how they practice their benefits package. It is ready to go to President Alan Sugg and the Board of Trustees, but there is a document extending benefits to qualifying adults. One of the primary reasons we need to do this is that we are not competitive with our peer schools.

Joel Freund has met with the Panhellenic Council and has made a strong request for changing rush from its new plan this past fall to something else and he suggests it be deferred to the week before classes start for the spring semester.

There is not a moratorium on new post-graduate programs, as it was removed in 2004. A new post-graduate program in Education reform has passed through University Senate.

M. Richardson has a written proposal that he will forward to Nan Miller to address with the University Faculty Senate regarding the Thanksgiving holiday break M. Richardson believes that because so many students do not attend classes on Monday and Tuesday of that week that this holiday break should be changed to include the full week.

F. College Teaching and Advising Award Selection Committee – Dick Oliver

Because Dr. Graham has requested a representative from each department to serve on the Teaching and Advising Awards Committee, D. Oliver contacted those departments who did not have an updated representative and feels the list is complete and gave to Dr. Graham. Dick Oliver will send to Dave Edmark for updating on the Web page.

5. Old Business

A. Voting Procedures – Dick Oliver

D. Oliver gave everyone a revised list of all Bumpers College 2008 Voting Faculty, which included their email addresses and departments. There was a suggestion to use Survey Monkey or something similar to ensure anonymity when voting.

B. Joint Committee Meeting with Vice-President Milo Shult – Dick Oliver

The Four-Cornerstones Committee and the Resolution Committee will meet with Vice-President Shult on February 18, 2008 from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm in the Rosen Center Conference Room.

C. College Recognition of Student Scholarly Achievements at Graduation – Duane Wolf

D. Wolf, F. Stephen, and H. Brown worked as a committee to evaluate the use of the Latin designation for graduation with Honors for the Bumpers College. They reviewed the University of Arkansas catalog and compared the different colleges. The colleges are consistent on this campus, using the Latin terms for the honors graduates and using the distinction for the grade point, except for Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food & Life Sciences, which uses the reverse.

They compared this to neighboring institutions (Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Missouri, etc.) and the systems within Arkansas (Hendrix, UCA, Arkansas State, Henderson). By and large most of these are relatively consistent in that the Latin term is used for grade point only. They use "with distinction" or "with honors" or "high honors" for the Honors Programs.

Decision should be made if Bumpers College wants to continue as it is now or change to be consistent with campus. The Committee's suggestion is that the Honors College would have the Latin names and everyone else would have with honor, with distinction, or with highest distinction. Motion was made to accept the Committee's report. A motion was made to take this report back to the departments for further discussion. Motion was approved by voice approval with one negative vote. D. Wolf will send the Committee's report electronically to the Faculty Council members along with the Committee's recommendation. Dean Weidemann will share the report with the Honors College Dean.

D. Plus and Minus Grading System – Dick Oliver

Each faculty council member was asked to report on their respective department's use of this system. Results are as follows: D. Rainey (AEAB) – The majority want to stay with it. They feel it does encourage the B/C students to work hard. M. Richardson (HORT) – The majority want to keep it, but it should be clearly defined in the syllabus. They feel it has helped the majority of the students by bringing them up to a plus grade rather than moving them down to a minus grade. F. Stephen (ENTO) – They polled their graduate students with 13 out of 14 being opposed to this system. The department voted to abandon this system and the college should be in agreement with the rest of the University. They thought it unfair not to offer an A plus. J. Meullenet (FDSC) – They are neutral on this issue as long as it remains optional. G. Milus (PLPA) – None of the students were in favor of this with the majority of the faculty not using this system. Because they have small classes with 8 to 10 students, it is much easier to assign grades. T. Costello (BAEG) – Their classes are coded, so that option is not available to them.

P. Waldroup (POSC) – The majority do not use it and are not in favor of using it.

J. Miller (AEED) - They are neutral on this grading system. D. Kreider ANSC) – The majority did not favor using this system and the students strongly object to it. D. Wolf CSES) – Those who teach larger classes favor using it. The faculty like the flexibility of using this system. L. Apple (HESC) – The majority were against using this system.

The opinion of the Dean and of the students is that it should be consistent across the campus. Faculty voted in the plus/minus grading system as "optional" and it is too early to make a decision regarding changing this system. D. Oliver and M. Richardson will write a uniform statement to send to the faculty to include in their syllabus. This issue was tabled for further discussion at the next Faculty Council meeting.

E. Faculty Council and Ad Hoc and Four Cornerstone Committees Preparation of Questions for Departmental and Town Hall Meetings – They will await the outcome of the meeting on February 18 with Vice-President Shult before preparing questions.

6. New Business - None

7. Announcements – The next Faculty Council meeting will be March 7, 2008.

Meeting was adjourned at 4:20 p.m.

Submitted by
Carmen Alessi