Faculty Council Minutes -- February 2017
February Faculty Meeting
Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food & Life Sciences
February 17, 2017
Call to Order (2:30 PM) – Nick Anthony, Chair
Approval of Agenda – Approved
Approval of Minutes (January, 2017) – Approved
Division of Agriculture – Dr. Clarence Watson – Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station
The Division continues to monitor the state and federal budgets. At the federal level, the Division is under a CR through the end of April; typically what happens is that a CR will not be brought back up for discussion until two weeks before the it is due to expire. The Division is expecting level funding with this fiscal year, and as noted in last month’s meeting, the Division is trying a new approach to requesting federal funding by requesting a single line number for NIFA (final votes for that will be taken next week). At the state level, the Division is still unsure of what the situation is; a number of things are being monitored, including the Appropriations Bill. Early indications suggest level funding on state appropriation, which is about the same as it has been for the past ten years. There are several other bills going through that will impact both research and teaching, such as the various gun bills going through now. Also, the governor did sign the performance-based funding bill, but the bill lacks much detail. Most of the proposed metrics are around graduation and retention rates, which do not apply to non-formula units like the Division. Another bill being watched is a bill to raise the state pay plan for classified employees. One of the proposals within that bill would be to move higher education classified employees out from under the state classification and move them to ADHE. These would still be classified positions, but they would be under a different administration. This is likely not going to change the bottom line cost to pay these employees, but it might provide the opportunity offer a higher salary, which has been a real limit in remaining competitive.
There was concern raised at the meeting about how the legislature views the Division of Agriculture faculty; the good “lip service” they receive doesn’t appear to be translated into increases in appropriation, and unfortunately there is no definitive answer as to why they do not receive more funding. Another concern was raised regarding whether or not the new gun bills would include any provisions/restrictions for the farm; this is a general higher education bill that does include the Division and therefore includes the farm. There was discussion about amendments possibly being added to the bill to require some minimum amount of training for those who will be allowed to carry.
Bumpers College —Interim Dean, Dr. Lona Robertson
One again the gun bills were addressed, and Dr. Robertson expressed the Dean’s Office position opposing the bills, as they are believed to create potential safety issues. Disagreements about the gun bills were also expressed from the top authorities of the University, but it appears that these voices are not being heard. Concern was raised among the Faculty Council that these bills will affect the University’s recruitment of quality faculty and students who might view guns allowed on campus as safety threats.
Strategic planning process for the college is continuing; there are sub-groups that will begin to work on the different initiatives so that we will have specific goals and metrics by which to measure our progress toward those goals.
The Provost is hosting a breakfast, so those who would like to meet the new Provost and attend this breakfast will need to contact through a link on the website that should be launched soon. The new Provost would also like to visit each department on campus as Chancellor Steinmetz did upon his arrival; department heads needs to contact Kathy Jones in the Provost’s office to set up that meeting. In addition, there will be a bus tour similar to the bus tour that Steinmetz carried out last year.
Dr. Robertson is preparing for budget presentations to campus in which she will tell them how Bumpers College is going to reallocate its 1% per the campus planning demand.
When asked about the Personnel Documents, Dr. Robertson could only report that Terry Martin has acknowledged that he has Personnel Documents, but could not report on any progress.
Bumpers College —Interim Associate Dean, Dr. Mike Evans
The change from having dual listed 4k courses (courses that serve as both graduate and undergraduate credit) has flown through lots of committees and faculty senate and is soon to be required, although many of us have already made this change; this process is going to take years due to technical issues that need to be resolved.
Update on application and admission activity – for the university, applications (as of February 6th) are up 5% and admissions were up 6.5%; for the college, applications and admissions are down 1.7%, which is not a large number, but we are paying attention to this small decline. We’ve had some students on a wait list that we’re paying attention to. Dr. Evans wanted the Faculty Council to keep in mind that the 1.7% number isn’t just a number of admits, but a function of who shows up and actually comes to the university, as well as a function of retention, so we’re close to being level with last year. On the topic of the wait list, Dr. Evans explained that students were rolling to a wait list because the university is paying close attention to in-state vs. out-of-state students; out-of-state students at certain ACT and GPA scores are being held until the University can look at in-state numbers, as there is an effort not to admit “too many” out-of-state students. Bumpers College is concerned about this effort because our college does not have a problem with in-/out-state-balance. The ideal would be to see this effort move down to the College/department level rather than University-wide.
A question was raised as to whether or not this discrepancy is tuition/revenue related. Dr. Evans and Dr. Robertson stated that the University was accepting a lot of out-of-state students who were paying in-state tuition, and state legislation was sensitive to that. Texas has leveled, while Illinois, Missouri and California have seen increases in out-of-state students.
A reminder was given to the Faculty Council to make sure the phrase “student learning outcomes” is on the syllabus for a new course or it will be rolled back (faculty will need to put these on new courses, honors courses, etc). It is key that student learning outcomes and course objectives are and must be distinguished as two separate goals. It is also now a requirement to put prerequisites on the syllabus and why.
Dr. Evans’ last note was that the AFLS Ph.D. committee is moving forward and they are focused on the different units that are interested in participating.
International Programs – Dr. Lona Robertson on behalf of Dr. Leslie Edgar
For 2017 all of our faculty-led programs made except for the food program in China. There are two pilot Honors College international research programs this year; we are sending students to Belize and the American Farm School in Greece to conduct research for a 5 week period this summer.
International Programs received 55 scholarship applications for study abroad programs this summer and those applications are currently under review by the faculty committee.
Faculty who are interested in applying for an international grant are due April 1st this year (grants are for FY18), and all faculty wishing to teach at the Rome Center must submit a proposal. The IPO committee has a subcommittee working on recommendations on policy and procedures for funding international programs
Faculty Council Report – Dr. Nick Anthony, Chair
University Faculty Senate – Dr. Don Edgar
Graduate Council – Dr. Ken Korth/Dr. John Rupe
Graduate Council mostly approves new graduate faculty and changes to graduate programs, and as such they made the change that some graduate programs will accept a published paper/accepted manuscript as a thesis. An example comes from Engineering, where a student sought a waiver for their thesis requirement as they had written a rather substantial paper which was published (one or more papers may be submitted to serve as a thesis, but only at the Master’s level). The paper must be considered by the graduate committee as publishable, and there are rules in place for co-authored papers (they must sign something to the effect stating how much work the student submitting the paper as a thesis has contributed to the effort).
Standing Committee Reports:
Awards Committee – Dr. Kate Shoulders
Scholarship Committee – Dr. Doug Karcher on behalf of Dr. Jill Rucker
Met on January 27th to make early awards to incoming freshmen and awarded two land grant scholarships and two AGRI beginning scholarships. These numbers are down significantly than from what has been awarded in the past; the explanation given was that we have far fewer students graduating who are receiving those awards and renewing those awards.
The scholarship deadline for current students was Wednesday this week; 428 students submitted applications and the committee will meet March 17th to decide who will receive awards. Departmental representatives on the scholarship committee will know the results immediately.
AFLS Curriculum Sub-Committee – Dr. Nick Anthony on behalf of Dr. Mike Thomsen, Chair
The only change to report was to the major in AG Business; this change added some classes to their curriculum that will build into the concentrations that are listed. This change required a Faculty Council vote, which passed.
HESC Curriculum Sub-Committee –Dr. Kathy Smith
Honors Program Update – Dr. Nick Anthony and Dr. Jacquelyn Mosley on behalf of Dr. Lisa Wood
There has been a directive from the university down – therefore affecting every Honors program – that the GPA requirement is going to change (3.75/3.8) for Honors students. This change is currently only held in the Walton College and impacts Walton the least (data was presented to prove this) There was a vote as a college that is essentially Bumpers has chosen to ignore it, and it seems other colleges were also unfavorable for this change.
Proposal Development and Research Methods course is proposed to be a requirement for Honors students to be offered in the Fall and Spring semesters; the Honors committee was very in favor of this proposal. It is being carried out as a trial run right now.
Changes that might be coming next month include incentives for mentoring Honors students by cutting off the number of students per mentor. Faculty representatives for Honors committee are currently required to sit on all the Honors defenses, but it has been proposed to cap the number here as well.
Old Business – None
New Business – None
Next Faculty Council meeting will be March 17, 2017 at the Arkansas Union 308SW
Motion made and seconded to adjourn at 3:30 PM
Submitted by Kalynn Smith