Faculty Council Minutes -- January 2008


January 18, 2008
Rosen Center Conference Room

Faculty present: Dick Oliver, (Chair) (CSES), Mike Richardson (Chair-Elect) (HORT), Doug Karcher (HORT), Jennifer Webb (HESC), Fred Stephen (ENTO), Hayden Brown (ANSC), Gene Milus (PLPA), Jean-Francois Meullenet (FDSC), Park Waldroup (POSC), Dan Rainey (AEAB), Duane Wolf (CSES), Jeff Miller (AEED)

Others present: Dr. Greg Weidemann, Dean
Dr. Donna Graham, Associate Dean
Nan Miller, Faculty Senate

1. Call to Order – D. Oliver, chair, called meeting to order at 2:30 p.m. He wants to take a team approach with a lot of issues to resolve and to move forward. He will push all department representatives to get things done.

2. Approval of Agenda – H. Brown moved to approve the agenda, J. Webb seconded. Motion adopted by voice approval.

3. Approval of Minutes – H. Brown moved to approve the November 9, 2007 and December 5, 2007 minutes. J. Webb seconded. Motion adopted by voice approval.

4. Reports

A. Administration: Dean Greg Weidemann

Going into this next budget year we have been working with the department heads to give us some budget flexibility on teaching FTEs without having a negative impact on our programs.

To help improve communication within the college, the Dean will add the Chair of the Faculty Council as a representative at department heads meetings starting with the February13, 2008 meeting.

Now that some of the recommendations of the Resolutions Committee and the Four Cornerstone Committees have passed, the Dean has asked a small group of faculty to work with him to make recommended changes in the College Personnel Document and the College Faculty By-Laws to present to the faculty for approval at the Spring faculty meeting.

Recruitment and retention remains a College priority. The approach should be to give each and every student the time and attention that they need to succeed. The College has created a Student Mentoring Program on a pilot basis this past semester with mixed results. Alice Griffin and John Kelly met with the Dean to get his perspective on needed changes and revised the proposed plan for next year. The mentoring program will pair upper classmen with freshmen and use them as an additional source of support for underclassmen who elect to participate in the program.

The College has formed a Task Force that will look at the overall college curriculum. The task force will take a comprehensive look at our overall curriculum to see if changes are warranted. Bruce Ahrendsen is chair of this committee.

The Honors Program has undergone a review as it has been seven years since the program was created. Based on student and faculty comments, it was time to take a comprehensive look. D. Wolf will work with the Honors Program Committee to address the recommendations of the review team.

M. Richardson noted that he sees more problems of retention related to transfer students and questioned if administration has discussed looking at transfer requirements more rigorously. Dr. Graham suggested that transfer students come to the University for various reasons, one of them being financial obligations. Often these students are dropping at least one letter grade. The academic pace of community college class work is much slower than the University's academic pace. The number of transfer students is increasing and at the transfer orientation in January we had 37 transfer students. We may need to look at a bridge program. H. Brown mentioned that these transfer students are an important part of the College's increased enrollment numbers.

Associate Dean: Donna Graham

She request that everyone start thinking about telefees as we are putting in a lot of new wireless nodes. There is concern over where can we put all of our computer classes in the near future.

The Dean's Office has processed change of grade forms for over 200 students this past semester.

Bumpers College has 457 students enrolled in classes who have not met prerequisites. Prerequisite reporting is now in place and being done.

B. University Faculty Senate: Nan Miller

The Faculty Senate met yesterday. The Provost reported on where the $12 million new dollars were spent in response to faculty concern that no one is seeing any of this money. The Provost reported a lot of this is going into increased heating costs, increased health care, and some faculty adjustments. The critical need is faculty salaries and perks, student needs, and enhancing the research mission. Kathy Van Laningham of Institutional Research reported that Arkansas' student faculty ratios are ranked in the middle on everything. They started about six years ago with 14 students per faculty and now have 17 students per faculty member.

The Faculty Senate still has concern about the required return of envelope for the United Way campaign. It is suspected that the contributions have not been distributed to designated agencies, but may have been commingled. United Way has been given one year to correct this. We may go to a cafeteria plan but will take a year before that happens.

There are concerns that Educational Access and Testing have no private rooms in their offices to give exams to those students who need special attention.

The Faculty Council Executive Committee is concerned that President Sugg is rushing things because he would like to fill the Chancellor position by July 1, 2008. Please encourage all faculty to attend the meeting on Monday, January 28 at 3:30 p.m. in Giffels Auditorium. It is a special meeting for the Faculty Senate and faculty members.

C. Ad-hoc non-tenure track hiring practice and Resolutions Committees

Nothing to report.

5. Old Business

A. Faculty Council Memberships - D. Oliver gave everyone a handout of the Faculty Council membership to confirm years of service by the current Faculty Council. P. Waldroup made one change to include 2006 as membership for him.

B. Routing Committee Reports – Suggestion was made that the resolutions and the cornerstones response be sent in a letter from D. Oliver to President Sugg. The Faculty Council was asked for their vote and 11 were affirmative and 2 were against or neutral. The tone of the letter will be informative and will include the faculty vote asking President Sugg to review.

C. College recognition of student scholarly achievements at graduation. Dean Weidemann reminded everyone Dale Bumpers College is the only college that still uses Latin designations for students outside the perspective Honors Program. It was requested that we bring ourselves in line with the other colleges. At the December Fall Faculty meeting it was decided to table this issue for further discussion. Dean Weidemann will report this to the Dean of the Honors College.

Dr. Graham gave everyone a handout noting changes made to the 1990-91 catalog for those students graduating with distinction and changes made to the 1991-92 catalog regarding requirements to graduate with honors. The following statement was added: Students may graduate with honors distinction without participating in the Honors Program. She has not checked institutionally outside the University regarding how the Latin designations are used.

F. Stephen reported these designations are important to students who are graduating with excellent GPAs regardless if they are part of the Honors Program. He sent an email to Dean McMath but has not received a response yet. D. Wolf, F. Stephen, and H. Brown will work as a committee to review and report back to the Faculty Council.

D. Wolf believes that uniformity with the Honors College would be good for the University. This affects approximately 2200 students of the total university population. Part of the confusion is adding "Honors Distinction" which then becomes associated with Honors College to many people. A change to "Graduate with Distinction" would clarify this confusion. The Student Advisory Board is indifferent to this issue. Diplomas would still include the designation.

D. By-Laws and P&T Document Change Committee – At the December 5, 2007 meeting faculty approved the Resolutions and Four-Cornerstones committee reports. In the first cornerstone it was agreed to allow Vice-President Shult and Dr. Cochran to sign off on promotion and tenure documents. A committee consisting of Charles Rosencrans, Nick Anthony, Luke Parsh and Lona Robertson has been appointed to recommend necessary changes to the signature sheet of the P&T documents. Dean Weidemann emailed Dr. Cochran to let him know that Dean Weidemann would work with an ad-hoc committee to make any necessary changes to the Personnel Document and College By-Laws for presentation and approval at the spring meeting. The next step in the process is for Vice-President Shult and Dr. Cochran to meet with the Provost and Chancellor to negotiate this change. This most likely does not need to be addressed by the Faculty Senate as this is a college specific request.

E. P&T and Faculty Service Review (FSR) Documents – Jean Turner suggested that the FSR documents be more in line with the P&T documents. The information is the same but the format is different. Dean Weidemann suggested it would be difficult to get changed as it is a campus driven policy versus a Division driven policy. In order to change on the campus side, the Faculty Senate would have to approve the changes. Dean Weidemann suggested it would be very difficult to make this change. Faculty Council took no action.

F. Joint Committee Meeting and Other Issues – At the December 5, 2007 meeting the faculty voted for the Four-Cornerstones Committee and the Resolution Committee to meet together, then meet with Vice-President Shult about this time of the year. Vice-President Shult preferred to meet with the Resolutions Committee alone, then meet with each department, then a "town hall" meeting. D. Oliver met with both committees about 10 days ago. A decision was made that these two committees will not meet separately with Vice-President Shult.

G. Off-campus faculty representation on Faculty Council and P&T Committees – There is a representative for off-campus faculty, which includes four that are tenured. It has been questioned if off-campus faculty need a representative on the P&T Committee to speak for them when they are already part of the department being represented. They have always had an off-campus representative but do not have representation on the Faculty Council. H. Brown suggested this decision should wait until the P&T Committee makes their recommendation.

H. Plus and minus grading system – Dr. Graham
The top level students are those having the most problems with this system. There are no A pluses in this system. It does discriminate against Bumpers College in that there are fewer students from the College making a 4.0 GPA, which keeps them from being eligible for some of the top student awards. Only approximately 50 percent of the faculty are using this system. Part of this issue is that it varies instructor by instructor. If this was the policy for the entire University, it may not be such an issue. Dr. Graham suggested this policy needs to be reviewed. Grade point averages can not exceed a 4.0, so the College can not give out an A plus. Dean Weidemann suggested Bumpers College faculty should revisit this policy and if the faculty decides to continue this grading system, it should be implemented as a college wide policy. It was agreed that this policy benefits the B students, which was the intent. Faculty Council agreed to take this back to their departments for further discussion.

I. Faculty Council and Ad Hoc and Four Cornerstone Committees Preparation of Questions for Departmental and Town Hall Meetings – Motion approved for both committees to meet as soon as possible with Vice-President Shult and report back to the Faculty Council, then form relevant questions for the Department meetings.

J. Voting Procedures – Dick Oliver
D. Oliver gave everyone a list of all Bumpers College 2008 Voting Faculty, which included their email addresses. The Faculty Council will review this with their departments and get updates to D. Oliver so he can forward to T. Costello.

6. New Business - None

7. Announcements – The remaining dates for Faculty Council meetings are February 15, March 7, and April 11. May 2 will be the Spring Faculty meeting. D. Rainey reminded everyone of the retirement party for Martin Redfern on January 30 at University House.

Meeting adjourned at 4:08 p.m.

Submitted by
Carmen Alessi