Faculty Council Minutes -- January 2017
January Faculty Meeting
Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food & Life Sciences
January 20, 2017
Call to Order (2:30 PM) – Nick Anthony, Chair
Approval of Agenda – Approved
Approval of Minutes (November, 2016) – Approved
Division of Agriculture – Dr. Clarence Watson – Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station
Most of the Division’s efforts are revolving around the budget. Right after the start of the year, Congress did pass a continuing resolution through April 28th which provides level funding with FY 16. There’s a recommendation for a small increase in NIFA(?) budget for FY 17. For FY 18, APLU is going to try a new approach to requesting federal funds for agriculture. They’re going to a “one ask” request; the process up to this point was that various programs would each send a new request, but this has caused some confusion and divided the Division’s resources to a point. They cannot roll lines together as they are under separate authorities, but they can ask for a top line number for AFRI (about $200 million, which would be about a 19% increase in the NIFA(?) budget) with the Division’s proposal being that it would be evenly split among the six lines. Congress would still have the ability to differentially appropriate between lines if they choose, but the Division wouldn’t be “playing favorites,” and would leave such a decision to Congress. Early indications are that it’s likely going to be accepted by various members and some early indications from Congressional staffers are that it would be favorable, but nothing is certain.
At the state level – the general assembly has convened and budget discussions are beginning. Dr. Cochran is working hard to secure additional funds, but it is a “tough environment” this year. The Governor has proposed tax cuts and other agencies are also seeking additional funds. The Governor has also come up with a performance-based idea for higher education. This idea, however, is only for formula units. Non-formula units, such as the Division, have been left out of that program and would not see any funds from it.
Moving on, Dr. Watson brought attention to the nominee for Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, whose background suggests he does have some appreciation for agriculture. Confirmation hearings for him will be in mid to late February.
A question was raised about building projects – as some staff will be relocated to a new building, there are questions about what will be done with the extra space at Dean’s Office in the AFLS building. Dr. Robertson informed the Faculty Council that Chancellor Steinmetz wanted to know if she had any recommendations; she said she would like to move the Dean’s Office to the second floor and fill the space on the first floor and downstairs with AECT and then use the space in AGRI for additional faculty in CSES and AEAB. That space would need to be renovated before moving anyone into it, however. Dr. Robertson said she has heard nothing from Chancellor Steinmetz about it since that initial conversation.
Bumpers College —Interim Dean, Dr. Lona Robertson
(see pages 1-4 of handouts)
We’ve been engaged in a strategic planning process across campus. Last Spring, three of the Faculty Council board members worked with three of the department heads along with Dr. Robertson and Dr. Evans to come up with strategic planning priorities as well as updating the mission statement and vision of the college. They also looked at the guiding principles the committee had come up with, and the next step for those is to start fleshing out specific goals and objectives to go under the planning priorities. One of the mandates from campus was to determine how the college’s priorities fit in with campus priorities and a chart has been drawn up to identify similarities and overlap (see handout for details). So far the planning has been at a general level, but it is now time to start ironing out details.
Bumpers College —Interim Associate Dean, Dr. Mike Evans
Dr. Evans addressed departmental seminars and room scheduling issues that have been plaguing offices lately. Common practice has been to reserve certain rooms as they are demanded/needed, but those in charge of room scheduling are now insisting that departmental seminars fit in with a regular class period (therefore a 3:30 seminar doesn’t work) due to a lack of space on the university campus.
On the issue of 4000-level courses being dual-listed, all departments have moved forward on splitting them. It was not a university requirement at the time, but has now been approved by the Graduate Council to make it a requirement. It will likely move forward to Faculty Senate to eliminate all 4000-level dual listings. This new movement was tied back into classroom space issues.
International Programs – Dr. Leslie Edgar
(see page 5 of handouts)
There were two January intercession programs that made and went to their destinations this year, the New Zealand/Australia and India-based programs, and both programs went well with no major issues. They are being considered as continuing programs in the future.
The IEC meeting gave a calendar for Study Abroad timelines (see handout for details). It is changing dates only for faculty-led programs; this impacts faculty who are leading January intercession programs, and the “proposal deadline” row indicates due dates for submission, which does impact the IPO office because they’ve typically used IPO faculty grants to determine who is doing what, so IPO is now looking to meet these new deadlines; priority application deadlines are also noted on the Study Abroad calendar. There will be a meeting next week to discuss how will some colleges align their international scholarships, and our college will also integrate our student scholarship application into the Hogs Abroad portal which will save time and effort.
IPO was notified that the current Study Abroad office will be taken down in May and so they are currently looking for space, and are currently unsure how that will play out.
The Global Food Opportunities seminar speaker will be Martin Gummert who will be here for a Food Science Event; he will speak on April 4th at 9:30 AM.
Student scholarship deadlines were delayed from January 3rd to February 1st, due to request form faculty. Please encourage students to get their applications in and faculty to write their letters of recommendation.
A question about the most popular international destinations for students was posed – Dr. Edgar stated that IPO was able to gather just over 1200 surveys from students, but they haven’t been able to analyze them yet. Still about 50% of students are going to Europe, but it is spreading out to more areas around the globe.
Faculty Council Report – Dr. Nick Anthony, Chair
Standing Committee Reports:
Scholarship Committee – Dr. Jill Rucker
AFLS Curriculum Sub-Committee – Dr. Mike Thomsen, Chair
HESC Curriculum Sub-Committee –Dr. Kathy Smith
Honors Program Update – Dr. Leslie Edgar (Chair currently empty)
Dr. Edgar notified those whose Honors representatives have not hosted meet and greets have funding available to do so. Dr. Edgar is currently in the process of notifying 17 graduating Honors seniors – the largest class yet – on deadlines. It is important that Spring graduates are meeting the April 1st thesis defense deadline and then have their theses submitted online through the library system on April 15th. Graduating Honors students will be notified after the 10th day of class, when an official list of students will be available.
There were concerns raised about the increasing number of students and the lack of increase in faculty. Dr. Edgar agreed that current faculty are being stretched thin in trying to accommodate undergraduate Honors students and graduate students both. There does not appear to be a resolution to the problem at this time, but it is acknowledged.
Old Business – None
New Business – The bylaws currently state that off-campus faculty are not automatically voting faculty members. However, off-campus faculty who wish to become voting faculty simply need to put in a petition.
Next Faculty Council meeting will be February 17, 2017
Motion made and seconded to adjourn at 3:25 PM
Submitted by Kalynn Smith