Faculty Council Minutes -- October 2008

OCTOBER 10, 2008
Rosen Center Conference Room

Faculty present:
Dick Oliver – CSES (Chair)
Mike Richardson – HORT (Chair-elect)
Brad Murphy – HORT
Sreekala Bajwa – BAEG (for Tom Costello)
Laurie Apple – HESC
Gene Milus – PLPA
Jean-François Meullenet – FDSC
Jeff Miller – AEED
Fred Stephen – ENTO
Duane Wolf – CSES
Daniel Rainey – AEAB

Others present:
Dr. Lalit Verma, Interim Dean
Dr. Donna Graham, Associate Dean for Academics
Dr. Mark Cochran, Associate Vice President for Agriculture - Research

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

Approval of Agenda – Motion made and seconded to approve the agenda. Motion adopted by voice approval.

Approval of Minutes – Motion made and seconded to approve May 2, 2008 and September 12, 2008 minutes. Motion adopted by voice approval.

Administration Reports
Bumpers College – Interim Dean Lalit Verma

Chancellor Gearhart has started monthly meeting of his "cabinet" (heads of different units). With the Fayetteville High School offer to buy off the table, he is proposing to use some of that money for deferred maintenance and renovations on campus. The list is being prepared for presentation to the Board of Trustees at the November meeting. If we have some buildings that should be on that list, we need to let him know soon. We definitely want to add the Home Economics building because there are several problems with it. The challenge will not be nearly enough funds for the larger projects. We need to add other critical needs to be included in the list for the campus priorities. For example, Dr. Verma has talked to Mike Johnson about the Ag Annex Building, which is outdated. The Chancellor plans to ask the Board of Trustees' permission to continue the $2 per semester credit fee and to gradually increase it up to $10 per semester credit hour. We do not have information on the specific criteria being used to set priorities for these projects.

The University has completed a trial run on the emergency alert system (RazorAlert). They are working out the remaining bugs. It is a way to contact everyone on campus using multi-media.
Bumpers College – Associate Dean Donna Graham

The Faculty Council needs to update individuals on the Teaching Awards Committee (on the Web site) and determine if any members need to be replaced. Award packets have been submitted and the committee needs to be activated very soon. We also need to clarify the rotation schedule including when in the year members change (end of calendar year or end of school year).

Our office has been working on a variety of maintenance issues. One issue is scheduling classes in the appropriate sequence. With the establishment of eight semester plans, we are committed to offering our classes as they are listed in the catalog. We are moving ahead with what is set for January even though there is a list of courses not being taught in sequence. Distinguishing between electives in one program which are requirements in another may need a new code other than "irregular."

We also have several courses that are not following the normal start times, which has been allowed because we use our own buildings. We have tried to correct these over the years. With our moving to a batch scheduling system in R-25, these odd times will throw the process out of sync, so we are working on cleaning up where we can. The classes that meet at the farm are an exception since it takes 30 minutes to drive from campus to the farm.

There is a proposal for a campus-wide to study a professional master's degree in sustainability. As a "professional certification" it is a non-thesis program with a strong business core targeted at professionals. Look for information about it coming from the curriculum committee.

We have reassigned some of Ashley Harris' recruiting activities while she is on maternity leave. The PSRC Committee and Diana Bisbee will be handling most of the duties.

We need to get back on target for our assessment reviews.

Campus has initiated a review of the university core curriculum which has not been reviewed since the mid-1980s.

We have five classes in the social science core. Dr. Graham is chairing the group to write the outcomes, competencies, and assessment measures.
The idea of productivity measures is still being discussed by the State Department. The Board of Higher Education meets on October 14. The Board is still going to propose targets for number of graduates over a three-year period. We have made multiple justifications for our programs. There are one or two that may be in jeopardy.
Division of Agriculture – Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station
Associate Vice president - Research Mark Cochran

There are a number of changes in Department Heads afoot. I hope that all have had a chance to meet Dr. Steve Halbrook who joined us as the new Head in Agricultural Economics & Agribusiness. Steve comes to us from the Farm Foundation. Robert Bacon has assumed the duties as Head in Crop, Soil and Environmental Sciences and Sung Lim has retired from his post in Plant Pathology. The search in Plant Pathology has progressed to the interview of two candidates, one of which will be making a second visit soon. Walter Bottje has rejoined the faculty in Poultry Science and a search committee has been organized to recruit a new Director of the Poultry Center & Department Head.

The recently passed Farm Bill has many components important to the Land Grant Universities, including a reorganization in USDA. Details are summarized in the attached summary. Please do not that by and large the Farm Bill can be considered as an authorization and the appropriations part of the equation will likely not completed until January. Do note the authorization figures listed in the attachment were early projections before the financial crisis and currently thinking is much more pessimistic about what Congress may do. There is a continuing resolution in place until March 6, 2009 which may serve as target date for a budget agreement on appropriations. Noteworthy is the experience with the first of the new mandatory programs. Of the $28 million distributed in the Specialty Crop Research Initiative (SCRI), $10 million went to a non-Land Grant University and another $4.5 million to ARS. While there will be great pressure for the Division to become much more successful in obtaining nationally competitive grants from programs like the SCRI, the competition will remain a large challenge. The import of nationally competitive grants will grow as the trend to de-emphasize formula (capacity) funds and grow competitive funds will likely continue. While our formula funds will not likely disappear next year, it is very unlikely that they will play the same role in our budget ten years from now that they do today. Hence, there are forces in Washington that would like to see competitive grants programs replace the formula funds. We collectively will need to successfully attract more competitive grants in the future. Currently, the Station invests its formula funds into faculty positions and they account for almost 29 FTE's.

Due to the budget climate at both the state and federal levels, we will be very conservative with filling positions and hires. As the uncertainty about the budgets is reduced in time, we will reconsider our hiring plan – which will likely be after the first of the year. We are in the process of voluntary retirements. After the application deadline, we will have to assess on the station side how many employees want to take advantage of the option. The voluntary retirement program will be part of our assessment on the budget and the hiring plan. With the tighter budget, the faculty conference has been postponed indefinitely, but the awards luncheon will continue on January 9 at the Embassy Suites in Rogers.

University Faculty Senate – Nan Miller (not present)
Handout – Faculty Senate Report, September 17, 2008

Agriculture Curriculum Committee – Donn Johnson (not present)
Handout – Agriculture Curriculum Sub-Committee Report, September 19, 2008

HESC Curriculum Committee – Laurie Apple – (no report)

Old Business

Department Head Evaluations and Hiring Survey – Dick Oliver

At the previous Faculty Council meeting, Department Head evaluations were approved.

A hiring survey has gone out for review to Drs. Sugg, Shult, Cochran, and Verma.

Vice President of Agriculture Signature addition to Off- Campus Duty Assignment requests – Lalit Verma. A memorandum dated October 4, 2008 was handed out.

Off- Campus Duty Assignment requests deadline for submission is November 3. The Provost's Office is designing a similar form that will have signatures from both the college and the division.

New Business

Faculty Senate Nominations – Tom Costello (not present)
There are no nominations for Faculty Senate at all and the college needs to elect three new representatives. Nan Miller and Charles Rosenkrans are current representatives and George Wardlow rotated off.

Motion made and seconded that each member of the Faculty Council must have a nominee for Faculty Senate by next Wednesday (October 15) to Tom Costello so we will have 13 candidates for 3 positions.

The election of Faculty Council chair-elect is coming in December. The recommendation is that someone from the Faculty Council should be chosen and preferably from a department who has not had someone serve as chair.

College Promotion and Tenure Committee – Dick Oliver

Handout – 2008 Promotion and Tenure Committee

Dick Oliver sent out a request for votes to elect a committee chair and gave them ten days to respond. The committee must elect a chair prior to October 30, to be in place when the committee meets.


Scholarship Luncheon – October 24, 2008
Chancellor Gearhart will speak to campus faculty – November 6, 2008
Next Faculty Council meeting – November 14, 2008


A motion to adjourn was made and seconded. The meeting adjourned at 3:45 p.m.