April 10, 2012
General Faculty Meeting Transcription
Ann Beth Presley, chair: I call the meeting to order. Welcome to the Spring General Faculty Meeting. I am Ann Beth Presley, chair of the University Senate.
The first item on the agenda is the approval of the minutes of the October 25, 2011 General Faculty Meeting. The minutes are posted on the Senate Website. Does anybody have any corrections or changes to the minutes? Hearing none, the minutes stand approved as written.
Procedure for this meeting—if you have questions or comments for any of the speakers during the meeting, please go to one of the microphones on either side of the room. Please state your name and your unit. This is needed for the transcription of the meeting.
The second thing on the agenda, Dr. Gogue will present his “State of the University” address.
Dr. Gogue, president: Thank you I am delighted to be with you, I appreciate all of you coming out today. My purpose today is to say thank you for a very good year in a very tough budget situation. I’ve been here almost 5 years, every year the budgets have been worse. The ETF fund is actually growing which is very positive. So you are seeing growth in the funds that we need. I think as I mentioned to a number of you before, they passed a bill last session that says in essence they do what I would call, allocation management, they go back and look at the previous 10 or 15 years, I’m not sure which it is, and calculate a number and that’s what you get. So you actually may not get as much, they are taking part of the ETF fund to put it into what I’d call a rainy day fund. It’s a good move long-terms, it means that when the economy goes south 10 or 15 years from now the impacts will be far less. But it’s not a great time now when you see growth and you need the money and it’s being put aside for a tougher time.
Today we got word that all of our trustees have been confirmed. We have all seats filled with one exception, Mr. B.T. Roberts who was confirmed but he will actually be seated May 15. The reason he’s not seated immediately is that if they seated him immediately he would be filling the expired term of Jack Miller who died in office, so they moved it to be what would have been Jack’s last official day so he then has a full term. The others are Clark Sahlie, Bob Dumas, Liz Huntley, Jim Pratt, Jimmy Sanford; they also reconfirmed two weeks ago; Charles McCrary, Jimmy Rane, Sarah Newton, and you have two trustees that their terms have expired but the constitution allows them to serve an additional year that is Sam Guiam and John Blackwell. We expect their terms will end next year and a decision made at that point.
I wanted to share with you, I shared with you in the fall that the academic quality of the freshmen class, superb again. It has gone up dramatically more than any of us expected. The average high school GPA for last falls class was 3.81, and the ACT score average was 27.2, so pretty good students. It’s the 19th consecutive year that Auburn’s been ranked in the top 50 public universities in the United States. One of the factors that we also saw this year that I am particularly proud of is that, Auburn when you look at the cost you pay and then the value of the degree they calculate a return on investment, an ROI type calculation, Auburn was listed top for the state of Alabama in terms of the value that you pay for the degree that you received. Student debt at Auburn, when kids graduate and you read about this in the media all the time about student debt and it is always an issue, but at least we can say that the debt that our kids have here at Auburn at graduation is the lowest of any 4-year school in the state of Alabama.
The other thing relative to teaching that is exciting to all of us, because I usually get questions about Haley Center, as you know the Board has approved a central classroom facility and we are moving through that process. At the Board meeting two weeks from now we actually will present the name of the architect and the construction manager. It’s going to be a reality but one of the things we have to do to get a lot of classrooms in a central location where we then have some flexibility to deal with Haley and other buildings.
I want to thank the faculty particularly for the number of prestigious awards that our students are winning. I try to keep a list of them. These are post graduate fellowships, I’ll tell you that there have been so many it’s hard to keep a list of which ones that we have, they are either finalists or winners, a variety of those types of awards. [5:26] I’d have to tell you that I think Auburn always produced those kind of kids but a lot of effort by the Honors College, Paul Harris and a lot of you in this room that have worked and spent time an encouraged those young people to apply for these.
I saw for the forth year in a row that we have a Fulbright undergraduate and I think I’ve shared with you every spring, I’ve never been at a university that had an undergraduate win a Fulbright. It’s really impressive, 4 years in a row. Paul Bergen, I think he is going to the Technical University of Munich. Then I noticed on the Web page that we have two students that won NSF awards, I was kind of surprised the amount of money they get, I think it’s $30,000 for 3 years plus another $10,000 extra for other costs.
I receive a note from Mary Boudreaux this afternoon. The top award for a student athlete is the Walter Byers Award. Throughout the whole country and you’ve seen those ads, 600 thousand kids are competing in NCAA athletics. They narrow the list down to 3 men and 3 women, they go to Indianapolis they interview one of the male students and one of the female students on April 15, so we’ll follow that.
On the Dean of Engineering search we a re down to 2 candidates. Internally we have probably made a selection and it has to go through a variety of processes, hope to be able to announce that soon.
We have a new Vice President for Development, Jane Parker, she’s been here about 10 days. She spent 37 years as I recall at Emory in that development role and for the last couple of years has been at Arizona State in a similar role, so we are fortunate to have her. [7:24] She’ll be key in leading us as we start our forth comprehensive campaign at Auburn University.
The Provost’s Office tells me that the efforts in the Writing Program, for us to have writing across the curriculum, that we are at virtually 100% for plans out of each of the departments. So we are appreciative of that.
Degree Works will be implemented this summer. This is really important and I realize that a lot of you are involved in advising students on a daily basis, but it would be nice to have a vehicle that allows us student to go in and do some work before they come see you and know exactly where they are and what they need to graduate, but also play what if. If I want to change my major, what does it mean and what does it look like. We’re excited about that, I think it can help us a lot. One of our strategic goals that we made a little progress on, most of them we’ve made a lot of progress, but graduation rates is absolutely critical at Auburn for us to continue to be the kind of school we want and grow and become better.
We’ve completed the second year of the common book program. Tracy Kidder was here last week I believe it was and had interactions across the campus, Mountains Beyond Mountains. The Provost is going to tell you what the book will be in the coming year.
I went back and looked in the academic area we had 16 items that went to the Board of Trustees that were approved since last spring. We had two new bachelor’s degrees, we had seven new graduate certificate programs, 3 accelerated bachelor/master’s degree programs, one new option, one new concentration, and two new institutes were created; one was in international hunger studies, primarily in the College of Human Sciences but broader than that, and the other was an institute in Aquacultures and Fisheries related to the business aspects of that enterprise. [9:33]
In research, Auburn in the last year has grown about 9% in total expenditures, which is a good number. If you look at your very strongest research universities, anywhere from about 7 to 12% is about where they fall so we made good progress this year. [9:49] One of the things that I know many of you are proud of is that the support that came from industry, so industry supporting contracts for grants and research those numbers were up 46% from the previous year.
I’ve got misleading information to share with you now. The Internal Grants Program, I’ve got one thing that says we gave away 3.1 million and I’ve got another that says we gave away about 2 million. So I don’t know which is right but the Internal Grants Program, which one is right John? They are both right, you see what I have to put up with.
Fourteen faculty awards for international travel either for research work or for development of study abroad types of programs, faculty going this spring and the summer.
Very unusual, we got a 1 million dollar line from the state last year that focuses on cancer related research and with tough budgets those are hard lines to get. A lot of that work is being done in the College of Veterinary Medicine.
I would encourage you if you have a chance to travel in the Research Park. A new 70,000 square foot research building is started, you can begin to see foundations and movement of dirt out there. That’s the building that we got half of the money from the Department of Commerce and we got half the money from the State, to focus on economic development. It’s multipurpose labs, open to a lot of different folks to conduct research in that area.
The final thing I wanted to mention is there has been a number of new plants, companies, facilities that have opened in Auburn in the last year. You need to know that I hear repeatedly from the business community and from city leaders how important the Auburn faculty are in that process. I was involved in one, the GE Aviation Plant, and I can tell you if it had not been for a lot of our people in advanced materials in engineering that facility probably wouldn’t be here. So there are a variety of those that we read about in the paper and I just want to say thank you to that.
Let me mention that if you are not a part of the University Senate, I encourage you to look at that. It’s a very important group, I don’t think that I ever come to a meeting where I don’t learn something. It’s thoughtful and it’s important and I would encourage you to invest some time if you are not already involved in the Senate activities. They are very, very helpful to the institution.
Let me just close by saying that I appreciate the opportunity to serve you, appreciate the opportunity that you give me to serve in this role and I’d be happy to respond to questions. [12:40]
Connor Bailey, college of Agriculture: Dr. Gogue, thank you. You mentioned the central classroom building and plans for Haley, and we’ve seen construction all over campus. One of the concerns I have is that in this building boom we are running up a fair debt. I understand that interest rates are low and building material prices have been low and all but still somebody’s…not always are we getting the 50% from one source and 50% from another. Are you concerned with the debt burden that we have run up in the last ten years, eight years? And do you see this being a constraint on the growth of other aspects of the university over time? Thank you.
Dr. Gogue, president: Fair question. You know it really depends on the source of funds. When you look at Residence Halls, they are typically paid for over a number of years based on the fees that that student pays for that residence hall, so those don’t give me great concern. The demand is high, we have data that shows we have fewer residence halls on campus today, beds, than we had in 1970, Don?, 1980, thirty years ago. So we actually have fewer beds and a very high demand for what we have. If I had to guess I’d say we’re in good shape on those.
The facilities that are out of athletics that they build, typically when you look at their television sales and revenues and the likelihood of it continuing at even the same rate, not an increased rate, doesn’t give you much pause for concern.
The area where I think we all have concern is the facilities that we in essence turn around and tax our students for. So for example the Wellness Center, a beautiful building I’m sure it will be well used and a wonderful facility, but I don’t recall the amount but students pay the fee that in essence goes into that building. That’s a fee that you gave up that could have gone to the academic side of the institution. Or it could have been used for an upgrade of an academic type facility. So those kinds of things concern me. We’re still well within the borrowing limits that Moody’s and Standard & Poor were to look at in terms of our capacity, so concern. I would hope that we slow down a little bit, just to be very candid with you, but certainly I don’t think you’ll see a cessation in facilities and buildings at Auburn over the next decade.
Richard Penaskovic, philosophy: I’m thrilled that we made the progress that you have enumerated in your speech Dr. Gogue, but on the one hand we probably have spent–and maybe Dr. Large can tell us more specifically–maybe a billion dollars in either new construction or the renovation of existing buildings. I don’t really have a big problem with that but on the other hand I’m concerned about the contingent faculty we have. I read an article recently in the Chronicle that at 4 year public institutions over half the credit hours are generated by contingent faculty and yet I know of a case here where we’ve hired a contingent faculty member at $30,000 a year to teach 4 courses each semester. That’s a very heavy teaching load. And probably the take home pay is $1,800 a month; I don’t think I could manage on $1,800 a month. So I’m wondering what can we do to do right by our contingent faculty members?
Dr. Gogue, president: Thank you Rich, good question. You know you have to be careful, first of all when you look at national data in terms of where our folks are. Our data from the southeast would show that when you look at classes taught by lecturers and instructors and graduate students in the southeast region at the undergraduate level our peers about 70% of their coursework, not 50%, but about 70% is actually taught by that group of individuals; 30% are taught by tenure and tenure-track faculty. The numbers at Auburn are completely in reverse. It’s about 70% of your undergraduate are taught by tenure and tenure-track faculty and about 30% taught by contingent faculty.
The first thing I would say is that it’s a departmental decision as to whether or not you use contingent faculty. So that’s a call that each department has to decide if they want to or don’t want to. The second thing is they have to decide what they wish to pay. That’s not controlled by us. I did pull the numbers to see the numbers and for example in the College of Liberal Arts it’s from about 30 to a little over 60 thousand is what you’re paying contingent faculty in that college. So there is quite a range in what they do, but I hear you loud and clear, what’s fair and what’s reasonable, and it’s something, again that we have to think about how we want to do it. Some schools make the case that if we had fewer tenure and tenure-track faculty, it frees up those dollars and so we can pay contingent faculty a large wage. You are seeing that in the marketplace. Other questions?
Richard Penaskovic, philosophy: But don’t we have rich colleges and poor colleges? So there is quite a discrepancy and I’m wondering if… I think most departments would like to hire instructors at a higher salary, especially in my college but the money just isn’t there from the Dean’s Office. So that’s a real problem.
Dr. Gogue, president: As I shared, in your college it varies between 30 and 64, I think is the actual number.
Richard Penaskovic, philosophy: I would have a further question. Why can’t, If we know we are going to need these temporary instructors year after year teaching courses in English and history and philosophy, why can’t we turn these into tenure-track appointments? As AAUP would have us do?
Dr. Gogue, president: If you have the resources to do that, you can mark it and bring it, I have no problem with that. Alabama is not run in most states where you get faculty lines that are allocated and you have to account for them. So the capacity to create a position if you have the resources is certainly a possibility.
Richard Penaskovic, philosophy: Okay, thank you.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Thank you Dr. Gogue. Now, we will hear from Interim Provost Dr. Boosinger.
Dr. Boosinger, Interim Provost: I very much appreciate the opportunity to visit with you this afternoon and talk to you about some of the activities of the Provost’s Office. [20:22]
The best place to start is to update you on some areas of emphasis that we worked on since I became interim provost. One has to do with the budget. What I tried to do is work more closely with the executive vice president and involve the deans more in the budgeting process. The ways we approached that was with two budget-planning retreats, if you will, looking at how best in this climate to manage our resources. So we focused on how to very carefully allocate and use the reserves that we have. We reached some common ground on how we do that over the next few years. Some of the reserves include stimulus funds that we tried to spread out a little bit to get us through some of these tough times.
We also had discussions about how to develop a more data driven budgeting process than we’ve had in the past and that’s continuing discussion. I’m optimistic that over time that will improve how we manage our resources at Auburn University.
Third we’ve had some lively discussions amongst the deans and we reached an agreement on a summer budget model for 2012. Again trying to develop a model that stimulates the wise use of resources. I’m pleased with that.
Another area of emphasis is to work more closely with enrollment management. Wayne Alderman has been very supportive in this process trying to make sure that we have a sustainable enrollment that’s at approximately the right level. [22:07] The target for this year is 4,050 students in the freshman class, I’m optimistic that we’ll come in close to that target.
The Honors College, we spent a considerable amount of time working with Wayne and his colleagues and my staff on the Honors College enrollment. As you may know, last year we overshot the target, we accepted about 1,100 students into the Honors Program, really stretching our capacity. So the plan is by 2016 or sooner to bring that down to a more manageable level in the range of 6- or 7-hundred new incoming students into the Honors Program. I think we are on a path, it’s still hard to predict with precision, but I think we are on the right path to make that happen. So that’s where we are in those 3 areas of emphasis.
I would like to thank everybody that participated in the Research Week. We had a huge turnout, over 1,000 people registered and over 1,200 participants. Many of those, a high percentage of those are students. Some of them didn’t register so we think there were well over 1,200 people involved. There were over 400 presentations leading up to this so there were some that went through a selection process that gave presentations and then during Research Week those added all up to about 400, either platform presentations or poster presentations, so that committee and all the participants did a great job. That activity included 47 workshops and two keynote speakers.
At the same time Dr. Mason invited his research advisory council in, so they were there having their meetings and also participating in Research Week. I think all of that was very well coordinated and I’m optimistic that they’ll continue that initiative in the future.
The Common Book, as Dr. Gogue mentioned earlier, next year’s selection is The Immortal Life of Henretta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. We hope to bring Ms. Skloot to campus in the spring of 2013 and follow a similar format as the one we had this year which we thought was very successful and had lots of positive feedback to Tracy Kidder’s visit.
Faculty that wish to use the book in the fall course can order books now or preorder books so that there will be enough for the students who choose to participate. This book and the whole concept to the common book will be incorporated into the Camp War Eagle and students that want to purchase and read the book they can get the book at that time and also decide whether they want to enter into an essay writing contest which will create a good opportunity for learning. Submissions will be due in early August. [25:21] There will be some special events associated with the common book, this will include guest lecturers, seminars, and different forums concentrated primarily in the first 6 weeks of the fall semester. But if some of you want to host additional lecturers to do enrichment activities beyond that please coordinate that with Dr. Relihan or with Dr. Paul Harris.
A little more detail on the central classroom facility that Dr. Gogue mentioned, I just wanted you to know that this process involves a large committee, 22 members, made up of faculty and students and staff and administrators and specialists including the architects from the facilities division. It is a broad cross section of the university as we plan this very important facility. As outlined on the Powerpoint the committees work since August includes a significant amount of progress. They have visited peer institutions, they are reviewing current and future AU classroom data trying to project what our needs will be in future years. They developed a basic program plan at this stage once the architects are on board, which will be shortly, then they will move on into the first stage, the first phase of building a building like this is to develop a comprehensive program plan and then that will lead on into the development of schematics, design, and eventually elevations and we’ll go through a series of approvals in order to make that happen. So this committee of 22 is very much involved in coming up with a recommendation for an architect that will go to the Board of Trustees and also selecting a recommendation for construction management firm. Which is if you don’t know is a very important part of the quality control process for a project of this size and complexity. [27:28]
And then finally they developed a set of fundamental principles to guide the design of this very large facility, which is estimated to cost in the range of 30 million dollars. So once we have the Board of Trustees approval for the architects and the construction management firm then this committee will be able to begin its work in earnest on the next phase, very excited about that. We’ll do even more after we get to that point to include the entire campus community and all those that are interested. This project has been discussed previously at open forums and there will be more of those in the future as we move forward. From this point on it’s probably about 2 years from now before we could occupy this new central classroom building. [28:22] The goal is to provide Auburn University with a state of the art facility that will meet our needs for many, many years, 40–50 and beyond. I think this committee has been given a significant amount of responsibility.
I wanted you to know just briefly about a visit that a group (6 of us) are going to make to Clemson on April 24. The goal of that trip is to go and compare notes. Clemson has many things in common with Auburn and vice versa, so we look forward to those discussions. We are going to focus on enrollment strategies, tuition and scholarship strategies, we are going to talk to them about in their environment what works well for them, student evaluation of teaching and we will share with them what’s working well with us. So I think there is an opportunity there for a significant amount of give and take that will be good for both institutions. [29:29]
You may ask why Clemson? One of the reasons we are interested in Clemson is while they are very similar to us they excel in a couple of areas where we are not doing as well as we should be doing and that’s our 6-year graduation rate. We are at about 67% with the 6-year graduation rate and they are in the upper 70s, 77% or 78% so we want to have a conversation about what are you doing differently than us. And they wanted to talk to us about some things that we’re doing better than they are. I think it will be productive. If it turns out well I think it’s something we should try and do once a year where we send a team to meet with leadership of other institutions and focus on some sharing of academic information, so I’m excited about that. [30:21]
I thought it was important (the final slide) to say something about the success about the course-eval even though I’m probably inviting lots of comments and questions. I did want you to know if you haven’t seen it in one of the monthly letters is that we thought we did very well in the fall. We are just shy of 70% participation rate, which is actually 3% higher than the 66% that the committee projected based on their research. 23,000 students received a total of 87,000 notifications to complete their evaluations. So of 23,000 70% participated fully, there was some partial participation in there, so I think you can say the students are engaged in this. One hundred percent is unlikely and no one else has had that experience either. There were a total of 68,000 evaluations that were completed from 3,866 course sections; these numbers compare favorably to the 70,000 paper evaluations completed in 2010 for a little over 3,000 courses.
So what do we have planned for the spring? Well one of the things we did in the spring was to give the units across the university the flexibility to select their own questions, but there were 4 that were recommended that we asked them to consider to use consistently across the board. I was supportive of that for the simple reason that I think over time if we have 4 questions that are shared by all units that that will help the different individuals at the department level that are trying to do assessment and trying to look at student learning outcomes and those kinds of things. So someone asked why we did that and I supported that and it’s the primary reason.
You can see up there that the survey period then for this term will be April 21–29, hopefully we’ll be just as successful as we were in the previous year. Last fall we provided some incentives for participation through the Bookstore for students. It was kind of like a drawing and they could get certain prizes that they could pick up at the Bookstore. We’ve cut that in half for the spring, partly for financial reasons and partly because we did this to get things started. Our research suggests that the best way to encourage students to participate in these kinds of evaluations is for the instructor to ask them to participate and remind them how important it is. So I think going forward, next fall we will not do the prizes and we’ll assess the progress from that point on.
If I show more than 3–4 slides Dr. Gogue will give me a hard time, he’s not a big fan of Powerpoint. Are there any questions, comments from the floor? [33:46] Gosh, no comments on course eval?
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Thank you Dr. Boosinger.
Now, Robin Jaffe from the Department of Theatre is representing the AAUP presenting the AAUP Glenn Howze Academic Freedom award. [34:22]
Robin Jaffe, Department of Theatre, Member of AAUP:
Hi everyone. Each year, for the past 19 years, the Auburn University AAUP’s Glenn Howze Academic Freedom award has been presented annually to a person who has demonstrated high ethical standards and professionalism in her or his field of specialization and has also made significant contributions to advocating, protecting, and extending academic freedom at Auburn University.
So when the call went out for nominations for the award on January 30 at 1:02 p.m. I responded with my nomination of Bill Trimble by 2:18 p.m., the only reason I can think it took so long, when looking back at my schedule, I was attending a meeting, Something we all do, but this time I was an active participant, unlike most I attend.
So why Bill Trimble? Well I did some research on Google to help explain this nomination. I may have come across some things you don't know about….
Dr. Trimble, is an avid car enthusiast, totally willing to get involved in projects without fear.
Picture of Bill and Car
Dr. Trimble is always around for advice at the right time and the right moment to help support those in need.
You may have missed his cameo appearance in Forest Gump.
Picture of Bill at Alabama
Dr. Trimble is an award winning author and co-author of many books and publications that are available on Amazon.com for purchase.
Picture of Bill at podium
Dr. Trimble has served as a department chair of the Department of History for two terms, during its move from Haley, something everyone else still in Haley is waiting for.
Picture of Bill with Students
Dr. Trimble has served as Auburn AAUP Chapter President for several terms, as AAUP Alabama Conference President for as long as I can remember,
Picture of Bill (Final)
and on many National AAUP Committees, as a University Senator,
and now as a 2011 Alumni Professor Awardee, and has served on more search and university appointed committees representing AAUP's fundamental interest in academic freedom and shared governance than can anyone can count. When someone is needed to represent the interests of AAUP, Dr. Trimble's name always comes up first.
He is a scholar, a historian, an educator, a gentleman, and someone my grandmother would call a true mench. When asked to nominate, no other name came to mind, no other person deserved the recognition more, and no other person exemplified the definition of the award.
Bill on behalf of the Auburn AAUP Chapter and Auburn University, I would like to present to you the 2012 Glenn Howze Academic Freedom Award.
Bill Trimble: Somebody is going to pay for those pictures, I think it is Jeff Jakeman, he’s guilty. Thank you very much Robin, I really appreciate it. Thank you Herb, also, he’s back there, for chairing the committee, Dave King is the Chapter president of the AAUP. I do want to confess something and that is that I have had a proprietary interest in this award going back to 1994 when I was Chapter president and we gave it to Dr. Bill Muse, then president of Auburn. Since then I felt to a certain extent that it’s my award, but fortunately the Chapter and people in the Chapter have indicated “no, it’s moved beyond that, you don’t have that proprietary interest in that award anymore, and it’s really Glenn Howze’s.” That was a superb way that the Chapter recognized him. Glenn’s accomplishments and his contributions to AAUP are a real tribute to Glenn more than anything else.
What really strikes me is a particular crisis this university underwent and it’s sometimes hard to pick out which crisis that this university has undergone. But one of them directly involved Glenn Howze, directly involved Wayne Flynt, some other people as well, Barry Burkhardt, Larry Gerber, Connor Bailey, and a whole variety of people involved with AAUP and involved with the Senate leadership in 1999–2000, this is when it took place. Perhaps the best way to put this is “a rogue trustee” a rogue Board of Trustees and perhaps a rogue member of the Board of Trustees felt that he or they had a vision for Auburn University that directly conflicted with what some other people felt Auburn University should look at. We really owe a debt of gratitude to people like Glenn Howze and Wayne and a whole host of other people involved with AAUP and the Senate leadership who stood up to the Board of Trustees during that period of crisis, because had they had their way, I feel certain that this University would look very different than it does today. Probably more like a technical school, probably with a relatively small teaching faculty and not research faculty, and a very large stadium. That really was not what we felt the university should be like. Seriously, had they gotten their way and if it had not been for people like Glenn and others to have stood up to their vision of what this university was we would have had many, many more problems and many more crisis.
It doesn’t mean we were able to solve all the problems, I don’t think we can solve the parking problem or the Haley Center problem, we’re going to have to leave that to somebody else.
I’m very proud to be a member of this organization. I am a firm believer of the principles that AAUP stands for, and really they should stand for all of us whether we are in AAUP, all of us in academe, and I really consider it a privilege and an honor to receive this award along with the many other people who have preceded me in winning this award.
Thank you very much Robin, thank you very much AAUP, and thank you very much Auburn. I really appreciate it.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Congratulations Bill.
Now we will be hearing from Drew Clark, Director Institutional Research and Assessment. He will be speaking about the upcoming SACS Reaccreditation. [42:39]
Drew Clark, Director Institutional Research and Assessment: Thank you, Ann Beth. I taught Paridise lost for 20 years, I didn’t have any idea I’d get an opportunity to loose it myself, but I am for some sense or other coordinating our SACS reaffirmation. I want to give you a brief update on where we are.
Starting with what SACS accreditation means and does not mean. This is the first page of our University Bulletin and it contains a sentence that reads, “Auburn University is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (I won’t read you the address or phone number, but they are mandatory) to award Bachelor’s, First Professional, Master’s, Educational Specialist and Doctor’s degrees.” We have to put those words in that order in our communications. That’s because regional accreditation is about certain specific things. Auburn is accredited to offer certain programs at certain levels, in certain locations, or in a few cases by means of distance education. If we want to do other than that we can but we have to always clear it with our peers who are the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
SACS does not accredit degree programs, they do not accredit faculties, they accredit only institutions. It’s all or nothing. Anything you do to advance this institution in compliance with the SACS principles helps the whole institution; the converse is also true. [44:14]
The principles of accreditation that we will be evaluated by are new to us. They were revised at the beginning of 2001 and applied basically a year after we were confirmed. A little different from our previous standards and the process is notably different. Current principles are member approved. Each institution has one vote. We have one and these principles will be different in this region than they are for example for the West Coast where their membership has determined their principles. I won’t read you the book, I promise I won’t throw it at you, but the principles basically are composed of one overarching principle of integrity and commitment to quality enhancement. That’s an underlying principle. There are 12 core requirements, broad statements of the kinds of things that institutions accredited by SACS do. There are 15 comprehensive standards with many sub components where most of the work happens. And then finally there are 8 Federal requirements that are true no matter what region of the country you are in.
Let me quickly give you a sense of how the game is played at each of those levels. A failure to demonstrate commitment to integrity or quality enhancement is grounds for immediate revocation of your accreditation. As for example if we were to submit a document with our name and signature on it that was actually written at another institution, that would be a failure, and it has happened–failure of integrity.
We don’t have to provide any documentation on that it’s simply how we interact with the commission in all the things we do. The core requirements are broad in general. Under Federal Law, if we fail to make a case that we’re in compliance with any one of those principles, we must be put on probation, or warning, or have our accreditation revoked. It happens rarely but it does happen.
The comprehensive standards are much more numerous the typical result of failing to demonstrate compliance with one of those is what used to be called a recommendation; it’s simply a notation from our peers that we haven’t made a persuasive case. The response to that is to assemble the evidence to make a persuasive case or if you don’t have such evidence to come into compliance by altering your behavior. So those are the principles by which we’ll be judged. Let me point out that these are not principles that are written by or for research universities or for large 4-year public institutions, accreditation is regional. And that means that in this region, over half of the membership is composed of community colleges.
The standards apply to those elements of educational practice that apply across the board and they go fairly lightly on aspects of university performance that are meaningful to us simply because we are a rare institution.
We have two required documents to submit to SACS for this process. One is called a compliance certification and that’s where we handle about 98 of the 100 required responses. Everything in the compliance certification is evidence from our past behavior and it ranges in topic from institutional mission to governance administration, educational programs, faculty, library, learning resources, physical resources, financial resources, compliance with commission policies; a broad range of topics. The format is simple in every case, we make our own judgment of compliance or non-compliance. I’m here to report we are going to report non-compliance in at least one standard and fix it. And then we provide a narrative to support our judgment. That narrative is itself backed up by documentation. If we can’t document it we are not in compliance.
That document, which I show you in a minute, is the first thing that we’ll submit and it’s an important input to one component of the review process. A separate document is called the quality enhancement plan. This is an experiment in the SACS region, no other accreditor is using this device right now. Essentially what it is, is a new project based on institutional assessment that is projected to have some significant impact on an aspect of student learning. There are certain requirements for the quality enhancement project. It has to come out of assessment, you have to be able to show broad based involvement, it has to have a clear plan for assessment, it must be embodied in a working document, it must be ready to start the moment it’s proved acceptable. Most institutions are cheating on that start date just a little bit and starting the project in advance. I’ll say more about that in a moment, but those are the 2 documents. The compliance certification is due on September 10, the quality enhancement plan will follow later in early January. And those two will be our major work between now and then.
Thank you to all of you who are involved in any way with the preparation of one of these two documents.
We’ll go through the phases of the review because this too is unfamiliar to us. The first thing that will happen is an off-site review of Auburn’s compliance certification. The one and only input into that review will be the documentation that we submit. It will occur in October or November of this year when a team of 8–10 of your peers from other institutions will come together in Atlanta to review the compliance certification documents of two or three similar institutions. I’m not starting a pool but it would be a fair guess to say that we’ll be in the same group as South Alabama, Kentucky, or Clemson, or two out of those three. [50:17] And what they will do is form a preliminary judgment of whether the institution’s compliance certification has made a persuasive case for compliance. They embody their findings in a preliminary report that is shared with the institution, we do have an opportunity to respond.
The next thing that happens will be a visit to our two authorized locations, no it’s not Montgomery and Auburn, it is Mobile and Auburn. Auburn has an officially recognized off-campus site for its School of Pharmacy in Mobile and that’s the first contact we will have with our visiting team. The team will be composed of about 12–15 peers form other universities representing a range of specialties from finance to curriculum, none of whom can be from the state of Alabama, who will come to campus to gather further evidence of our compliance. Their principle task will be to form a judgment about whether the quality enhancement plan that we have prepared is acceptable or not. [51:20]
Beyond that they have important work to do following up on the work of the off-site committee because in many cases the offsite committee simply cannot tell whether the institution’s in compliance or not based on the written evidence they’ve received. A judgment of we can’t tell means the institution is not in compliance. For example, on the standard for faculty credentials to teach a course at a given level about 80% of institutions are found out of compliance at the off-campus review stage. That drops dramatically once the team comes to campus and the institution provides further evidence they should have provided to start with.
That on-site review has been scheduled, it will occur on March 25–28 of next year, the first day of it in Mobile, the rest of it here in Auburn. Inputs for this team will be a little bit more various. They will have our compliance certification, they will have our QEP document, they will have the report of the off-site team, they will have any responses we have provided, and finally they will have the evidence of their own eyes and ears.
As they come to campus, interact with faculty, students, other constituency groups and examine any documents that they may wish to see. Their report is embodied in a report of the reaffirmation committee, which becomes the major input for the final decision about us. They will meet with Dr. Gogue on their way out the front door and give us a preliminary sense of their findings. We do have an opportunity to begin to respond to those findings before the final vote is taken. For example if we say you got us, we’re not in compliance with that standard, we have an opportunity to come into compliance before the final vote and present that evidence. The final vote will occur at the annual meeting of the association in December 2013. The vote is actually taken by what’s called their Board of Trustees, it is simply the elected membership who represent Colleges and Universities, and some public representatives. So that’s the process. The big impact that you will see will be in March of next year.
Here’s a schematic of the possible actions. [53:37] There are not many. The basic decision the commission can make about an institution is either to reaffirm the accreditation of the institution or to deny the accreditation. Because deny is the death penalty for an institution it is seldom used, almost never. Almost every institution gets some flavor of the reaffirmation vote. There are 3 of those, one of them is the one you want, one of them is the one you are likely to get, and one is one you want to avoid. The one you want is outright reaffirmation and with no further monitoring, no reports to submit, see ya in 5 years. That’s what we would like to receive, it is possible but not the most common outcome. The most common is a vote of reaffirmation with further monitoring, as the institution has to provide evidence. It can drag on for 2 or 3 years that is has come into compliance with problematic areas. If you’re betting, that’s the one to bet on for most institutions. Finally there is the option of reaffirmation with further monitoring and a sanction of probation or warning. This is a cell to avoid. Under Federal law you cannot stay on probation for over a couple of years, then they have to deny your accreditation. So that’s how the game is played. It is a high stakes game with very few outcomes and so what tends to happen is for institutions to come into, I’ll issue a guarantee, Auburn University will be 100% in compliance with the principles of accreditation of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, the only question is whether that will happen before of after they come to visit. [55:21] I recommend that we come into compliance beforehand.
Just a reminder of the key dates: we’ll submit our compliance certification this September, the QEP document is due by about mid-January, the team will be here in March, and then we will wait to hear until December of 2013, although we’ll have good early indications of how it went and what we need to work on.
I have deliberately not said much about the Quality Enhancement Plan in this presentation. Let me just say it’s going to be one of the best parts of Auburn’s reaffirmation effort. We went through a broad-based participatory process last year to identify multiple areas where our own assessment results suggests we could have a real impact on student learning. Unfortunately not all of those projects can be selected simultaneously. One project was, it is a project to enhance certain key student abilities to articulate, organize, understand, and present their learning through the use of digital portfolios. There is a very hard working team of your peers, working right now to turn that basic idea into a start ready plan that we can initiate very soon.
That’s it for me and I’d be happy to take questions, but I know there are other things on the agenda. Thanks, Ann Beth.
Richard Penaskovic, philosophy: Is it the case that many institutions loose their accreditation for financial reasons like insolvency?
Drew Clark: It is the case that if an institution is going to loose it’s accreditation, the most likely cause is that it cannot afford to keep the doors open.
Richard Penaskovic, philosophy: Okay. The second question I have is, will the SACS committee look at how contingent faculty are handled? In terms of do they have office space to meet with students, their credentials, do they have a say in curricular matters, things like that? Do you know that or is that knowledge not available to you yet?
Drew Clark: Yes we know exactly what standards they’ll apply. They’re verbatim, the standards written in the book. There are about 5 standards related to faculty, there are none specifically related to quality of office space, there’s one that’s the most commonly tripped over having to do with faculty credentials and so yes the accreditation rules are not written on the assumption that an institution even has tenure. So the academic practices of the institution as embodied in things like practices for meeting with students and so on will be reviewed. [58:07]
Richard Penaskovic, philosophy: Thank you , Drew.
Drew Clark: You’re welcome.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Thank you Drew.
Our second information item is Andy Gillespie, Assistant Provost, International Programs speaking about the programs in his office. [58:31]
Andy Gillespie, Assistant Provost, International Programs: Thank you, Ann Beth.
I was asked to give a quick overview of the operations of my office and that’s what I like to spend a few minutes on this afternoon.
Listed there are the major areas of my office and I think many of you are familiar and have interacted with the office in different ways in years past. Particularly in my area, I oversee the grants programs, the agreements that we have with different institutions and recruiting of students, those sorts of things. Other parts of my office; Auburn Abroad I think is self explainatory, sending our students out; International Students and Scholars for bringing students and scholars into Auburn; the Intensive English Program that provides some training; International Insurance to cover our scholars and students that come to campus, and then finally to facilitate what is happening out in the different units across our missions.
Let me provide some data. I’m data driven so we collect a lot of date in my office and try and use those to improve what we are doing. For 2011 we had over 1,100 students on campus, you can see most of those are graduate students. About 90% of our international students are graduate students that come to us from many different countries. You can see the top providers for Auburn, and this is fairly typical of our institutions across the nation, China and India. It’s just because their shire population size send us quite a few students. But represented in that graph are some interesting countries for this particular year, Nepal, Bangladesh are providing us with certain numbers you might not find elsewhere.
We wish to have more international undergraduate students and we’re undertaking a number of recruiting initiatives to try and bring those to campus to augment what we have for the graduate population.
Similarly for visiting scholars we had 220 scholars this past year from 39 different countries being represented. Again, most of those are from China, but Korea, Turkey, and several other countries are important to us as we bring our scholars and our colleagues to campus to work within our programs.
The Intensive English Program you think of as the ESL Program and that is part of what we do to bring students to campus who’s English needs improvement, however they are rarely there to assist the faculty and the departmental programs in terms of growing what you like to do within your degree programs. We provide tutoring for your international students but also for scholars that you have visiting and we do this just through the function of my office, mostly graduate students but you can see we’re helping scholars all the way to undergraduates and other types of students and even some faculty members on occasion.
English for everyday use, this is more of a service to the scholars and their families to help spouses and children as well as students on campus. We have currently about 111 of these types of students. One thing I found when I came, about 10% matriculate into our degree programs, we need to improve that. We want this program really to service our degree programs. So we need to recruit students that will be moving either directly into our graduate programs or matriculating into our undergraduate programs. So we are moving that way. Currently about 11 countries represented and you can see the top countries that are currently important to us for these types of students.
I don’t think I need to tell anybody in the room that budgets for research are shrinking domestically and I am trying to grow programs that will help us get faculty overseas to make these kinds of connections with strategic partners to add to our portfolio for funding and different kinds of academic collaborations. [1:03:05] We’re looking for partners that have capabilities either technically or through equipment that complement what we have here on campus that can provide new funding sources that provide us with graduate students. And again the myriad kinds of collaborations I’ve listed there. We have lots of opportunity to grow in this area. I’m currently working with Dr. Boosinger to free up some funds that will get individual faculty members over to make research connections, and then groups of faculty to strategic partners where we can have a conversation on building programs across disciplines.
International Education, you probably know my office best in this regard. We have about 54 programs this year that are sending our students overseas on Study Abroad and exchanges. So we have currently at least a plan for this summer about 1,118 students going overseas. And you can see we are growing steadily and that’s a good target. We have ample room for growth, I’ll talk about that in a second, and we’d like to see those numbers climb.
Twenty-six countries currently are the destinations for our students, Spain, Italy, China, Argentina, Ireland are this year’s winners for the most students. Exchange programs are possible and this is an opportunity for all of our departments to connect with partners, exchange students, but is so doing build bridges that allow our faculty to collaborate in different areas of research and different areas of academics. It really should be a bundle just like Charter Cable. So we want to do more of that.
Issues, of course, sustainability, making sure we can run these programs year after year and getting them integrated into the curriculum. Again, I will show a slide here in a second that describes this, but I understand that this is certainly part of rewarding faculty making sure that we’re making progress in our move toward promotion and tenure for our junior faculty. Something that as Dr. Gogue alluded to earlier is not something that we control up in central administration, a lot of these decisions are made out in the departments by our faculty peers.
To illustrate, every college has at least some programs to send their students abroad, so here’s our overall distribution. You can see that in certain colleges, 100%, all of the departments have at least one program for their majors. But if we look at this at the undergraduate level or for the professional schools at the professional level, we see that we drop way off. That tells me we have quite a few programs for our graduate students, but we really need to put some work into our undergraduate study abroad. One college, COSAM, actually has no programs for its students and we want to encourage and work with faculty to make sure that those students have the opportunity to go abroad as well. [1:06:33]
If we look at those colleges that actually have programs overseas where students can meet curricular requirements, this gets back to the idea of curricular integration, we drop down quite dramatically, and only a few of our colleges are sending students overseas to take courses that count toward graduation. We want to see more of that. As the results here’s the percentages by college of who is getting students overseas. The target in the strategic plan is 25%, and you can see we have a handful of colleges that meet that today, but we have some challenges and we’d like to see those numbers grow.
Now, it was Dr. Gogue again, who alluded to the study abroad grants that came out this past winter, we’ve initiated these programs to help individual faculty but also departments to develop study abroad opportunities for their students, to develop exchanges with particular strategic partners, and those kinds of opportunities. We’ll keep running these each year trying to build our portfolio.
A couple of final thoughts, we have a new Web site that’s being launched for my office. If you want to know where we are connected in the world, we have databases on my home page that connect us to the agreements that we have with different institutions around the world, we have a linkage database, if you need to find out who is working in Russia–you can search for Russia and see who pops up. We are tracking faculty and student travel, everybody has to fill out a form for travel, so we know who is going where and when and this can assist us for any number of reasons; contacting alumni, getting out to conferences, understanding who is traveling, who might be able to make some contacts for us. So that’s also on our Web site currently.
A little bit about our international campuses is included in our Web site. You know of course we have two campuses in Italy. This probably drives Drew crazy at night, but there’s a reason he has gray hair, so Italy is a site to two of our campuses where we don’t give entire degrees but we give part of our degree programs. We have opportunities in a few different countries that we are looking at and really this is a faculty driven process to be involved in these places, faculty need to be part of that conversation but we do have opportunities that continue to come at us that we wish to look at.
So really a very quick overview of international programs, we are in Foy Hall and I’d really be happy to see everyone come by my office at some point. Can I answer any questions? (pause) Okay, thank you.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Thank you Andy.
I’d like to make some brief comments. This is my last meeting as Chair of the Senate. However, my term as Chair of the Senate goes through July, So I have a few months of Senate meetings left.
It has been a privilege to represent the faculty over the last year. I really want to say a special thanks to Larry Crowley, Bill Sauser, Claire Crutchley, and Robin Jaffe. They have been an exceptional group of Senate officers to work with and I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with them. They have all been dedicated and put in many hours to accomplish faculty business. I lucked out.
I would also like to thank the Steering Committee. They have worked hard behind the scenes about what changes to explore and bring information to the Senate for information and, usually for revolution, resolution. (laughter)
I would especially like to thank the Rules Committee. This committee does so much work. It staffs all the Senate and University committees on campus—which is no easy task and takes a great deal of time. I don’t think many people realize how much time and effort goes into this committee and its work.
I would also like to say thank you to Constance Hendricks, who has served as Parlimentarian. I don’t know what I would have done with out her and her cards helping me out.
Working with Interim Provost Dr. Boosinger and Associate Provost, Emmett Winn has been a great experience. They have been extremely supportive and always available for advice and extremely strong support for shared faculty governance. We meet and share ideas, opinions, issues and a wide variety of very candid topics on a weekly basis. In addition, we had the opportunity to do the same with Dr. Gogue on a monthly basis. This is all done in an environment of mutual respect.
I want to thank Laura for keeping us on track and getting the clicker here and making sure everything works. And thank you to all the committees and their work and dedication.
Now I would like to ask Bill Sauser, chair-elect, to come forward and make the announcement of the new officers and remind you that the new officers will take their positions effective July 1.
Bill Sauser, chair-elect: I appreciate your attendance this afternoon. I’m Bill Sauser, I’m your chair-elect and I would like to thank the nominating committee for bringing forward three outstanding faculty members who were willing to commit themselves to leadership positions this year and I definitely want to thank the three candidates. Thank you very much for putting your names forward.
I’d like to congratulate our chair-elect, Dr. Larry Crowley, and our secretary-elect, Professor Judith Sheppard. Thank you very much.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Congratulations to Larry Crowley and Judy Sheppard. I would like to thank both of you for running–it takes a lot of work.
Is there any unfinished business? New business? I adjourn the Spring Faculty meeting. [1:13:47]