Transcript Senate Meeting
February 14, 2012
Ann Beth Presley, chair: If everyone could get their clickers and sign in. [1:07]
This is the February meeting of the Auburn University Senate, I’m Ann Beth Presley, chair of the University Senate.
Please be sure to sign-in in the back and get your clicker. Please turn it on and click “A” to make sure that we have a quorum, let’s take a few seconds to do that. We have a quorum. A short review of the rules of the Senate If you’d like to speak about an issue go to the microphone and state your name, indicate if you are a senator and state what unit you represent. The rules of the senate require that senators be allowed to speak first, after all comments by senators on an issue are made, guests are welcome to speak.
The first item on the agenda is the approval of the minutes from the January meeting. Larry Crowley posted the minutes and sent a link to all senators. Are there any changes, additions, or deletions to these minutes? Hearing none the minutes will stand as approved.
I now invite Dr. Gogue to come forward to present some remarks from the president’s office. [2:2
Dr. Gogue, president: Good to be with you today. I thought I might share with you every month Dr. Large, myself, and the provost meet with the executive committee of the Senate and spend about an hour, hour and a half going over what ever happens to be questions, issues, anything that’s on their mind. And I have to compliment the executive committee, it’s probably one of my most enjoyable meetings, I learn a lot and a lot of good discussion goes on, so from my perspective they are very important. We met this week and I thought well I’ll just bring the agenda that we talked about and share those points with you, and then be ready to respond to any questions that you have. [3:03]
Current Status of the provost search: We have reconstituted the committee for the Provost search. They have made contact with the search firm to work with them through the search process. The hope is that we will be able to move this process such that by the end of the current term that we’d be able to have a Provost named. The only rule change, the only thing that has changed is that we did allow the person who is serving in an interim capacity, Dean Boosinger, to be a candidate if he chooses to be one. So that’s where our search process is, it’s underway. June Hinton is still the chair of that particular process.
I was asked about the status of the Dean of Engineering search and Larry can probably do this better than I can, he is on the search committee, but as I understand they have 4 candidates, they’ve had airport interviews and will be bringing those candidates to campus next week and the week after. Over a two-week period of time in which campus (faculty) will have an opportunity to meet those. My understanding is that there is one internal candidate and 3 external candidates.
We discussed legislative issues and several were brought up. One is Trustee process. Most of you saw perhaps in the local newspaper that there are 9 potential vacant spots for Auburn. The process went on for probably 9 months, from the announcement 170 people showed interest. They went through a questionnaire process in the fall and then they actually identified in most cases, 3 people for most of the vacant spots and some they interviewed more, they had about 38 people they interviewed. They interviewing process is the governor, two members of the Alumni Association, and two Board of Trustees members. Last Monday I believe was the date they reached their names for the nine individual vacant spots, last Thursday the governor transmitted by letter those names to the Senate. So they are now at the Senate. The Senate then can take one of them out and proceed, two of them out, all of them, that’s their call; it will go to the confirmations committee first. [5:38]The Senate has a confirmations committee, they will go probably interview the candidates, have them testify, then it comes back for a vote of the Senate. So, that’s where we are on the trustee process.
Discussion for staggered terms for trustees, there’s been if you noticed in the newspaper some discussion about making too many changes at a time, it’s disruptive….You need to remember that there have been trustees submitted to the Senate for 3 years that probably have not been acted on, so the university is a little bit reluctant to take any position on any kind of changes in the way they stagger the terms. I’ll share with you the reason is that would require constitutional change. There is always fear when you have a very nice constitutional setup relative to your institution for it to then go into the political process in which you may loose some of the freedoms that you currently have. So we are silent on it, don’t know if the people will actually introduce those bills or not. [6:45] You will hear discussion about it.
The Auburn budget relative to the Educational Trust Fund. You are seeing growth in the Educational Trust Fund, which is very positive, but I think as I shared with you last time, there was a bill that passed during last legislative session that basically is like a rainy-day fund. Legislators believe that you should not allocate all the money that you have in the fund, but reserve a portion of that. It’s based on 10-year or 20-year averages, it’s a long period of time. So while you actually see more money going into the trust fund we may not see any more money. October was about 11 or 12 percent and January was a good percent increase, December was lesser than what they had hoped.
There was a bill introduced, as I understand, last week and I don’t recall the individual who introduced it, but it had to do with patents and intellectual property–basically the concept was universities that are state universities, you are living just on state dollars, that’s the perception and that any intellectual discoveries should be owned by the state. [8:01] Obviously the vice president for research and the state have commented on that, so we will have to see how that bill goes, I wouldn’t spend a lot of time at this point worrying about that.
We had some discussion on President Obama, ten days or so ago, indicated that he wanted to see reductions in tuition he is very concerned about tuition increases. Just remember for that to really have an effect you’ve got to get a bill through the House and through the Senate and from the experience in the last 6 months or so it seems like it rather difficult to get bills through. We were in Washington last week we had a chance to visit with the Alabama Delegation, both senators and our members of congress and I can share with you very candidly, there is not a great deal of interest in that. I’ll tell you why it creates a real issue. In Alabama you roughly get about $50 to $100 for a student on a head count basis from the state. There are state that give $10,000 and $12,000, so your rate of tuition increase is going to be far less in those states than it is in other states so it really creates a very imbalanced way in the way states support higher education, the way they fund buildings and facilities, and so forth. We would certainly be very much opposed to that.
On Monday we had a review of the strategic plan. Each individual that’s involved in a leadership roll with an element of that plan. I’m recalling 20–25, somewhere in that range, specific elements. We spent a couple of hours going over those, and I will have to tell you that I was extremely impressed with the progress that we are making across all of those goals. I know a lot of you are involved in various facets of it and I just want to say thank you. It’s always amazing to me that with tight budgets and difficult economic times that our campus is still making a lot of progress in positive ways.
The final thing we chatted about was the accrediting visit that we have coming up next year, the SACS accreditation visit. Drew, give us some exact dates on some key things.
Drew Clark, Institutional Research, not a senator: The key dates are these: our compliance certification is due on September 10, that take the place of the old self study, it’s basically the document which Auburn presents the case that it remains in compliance with all of the standards. A separate document is submitted in early January, that is the Quality Enhancement Plan, a 75 page working plan for a key project in our case use of digital portfolios to enhance student communication of their learning. That will go in in January, the visit is scheduled for March 26–28 of 2013. There will be some intermediate dates in there and of course the key date, Dr. Gogue, they vote on us in December of 2013. [11:20]
Dr. Gogue, president: Thank you Drew.
I appreciate being with you. Any questions for me? [11:31]
Mike Stern, economics, senator: Mr. President, as you know for quite a few years we’ve been in basically a salary freeze situation. I know the budget’s been bad and we had one-time supplements but we’re running into and I heard a lot of people also express in various departments that we are running into salary compression and now salary inversion issues among our highly productive senior faculty. For instance we are hiring assistant professors at almost 10% more than our early promoted associate professors who are extremely productive so could even come up for tenure early. So I know a lot of units has compression we’re actually running into inversion, so I don’t know, I know some of our competitors in Alabama and some others have been able to keep their salaries going. I don’t know if there are any plans or what the budget situation is, but we do have a lot of problems in that regard.
Dr. Gogue, president: Michael, good question, I’ll share with you…we follow very carefully SREB data, we follow the data that we look at on faculty salaries. Among all ranks Auburn is about $800 less per faculty than the average for the Southeast Region. If I throw Delaware out of that data which is a very high salary level we actually go above that, now that doesn’t answer the question that you raised, but it at least gives us some sense of where we are within the SREB region for all ranks. One of the things that we are certainly trying to do is, there have been a couple of one-times, there’s been the 2% which was really just a substitution of the loss that you had. We’ve tried not to move into the mode in which you begin to reduce the size of your workforce on the campus. Some of the schools that have given what you would consider larger pay raises have had the reductions and now they are going back into the hiring. The other thing that you have to be very cautious about, many schools are still on the furlough. What they do is they report their true salary but the actual take home salary is two days a month less or one day a week less if you are in California, but where ever you happen to be. But we appreciate the comment, we are looking at tuition increases in terms of trying to address part of that. Probably one of the most important things would be to allow the Educational Trust Fund to grow and to make your allocations and then set a bar at your 2008 base level in which you then go into the rainy-day fund account, if that happened then you have a real opportunity to see some increases. [14:11]
The other area that we tried to do and we wondered if we would be successful is that we have 96 faculty that were identified through the professorship programs. I realize that that doesn’t show up as a permanent base increase, but there is anywhere from $5,000 to $7,000 going into those. We share the pain we know what you’re saying, we don’t have a great strategy on how you’re going to correct it in the next few months. [14:45]
Bob Locy, senator, biological sciences: Dr. Gogue since you thanked the Senate leadership for their meetings with you, I’d like to thank you for coming to the Senate meeting. We haven’t always had president’s who repeatedly came Senate meeting and some of us really appreciate that. [15:07]
Dr. Gogue, president: Thank you Bob.
Bob Locy, senator, biological sciences: The second thing is, and I apologize this is kind of an ambush question, I don’t mean it that way.
Dr. Gogue, president: Go ahead.
Bob Locy, senator, biological sciences: It occurred to me on the way over here, as I was pulling up to a stop light someone pulled through the stop light from the other direction who was in the left turn lane talking on their cell phone and cut off the other person trying to come straight through the intersection, who was also talking on their cell phone and the person just about ran over another person, a pedestrian crossing the street who was talking on their cell phone. So my question is, is there anything we can do, what can we consider doing that would help with the safety of our student population, with the respect of the use of cell phones while we are commuting across campus?
Dr. Gogue, president: Bob, you’ve raised a question that I know concerns all of us. And all of you try to be a safe as you can, but you come up to a place and there’s a walkway and they are all standing around talking, you assume nobody is going to start walking across that crosswalk and they suddenly start walking across that crosswalk, it’s dangerous. I don’t know the answer. Obviously we try to talk in Camp War Eagle, we try to explain it but I don’t think anybody listens to us when we try to talk about safety related issues. I’m told that the number of incidences that happened on Magnolia has been greatly reduced because of at least some of the efforts to show specific crosswalks. You have the legal issue also that until you are halfway across, from what I understand, a car really doesn’t have to stop. So most students are not aware of that, they believe the pedestrian always has the right-of-way, but in reality you don’t until you are in the middle of that street have the right-of-way. Don since you run the police department what do you recommend?… I don’t have a good answer, but we share the concern.
I’m going to sit down before anyone else gets up. Thank you all for being here. [17:16]
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Thank you Dr. Gogue.
All right we have an election coming up for our new officers. The election will open on March 8 and will run for about two weeks closing on March 19 at 5 p.m. For our slate of officers; for chair will be Larry Crowley and for secretary it will be Judy Sheppard. Please vote and encourage your fellow faculty members to vote.
This semester we’re implementing the new administration evaluation process approved by the Senate. The new process has 3 parts; first the Senate Administrator Evaluation Committee will conduct it’s usual evaluation survey of central administrators, second the old evaluation surveys for deans/chairs that were administrated by the university’s Senate Administrator Evaluation Committee have been replaced with anonymous annual online evaluation surveys for all deans, department heads, and department chairs, all faculty, staff, and administrative professionals, and students will be surveyed using instruments that have been approved by the University Senate Committee. Results from the Dean surveys will be shared with the Provost, results from the Heads/Chairs surveys will be shared with the appropriate Dean, and these surveys will be administered by OIRA. Third, in keeping with the approved Senate resolution, this semester 8 of the longest serving Heads/Chairs will receive a more comprehensive review by a review committee, those composed of a Chair selected by the Provost as Senate representative, student representatives selected by the SGA and Graduate Student Council and representatives from the departmental faculty/staff administrative professionals. Once fully implemented all heads and chairs will be reviewed every 3–5 years.
Again a few reminders about the Senate all senators whether ex-officio or not have a vote and should attend every Senate meeting, if you can’t attend please send a substitute who is not a sitting senator. The substitute will have full voting rights. Each senator or substitute senator should have signed in and picked up a clicker to use.
The first item on the agenda is the Rules Committee nominations. This will be presented by Larry Crowley, secretary of the senate.
Herb Rotfeld, marketing, senator: I want to ask a question on the item that you gave us for the administrator evaluation process, and I believe it does not list assistant and associate deans at all. I was informed the reason for that was that, to quote from the message I got, “because the assistant/associate deans were not specifically named in the Senate resolution it was decided that they shouldn’t be included in the survey except maybe included as a sub piece of the dean’s surveys.”
I have what I believe is the resolution the Senate passed on 5 April 2011 and it doesn’t exclude associate and assistant deans. It doesn’t list them specifically, but then again it doesn’t really say will review chairs, heads, and deans. It says, “deans will administer the comprehensive reviews for department leaders and program chairs, for example…” and then goes on listing examples. I thought the spirit of that was everyone below the level of dean was involved with programs, why are they excluded?
Ann Beth Presley, chair: I believe that was the spirit of the idea that they would be included with the deans survey because to do them separately would add another level and they work at the pleasure of the dean.
Herb Rotfeld, marketing, senator: Well the resolution said program chairs many associate and assistant deans are program leaders and or program chairs. And I don’t know why they are exempt from this review? And actually department chairs are voted on every 3 years, they could be voted out if they are screwing up too much.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: We’ll investigate that and find out what’s going on. Larry. [22:34]
Larry Crowley, secretary: Good afternoon. March (February) is the meeting where we take nominations for the Rules committee. Just a little background, the Rules Committee are those members of the Senate that come up with the nominations for the University Committees and are then offered to the president and also comes up with the slate of nominations for Senate Committees. The Rules Committee also serves as the committee on committees and determine rules for the Senate, there are 11 members, six of them are elected by the Senate, 5 of the members serve in positions as executive officers and these members serve 2-year staggered terms and we have 3 terms that are coming up. To be nominated you need to be a member of the Senate. We will have our election at our March meeting.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: With that background nominations are now in order for membership on the Rules committee, if anybody would like to make nominations.
Andrew Whorley, steering committee: I would like to nominate Steven Duke to Rules.
Mike Baginski, steering committee: I would like to nominate Forest Smith from Pharmacy.
Bill Sauser, chair-elect: Iwould like to nominate professor Robert Cochran from the School of Accountancy.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Are there any further nominations for membership on the Rules Committee? (Asked 3 times) If not then nominations are closed. Voting on nominees will occur during the March Senate meeting.
The next item on the agenda is a resolution on instructor ineligibility for deFacto tenure for instructors. This will be presented by Bill Sauser, chair-elect of the Senate. [25:41]
Bill Sauser, chair-elect: Good afternoon everyone and happy Valentine’s Day. I am bringing a motion before you on behalf of the Steering Committee of the University Senate. This is a motion that was brought as an item with information at our last meeting, it was discussed thoroughly and available for your review and comment for the past month. I’ll be glad to answer questions about it or entertain comments as the chair desires, but let me introduce the motion at this point.
Resolution on Clarifying Instructor Ineligibility for De Facto Tenure
WHEREAS, the Faculty Handbook states that instructors are non-tenure track faculty and not eligible for de facto tenure and
WHEREAS, the Faculty Handbook states that “during their sixth year of service an instructor must be nominated for tenure or given due notice of noncontinuation…” and
WHEREAS, a clarification of instructors’ eligibility for tenure and de facto tenure is needed
BE IT RESOLVED, that, instructors are ineligible for tenure and de facto tenure and the Faculty Handbook must be revised to reflect this clarification.
As I pointed out last time we have been wrestling with this issue and we thought we had resolved it in the most recent round of revisions of the Faculty Handbook, but we did find this discrepancy and Auburn University has not granted tenure to an instructor in a number of years and I understand there is no intention to do so and it seems a matter of fairness that if we have a position called lecturer that is a non-tenure track faculty member and can continue beyond a certain period of time, whereas instructors cannot, that doesn’t seem quite fair so that was why we brought up the issue last time, conducted the straw poll and discussion and found that most of the Senate seemed to have a sentiment toward this motion. So I am bringing it to you for adoption today. [28:09] Yes, I move it for adoption.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: The motion is coming from a committee and does not require a second. Are there any questions? [28:28]
Rebecca Pinzola, substitute for Laura Plexico from Steering: I must have missed the previous discussion so I do have some questions to help me clarify and understand this. 1. Has the AAUP changed its stance that instructors are quote “accruing” even if they are not initially appointed as tenure track? And 2. If we remove the de facto tenure issue, in what way is an instructor different from a lecturer?
Bill Sauser, chair-elect: Let me address both of them, and I would invite others to clarify. First with respect to the AAUP, I am a member of that organization and very sympathetic toward it’s issues. The AAUP has not changed its stance on that particular issue. The Senate was aware of that and the university was aware of that when we created the lecturer and senior lecturer positions. We were aware of the fact that AAUP has not changed its stance, it still is not maybe you could think to address that better than I can. So this is an action being proposed for the Senate with the knowledge that the AAUP does not recommend this direction, at least the national does not.
Your second question is how do the two differ? I’m not certain of that. I do know that lecturers and senior lecturers are considered to be budgeted slots, they must be approved by the Provost’s Office before an appointment is considered continuing. Instructors have been treated that way in the past. We have several people who hold a position of instructor now and I do not believe their status would be negatively impacted by this in any way. The purpose of the motion is simply to clarify that neither of those positions, in fact the purpose of this motion is to clarify instructor is not limited to an appointment of 7 years.
David King, senator, geology and geography and president of AAUP this year: [31:38] Not sure where to begin here. When we had the discussion on lecturer the AAUP, I think rightfully so, attempted to insert amendment language to address the issue of de facto tenure for lecturers and it’s my understanding that that amendment was rejected by the Provost’s Office. The University says that is subscribes to the 1940s statement of principles and in all these actions regarding instructors and lecturers not being eligible for de facto tenure are somehow being required to sign away their right to tenure, I feel is not in compliance with those principles. And so now we’re attempting to correct something that’s obviously a problem in the Faculty Handbook, but the greater problem is are we going to follow the principles or not? And I think that’s an issue that really deserves examination across the campus on the issue of continued faculty and really what the differences are in lecturer, instructor, and so on.
What I’m worried about is that we are headed toward a day when department have a few tenure track people, maybe 2 or 3, and everybody else is contingent. And I don’t think that really serves the greater academic purpose of departments. I think we’re loosing something there, so I am deeply concerned about that. I know I gotten off the topic of the resolution here, but I think this does present an opportunity for those of you in the room who are concerned about the future of tenure at Auburn to express yourselves.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Thank you. [33:43] Bob.
Bob Locy, senator, biological sciences: At the time that we created the instructorship positions (I believe he meant lecturer/senior lecturer positions) it’s my recollection that that decision was made because there were on the part of the university attorney, legal objections to whether the issue of instructors being de facto tenureable or not, was not a defensible position and therefore we created the instructors (lecturers) so there was some different name there. And this resolution would seek to rectify language in the Handbook, which is controversial, but I don’t quite understand how we have escaped concerns of legal council over whether the position of instructors not having de facto tenure whether we want them to or not is from the point of view of the university attorney legally indefensible. Has this been looked into in the proposal of this language change in the Faculty Handbook?
Bill Sauser, chair-elect: I cannot speak for the university attorney. I can point to a resolution that the University Senate passed, let’s see the date is at the bottom of it, April 5 of 2011 and it states: “de facto tenure is clarified to only include faculty on the tenure track.” In fact that’s what directed us as we revised the Handbook, an action that was taken by the Senate. Given that the Faculty Handbook has been approved by university council, I would presume, although as I said I don’t want to speak for university council, that indeed it was thoroughly reviewed and agreed upon.
Bob Locy, senator, biological sciences: Thank you.
Herb Rotfeld, senator, marketing: [joke 36:12] One thing, just a minor point, the de facto tenure happens when there is a mistake so just saying it hasn’t happened in a while just says that we haven’t been stupid in a while, which is good. But as far as removing instructors from the possibility of de facto tenure I think this resolution is a great idea and serves to the long expressed wet dream of a long time soon to depart Board member, who I shall not name–who used to have a bank, by having instructors as non-tenured. At lest when we had lecturers there were limits on how many FTEs they can control in a department. There were concerns for long term employment in some way in terms of long term contracts and it was to, to use the wording of one such discussion, remove the abuse that was experienced by many instructors from their year-to-year uncertain tenure uncertain time employment. Now you take instructors off of de facto tenure. The difference between instructors and lecturers is the lecturers are the ultimate work-for-hire employee that we are going to have on the teaching group for the university. They are on year-to-year appointments, they can be fired at any time for any reason, you’re not giving any recourse, and it could be long time, no long-time contracts, and so we’ve now after having lecturers with a bout of concerns for the terms that they are hiring and the set-up and the mechanisms, we are setting up a system for instructors to be subjected to even greater abuse. And I don’t understand what the point is? [38:06]
Bill Sauser, chair-elect: Thank you. I’d like to make a comment toward that also. At present this is the way the university Handbook, which was approved by the Senate and the administration, currently reads. Notice, “except for the ranks of instructor, Librarian I, archivist I, these are tenure track positions,” “non-tenure track faculty includes such positions as instructor.” So under our current policy instructor is a non-tenure track position, what we found as I pointed out, elsewhere in the Faculty Handbook we still have this sentence that states: “an instructor must be nominated for tenure or given due notice of non-continuation no later than August 16 of his or her sixth year of service.” So we are trying to resolve that discrepancy. Given that we already defined that instructors are non-tenure track faculty members we wanted to allow them to have the same benefits as lecturers, and that was why we came to you last month as an information item and why I’ve come to you this month as an item for action.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Any other questions? If everybody would get their clickers out, all those in favor press “A” all those opposed press “B,” In favor of adopting the resolution as presented. [40:01]
A=44, B=10, C=1 The motion passes 44 to 10.
Next on the agenda, Claire Crutchley will present and information item at this meeting for voting at the March meeting. It’s a resolution on selection, duties, and terms of department heads and chairs.
Claire Crutchley, immediate past chair: Thank you Ann Beth. The Steering Committee has been trying to come up with a new administrative hiring resolution to replace an old administrative hiring resolution that was never passed into policy. It was passed by the Senate, but it never became policy. And as we were doing it we started talking about, what is the definition of a department head or chair and we went to the AAUP governance statement and realized that in the Handbook part of it is there but not all of it. We really like the language of all of the AAUP statement. So we are asking as a means to collect information to add more of the language from the AAUP handbook on governance, this is a governance section.
So the resolution
“Whereas the selection, duties and tenure of department heads/chairs varies across Auburn University,
And Whereas; the Association of American University Professors (AAUP) published a statement of appointment, duties and tenure of department heads and chairs in the document “Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities,”
Be it resolved that the AAUP statement on selection, duties and tenure of appointment of department heads/chairs shall be adopted as follows:”
We don’t have to read the whole thing, the big difference is…oh you (referring to the parliamentarian) want me to read the whole thing.
“The chair or head of a department, who serves as the chief representative of the department within an institution, should be selected either by departmental election or by appointment following consultation with members of the department and of related departments; appointments should normally be in conformity with department members’ judgment.”
[most of this is currently in the Handbook. This is what’s different, this is the additional language]
“The chair or department head should not have tenure in office; tenure as a faculty member is a matter of separate right. The chair or head should serve for a stated term but without prejudice to reelection or to reappointment by procedures that involve appropriate faculty consultation. Board, administration, and faculty should all bear in mind that the department chair or head has a special obligation to build a department strong in scholarship and teaching capacity.”
We especially like that last line because it said this is what the department heads or chairs should do. This comes straight out of…it’s all in quotes, the last two slides. It replaces the current language, which sounds very similar, because it comes out of the same document but it was only a piece of the document. We’re replacing the current language. There is one piece, and I italicized the wrong place, but one other place in the Faculty Handbook that needs to be revised and that’s:
“Academic administrators above the level of department head…”
actually it’s the second line. “A department head holds a continuing appointment as head and must also hold faculty rank.” So that would need to be edited by our Handbook Committee[44:40] also.
So this is the information item here for your comments.
Mike Stern, senator, economics: I notice in the other one you say chair or head and this one shifts over and only says head. Would it be possible to dispense with this differential title that we run around and the people always ask, what’s the difference between a chair and a head? Some people use this word and some people use that word and there is no uniformity, and some you’ll say chair or head and in other sections you just say head, so does it not apply to chairs? I know once upon a time there must have been some differential at this university, but could we just dispense and just use like, chair exclusively? Because we don’t say dean or school head, everywhere it just says dean, you don’t come up with 2 titles for the same thing.
Also I don’t care much for the word special obligation. I believe all faculty administrator’s at this university have that same obligation, so I don’t see any special obligation because it tends to suggests that other people are not obliged and that it’s the responsibility for everyone to build strong scholarship and teaching at the university, whether they be administrators, faculty, you name it. I don’t know anything special per se for the department chair in that regard, but I would love to see a dispensing of the chair vs. head thing that floats around all over the place. [46:13]
Claire Crutchley, immediate past chair: Thank you.
Guy Rohrbaugh, senator, Philosophy: I was wondering if you could just tell us because I am not clear on what is exactly getting ruled out or in here? I just going to confess I’m not following the flowery language entirely, and if you could just break it down for me what’s getting ruled out now that wasn’t before.
Claire Crutchley, immediate past chair: I think really the only difference in terms of what’s happening is that a head would still have a specific term in office, so they will serve for a stated term. They would not be continuing without a term, although they could be reappointed, this says without predudice.
Bob Locy, senator, biological sciences: I’m curious, some years ago approximately the time Dr. Gogue arrived on the scene at the university, we passed something we called an administrator hiring resolution. Is that distinct from this?
Claire Crutchley, immediate past chair: That resolution was never put into place, I believe it was before Dr. Gogue, but it never got passed by the Provost at that point. We will bring an administrative hiring resolution also to the Senate.
Bob Locy, senator, biological sciences: As a separate item.
Claire Crutchley, immediate past chair: As a separate item that is correct.
Bob Locy, senator, biological sciences: That will cover the issues that that resolution covered, in addition to the issues that are in this resolution?
Claire Crutchley, immediate past chair: Yes.
Bob Locy, senator, biological sciences: Thank you. [47:52]
Guy Rohrbaugh, senator, Philosophy: I was just wondering if your department for instance has an internal rule that says you can sever two terms in office consecutively, would that then be overruled by this? Could we not have that departmental rule? Because it would be with predudice after the second term? I’m just making sure that…
Claire Crutchley, immediate past chair: We will look into that, I don’t think so given that it has to do with appropriate faculty consultation. [48:29]
Jada Kohlmeier, senator, curriculum & teaching: Could you just share the rational behind the impetus to remove the decision about terms from the departmental level and take it to a uniform university level?
Claire Crutchley, immediate past chair: I think it was the sentiment of the Steering committee that it should be fairly uniform across campus.
Jada Kohlmeier, senator, curriculum & teaching: Could I ask why that would be seen as a strength, Like why it would be better to be uniform across the campus as opposed to… I actually see it as a strength that individual departments would be able to make that decision based on the needs of that specific department. So I was just curious why you would see it at a strength?
Bill Sauser, Chair-elect: May I respond?
In response to that very good question; note that the resolution does not specify a uniform term across the university. It states that the head or chair should serve for a stated term. It was our understanding that that stated term would certainly be under the purview of the various departments, colleges, or schools, so it would not be seeking to implement a uniform term across the university. [50:09] Am I correct in that?
Russell Wright, senator, fisheries: It seems to me that if you don’t have some maximum term that this doesn’t have a lot of meaning. I like the idea that it gives the faculty a chance to weigh in at some point. It’s not just department head for life. So having some point of decision is good at some point, I like that, but if you don’t have some limit then it seems like it is just meaningless.
Claire Crutchley, immediate past chair: Clarify for me, are you saying maximum number of terms or maximum years of a term?
Russell Wright, senator, fisheries: Maximum years of a term.
Claire Crutchley, immediate past chair: We assume that departments will put into place what is the term, and I would assume they would put a reasonable term, but we could certainly consider that.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Are there any other questions? Thank you Claire.
The next item on the agenda is Dr. George Flowers, dean of the Graduate School, and he’s going to present a draft of the Graduate Tuition Remission Waivers. [52:00]
George Flowers, dean of the Graduate School: Good Afternoon. [52:21] What I’m going to talk about is some proposed revisions to the tuition fellowship program. There’s been quite a bit of discussion around the campus for quite some time about possible changes to the tuition fellowship program and what I’m here to do today is present what has been the result of those discussions and what we have come up with so far as potential changes and seek your feedback and input as to the changes that have been proposed.
A little bit of history, some of us have been here for a while so remember back in 1990s when we didn’t have a tuition fellowship program. We had in-state, graduate assistants had to pay instate tuition but the out-of state was waived. Approximately 10 years ago the Provost at the time and the dean of the Graduate School put together a tuition fellowship program, it went through several revisions and historically the goal there was to provide tuition support as part of a competitive financial aid package to graduate assistants, so that we could attract the most highly qualified of graduate assistants. At the time we were at a competitive disadvantage almost every other institution in the country had some sort of in-state tuition fellowship support and we didn’t. In order to be competitive, in order to attract the highest quality TAs, the highest quality RAs we had to have some sort of tuition in-state coverage. And this was proposed to do this and was meant to be part of financial aid package that goes to the student. Really the tuition support in conjunction with a stipend and now in conjunction with at least a subsidized health insurance package is pretty common across the country.
I said the tuition fellowship proposal as John Pritchard put it forward went through several revisions, initially there were no limits. Those of us that were GPOs at the time certainly remember that and rapidly got us into trouble and so limits were imposed. They were year limits initially as well as hour limits. So there limits put in place to encourage degree completion in a time efficient manner and really to encourage a prudent use of the resources that were being put into the program.
Current policy, the way the current policy reads is all graduate assistants whether they are GTA, GRA, or GA, the administrative assistants, if they have at least a 25% FTE 0.25 FTE with a minimum stipend of $612 per month, they receive the tuition support until the limits are reached. And the limits as they are currently put forward are that for a master’s program it’s the number of hours plus 10. So a typical master’s program, 30 hours, then the student would be supported up to 40 hours of in-state tuition. Or a doctoral program it’s the number of hours for the degree plus 20. So for a typical doctoral program of 60 hours, the 20 hours is added for a total of 80. Notice that one issue that often comes up here and we try to address this in the proposal is that there is no differentiation made between the number of hours a student uses in a master’s program vs. in a doctoral program. So at the present time if a student comes in with a master’s already and is pursuing a doctoral degree then they will quite often use many of the hours for their master’s degree be able to include that in their plan of study and have much less hours than a student who is started out here and has gone through the program master’s and then PhD. And so right now we’re in a sense discriminating against a certain, certainly differentiating against our students who pursue their master’s degree here, so a little later on we’ll see how they tended to address that. Let me point that out that the number of hours for a master’s student is 40, but then for a doctoral student those 40 count, they only get 40 additional.
Two issues in discussion we’ve had. Two issues were identified as problematic with regard to the tution fellowship program. One is when the program was put into place the minimum stipend was $600 per month for that 25% FTE, it’s gone up precisely once maybe 6 years ago or so. The Board authorized a 2% increase for graduate assistants, so that’s why you’ve got the number 612, that’s where it comes from, 2% on top of $600. It’s much lower than any institution that I’ve surveyed. Looked at institutions that had data available and talked with a variety of graduate deans and the $612 is lower than anywhere else and in most cases substantially lower. We’ll see some data in a moment. It appears that our lower living stipends are not competitive with our peer institutions, that’s one issue.
And then the program limits are sufficiently liberal so there’s really little financial incentive for degree completion in a current or prompt fashion. Meaning that it’s real easy to drag it out. What we are looking at doing is trying to put in place some changes that will address these concerns. So let’s look at some other institutions.
How do other institutions compare. I have here a list of institutions that their full tuition support is provided only for a minimum of 0.5 FTE, remember we’re doing 0.25 FTE. University of Alabama, 50%, a couple of in between cases, University of Georgia, University of Kansas they were 40% minimum, University of Maryland, Virginia Tech, University of Arkansas, a lot of our SEC peers as well as land-grant peers, University of Kentucky, Arizona State, Oklahoma State, University of Oklahoma, Kansas State, and University of Central Florida, they all had data that was readily available and this is their rules.
If we look at stipends and try to compare our minimum stipend for full tuition waiver, ours is $612; what we see is a lot of these institutions, here I’ve got North Carolina State, Florida State, they are closest to us. Remember down here at $612, North Carolina State has a minimum of I believe of $650, Florida around $700, so we are kind of close to them, but everywhere else we are substantially under. Its not because of our 25% FTE rate, it’s because they are requiring 50% or substantially more than 25% FTE.
So what’s been proposed for one of the changes is to try to move us from the orange bar to the blue bar, meaning if we move up to one third FTE from the current 25%, keeping the same rates, then where we will be at is a little over $800. So that puts us a little bit above North Carolina State and Florida State, not a whole lot, but it moves us in the right direction. And all that has really been discussed are incremental changes, you’re talking about relatively small incremental changes that seeks to push this program in the direction toward trying to address some of these concerns.
The dark blue bar is where we are looking at a minimum of if we go with one-third FTE as a minimum for full tuition waiver support, it puts us at about $800. [1:01:38] And as far as limits on tuition support, if you look at some other institutions where there is data, University of Arkansas has a 3 year limit for a master’s degree, they have a 5–8 year limit for a doctoral degree in terms of tuition support coming from the institution. The 5/8, where that comes from, it’s five if you come in with a master’s degree already, it’s 8 if you come in without a master’s degree. If you are going straight through master’s doctorial degree or just straight through doctorial degree without a master’s you get 8 years. University of Kansas, their rules; they cover only tuition and no campus fees. Our program for example is a bit more liberal than the no campus fees for example there are quite a few fees that are covered. They cover doctorial GRAs for 10 semesters and master’s GRAs are not eligible at University of Kansas. [1:02:41] University of Oklahoma, it covers only the number of hours required for the degree, so what they state is for example in our situation would be 30 hours for a master’s degree not 40. Oklahoma State University they cover 6 hours of the resident portion of tuition for each fall and spring semester and 3 for each summer semester, so they ramp back on the number of hours they support as well. University of North Carolina they limit a master’s student to 4 semesters, a doctorial student to 10 semesters. Utah State is doctorial only and the credits that are taken for the degree must be on the plan of study, right now we do not require that credits be on the plan of study and quite often credits are taken that aren’t directly related to the student’s major. Duke, doctorial only; University of Alabama, their limits are not explicit in terms of number of hours however they provide tuition support only for permanently budgeted position lines. The words ‘permanently budgeted TA line’ is eligible for central tuition support and the tuition support for all of the graduate assistants that must be paid for from the source. If it’s a departmental funded RA for example then what they require is the department also has to come up with the tuition support for that RA line, if it’s a RA line that’s coming from a research contractor grant then they are requiring the tuition to be on the contractor grant. So quite a bit more restrictive than what we’ve got.
What we have proposed is some incremental changes. First of all let me point out that all 0.25 FTE and higher graduate assistants will continue to be classified as in-state students, so we are not talking about any changes to the out-of-state part of the waiver, we are only talking about the in-state part. So the out-of-state waiver policy would remain the way has been for 20 plus years, which is that all the 0.25 FTE or higher you receive the in-state rate for tuition really with no limits on the in-state rate. The proposed changes let me emphasize are only with regard to the in-state tuition program that we called over the years the tuition fellowship program. The changes that are proposed the first item is that tuition funded in-state support will be provided to graduate assistants with receiving 0.25 FTE or higher. And that’s for full tuition support, 100% tuition support just as what we have now. Really there should be a full university tuition support there. Those with less than the one-third time between 25% and the 0.32 FTE will receive 50% tuition support and that’s in keeping with what a lot of other universities do. If a student receives a 25% FTE, typically they give them half tuition support. So that’s what’s proposed here. And then as is the case currently, if you’ve got less than 25% FTE then you don’t get any tuition support for out-of-state or in-state, that’s the current policy. [1:06:36] So there’s no change on that. The first 2 are really the changes that have been suggested.
In discussion with a number of folks there were some concerns, there were several units that were concerned about their summer support, they have tried to stretch their summer dollars and keep students involved, keep students on campus involved with the research activity and fully covered. A clarification here is that those proposed policy changes really only apply during spring and fall semesters. So for summer semester it would be the same as we have now, if there’s a 25% FTE appointment they are still covered.
Then there was also a concern that there be some sort of incentive to units for having student that were fully supported, so we included for every 2 FTE on campus graduates in a college or school who receive full tuition support from external sources, this could be either self-funded, this could be from external grants or whatever, the associated college or school is allowed to appoint one more .25 FTE graduate assistant that would have full support. The limits that are being considered, and we’ll discuss those in a little more detail in the next slide is 110% of the hours required for the degree.
What is proposed here is some softening of the incremental changes which is that summer students will continue to be supported with the current policy and for each unit every 2 FTE students fully supported then they get a 25% FTE full tuition waiver as under the current policy. [1:09:00]
Then in terms of limits, university funded in-state tuition support is proposed to be limited to 110% of the number of hours required for the graduate degree. What that would do for a typical master’s student requiring 30 hours, they’d go to 33 hours in-state supported. For a doctorial student that would go to typically 60 hours, so you’d be going to 66 hours from the current 80. The form that was also suggested here is that you’ll cover one as we are currently doing; one master’s degree one PhD, or one master’s degree plus a PhD within the same or complimentary field. So for that sort of a situation, it is somewhat expanding the program in that the students are going from currently 80 would be going to for a 30 hour master’s degree 33 plus 66, you’d really be going to 99. But the point of this change is to address our own campus students that are going from a master’s program into a PhD and putting them on the same playing field as the students who are from off campus.
Then we recognize that one policy, one rule doesn’t fit all, so there is an exceptions policy, this limit can be provided with documentation of academic need and demonstration of good stewardship of the support already provided. And the approval process would go through the graduate school. That’s what’s proposed. We provide exceptions in cases where the program is clearly moving the students through, the student is clearly using the resources in an appropriate way, but needs an extra semester and additional hours, there is a mechanism for doing that. [1:11:13] So those are the proposed changes.
Basic changes are that we would go from a minimum of 25% FTE to a 33% FTE, and we will go from supporting minimum number of hours for a master’s degree plus 10, minimum number of hours for a doctorial degree plus 20, we will go to 110% of what ever the minimum number of hours required for the degree. So that’s what’s proposed. What do you think, what is your feedback?
Jerry Davis, senator, industrial & systems engineering: I want to say thank you. First of all I think it is a very thoughtful proposal and I just have 2 quick comments. One was where in my opinion the departments and units are the ones that would generate the scholarship and the waivers and fund the students, yet the extra waiver is essentially returned to the college and school so that seems a bit at odds. The other thing was, I think at least in our department, we have dual degree program with an MBA. And I could tell you that historically we attract some of our best students to that dual degree program so that see that that might be a little contrary to what we have listed there also.
George Flowers, dean of the Graduate School: How would that be problematic?
Jerry Davis, senator, industrial & systems engineering: Well if you have one master’s degree and you get an MISE and an MBA, you are getting 2 master’s degrees. So I guess what I am saying is under the rule right now we carry 10 hours, just off the top of my head between dual degrees you can dual use 10 hours and then maybe a common project between MBA and MISE. That would seem unless we had an exception for that, and again just not in our case but in any units case that would seem to run over that where we would need an exception.
George Flowers, dean of the Graduate School: So what are you suggesting rather than on master’s degree or dual master’s program?
Jerry Davis, senator, industrial & systems engineering: All I am saying is that that’s something that we might want to consider. Thank you.
Mike Stern, senator, economics: Just a point of clarity. If we have a student’s funded .33 FTE during the regular academic year and we have the stipend set up where they can live for the full year off of that 9 months, is their tuition covered in the summer even if they are not directly employed to teach during the summer because we have massively more opportunities for graduate student funding during the academic year. Like when I was a graduate student I would teach during the academic year but every summer there were courses but I didn’t have very many but I was registered for thesis hours. I would work on my thesis and I had tuition discount as long as I had been full status during the regular academic year. I think we have but correct me if I’m wrong that you have to be registered for something when you are trying to graduate? People often graduate in the summer, they’ve gotten a job so they graduate toward the end of that summer when they are starting another one. But because they are just finishing up their dissertation they are not going to be teacher employed during that summer. If they are .33 during the regular year do they get summer tuition reimbursement?
George Flowers, dean of the Graduate School: Under the current policy how it works is if they are .25 FTE then if they have received tuition support during the fall and spring then they receive and in-state waiver if they are not employed in the summer. That’s where we stand on this at least as it is currently proposed.
Mike Stern, senator, economics: So if they are .33 in fall/spring they will get summer tuition reimbursement?
George Flowers, dean of the Graduate School: They will get the out-of state rate away they will be treated as in-state students.
Mike Stern, senator, economics: So there would be no tuition waiver even if they were .33 during fall/spring if they are not formally employed during the summer if they register for something?
George Flowers, dean of the Graduate School: Yes. [1:15:31]
David King, senator, geology & geography: I think that probably many of us could get up here and relate anecdotes from our particular departments about how this might affect us. I think with these changes there is a high potential for the effect of the long unintended consequences, so I would encourage you before this becomes a one size fits all rule for the university that you visit in some departments that may have some concerns about this because one could envision that some of these changes would really dramatically effect the ability of some departments to recruit and retain graduate students, where others it may have no effect. If the thought is to grow the graduate population here maybe we need to keep our thresholds lower until we get a larger graduate student population. Again, some of the things that have proposed here give me concern, but maybe I shouldn’t be concerned. I know only my department and it’s culture and it’s problems. I just hope some more thought could be put into how this might affect some individual units on campus.
George Flowers, dean of the Graduate School: We have actively sought feedback and will continue to do so and you have a very good point. [1:17:06]
Sanjeev Baskiyar, senator, computer science: I think what you have proposed is very thoughtful and a very nice way of putting everything together, and in the past I think the graduate school has been very supportive of programs such as scholarship programs and stuff like that. There is one issue I want to bring in and if you can bring in some exemptions, there are for example some NSF programs where they give a lot of money, $600,000, but they limit the amount of dollars that you can give to students. Not necessarily the stuff that I am doing, may be impacted but if we can bring in some exceptions for externally funded large amounts of money where some sort of tuition support could be provided on a case by case basis that would really support it. For example particularly when NSF says that you cannot disperse more than this amount per year to the student. So those cases, if they can be accommodated that would be good.
George Flowers, dean of the Graduate School: (George walked away from the microphone and could not be heard) I’m a little confused as to what ? the way this is ? a thousand dollars a month ?
Sanjeev Baskiyar, senator, computer science: There are some programs currently from NSF which give a large amount of money, but they say for example, you cannot give a student more than $10,000 per year, they impose the limit on that. So you can hire a lot of graduate students, so that becomes a little complex situation. STEM is one of them.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Thank you. This will be the last comment and after that…
Guy Rohrbaugh, senator, philosophy: I think I have a concern, but let me just make sure that I understand things first. One FTEs ballpark is 8 classes? So we are talking about raising the minimum for getting remission from roughly 2 to 3 classes?
George Flowers, dean of the Graduate School: FTE?
Guy Rohrbaugh, senator, philosophy: Like a third of an FTE would be asking graduate students to teach around 3 sections a year instead of 2?
George Flowers, dean of the Graduate School: Yes, that’s roughly, approximately what you are looking at. Most departments one section is 25% so roughly speaking you are talking about 3 sections in an academic year in order to qualify for one-third.
Guy Rohrbaugh, senator, philosophy: In that case I think I have got a concern. I think I’m aware some fields competing against other institutions in terms of how much teaching they are requiring and certainly in philosophy, the better programs are moving the other direction and I bet there are other fields where that is also true. I am certainly concerned about going up on the minimum FTE to get remission is going in the wrong direction in terms of competing for the best graduate students.
George Flowers, dean of the Graduate School: Could you send me some links for the institutions for those programs so I can look at what they do? Thank you.
Ann Beth Presley, chair: Thank you George.
Is there any old business? Any new business? If there is no other business then this meeting in adjourned.
Please return your clickers on the way out. [1:21:06]