Faculty Council Newsletter March 17 2011

Chair's Report - Leona Rubin

The non-smoking policy goes into effect in July.  Smoking will only be 
allowed in certain designated areas.  After a while the university will 
become completely smoke free.  (I asked why it was a two phase process, 
since smokers will be just as badly effected by a one step process.  I 
was told it was because a two step process is a way to get from A to B.)

The General Faculty Meeting will take place on April 17.  It will be two 
hours long because of a full agenda: Gen Ed, Tenure, Budget, Retirement, 
and Strategic Plan.

Soon we will have a paper ballot to decide if we can vote 
electronically.  This then has to go through the Chancellor and the 
Curators, so we won't be able to use electronic voting for a while.

System & Board Issues

Tuition is up by 5.5%.  CBHE approved the waiver.

There is consideration of a 2% salary increase.  The powers that be 
insist that it must be merit based.  This money will come from from 
reallocation, because there will be a 7% cut from state.

The Board meets next week.  They will discuss the retirement plan, but 
not vote until the following meeting in June.  There is a report from 
the Retirement Plan Advisory Committee at 

There is a System Benefits Committee, which includes staff, which 
advises HR.  It acts as a sounding board for Betsy Rodriguez and the 
President.  The two faculty reps have very little contact with FC, and 
perhaps they don't understand their roles as intermediaries.

Evaluation - Clyde Bentley

They have created a pretty good survey for faculty to evaluate the 
Chancellor.  They will evaluate the Provost next year.  They now have 
the final draft, which the Chancellor is looking at.  We are offering to 
let him add more questions.  Then it will go out electronically, to 
faculty only, shortly after spring break.

Rebbecca Johnson asked if we could have a "360 degrees review," where 
all constituents can partake in the evaluation.  The consensus of the FC 
EC was that it should be faculty only.  This is for two reasons, first 
that they felt that they only represent faculty, and secondly that the 
faculty response might be diluted.  Maybe next year the IFC can 
administer a "360 degree survey."

IFC - Bill Weibolds

They have been consumed with retirement.  Two points:
1. If there is a change, it will only be for new employees;
2. There are promises that present employees' defined benefits will not 
be hurt.

They plan to start a discussion on civility.

They are also working on the definition of Faculty.  This is hard to do, 
but it's got to be done.

Domestic Partner Benefits.  They need to get going on this.  The Council 
of Deans have said this creates problems with recruiting.

Mechanisms for revoking degrees.  There is no current policy.

Grievance.  The faculty will vote late April.  There was a discussion 
about whether FC should also vote.  Victoria Johnson said that she had 
more data to present, and so didn't want to vote today.

FC had three votes:
Should FC vote on issue?  14 yes, 3 no, abstentions.
Should FC vote today?  7 yes, 12 no, 2 abstentions.
Should FC vote at the next meeting?  Lots of yeahs, 0 no, 4 abstentions.

General Education - Victoria Johnson


17 FC members voted to vote on it today.  It was decided that Section D 
and the Appendix should not be part of the document, but distributed as 
a separate document for information purposes only.  This includes the 
references, and the list of suggested classes.  There was some other 
wordsmithing that took place.

Vote: 19 yes, 1 no, 0 abstentions.


Two equivalent proposals were made.  FC finally settled on this:

"Any department can use either a capstone course or a 4000 level course 
to fulfill the requirement."

Vote 20 yes, 0 no, 0 abstentions.

Discussion item.  Diversity Enhancement - Leah Cohn

The Family Friendly Task Force will become a standing committee.  Some 
comments given to Leah before the meeting suggested that the committee 
was too large, so they have reduced the size, and made some members 
non-voting.  (There was a short discussion on how the phrase 
"ex-officio" does not mean "non-voting" but rather means "a member by 
virtue of ones office.")

Academic Affairs - Victoria Johnson

There was a discussion about reading day being on Thursday, and whether 
we should have finals.

The report from the subcommittee said that many dislike the change to 
Thursday for reading day.  In particular, faculty with Tues-Thurs labs 
effectively lost a week.  So they met with Jim Spain to get it changed.  
The idea of eliminating exam week popped up in someones a brain cell.  
This idea was squashed.

So the plan is to go back to Friday as reading day.  But there will be a 
compressed final exam schedule, changing 8am-8pm to 7:30am-10pm, 
finishing at 9:30am on Friday.

This will be an action item at next meeting.

One member brought up the idea of 90 minute finals.  Someone else 
sarcastically suggested we have 45 minute finals.  Leona Rubin said we 
need to survey all faculty on the issue of finals, using survey monkey.  
Perhaps if we know who is and who isn't using finals, we could make the 
schedule more efficient.

One member said that removing finals would tarnish MU's reputation.

Faculty Affairs - Sudarshan Loyalka

He had only just been given permission to present certain data, and he 
would like to share it before we discuss the issues in the meeting.  He 
asked to defer his report until the next meeting.

Fiscal Affairs - Harry Tyrer

Chris Fender, director of MU IP tech transfer group, has made 
presentations to this subcommittee.  They have suggested to create an 
advisory faculty committee to liaise with the IP and tech transfer 
group.  Originally system had a committee to to do this, but it was too 
large and unwieldy.

MU's 4th mission is economic development.  But currently faculty do not 
get proper recognition for this, particularly with P&T.  This needs to 
be fixed.

Student Affairs

Safety issues - the yellow signs on the crosswalks have been shown to 
really slow down traffic.  There is some push back on putting them out, 
because some students steal them and hang them in their dorm rooms.

Other Business

We are encouraged to request to serve on campus committees.  The call 
has already gone out twice.

Also, this is the time to get nominations (including self-nominations) 
to serve on IFC.

Best regards,
Stephen Montgomery-Smith