MINUTES OF THE COUNCIL OF ACADEMIC ADMINISTRATORS

1:30 p.m., Monday, April 10, 2006, in Lyceum 200

 

PRESENT:   Dr. Staton, Deans Hopkins, Burnham, Davis, Lee, Stocks, Rholes, Chitwood, Sullivan-Gonzalez, Buntin, Pate, Dr. Hawley for Dean Reithel, Dr. Wilson for Dean Wells, Dr. Fant, Dr. Hall, Dr. Hallam, Dr. Gates, Dr. Gispen,

                     Dr. Canty, Ms. Harrington

  

ABSENT:      Dean Reithel, Dean Wells, Dr. Donna Davis, Ms. Piazza, Mr. Putta, Dr. Angle

                     Dr. Clark, Ms. Puckett

 

ALSO PRESENT:   Roun McNeal


          1. Reaction to Undergraduate Council Minutes of February 3 (see Attachment #1).

 

On a motion by Dean Hopkins and a second by Dean Chitwood, the Council unanimously

approved the Undergraduate Council Minutes of February 3.


          2. Reaction to Undergraduate Council Minutes of March 3 (see Attachment #2).


          On a motion by Dean Hopkins and a second by Dean Rholes, the Council unanimously approved the Undergraduate Council Minutes of March 3.


          3. Reaction to Graduate Council Minutes of November 11 (see Attachment #3).


          On a motion by Dean Sullivan-Gonzalez and a second by Dean Eftink, the Council unanimously approved the Graduate Council Minutes of November 11.


          4. Faculty Definition - Instructor (see Attachment #4).


          In the course of discussion on this item, Dean Davis questioned whether the revised instructor definition would create defacto tenure, and the Provost suggested that it would not. After further discussion, and on a motion by Dean Hopkins and a second by Dean Stocks, the Council unanimously approved the change in the faculty definition of instructor.


          5. Proposed Grading Scale.


          The Provost informed the Council that she and the Chancellor was seeking more input from the student body before going forward with the proposed graduated grading scale. The new ASB president, Roun McNeal, was present. He indicated that Dru Ashoo would be the ASB representative to the Council. He discussed briefly the resolution passed by the ASB senate concerning the grading scale. He expressed his desire to see student representation on the implementation committee and suggested that this committee consider issues such as whether existing students would be grandfathered under the new proposal and how differences among grades in sections of the same course would be handled under the grading scale. He also suggested that the grading scale, if adopted, should be widely publicized not only to our students

but to external observers so that they would understand that any decline in average student GPAs should be attributed to the University’s attempting to improve the academic climate. He mentioned also that the ASB would host a forum consisting of professors on either side of the issue, someone from graduate school admissions, and a representative from the business community to discuss the proposed grading change.


          6. Localizing Solutions to Textbooks to Advance Academic Opportunities.


          Mr. McNeal discussed at length proposals for combating the rise in textbook prices. His presentation was outlined in Attachment #5. A core proposal was that each school adopt an ISBN database similar to that being used by the Business School, according to which all faculty in the school would forward to essential point within each school the ISBN numbers for the books they adopted in courses. He also suggested the professors could combat high text prices by noting, where applicable, on syllabi whether older versions of the text were acceptable. He also described a campaign he hoped departments to undertake of obtaining letters from faculty in the departments stating that no revisions were necessary to particular text. Noting that ENGL 101 is contemplating a third change in style books over the course of five years, he suggested that faculty be discouraged from turning over textbooks with such frequency. Mr. McNeal further protested against the adoption of “useless” materials such as bundled materials and the use of remote controls to indicate that students are present in a class. Finally, Mr. McNeal indicated that he would be lobbying the legislature to ban the distribution of free sample textbooks to faculty and urging the legislature to declare a tax free weekend for the purchase of textbooks. After his presentation Dean Rholes suggested that faculty might be encouraged to use paperbacks where possible as a way of reducing textbook costs.


          7. Other Business.


          Dr. Kathy Gates reported that 182 faculty had completed online activity reports and that another 169 reports were in progress. She also noted that a major SAP upgrade would occur beginning Thursday at 5:00 p.m. and that service would be available again by the following Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m. She also notified the Council that teacher evaluations became available for students on this past Friday.


          Ms. Harrington reported that graduation rates (six years) were up two percent to fifty-six percent.


          The Provost announced that budget information would be provided after the next IHL meeting. The state has appropriated money for raises of 3.75 percent, but the university wants to provide five percent raises. It’s possible that there will be a small amount of new operating money. Dean Rholes inquired whether the money for raises would be across the board or merit-

based. The Provost indicated that the raises would be across the board for faculty subjected to increased health insurance or increased retirement contribution rates. Dean Hopkins inquired whether single faculty who don’t pay health insurance would not receive this across the board raise. The Provost suggested that they probably would not. Dr. Gispen inquired whether tuition increases had helped to provide for faculty raises in the past. The Provost responded that they have and that this might be one of the mechanisms by which the university could offer five percent raises even though the legislature had only appropriated money for 3.75 percent raises.


          The secretary indicated that the online academic discipline process had been in place now for nearly one academic year and invited comments or suggestions from members of the Council concerning the process.


          Dean Sullivan-Gonzalez announced that there had been 400 applications to the Honors College, of which 148 had been accepted. He further informed the Council that the average ACT score for students receiving scholarships in the Honors College was 33.


          Dean Pate announced that Aleta Crawford had received the ACHE Region VII Outstanding Faculty Member award.


          Dean Buntin announced that Dean Stocks would be present for an open house at the Southaven campus to announce the beginning the Masters of Accountancy program there. Southaven’s graduation ceremony is April 11, and Dean Buntin observed that 175 students were graduating.


          Dr. Canty announced that the new nursing program on the Oxford campus was beginning on May 9 and that 16 students would be entering this program, which would be located in Wing F of Kinard.


          Dean Eftink thanked the members of the Council for help in working through the transfer equivalency issues. He also announced that faculty transcripts and diplomas would begin being scanned this summer, partially to comply with SACS requirements.


          Mr. McNeal made one additional request to the Council that they ask faculty to indicate to the bookstore whether items beside textbooks were required.



          8. Adjournment. The meeting adjourned at 2:37 p.m.

 


APPROVED by Chancellor Khayat on July 13, 2006.