SENATE OF THE FACULTY, June 12, 1998
The Senate of the Faculty met in room 1043-44 of the Natural Products Building.
Present: T. Bates, J. Bradley, A. Elsherbeni (P), D. Graves, K. Green, F. Gu, S. Hargrove (1), L. Harper, G. Hopkins (1), F.Laurenzo, T. McCarty, L. McLary, J. S. Payne, K. Raber (1), S. Skemp, L. Smith, M. Vinson, R. Westmoreland, J. Williamson
Absent: D. Adler* (P), J. Aubrey* (P), M.L. Baggett (2), J. Bass (2), L. Blenman* (PP-resigned) A. Bomba* (P), G. Buskes* (P), J. Cassidy (1), S. Conlon* (1 P), R. Dorsey (2), D. Feller (1), A. Fisher-Wirth* (P), P. Goggans (1), R. Gordon (1), V. Grisham (1), L. Hanshaw (1 P), R. Haws* (1 P), R. Klein* (P), L. Kravitz (2), K. McKee (1), J. Mizenko (2), J. Murray (2), M. Overby* (PP), L. Pittman (2), , T. J. Ray* (P), W. Rayburn (2), J. Reidy* (P), J. Rimoldi* (P), E. Sisson* (P), M. Slattery* (P), H. Sloan (2), W. Staton (1), K. Sufka (1), D. Sullivan-Gonzalez* (P), C.Taylor (1), M. Tew* (P), M. Van Boening (2) Jay Watson* (P), John Watson* (P), C. Williford* (P)
* = Prior Notification of Absence Given, (x) = number of absences this session
Chair John Williamson called the meeting to order at 2:05 and stated that in the absence of a quorum, the regular order of business would be suspended. He distributed copies of an agenda of 1998-99 issues for the Senate to consider.
Christy Wyandt, faculty representative to the Re-Engineering Operations Committee, gave a brief report on the one meeting she has attended since her appointment this spring. The administration has asked the IHL Board to authorize Phase II of the re-engineering effort, using the firm of Arthur Andersen as consultants. The second phase would not be funded by IHL, but with private donations. A second report is necessary to "salvage" the KPMG report, which has been characterized as disappointing, incomplete, and erroneous. The report didn't bring any previously unidentified problems to light, and did not contain a detailed plan with cost estimates for addressing problems. It was badly written, with grammatical and typographical errors that indicated KPMG did not take their mission seriously. In the ensuing lengthy discussion of the re-engineering efforts to date, several senators voiced concern that the University, having spent $300,000 for such a poorly executed report, was now prepared to spend more money to produce another report. C. Wyandt replied that the Arthur Andersen bid was $85,000, and that the lengthy re-engineering process will cost much more than $400,000, so it is better to pay to have the initial blueprint or planning phase done right.
The discussion moved to the topic of why the KPMG Re-engineering Report is being kept secret, specifically from the leadership of the Staff Council, who have repeatedly requested and been denied access to the document. (Mr. Deloach, however, has appeared at several meetings with the staff to answer questions about the re-engineering report and the process.) At the request of Sen. Williamson, Mr. Deloach has given copies to the Senate Executive Committee, with the proviso that the contents remain confidential. Several Senators asked to see the report, which they thought should be a public document. It is difficult to discuss it without having read it. The flawed KPMG report is a public relations problem. For Phase II to be successful, the administration must get the support of deans, chairs, faculty and staff as quickly as possible. Chair Williamson asked if the sense of the Senate was that he should inform the administration that the faculty want to be involved from the beginning of this second phase of the re-engineering process and that the Senate supports the request of the Staff Council to see the report.
Several Senators responded that they believed faculty opinion would support such a request. The staff shouldn't be placed in a confrontational position of having to go through the FOIA process to obtain a copy.
Chair Williamson then brought the Senate up to date on several continuing issues and requested the group's reaction to the newer issues on his 1998-99 agenda:
- Research Proposal : Karen Green's presentation to the UPC was well received and has the support of the Chancellor. Conducting a search for a Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies will be postponed until 1999, following the conclusion of searches for a Liberal Arts Dean and for a Provost/Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
- Copyright Proposal Alternative: The revision, authored by Sen. Cunningham's committee, was well received by the Provost, but received mixed reactions from the Research Board, a minority of whom felt it was too liberal on the faculty's behalf. Should Sen. Williamson work with Ron Borne to get representatives from the Research Board and the Senate committee together to draft a compromise version? If the Senate doesn't pursue this, the issue may be dropped for the time being.
- Faculty Governance and Hiring Policy: The Senate has been concerned at the number of positions (especially high level administrative positions) that have been filled without searches, and thus without faculty input, as set forth in faculty governance policy approved by Chancellor Turner. Chair Williamson has met with Dr. Kellum to go over list of EEO waivers (16) over past two years. Most seem to have been made for valid reasons, but the Chair intends to keep the administration aware of faculty concerns about waiving search procedures when filling administrative positions.
- Re-engineering: An additional question is the status of faculty appointments to the proposed Information Technology "governing board." K. Green gave several names to the Provost in April, but no announcement has been made.
Newer issues include the following:
- Administrative review : Present four-year cycle of review of administrators is too infrequent, and does not include giving feedback of results to participating faculty.
- University development: Faculty should be more involved in planning, budgeting, and fund-raising. How are decisions made about setting funding priorities?
- Academic "wish list:" What do faculty need to make this a top public university?
- Provost search: J. Williamson will push to get this underway with a search committee representative of the faculty.
- Academic freedom of faculty with joint appointments in research institutes: The proportion of an individual faculty member's time given to research versus teaching is set by administrators; when working for research institute, faculty do not enjoy the same degree of academic freedom as teaching faculty.
- Electronic accessibility of budget: Though the Budget is available to the public in the library, J. Williamson is working to make it accessible on the web. Also, individual faculty should have electronic access to their own research accounts.
- Waste and inefficiency: Faculty should take the lead in pointing out examples to the administration, rather than waiting for re-engineering to fix.
- Faculty expertise: Andy Mullens needs our help in putting together a more complete list of faculty who are willing to speak to lay audiences on various topics.
The Chair also stated his intention of inviting campus administrators to address the Senate this year. The Chancellor traditionally speaks at a Fall meeting. J. Williamson may call "extraordinary meetings" for these speakers to avoid taking time away from Senate business at regular meetings. The list of speakers and topics include:
Lt. Gov. Ronnie Musgrove/Andy Mullens - UM and the Legislature
Borne/Eftink - the Office of Research and the Graduate School
Kellum/Fruge - University Development and the Foundation
Walton/Staton - Academic Affairs
Deloach/Williams - Re-engineering
Shafer - Athletics and Academics
Finally, the Chair reported that many faculty have not complied with the Provost's request to submit their transcripts, as mandated by the SACS accreditation process. All faculty are urged to have their transcripts forwarded as soon as possible. The Provost will be forced to hold the checks of those not complying, and wants the Senate to understand his position. Providing one's transcript has been a condition of employment for some time here, but apparently has not been enforced.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:00 PM. The next meeting of the Senate is Friday, July 10th at 2 PM.