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Faculty Senate Meeting Information

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Sept 23, 1998 Mionutes


Present: Anderson, Bible, Conroy, Gillis, Gordon, Hays, Irwin, Pascoe, Renick,
Sawey, Skerpan, Stimmel, and Winek.

Absent: McGee

Guests: Pres. Supple, VPAA Gratz, VPAA Cassidy, John McGee (Ombudsman), Mimi
Tangum (ORSP), Margaret Vaverek (Lib), Ramona Ford (Sociol), Don Hazlewood
(Math), Laurie Celli (Sociol Intern), Lydia Blanchard (Eng), Karen Brown (Soc
Wk), Catherine Hawkins (Soc Wk), Rebecca Bell-Metereau (Eng), Sheila
Torres-Blank (Lib), Bill Griffin (Lib), Lou Allbright (Lib), Jerry Weathers
(Lib), and Mike Moore.

CONTENTS

PAAG (President's Academic Advisory Group)

Faculty Grievance Process
Library Career Ladder
Geography Ph.D.
Funding for VP of Information Technology
Web Delays
Chair/Dean Evaluations
Parking Issue
Enrollment
Other Business

Chair Bible called the meeting to order at 4:03 p.m.

Faculty Grievance Process

Chair Bible summarized Senate concerns about the President's rulings in two
grievances last spring and their implications for future grievances. One
concern is that if, as suggested in the rulings, the Grievance Committee cannot
rule on a merit grievance without reviewing the files of all department
faculty, does this not create a Catch-22 in which no grievance involving merit
could ever succeed? Another concern relates to a grievance in which the
Committee found that the faculty member received less merit than she otherwise
would have received because she had been promoted that year. The Senate had
understood that determinations on promotion and on merit were to be separate
and distinct.

Pres. Supple responded that he isn't sure that the grievance process is the
best way to deal with controversies over merit. Among other things, he noted
that because there is a finite amount of money available for each department,
chairs must have broad discretion to consider a wide array of factors in making
merit determinations; whether a faculty member is promoted in a merit year is
among these factors. The President would like to consider the possibility of
the deans holding some funds in order to deal with situations in which it is
later determined, via a grievance for example, that a faculty member deserves
more merit; as it stands, the only way to redress such problems would be to
take merit money away from other faculty in the department, which clearly is
not feasible.

Sen. Gordon asked Pres. Supple if he would agree to support a policy calling
for a separation of decisions on promotion and merit. Pres. Supple said he
might support such a policy.

Sen. Skerpan noted that state law says that salary increases are grievable, and
that if it is not possible for a faculty member to win a grievance, that could
be skirting the law. Pres. Supple responded that salary increases are
grievable, but that a grievance committee can't overrule the best professional
judgment of the chairs and deans. He reiterated that a role for the deans
needs to be created in this area, so that such problems could be resolved at
the school level.

VPAA Gratz stated that deans can veto the chairs' merit recommendations but not
change them, and that he favors changing that policy.

Chair Bible asked under what circumstances a salary judgment is grievable.
Pres. Supple responded that (1) violations of policy, (2) demonstrated bias,
and (3) poor professional judgment by chairs and deans were ways a grievance
could prevail. Pres. Supple stated that although the issue in one of the
grievances was one of professional judgment, he disagreed that the Chair's
professional judgment in that case had been poor.

Sen. Sawey noted that although deans only possess veto power over chairs'
salary decisions, deans and chairs can still engage in discussions about salary
matters.

Sen. Conroy asked Pres. Supple if he would support mandatory arbitration in
merit disputes. Pres. Supple responded that he had no problem with
arbitration, but would prefer the solution of providing funds to the deans to
deal with these situations.

Chair Bible asked if it is appropriate for a department chair to send a letter
to the chair of the grievance committee after the hearing is complete, as
occurred in one of the grievances under discussion. Dr. Supple responded that
he was not sure, but that denying additional information would not be good.
Chair Bible noted that in the case in question the grievance committee had
already made its decisions and completed its report. A discussion of the
behavior of various parties at a grievance committee hearing ensued.

Pres. Supple stated that he did not want his decisions on the merit disputes to
be interpreted as meaning he wants to throw out the grievance process. He
wants VPAA Gratz and the deans to come up with a plan for consideration. The
proposal will include deans working with chairs and providing deans with funds
to used when appropriate. He stated the Senate may wish to pass a resolution
that a faculty member cannot be docked in merit simply because they are
promoted during the same year.

Library Career Ladder

In response to a question from the librarians concerning the status of the new
career ladder system, VPAA Gratz stated that he believed that the four career
ladder levels and associated salary increases had been approved, but that
issues concerning administrative salaries were not yet fully resolved. The
career ladder should be fully in place this week. Assuming all issues are
resolved, the career ladder and salaries will be retroactive, effective 9-1-98.

Geography Ph.D.

The Senate had previously requested anupdate on the status of the Geography
Ph.D. program. When that program was originally proposed, the cost and income
projections for '98-99 indicated that the program should be self-sustaining,
and the Senate wanted to know if this goal has been realized. The Senate
believes that this sort of information is needed to assess future Ph.D. program
proposals that may appear.

A handout on the status of the program, prepared by AssocVP Cassidy, was
distributed (copy available at Faculty Senate Office, JCK 880). Sen. Sawey
asked why the initial projection of 33 doctoral students had not been met. VPAA
Gratz replied that the final proposal submitted to the Coordinating Board
called for an increase of six doctoral students per year. Pres. Supple noted
that the Coordinating Board had placed restrictions on enrollments.

Funding for VP for Information Technology

Sen. Sawey stated that it is more important that the new VP for Information
Technology be someone who gets things done than an idea person. (NOTE: Sen.
Sawey will be the Senate representative on the VP search committee.)

Web Delays

Sen. Sawey stated that professors and students need to be notified of problems
which will cause web delays. In the past, delays have occurred without any
warning.

Chair/Dean Evaluations

Sen. Sawey stated that he had been notified that the committee charged with
proposing procedures for evaluating chairs and deans was scheduled to meet
again. He noted the long period of time we have waited for such procedures.

Parking Issue

Sen. Gordon discussed EAPS Department concerns with the Parking Office
requiring indigent clients receiving clinical assistance from graduate
counseling students to pay for parking permits. Pres. Supple stated that a
possible solution would be to provide the counseling program with funds to buy
the permits.

Enrollment

Pres. Supple announced that undergraduate enrollment, including freshman
enrollment, is up. Freshman retention is also up. Graduate enrollment is
down, but this is a pattern across higher education.

Other Business

Chair Bible stated that the Senate will meet with its liaisons on Oct. 7.

Carol Hazlewood was elected as chair of the Academic Computing Committee. Sen.
Sawey will be the Senate's liaison to the committee, which has been asked to
develop standards for allocating student computing fee grant money.

Sen. Conroy asked if works completed with Research Enhancement Grants are in
the same category as works completed on development leave -- that is, whether
such works raise patent and copyright issues. Chair Bible stated that be
believed they are, and if so the policies governing Research Enhancement Grants
should be amended to make this clear. Chair Bible will consult with AssocVP
Cassidy regarding this matter. (NOTE: Subsequently Dr. Cassidy informed Chair
Bible that works funded by the REG program may involve intellectual property
rights.)

The Senate adjourned at 5:45 p.m.