Minutes of October 18, 2011
Meeting convened at 1:01 p.m. by William Recktenwald, President.
Members present: Om P. Agrawal, James S. Allen, Ira J. Altman, Ken B. Anderson, Gary Apgar, Kimberly Asner-Self, Blaine Bartholomew, Curt Brooks (for Connie J. Baker), Lisa B. Brooten, Rita Cheng (ex officio), Tsuchin Chu, Sandra K. Collins, Stephen D. Ebbs, Qingfeng Ge, Stephanie Graves, Scott Ishman (ex officio), David M. Johnson, Jyotsna Kapur, Allan L. Karnes, Michelle Kibby-Faglier, Meera Komarraju, Timothy Koschmann (for Lisabeth A. DiLalla), Mary E. Lamb, John T. Legier, Douglas W. Lind, John W. Nicklow (ex officio), William Recktenwald, Nicole K. Roberts, Benjamin F. Rodriguez, Jose R. Ruiz, Gerald R. Spittler, James A. Wall, S. Jonathan Wiesen, Terri Wilson (for Stacy Thompson).
Members absent: Ruth Bauner (ex officio).
Members absent without proxy: James E. Garvey, James A. MacLean, Marla H. Mallette, Diane Muzio, Brooke H. H. Thibeault.
Visitors and guests: Carl Bloom (Graduate and Professional Student Council), Codell Rodriguez (Southern Illinoisan).
The minutes from the meeting on September 13, 2011, were corrected under Roll Call to reflect that Lisa Brooten was present and did not have a proxy. Minutes were approved as corrected.
1. W. Recktenwald: a) welcomed D. Johnson, newly-elected Senator from the College of Liberal Arts. He replaces Ronald Caffey, who resigned over the summer. He also welcomed back C. Bloom, President of the Graduate and Professional Student Council; b) thanked B. Rodriguez for alerting him of the scheduling problems with the [associate provost] candidate presentations during the fall break. He also thanked Provost Nickow for his immediate actions to reschedule those presentations; c) reminded Senators of the fall faculty meeting, scheduled for October 27. The topic of discussion will be performance funding, which will soon be required of all public universities in Illinois. Chancellor Cheng and A. Karnes are members of a state-wide committee that is developing the matrix for this funding initiative. The committee is scheduled to meet on this campus on October 24.
2. Chancellor Cheng reported: a) homecoming took place this past weekend, with alumni and Foundation Board members in attendance; b) a search is underway for the Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Relations, who will serve as CEO of the Foundation. The Alumni and Foundation Board members are engaged in conversations around a privately-funded home for the Alumni Association and envision some activity around that planning effort over the next six months; c) the strategic planning effort continues to move forward, and campus involvement will be sought. A planning retreat was held with approximately 100 people in attendance on September 30. She believes they have laid a good foundation for campus discussions around strategic dimensions for the future; d) the Planning and Budget Committee has been engaged in budget planning for the campus reduction that is required and possible alternative revenue sources to support the campus. They are working with the vice chancellors and the Provost to determine how much in funds will be needed to do some hiring this year in anticipation of a number of open positions and retirements that will be taking place; e) there are two big issues at the state level: the ongoing pension discussions, and discussion about the continued "pay to stay" components of the bill--Tier I for current employees and Tier II for new employees, with a cap on benefits that is less than current benefits. There may be some discussion about the appropriateness of increasing member contributions to stay in Tier I. Consistent with that is also a serious discussion regardinig membership contributions rather than state contributions to try and close the gap. The percentage being proposed is around 8%, a number that potentially the universities could contribute as an employer's share. If SIUC were to absorb 8% of payroll costs, it would require a 6% reallocation or reductrion of other items in the budget. She noted that payroll is approximately 78% of the University's costs. She does not anticipate the veto session will allow adequate time to address this issue, but she does expect the pension issue to be addressed in the spring, as the pension system is unsustainable in its current form; f) with respect to performance funding, she explained that she and A. Karnes sit on a steering committee that has been charged with creating the matrix. The committee has met three times, focusing on broad principles and has engaged the services of an outside consultant. Their work is ongoing, and they will suggest that this cannot be done without new money coming into higher education; g) she has made two major addresses since the last Senate meeting: the State of the University address, which is posted on her website; and a presentation a few days later to the IBHE on the efforts the campus is making to contribute to the public agenda; both were well received; g) she knows the issue of bargaining is on the Senate agenda for discussion under New Business; she appreciates the attention the Senate is paying to this issue.
3. Provost Nicklow reported: a) the Technology and Innovation Expo is scheduled for October 28. It is the third expo and provides an opportunity to see the results of research being conducted here, as well as network with potential and existing inventors in the region; b) October 20 will be the first teaching and learning with technology symposium. It is essentially designed to be a counterpart to the spring research town hall, the idea being this would be the teaching town hall. The first one focuses on technology. There will be a series of tables that will cover Desire2Learn (D2L), classroom support, smart classrooms, and migrating to D2L; c) the IBHE has approved a bachelor of science in Workforce Education and Development (WED) in Springfield. It is an in-region approval that will start in January. The Higher Learning Commission, because it is out of region, approved two programs--Trade and Industrial Education in WED in San Diego; and Health Care Management from Allied Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Those will begin in the spring; d) he has completed interviews for the associate provost for academic programs and the associate provost and Dean of University College. Feedback from the forums is still being solicited, so he encourages those who attended to provide feedback on the candidates; e) there are now over 200 courses proposed for the spring as part of the new finance model being offered [through] the office of Distance Education and Off Campus Programs. He believes that is an impressive number considering they started at zero.
QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION
1. M. Lamb commented that it is already very late in the hiring academic cycle and, as mentioned, there is a rush to retire. Does [the Provost] have a ballpark figure of how many retirements/resignations that people have informed him about and how many replacements have been authorized so far? Provost Nicklow responded that once the employee signs an irrevocable form of retirement or resignation, then his office can move on a search for a replacement. In most cases, that has not happened. A number of ongoing searches have been authorized and started. He suspects over the year there will be additional retirements solidified and then there will be a re-evaluation to determine which positions to fill. Chancellor Cheng added that the requests are all coming from the deans' highest priorities. W. Recktenwald asked if [the deans] are permitted to ask faculty if they plan to retire. Chancellor Cheng responded they are not. M. Lamb asked if it would be appropriate for faculty to encourage people they know are planning to retire to fill out their paperwork. W. Recktenwald responded that, collegially, it could be done.
2. Provost Nicklow reported there is a program review committee that is discussing metrics for identifying weak programs and strengthening them. This is in line with what was Senate Bill 1883 (now Public Act 097-0610). The language states that each state university would report to the Board programs of instruction, research or service that exhibit trends of low enrollment, degree completion or a high expense ratio for degree. Those programs would then be reported to the General Assembly. He expressed concern that legislators may be making decisions on program closures and consolidations; so, what [the committee] wants to do is preemptively identify those programs and work to strengthen them. In talking with A. Karnes last week, this group at IBHE has identified what would constitute a weak program and identified some cost ratios. What they have on the table at this point is 25 majors or less for an undergraduate program, 10 majors or less for a graduate program and a cost ratio that exceeds 25% of the Big 5 (the five research universities in the state) normative figure. The University is looking at normative data of 1.25. There are a number of programs that fall under that umbrella, so the committee is taking a close look at those. Being on that list does not mean that the program is closed; it means they will have to provide additional justification to the Board, and potentially the General Assembly, e.g., is it a qualitative criteria? [Does it serve] a unique element to the state, whatever it might be)? The group is putting together a list of other items to consider. K. Anderson asked if there is a time factor in that criteria. For example, if a program drops below that margin just briefly, is it suddenly a weak program? A. Karnes responded that the statute talks about a trend of low enrollment; he believes from three to five years.
3. J. Kapur asked about enrollment for the distance education courses. Provost Nicklow responded that registration just opened up this week, so they will not have very good numbers on that for a while.
M. Kibby-Faglier asked, when the Provost is looking at majors, [will distance education count into the majors]? Provost Nicklow responded that under the old finance model, it would not have; under the new model, they will be able to count those credits and include those enrollments, and it will be part of the campus credits. Chancellor Cheng added that in the past, student credit hours generated under distance education were not in the cost study because of the structure of Continuing Education. Unlike other institutions the University was compared to across the state, it appeared as though it was generating less student credit hours than it actually was. Now distance education is under academic oversight, [and is in the cost study]. The University has always included head count, but not the student credit hours.
S. Ebbs asked, with respect to the new model for distance education, what mechanism would be used to write contracts for the individual faculty delivering courses. Will the same consulting format be used? Provost Nicklow responded it would not. S. Ebbs asked if information on how that will be structured or prepared has been presented to deans and chairs so they will know how to prepare courses for the spring semester? Provost Nicklow responded the deans are aware, and his hope is that the information has been disseminated to chairs. All of the programs are run through the Office of Distance Education and Off Campus Programs; so, one office is preparing those courses and working with deans and chairs to work with contracts and make sure those courses are on the books. S. Ebbs asked if the same mechanism will be in place in the sense that an individual contract for an instructor for an individual course would filter down through that tree to the instructor to sign and then go back up through [the Distance Education office]. Provost Nicklow responded that if it is not part of on-load teaching, then yes. S. Ebbs asked if that is then an overload, because he understands having been on that committee that part of the new model was to provide the freedom to negotiate on-load versus off-load. However, if no negotiations have taken place between the faculty that deliver those courses and anyone else, the time is getting very short to make those arrangements for spring courses. Provost Nicklow responded that it would be the same format through the Office of Distance Education, which initiated the process this fall. S. Ebbs indicated that several faculty in Plant Biology, for example, who offer courses have seen [no] paperwork for the courses that they offer; so, he was not sure if that meant the procedure had not yet been established or, depending on where that request was supposed to be initiated, where the paperwork started. Provost Nicklow indicated he would follow up with the office and have them reach out to make sure everything is on schedule.
M. Komarraju asked if the distance education courses being offered in the spring are restricted to [students who are off campus; or, are they for students who are currently on campus]. Provost Nicklow responded that the courses are not restricted. They are open to any individual who wants to take a course via distance learning. That may, in fact, be some of SIU's own students. This is something the [former] Distance Education Council had discussed. Worst-case scenario was that, if it happened too much, the University would cannibalize its campus population. This is something they are aware of and are monitoring. An analysis will then be done of who those students are and, if they are taking a significant load via online, what that means for the campus and whether a mechanism needs to be put in place to prevent the on-campus student from taking more than a certain number of hours or hours at all. The Council did not believe it was appropriate to set that limit at the beginning, but rather, they would monitor it and react to any potential problems. S. Collins asked Provost Nicklow if enrollment would be claimed for off campus military programs as it will be for distance education classes. Provost Nicklow responded that headcount has always been counted; credit hours were not. S. Collins commented that as program director, she can see reports for on-campus of what enrollment is, but she does not get them [for off campus]. Provost Nicklow explained that the report is an internal mechanism in terms of what is reported to IPEDS. Headcount will continue to be included, but credit hours will now also be included, which will be a significant benefit to all of the University's programs.
S. Collins asked if there is a way to insure that contracts are actually signed and in the hands of faculty prior to their starting work. She explained that there are several faculty in Allied Health that are teaching some of the overload of distance education courses, and they still do not have their contracts back from the courses they began teaching at the beginning of the semester. Provost Nicklow responded that he would take these questions to the Office of Distance Education and make sure that if there is a bottleneck somewhere, they can identify it and maybe speed up the process.
4. W. Recktenwald commented that he has had a number of constituents who are on tenure and promotion committees express concern about the cutbacks in travel funds when assistant professors are coming up for tenure. Those faculty are at a distinct disadvantage because they have been unable to travel to conferences. There is a real concern that a whole class, and maybe a couple of year's worth of assistant professors, will be disadvantaged because of the travel funding restrictions. He asked if there is some way to look into this issue. Chancellor Cheng responded that she is aware the OTS budgets across the campus have been slashed fairly dramatically. She believes it is important for the campus to look at not only hiring strategies, but supporting those who are hired. One of the reasons they are examining the budget so carefully is because they want to know what is left and to have a strategic conversation about what can be done. A. Karnes noted the Graduate School does support travel to make presentations. G. Apgar indicated it is typically as a cost share. A. Karnes agreed, but indicated at least they do support travel. Chancellor Cheng indicated one of the things the Chancellor's Planning and Budget Committee has discussed at length is possibly sharing tuition revenue from a growth model that could be used by the department to support lots of different activities [and] this would be a priority.
3. A. Karnes reported on the October meeting of the Faculty Advisory Council (FAC) to the IBHE (see appendix to the minutes).
4. S. Ishman reported: a) the Graduate Council is keeping its eye on what is occurring with the core curriculum changes and their impact on graduate programs; b) the Program Review Committee has concerns about performance funding and how research and creative activities will be included in the matrix that is established for evaluation of programs. They are concerned about the impact of those on the graduate programs across campus; c) though not specific to the Graduate Council, there is a committee that is addressing the issue of commencement. The Council is in the process of wrapping things up on that, but one issue raised relates to the graduate graduation. They may be revising who can and cannot walk during which ceremonies because, apparently, this is an issue that some people would like to see re-evaluated.
G. Apgar reported: 1) there is a shortfall that continues from the 200-student decline in enrollment, so the University is still missing about $1 million in the general fund. He has not heard any discussion about how that need will be distributed or shared among the units on campus; 2) the Council met at length, but he will defer to Senator Wiesen because the result of that meeting is included under New Business; 3) he encouraged faculty to participate in the fall faculty luncheon on October 27. That is where faculty will get to understand more about performance-based funding and how that whole legislative effort came about; 4) there is continued discussion around the position control committee composition. The Senate does have two places on that committee as it stands; 5) there is an efficiency study beginning for the Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance area in order to look at efficiency gains that might be found by duplications in effort there; 6) the campus is currently $76.1 million in arrears from state payments and is carrying $53.1 million from FY11.
A. Karnes noted he left one thing out of his report; anyone who really wants to see the materials the performance funding steering committee is dealing with can go to the IBHE website. On the left side, there is a tab for performance funding, which has background materials, details on the meetings that have taken place and all the materials they have had. He finds it very useful and believes others will as well.
BUDGET COMMITTEE -- -- No report.
COMMITTEE ON COMMITTEES -- K. Asner-Self, Chair
K. Asner-Self reported the committee was asked to submit nominations for the Search Committee for Dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences. Dale Vitt (Plant Biology) was selected to be the Senate's representative for the search. K. Anderson noted that the committee sent out emails to various colleges asking for volunteers to be ready to step into these vacancies when they come open. Some of the responses were underwhelming. The problem is that the committee is often asked to come up with names with three or four days notice, and there is not time to go out and solicit who would like to serve on a committee. He suggested if Senators know of colleagues who would be interested in serving on committees to have them send their names to K. Asner-Self. K. Asner-Self noted the committee currently does have a bucket list of people who have said they are interested, but they all are now serving on a committee. L. Brooten asked if K. Asner-Self could send an email to Senators so they can forward it [on to colleagues]. K. Asner-Self responded that she will do so.
S. Collins asked about the status of the College of Applied Sciences and Arts dean search. Provost Nicklow responded they are still formulating the committee and finalizing the job description. A request for nominations has been forwarded to the Senate, as has a request for nominations for the search committee for dean of Education and Human Services.
UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION POLICY COMMITTEE -- S. Ebbs/S. Graves, Co-Chairs
S. Ebbs reported he had two items to discuss. The first relates to the question raised about the University Core Curriculum (UCC) change. The UCC director put forth a proposal to modify the science lab requirements for the Core Curriculum. The current structure is one life science course with a lab; and one physical science course with a lab. A proposal was put forward to require only one course with a lab. The advantages put forth for that had to do with the restructuring of the Core Curriculum. Those courses that came out of the interdisciplinary would be able to integrate [into their recruitment in line with IAI]. However, there were some contraindications [or] concerns about the impact that might have on colleges; more importantly, the fact that the best way to learn science is to do science. Removing one lab experience would knock the pins out from under that. The UEPC held a meeting and invited UCC Director Pat Manfredi to present his side of the proposal, as well as some other individuals to speak to the pedagogical implications of [removing one lab]. The UEPC heard the issue and voted to table the proposal and send it back to UCC with a recommendation to revisit the proposal and come up with something that is a little more equitable for all the parties involved. S. Ebbs reported the second issue is an RME from the College of Education and Human Services, which the committee has not yet met to discuss.
FACULTY STATUS AND WELFARE COMMITTEE -- No report.
GOVERNANCE COMMITTEE -- G. Spittler, Chair
G. Spittler reported the committee met a few weeks ago, again looking at who is eligible to vote and serve on the Senate. This led to the question of exactly who is to be considered faculty. After going over that, plus the voting statistics, they decided they needed more meetings to discuss these issues. In the process of obtaining more data on faculty voting habits, questions were raised from Springfield colleagues if indeed it is necessary to redefine the term "faculty." K. Anderson indicated there are a lot of questions about eligibility of those in Springfield. The Springfield Senator is very concerned about that; there are a lot of people there that may not currently be eligible to vote in the Senate, and the committee is attempting to find out why. G. Spittler indicated the committee will meet again soon on these issues.
OLD BUSINESS -- None.
W. Recktenwald reported the resolution presented under New Business comes from members of the Executive Council (included as an Attachment to the Agenda). The resolution originates from most of the Executive Council. They were unable to have everyone present during the time it was discussed; therefore, it was placed under New Business. J. Wiesen presented the resolution for approval, noting it is being presented with almost the complete unanimity of the Executive Council. The resolution, in some ways, is a re-working of a similar resolution the Faculty Senate approved in 2002,but the wording has been changed a bit. One of the many motivations coming out of this is to make sure the University community knows the Faculty Senate is relevant and is eager to take on themes that are important to everyone. Certainly, the issues the University and the unions are discussing currently are serious and affect everyone; he believes the resolution speaks for itself. J. Wiesen then read the proposed resolution. G. Spittler noted that the Non Tenure Track Faculty Association is not a part of the Principles of Agreement, only because it did not exist at the time and has yet to be invited to be a part of the Agreement. He agrees with the intent of the resolution and believes they all agree with the need to at least resolve this matter not only in a fair and impartial manner but also in an expeditious manner, as the deadline is rapidly approaching.
Resolution was approved, with one abstention, on a voice vote.
W. Recktenwald again reminded faculty to RSVP for the fall faculty meeting/luncheon.
The meeting adjourned at 2:06 p.m.
S. Jonathan Wiesen, Secretary