Final Notes approved 11/17/05
Meet and Confer Notes
September 22, 2005
Admin: Provost Spitzer, Steve Ludwig, Diana Burlison, Larry Chambers, Anne Zemek de Dominguez, Dennis Nunes, Kate Steffens, Kristi Tornquist, BernaDette Wilson, Rex Veeder, Patty Dyslin (note taker)
Faculty: Judy Kilborn, Annette Schoenberger, Frankie Condon, JoAnn Gasparino, Jayantha Herath, Balsy Kasi, Bill Langen, Andrew Larkin
Meet and Confer Notes of September 8, 2005 – Still under review.
Welcome and Introductions
FA: I’d like to call the meeting to order and turn it over to you for introductions.
AD: I just want to introduce Kate Steffens to everybody. (members of the group introduced themselves)
FA: I want to state for the record that President Saigo is out of town, and Provost Spitzer is the presidential designee for this meeting.
Task Force on Student Program Completion (FA – 1/20/2005)
FA: currently FA has two names for the committee. For the First Year Experience Advisory Committee, it’s Professor Rodney Dobey and for CARE Debra Leigh. Those two names were already approved by Senate, and the rest of names will come forward to Senate on Tuesday for approval, and so Faculty Association can e-mail the results of that approval after Senate.
AD: Thank you.
Centers of Excellence (FA – 9/8/2005)
FA: We are wondering what proposals we will be submitting for Centers of Excellence and when we can expect to see copies of the proposals.
AD: Well, they’re in the early stage of being written, so we don’t have anything to distribute yet. We’re collecting information from the various partner institutions and putting together the pieces. As soon as they’re done, I think they’re due October 4th, maybe the 7th, and when we have them, we will provide that information.
FA: So I’m assuming we should just leave them on the agenda, and then when we have them we can actually talk about it?
AD: When’s our next meeting?
FA: October 6th.
AD: We should have them by then.
FA: So when you say “due” you mean they have to be at MnSCU, yes?
FA: Okay. It would make more sense for us to have them before they go to MnSCU because if we’re going to have a discussion about whether or not we’re going to do these things…
AD: That’s a good point, but I don’t know that they will be done – there’s a lot of work involved in getting these done, and I can’t speed it up any more than we’re trying to do now.
FA: I just have a question. Which programs are being sent forward?
AD: I think I said there were three proposals that we were expecting to submit – one was on health sciences, one on bio-sciences and one on business.
FA: Any other discussion on this topic?
Counseling Center: Structure and Supervision (FA – 9/8/2005)
FA: The department has decided that they want to follow the IFO model, so they would like a chair instead of a MSUAASF director. The department realizes that coverage is an issue and is discussing this, but they would also like to point out that when they had a MSUAASF director, coverage was still an issue. They’re going to work and try by the end of this semester to have a proposal that will deal with the coverage issue – how they think that might work, how they could take care of that. They ask that the Administration not move forward in hiring a director for the Counseling Center at this point, and we are going to take this to the Senate also and see what the Senate’s proposal is, and we’ll get back to you with whatever the Senate advises.
AD: We want to think about this as well.
FA: I think making those changes probably requires some work with the people at MnSCU, so we’d like to…
AD: Making which changes?
FA: If we don’t have a MSUAASF director, is MnSCU gonna be upset about that? Is this a decision we get to make on this campus?
AD: No, if it’s a traditional MSUAASF position. If the collecting bargaining unit for the position changes we have to go through a process with MnSCU. We can’t just drop a position and start another collective bargaining position without getting their sanction on it.
AD: It also involves the other collective bargaining unit. We have to have their input.
FA: Two things -- we know that two schools have made this move: Mankato and Winona, and I’m not entirely sure that the proposal that comes back from the Counseling Center will include MSUAASF. So we maybe need to talk about the process. What they’re requesting is that they be directed by a faculty chair rather than MSUAASF, and yeah, that’s a different structure, but that does not necessarily discount MSUAASF although it could.
AD: Well if it involves replacing the director who’s been a MSUAASF person with a faculty member, then we’ll have some MSUAASF members that’ll have something to say.
FA: Definitely, and I can’t say what they’re gonna come up with. It would be different if it removed MSUAASF altogether or it still included MSUAASF within that shop. I don’t know what they’re gonna propose.
FA: One thing that they have already stated is that they want an IFO chair of their department and that person will coordinate the activities of the Counseling Center just like department chairs coordinate the department to teach classes. That’s the model they want. So I guess we’re asking you to find out how we can do this.
AD: We’ll consider whether we agree with the idea and get back to you.
FA: Okay, so this stays on the schedule.
Searches Planned (Administration – 9/8/2005)
FA: The administration said that they will use search firms for the following searches: Dean of the College of Social Sciences, Dean of the College of Business, Vice President for Student Life and Development and the Affirmative Action Officer. Can you provide us with the name or names of the search firms?
AD: Regarding search firms for the college deans, we don’t have the names yet. The RFP is just about ready to go now but hasn’t gone out. We will send the information out to at least 12 search firms, and other search firms will be able to submit their proposals. We haven’t done that yet, so we haven’t gotten the material back yet. So once we do that, then we go over it and determine which search firms are the successful bidders and make those results available. Right now it’s a little premature except for the Affirmative Action Officer. For AA search, we have identified a search firm. We’ve told them that we’re going to have them work with us. It’s CIZEK and Associates out of Phoenix.
FA: So as soon as the names are ready, will the names be sent to the Senate?
AD: After the RFP’s have gone out, anyone will be able to bid on the proposal. At that time you’ll know who is bidding. Sometimes we send an RFP out to 15 companies and only three will submit bids, so we don’t know at this point. Any other questions about that?
FA: We have the one for Affirmative Action?
Attendance Policy (Admin – 09/08/2005)
AD: We talked a little bit at our last Meet and Confer about the fact that we would bring the draft of the attendance policy to Meet and Confer for consideration, and I’m going to pass copies of that around now. (handout distributed) I think everybody has a copy by now? What you have before you is the current policy as written in the SCSU catalog – a statement on the page for Student Life and Development. Below that, the next two items are proposed statements: one for the new student catalog and one for faculty. There’s one editorial change that I would add under the statement for the catalog, the second full line from the bottom where it says “excessive absences” insert the words “excessive unexcused absences.” So it reads: Faculty members often use class attendance to determine a student’s grade, and excessive unexcused absences can be grounds for failure. Are there any questions about what this states?
FA: On the last statement where it says “Faculty members are encouraged to establish an attendance policy” the third sentence says “ Faculty members are required to keep attendance records on all students.” Is that what you intended to say?
AD: You’re finding a small contradiction there? (laughter)
FA: Yes. (more laughter)
AD: We are encouraging faculty to develop a policy that would say something like a student should have no more than three absences or it will affect their grade or something along those lines. We’re encouraging, depending on what you want to do with that, that you communicate to students that class attendance is required.
AD: We’re required by financial aid to report whether the student attended class.
AD: The establishment of an attendance policy for the class, I think, would give us a way to communicate the importance of attendance, and students would understand what the ramifications are for non-attendance.
FA: My questions is how long do we have to keep records?
AD: For financial aid purposes generally speaking, the records would be referenced that semester. I would think you would keep your records of attendance for as long as you keep your grade records. We have students who come in four or five years after the fact requesting an adjustment in their grade.
FA: And actually that policy for keeping grades is with the Academic Affairs Committee for consideration. Any other discussion or questions about this?
FA: What’s the early notification system?
AD: That’s being developed simultaneously, and it will be a Web-based system.
FA: This increases the workload of the professor.
AD: From my perspective, one of the reasons I used to take attendance was so I could learn the names of every student in the class. I don’t have a photographic memory. We need to be able to report the last day of attendance if a student withdraws. We might just as well take attendance. It only takes a few minutes. We’ve talked about large lecture halls where there are card-swipes that can be used in those instances. If there are really large classes, I’d say classes over 100, and there’s no card-swipe, I wouldn’t expect that faculty member to take attendance.
FA: I take attendance and have done it for decades for those reasons. We’re gonna have problems with this. Taking attendance all the time, you don’t get an accurate report – especially during the first couple weeks. It takes a couple of weeks for the class structure to get settled.
AD: I think that’s true, but I don’t see how that would necessarily impact what we were talking about.
FA I’ve got Nate on my seating chart, and then he’s not there, and I don’t know right away if he’s dropped…
AD: There may be occasions when that might happen, but by and large, I think we’ll be able to keep better track. Certainly better than we’re able to do now. And again, I think the purpose of this policy is partly to satisfy some of those reporting requirements, but it’s also a way of improving student performance and satisfaction in the classroom and student success in our academic programs. The research is pretty clear that when students go to class, they tend to learn a little bit better than when they don’t go to class. You need a Ph.D. to know that. (laughter)
AD: The federal requirement is not as onerous. It’s the students who fail and are at academic risk. If you see fit to give the student a failing grade or incomplete, then the question comes up whether or not they attended class. So if you give a student an “F,” then there are questions about whether or not the student just signed up for the class to get the financial aid or if there are other issues involved.
AD: If I’m not mistaken, this applies to students who fail all of their courses. They can get passing grades in some courses and fail one course, and we assume that they have been in attendance.
FA: I actually looked at the regulation. It says, ”last recorded day of attendance,” so if you take roll every week, like once a week, then it’s that last recorded date of attendance. So you don’t have to do it every day. You can also use homework turned in or labs turned in. They are looking at the last recorded date that the student participated in class. I think they do use that language. So you don’t have to take attendance every day, and you can use other kinds of things.
AD: I think the financial aid piece of this is important, but the more important motivation for this policy is we were dealing with the federal financial aid situation without such a policy. The point of this more than anything else is to get students to attend class. To let them understand that we’re communicating a message that attendance in class is important and we want you to be there, and that your performance in that course is likely to be better if you’re in attendance than if you’re not. Both John Gardner and Vince Tinto talked about the fact that one of the single most influential factors in having students complete a semester is taking attendance.
FA: I’ll certainly take this forward to Faculty Senate. It may take a little bit of time, but I’ll get back you on this.
AD: Rex, did you want to talk about that other…
FA: Are we adding an agenda item?
AD: No, I guess not. We’ll put it on the agenda next time.
FA: So what are we supposed to do with this?
FA: We’re taking it to Senate for response.
Summer Session (Admin – 9/22/2005)
AD: Let me pass around if you’ve not received one of these. There are two sheets. One is a production timeline I wanted you to see, and the second one is our data analysis and projected allocation for 2006. So take one of each please. A summary of this year’s summer session: the total number of students enrolled this summer were 5,560. Last year was 5,591. There’s 31 students fewer than the year before. For number of credits this year, we had 33,495 – last year 33, 503 credits for summer. Essentially, the credits were flat, enrollment was flat. We simply had a different mix of graduate/undergraduate credits for FYE. Keeping in mind that 20 graduate credits equal one FYE, and 30 undergraduate credits equal one FYE. Because there was a slight decrease in graduate credits and increase in undergraduate credits, our FYE decreased 1.4% - roughly nearing the enrollment of last year. 84% of our students this year were students who were enrolled during the year at SCSU. Obviously, 16% of the students were students who were not enrolled at St. Cloud State last year. This gives you an idea of the overall effect of the summer. I produced and handed you two documents. The first is the production timeline change for 2006. The summer session administrators of the colleges – this has been discussed with them. Rod Dobey represents the Dean in terms of retaining records for the College of Education. What we’re projecting is moving the summer class schedule up. We have for a number years produced our schedule the 1st of March. At one time there was agreement among institutions that we would get them out about the 1st of March. That agreement has been violated over the last few years since institutions have moved to provide information to students earlier in the year. I understand that. What this does is simply move our schedule from the 1st of March to the 3rd week in January when the students return from semester break. So the schedule will be done earlier, hopefully allowing better competition for those off-campus as well as providing earlier information. The effects for faculty primarily – we had what was one time an 11-week period for the work to be done. The period ended the 3rd week of January. Four weeks of it, quite frankly, were nor particularly useful since it mirrored the semester break. What we’ve done is shorten that to seven weeks which really constitutes the productive time the faculty have to work on this. There were very few changes that came into our office during the break time. We believe it will have a positive impact on enrollment, which benefits all of us. The sequence of things are exactly the way they were. We simply moved it up to allow the schedule to be done earlier. We are now losing touch with our competing institutions, the University of Minnesota, UMD and North Dakota State. All of those do take students who may have some opportunity for mobility in this area, and all of them are ahead of us. Five years ago we were all the same until they moved them up.
The second handout consists of three pages. The first page is that income/cost analysis that I’m charged to do for each college. It indicates essentially the far right column, tuition income divided by costs, which are faculty salaries. That’s all I’m really giving there. There are a lot of other costs for summer, but for this analysis it’s tuition income and faculty salaries. The ultimate ratio for the university is 1.51 as opposed to last year, which I believe was 1.57. We’re in that neighborhood of producing $1.51 of tuition income for $1.00 of faculty salary. This is comparable to other institutions. I don’t have these figures from the other MnSCU institutions because they don’t do quite this type of analysis, but I believe we’re comparable to our other institutions. The second page is again the same model that you’ve seen in other years. This is a suggestion that will include an increase in the summer session allocation – the total allocation of +3% from this last year. Our enrollments were relatively flat, but this model increases the allocation for summer session, not necessarily to each college because there will be a differential based upon productivity. But across the university it will be 3%. The total amount for allocation is $2,173,000. Last year, by the way, the amount was $2, 110,000. It’s an increase of 3%. It also includes enrollment demand courses, other instruction salaries, special projects – it’s a call for proposals by our provost asking faculty to propose courses, seminars, workshops, and other activities in the summer that would not normally be funded through the allocation to the colleges that would enhance the university’s profile and serve the public better. The Provost =, in conjunction with faculty committees, reviews these and makes a determination of which ones will be funded from the pool of $60,000. Faculty fringe is figured at 25%, compliments of our chief financial officer. Chairperson instruction, I leave that in there. Two years ago we raised some issues about chairpersons because part of the contract is 28 duty days. We took this under advisement and discussed it and decided, yes, that’s probably not appropriate to have in here, so it’s not applicable. But I keep the line in here to keep it comparable to the forms and sheets and lines I provided to you earlier. Summer session administration is a cost for all the promotion of summer session as well as a portion of my salary and Annette Day and the clerical people involved in the production of summer session. So it comes up with an amount of about $3 million in costs to produce summer session. Tuition income is based on the assumption at the bottom of the page. We’re assuming an increase of 4% for tuition and no change next year in undergraduate and graduate credits. It presumes a flat enrollment for next summer – a no change. If we multiply the graduate and undergraduate credits that we have by the amounts for tuition plus 4%, it comes out to be $4.4 million. That’s the analysis. It meets my goal of producing a ratio of 1.51. That money, by the way, that looks like excess tuition income over faculty salaries is, as I understand, part of the university’s budget. It isn’t extra money there. The expectation is that from my $3 million dollar loan, we’ll come up with $4.5 million that will then be part of the university budget to meet university needs in that fiscal year. Summer is the first semester, and then fall and spring. So that money in a sense generates income that will help us during the rest of the year.
The last page is another tedious spreadsheet. It will provide you with the undergraduate credits for each college and graduate credits. It multiplies out. Again, I don’t think it serves a purpose for us to go through each of these cells here. I would be pleased if anyone wishes to pursue this. There is no change from the previous year. It’s the same analysis we’ve had before. Also, what this does is indicate essentially the productivity of the various colleges to allocate the figure you see in the bottom right-hand cell. That bottom right-hand cell has that $2,173,456 figure. The $2,173,456 is the amount allocated for summer 2006. Again, it’s 3% larger that the amount last year. And what this formula does is also the drive for that total, the amount in the cells above it. Each of the colleges has a figure – these are the amounts that will be provided to the colleges to provide faculty salaries for summer 2006.
FA: Dennis, I’m looking at this second page, and I’m looking under Other Instruction Salaries. I’m assuming some of these are new allocations. I don’t recall the Academic Learning Center, for example, being open in the summer.
AD: If it is, it would come out of this amount.
FA: So this is like an example. It’s not necessarily what is actually in there.
AD: I keep those in there because Honors has gone from $10,000 to $0, depending on what’s happening with Honors during the summer – if there are classes or not. These are the categories that would fall under Other Instruction Salaries. It doesn’t mean in any particular summer that they’re all requesting funds.
FA: This isn’t like an addition to contribute to retention and stuff like that.
FA: I was hoping…
AD: Quite frankly, what it is a type of salary that may fall under “other” and not be allocated to a college.
FA: Could you tell us what the actual courses were that got the low enrollment?
AD: There were a total of four low enrollment courses. Each of the low enrollments were instructional dollars that were in fact generating no credits.
FA: Could you give us a list of what those were?
AD: I certainly can.
FA: We maintain that it’s not an appropriate use of the money. So we want to know what they were so we can…
AD: I believe the budget I’m provided with for instruction and for every amount that might be used for non-instruction to generate those credits – I believe that’s what these were used for. There were no low enrollment classes last summer – classes that didn’t meet six or nine the way they’re computed by summer class.
FA: Our position is if money in a college isn’t used for a class, then that money should be made available to everyone in the university before it goes for that.
AD: I understand.
FA: So that’s why we want to know what it is. I think we’re agreeing with you.
AD: Yes, I think you are. And the money’s made available to the colleges, and my view is that the deans have some discretion about how they might best use those monies to serve the university. Some may be used for non-instructional purposes, but then a low enrollment penalty is generated as such. I think we’re probably on the same page.
FA: I don’t understand something. I’m looking at the front page and the last page. The College of Business brought in the most money. $385,810 right – net income?
AD: The College of Business on the first page brought in $931,000.
AD: He said net income.
AD: Ok, I hear what you’re saying.
FA: The College of Education brought in $316,000.
FA: Let’s go to the last page. Allocation for the College of Business is $545,000, and for the College of Education is $638,000. How can that be?
AD: The allocation is predicated upon the credits taken and the cost to provide instruction. This model takes into account a number of variables. Most important, credit generation and cost to the college ultimately determines allocation. The College of Education may not have had the same number in profitability, but it produced 9,000 total credits to the College of Business’ 5,900. This is the third column on the last sheet. It’s going to cost more in terms of faculty to produce 9,000 credits than it would to produce 5,900. There’s going to be more faculty involved, more instruction and more instructional salaries.
FA: This last column here, is the final SS05 allocation anywhere on this so we can compare?
AD: No, but I brought that for you.
FA: You don’t have copies for everybody, do you?
AD: No, but I will share this with you in any form you’d like.
FA: I think for a number of years we’ve asked that that be distributed with this sheet because it helps explain how – when we take it to faculty – it helps them see how the initial allocation changes.
AD: I believe that you asked me to bring it – that’s what I remembered to do. If you would like to have it attached to the materials provided, I will do that in the future.
FA: We have to take this to the Senate, and if they have that sheet with it and look at both years, it explains…
FA: If you could send it to me as an e-mail attachment.
AD: I think I can.
FA: then that takes care of it.
FA: You could put it into this spreadsheet even, next to that last column.
FA: Thank you for sending that to us. Are there any other questions or discussion?
FA Offices (FA – 9/22/2005)
FA: We just simply want to remind administration that at some point the North Office Center will go away. We want you, in your long-range planning, to think of us and think of possible space with the addition of accommodations for disability because we don’t have accessibility right now. So this is simply a formal request to keep us in mind when you plan for long-term office space.
FA: It is a problem that the office we’re in right now is not accessible. I know there’s a room downstairs, but it turns out that the way bumps are on that thing, in that building, and the size of the doors, it’s not really accessible. Maybe it meets the letter of the law, but it isn’t accessible.
AD: Yes, we’ve tried for some time in an economy that is short of space to accommodate many, and the facilities office and the Faculty Association are not central to what we are trying to accomplish academically. We will keep it in mind.
FA: We understand that there is a shortage of space right now. We also understand that buildings are about to be modified, and we don’t want to be caught with no office space. We’d like to be thought of ahead of time.
AD: There are no plans at this time to demolish the North Office Center.
Remodeling in Halenbeck Hall (FA – 9/22/2005)
FA: The discussion of space on campus brings us to this issue. There is apparently a dispute about some common space at Halenbeck. Now at this point we’re not willing to weigh-in on either side of that, but what we’d like to point out is that with everything that’s going on campus, these kind of disputes are going to show up, and what we’re interested in is: what’s the technique for resolving these kinds of issues. Where do people go.
AD: Here’s the policy.
FA: Is this the real policy? (laughter)
AD: We made it up this morning… (more laughter)
AD: You can tell from the font style that this is not a new policy.
FA: Do we know how old it is and is it still utilized?
AD: This is the policy we are using.
FA: This talks about academic space. What about other space?
AD: It is addressed by this policy.
FA: This says “change the function or purpose for which academic space is utilized.”
AD: This includes any changes in assignment.
FA: So this would also count anything that involves non-academic space.
AD: All space, yes..
FA: Can we take a copy of this to the Senate?
FA: I think we had another question? How is it decided which space goes to which department and how much space a department gets? What office decides this?
FA: So in this predicament, Halenbeck, this involves the College of Education so the dean of that college will make a decision which is subject to review by Academic Vice President.
AD: It’s actually in that case not all within the College of Education.
FA: So how – who is going to make this policy decision? How are you going to apply this policy to that?
AD: Space disputes between vice presidents will be resolved by the President.
FA: Between vice presidents?
AD: In this particular case, the dispute is between a vice president and the athletic director.
FA: So how does that work with this. The dispute isn’t between vice presidents.
AD: I think when this policy was originally created, the vice president reported elsewhere – Student Life and Development.
FA: It’s interesting that you were able to pull this out of your drawer, and I guess I’m wondering, and I’m not casting aspersions on hidden policies or anything like that, but I think that it’s impossible to know what to tell people if we don’t have access to these. I would hope that we’d be moving towards …
FA: Do the departments have copies of these policy manuals?
AD: Yes, in a red Policies and Procedures binder.
FA: This is the “red book?” Is there any possibility that that’s going to be electronically available online?
AD: Many of the policies are now on-line. HR policies, fiscal policies and the like. This particular one is not one that people use daily, and we have not put it online at this point.
FA: Now this one doesn’t have a date on it. We know it’s old because of the type font, but is it possible that those documents that go online could also be dated or that we could start a policy of dating policies and procedures so that we know exactly when they were enacted? Other discussion or questions about this procedure? Thank you very much for this document.
AD: You’re welcome.
AD: Are we taking anything off the agenda. We usually talk about that.
FA: Do you want to talk about which ones we’re taking off? Summer Session’s done, and some of these we’re just waiting for information and they’ll go off fairly quickly. FA Offices can go off and so can the Remodeling at Halenbeck Hall. The other things we’re waiting for information on, and they’ll be fairly quick to take care of at that point.
FA: So now we’re back to
Motion from Teacher Development (FA – 9/22/2005)
FA: I’m going to begin talking about that. I wanted to say that the Faculty Association really appreciates that the Administration works to improve the climate in the university, and we consider that your actions in getting the apology in regard to the survey distributed in the College of Education is a very positive thing. I would like to - we’d like to have an open discussion about what faculty and administration can do together to improve the climate and take care of issues of anti-Semitism. I’d like to begin by stating what we are doing as an initial step -- it’s just an initial step. On Tuesday we will bring the motion from Teacher Development to Faculty Senate as they have requested. And in the Senate packets will be included that motion, the apology I received via e-mail, and also a statement which I’ll ask Frankie to read into the record which will accompany a copy of the survey. So Frankie, if you would read that into the record please.
The Faculty Association’s Executive Committee acknowledges receipt of Dean McKay’s apology for the dissemination of the report, “Evaluation of the Dean” and for her failure to apprehend the degree to which the comments in it reproduce and sustain a hostile and divisive campus climate.
The Executive Committee is distributing to the Faculty Senate this survey and appendix in spite of the ugliness and inappropriateness of many of the comments and objects most strenuously to the singling out of individuals in the comments section of the report, to the disrespectful character of some of those comments, and to the anti-Semitism implicit and explicit in the report.
The appearance of those remarks and their uncritical distribution signifies the ongoing necessity of addressing the issue of anti-Semitism in meaningful, productive, and ongoing ways. It is our hope that in the future individual faculty, administrators and the administration and the Faculty Association as a whole will publicly, promptly, firmly and convincingly speak out against discrimination in all its forms.
The Executive Committee also objects to the tenor of comments in the survey directed against the President and the Provost. The Executive Committee supports any efforts by administrators to improve campus climate.
The Executive Committee commits itself and seeks a commitment from all individual faculty and administrators as well as from the administration as a whole to creating and maintaining a fair, respectful, and equitable work environment for all of the University’s employees.
-- September 20, 2005
FA Patty, I can send this to you.
FA: I guess I would like to start the discussion by making two points – or asking a question I guess and making a point. First of all, in what ways can the faculty and administration work together to address the polarization and inappropriate comments indicated in the survey – and we’re talking about inappropriate comments of several sorts. We’re talking about inappropriate comments that are anti-Semitic in nature, and we’re also talking about inappropriate comments that single out individuals, including administrators. Secondly, we wanted to say that these anti-Semitic comments were particularly problematic to us because they fit into kind of a long history of anti-Semitic comments that suggest that Jewish people are always conspiring with one another, the conspiracy kind of stereotypes which I found very troubling. What we were hoping today is that we could have a conversation in which we talked about what steps - we’re asking what steps you’re currently involved in – to address the issues resulting from the distribution of the survey and to also discuss things that we might do together.
AD: I think that we need to work together to develop some approach to how we address these issues. It can’t be solely an administrative action, and it can’t be solely a faculty action. It has to be something we do together. I believe either of two groups or both could be involved in developing some plan of how to approach this. We established a task force last year. I don’t think it’s ever met, of individuals representing various committees and constituencies on campus having to do with diversity and diversity education, and it might well be that’s the entity that should put together a plan and proposal. We’ve also been talking about a statement about academic freedom and responsibility, and there’s another group looking at that, and I think that some of the comments fall within the purview of the kinds of things that group could review for us. I think other people should talk besides me.
FA: One thing that occurred to me was that we were all informed ages ago that there was statue that covered workplace harassment and I was chair at that time. I remember what we were told. If you are witness to an instance of workplace harassment, you must report it. If you don’t the action cannot only be taken against the perpetrator, but the witness as well. Anyone who witnesses an act must report it. The way it was conveyed to us was such that we understood what our responsibilities and vulnerabilities were. That seems to have faded from people’s minds. It strikes me that some folks are unaware of their responsibilities and vulnerabilities with regard to the statute. We can communicate with the faculty, framing it around this incident. Of course, I imagine that a close reading of university policy would point out.
AD: When I heard about what was written, I was personally disappointed. I’ve been associated with the university for a long time, and I don’t like being involved with a place where this kind of thing occurs. There’s one characteristic in the anonymity of the statements. There’s the assumption that it was probably a faculty member who made those statements. We cannot with any certainty say who or what group these statements came from. It ends up painting no one and at the same time paints us all. It puts my colleague Michael and others in an awkward place. We just aren’t completely sure where this all came from. Certainly we’re obliged to report and investigate, but by its nature, the report is so cloudy, it’s hard to identify. I’m pleased that we are having a discussion about it today and that the dean apologized. Our silence on the matter would indicate acceptance. It is appropriate to discuss it. Those are just some of my thoughts. I’m glad that we are talking about it here. One of the things that I know needs to be done is that we have open and frank discussion about issues that are difficult. I’m hoping that over time as we continue to openly address these matters, there will come a time when we don’t have to. I am struck by the cowardice of the individuals who made these comments.
AD: First of all, I believe the taskforce you’re talking about is the committee for diversity education. That’s a group of people on campus who are helping to put together a plan and then to move forward. I think the plan and a timetable and a way to go about this is something that needs to be in place as soon as possible. This is something we need to do right away so that people can see that we, together, are acting on it. Because the second thing in my mind is that the particular college is having a meeting tomorrow. The particular college is in a situation where, as much as we’re hurting, if I were a faculty member in that college right now, I’d not only be embarrassed but be worried. I don’t know what’s going on…these are things that we have to take as a community and begin to provide assistance to bring about some sort of reconciliation in terms of positive steps and offer some hope in terms of changing the climate there. I’m sure you’ll be talking to your colleagues, and they’ll be talking to you. There’s nobody in this alone at this point, we’re all in this together.
FA: I guess I have two things. One is that I’m still of kind stunned. Stunned that it could have been anybody. The first talk the CETL is doing is September 28th and the book we will be discussing is “Teaching Community” by bell hooks. Marla and I are leading that book talk. The term that she uses, “beloved,” is used in a very interesting way. Not talking from a utopian view but a much richer way.
FA: We actually had discussed the committee of diversity education playing a role in this. I think our team would be in agreement that we could go forward with that, and we could call a meeting of that task force and set up a plan and a timetable to move forward on this as soon as possible. Like, as soon as possible. I would have to dig up the names of those folks, but that could be done.
FA: Would you ask one of them to be the convener?
FA: I could certainly ask one of them to be the convener. My question is, do we have…
FA: There are folks from the administration on it too.
FA: Do we have that list of folks on the administration?
AD: It started about 3-4 years ago…
FA/AD: no, no
AD: This is a committee we talked about last spring.
FA: A year ago last spring. We had our members chosen last fall.
AD: There are members from Student Life and Development involved.
FA: We might, we will ask a faculty member to convene. Do we want guidance from this committee?
AD: It seems to me that the first thing we need to do is announce that it is doing something and that a committee is being convened to address some of these issues.
FA: Is there any other guidance that we should provide?
FA: Since we raised the conversation in this group, is this something we can keep on the agenda for awhile, so that as people start to sift through, we can discuss other collaborative efforts?
FA: Was the survey done randomly? Is an apology enough? Are we in complicit if we don’t do anything?
AD: Those are good questions.
FA: Would you answer as many as you can?
AD: Certainly we’re complicit if we do nothing. It’s something beyond civility. It’s obviously not civil. I don’t know the exact character of the survey.
AD: In terms of the survey, the dean has acknowledged that the methodology was flawed.
FA: One thing that we need to acknowledge is that people in that college and other colleges is that there is really a hostile environment. We have discounted it. We have to get slapped in the face before we…. One of the things we need to do is listen to those people and acknowledge that they are right.. we need to stop doing that. I can’t imagine why anyone was surprised to see this. I was shocked, but not really surprised. If you were surprised, you need to really start listening.
FA: I was struck by one of the words Steve used. And that was cowardice. I think that’s exactly right. And with this particular kind of cowardice I personally don’t think that we can reform the person’s whole world view. I think that a coward responds to threats. There are threats in the statute and policies, and we have to act on them. In the meantime they should keep their heads down and their mouths shut. It is disgusting.
FA: Obviously one of our actions is to attach our statement….figure out some positive .. there’s real power in the statement. Is there some way that the Faculty Association and the Administration can say together publicly that it’s not ok that this happened? The Executive Committee has a copy of the survey apology. Is there something we need to say together?
AD: Something we have to be careful of is that we follow through. In the past there have been statements and very little follow through. We do not want to make a statement without a plan of action.
FA: We’re very concerned that action follow language. We think it would have a unifying effect.
AD: I think a statement of what we’re going to do is important and will have more impact on the environment.
AD: I think it might be nice if it came from Meet and Confer… as soon you have it coming from the leaders, it gets more complicated.
FA: My preference would be to wait until there is something from the task force. I think Larry is right: if we make a statement, it needs to come with a plan of action. Is there a continuing investigation, or is the investigation completed?
AD: I think generally speaking, Nancy, the lead investigator, launches an investigation when she has a complaint or when the circumstances are such that she would need to launch an investigation. She did receive some complaints by e-mail so she did investigate the direct circumstances of the survey – how it was administered, who did it. She investigated other facts about the consultant who compiled the survey. Does everyone know the basics of the survey?
AD: Well, I read the report so, but generally speaking, the survey has been given over a number of years. A person is hired on consultant basis to take the survey and tabulate in the form that some people have seen. The survey was done this year as it had been done in other years in a manner which would allow the handwritten types of comments to occur. The survey is reproduced on a Xerox machine and not numbered. It’s distributed within the department, and there may have been individuals who didn’t receive one, but I could have 40 of them and someone else might never have one, and I could fill out all 40 with different handwriting and different comments. So it’s very difficult to say that everyone in that area received a survey and submitted a survey. All that happens is the surveys are made available, you complete it and put it in the door pocket, in that little pocket that was hanging on the door that is unattended and anyone could reach in and take, so if I put my survey in and you saw my survey, you could take it. When the pocket is full, the number of surveys are removed and put aside so the pocket is empty so it doesn’t weigh heavily on the door. Then these surveys are taken and sent to the consultant who tabulates them. Then survey results are distributed. And when I was initially looking at it, when I initially heard about it, I thought about how some of the surveys coming out that we are presented, and it would be wrong to take a survey and pull different remarks, different comments and things out if you didn’t put a disclaimer on there. I have no idea if Dean McKay knew everything that was in the survey before it was handed out. But that’s what the investigation found. That it was done in this way, that it maybe should have been administered in a tighter fashion, and that this person tabulated the results and the results were distributed in this way. So that’s how the survey was done. It happens apparently every year, but maybe it won’t next year. Then when the survey came out and there were complaints, Nancy investigated as much as she could. But there isn’t much left to know or to find out because the person who submitted the remarks didn’t sign the survey or anything like that. So, in theory, I mean, it’s very possible that a student could have done it.
FA: When was the survey distributed?
AD: You mean, when were the blank ones sent out? I don’t know that, nobody knows.
AD: I thinks it’s in the spring, typically in mid-April.
FA: The thing that concerns me about this particular incident is that we’re getting off focus. I’ve seen a degree of polarization. The important thing is what is happening there and what is being done about it. It’s nice to have a task force. We’ve had taskforce after taskforce. I’m tired of having this happen over and over. What are we going to do about hostility?
FA: I think that we need to … yes we can have a lot of task forces, we need to do something tangible, even if it’s very small, to be credible.
FA: I’m not sure how we will address in any kind of a productive way, the kind of hostile environment if we are not able to honor one another’s labor. There have been many taskforces, and I have been on several of them, and they have resulted in some extraordinary work. CARE, University Restructuring, are the result of taskforces. I went to Century College on Teaching Circles. The President of Century College came to have lunch and talked about the conditions in that institution when those in the technical college and the community college merged together and the amount of conflict present in that institution. And for the first time in my life, I heard a university president say to a group of people who represented a lot of institutions, that he recognized that if that Century College was to survive and move forward, that he would need to value the work of every person who works there. I really don’t want to hear that my labor or the labor of other people with whom I’ve worked has had no value.
FA: I would have to look at the names on the diversity committee. If memory serves me, it seems to me that they’re on that committee because they’re committed to moving forward and addressing issues such as the one in front of us. So, certainly what we can do is tomorrow I can get the names and have faculty members convene that. But I guess would like some sense from this body – are we asking them to work on a timeline of some sort? Would we like some sort of response at some point – short term response and long term response? Is there some guideline I can give them that way? I clearly want action and an action plan. I don’t want to jam a quick timeline down on this because it’s very, very important. On the other hand, we need to move forward. Any notions about that?
AD: I think that the timeline we want to propose is a timeline that says he group will issue a statement to the campus about what its intent is and what its goals are.
AD: I think the timeline is important because of the issues of morale.
FA: I want to come back to that element and piggyback on something that you said. Rex, you indicated that tomorrow there is going to be an event and that faculty will need some assistance with reconciliation, and I guess I’m wondering if anything is going to happen, it could happen tomorrow. I guess one thing we had speculated on earlier, and I don’t know if it’s an appropriate time to bring it up, but our pre-meet and confer team wondered about whether or not there might be an oral apology to accompany the written apology or if there might be something else could be at least an acknowledgement of the situation in which this college finds itself.
AD: We’re not sure if Dean McKay is going to do that. I don’t know if anyone is.
AD: I’ve also heard that some faculty may not attend.
FA: That’s correct. There are faculty who are so upset with this that they’ve decided to vote with their feet, essentially. I’ve heard that there are other motions like the one from Teacher Development forthcoming. Should I ask for some kind of group statement to be made in the next week? Is that possible do you think?
FA: We could ask…
FA: If you want to give them a deadline, it has to be longer than a week.
FA: Should I ask them to be as prompt as they can in coming forward with some sort of public statement?
AD: Maybe something that goes out to the campus stating that this group is going to be meeting would be appropriate.
FA: Anything else? I really appreciate all of your thought and input on this. I think it’s a very difficult situation, and I am serious when I say, and this group is serious when we say, that we really do need to address these issues together, so thank you.
FA: Is no one going to be with Dean McKay tomorrow? I can see that turning into something really weird if she goes in all by herself?
AD: We did discuss this at our pre-meet and confer.
(meeting went off the record for discussion of the above FA question)
Recruitment and Retention (FA – 9/22/2005)
FA: We’re back on the record.
AD: We had asked the faculty for proposals that faculty can undertake to assist in the matters of recruitment ad retention. Essentially one of the things that I would like to see, if at all possible, is that each department undertake certain activities to engage students in the programs they are enrolled in -- identify a series or a number of actions that can make students feel more comfortable and at home in their courses.
FA: I think a lot of departments are already doing quite a bit.
AD: I agree.
FA: And I think that sometimes when you say “identify activities” like one of the things that the department doesn’t recognize is that some of us are already doing stuff.
AD: No, no, no…
FA: I just want to know how it might be interpreted. I read my own deans’ stuff and thought, my god, I make pizza for these kids. I’m in my office advising. I don’t know what more I can do. I think one of things we need to do to start out is to ask: what are we doing.
AD: That’s what identify means – tell us what you’re doing.
FA: It doesn’t come across that way from the dean – it comes across, what more are you going to do.
AD: What I’m looking for is information about what is being done in the departments that are doing things and what can be done in departments where less is being done but more can be done. So it’s identifying, and to me, that’s what the word identify means – tell us what you’re doing – because we don’t always know… Whether it’s having a series of speakers or working with an academic club related to the major - we don’t know what all those activities are unless we are being informed, so I’m asking to be informed about what is being done, and then if there are departments that aren’t doing something, are there things that they could do?
FA: I’d like to thank Michael for the way he explained that. If I recall, last year when departments received that request, it was a really generic request. I think we do a lot of things that aren’t maybe acknowledged as being things that assist that. I mean, advising might be one, having small classes might be another, pizza parties, or working with students on research. If when these requests come out, they could be couched in terms of: we know you are already doing a lot of things, and we know you are already working on these, we need to know what it is you’re doing, we need to know if you’re willing to do more, what that might be – and getting a range of the kind of things people might think about doing. That might sound like a silly remark, but we do a lot of things, I think, that contribute to this sort of thing, and it may be something that really isn’t apparent to you or not apparent to us even with some of those things. A range and context of activities would be helpful to us to determine what we are doing or what we might do.
AD: There is no intent in having asked that question to suggest, in any sense whatsoever, that faculty are not doing anything.
FA: I hear what you’re saying. Anything else on that?
Uniform Start Date (Admin – 9/22/2005)
AD: I’m simply going to say that - I have something to distribute…
FA: Can we talk about D2L while we talk about uniform start date? (laughter)
AD: No! (more laughter)
AD: This is a memorandum issued by Linda Baer, and it has to do with common start dates for all MnSCU institutions. I wanted to distribute this to the faculty to get your view on the value of having a common start date across MnSCU starting Fall of 2007 on August 23rd.
FA: I do feel compelled to say something about D2L. When I was down at the IFO board meeting last week, one of the things that people thanked us about for, starting late was if SCSU had started when everybody else did that D2L would have tanked totally. And even though we started late, there were still many system problems. When they say IT has assured us, I don’t know that IT people are sure.
FA: This is just crazy. It can barely handle when we come on.
AD: If the FA has a strong an opinion about this, they may want to communicate this to ..
FA: We’re communicating our strong opinion
AD: Not here… (laughter)
FA: When you start a D2L course and it tanks, the students don’t blame the system; they blame the instructor.
AD: The CIOs met,and separate from the start date, they talked up the need to shore up the infrastructure on both ISRS and D2L, so if the IFO would like to continue to reiterate the need, that would be great.
AD: It’s not good when financial aid crashes. Understand that when you ask for additional resources, they come off the top of the allocation. Just understand that as you push to have better computers, the money will come off the top of our allocation.
FA: So we’ll go to work against this through the IFO.
FA: This item is on Tuesday’s Faculty Senate agenda and will probably be a very lively discussion. Thank you very much. We’re adjourned.
Meeting adjourned 5:01 p.m.