Final approved 12-15-05
Meet and Confer Notes
October 20, 2005
Admin: Provost Spitzer, Steve Ludwig, John Burgeson, Diana Burlison, Larry Chambers, Anne Zemek de Dominguez, Kristi Tornquist, BernaDette Wilson, Rex Veeder, Patty Dyslin (notetaker)
Faculty: Judy Kilborn, Annette Schoenberger, JoAnn Gasparino, Jayantha Herath, Robert Johnson, Balsy Kasi, Bill Langen, Andrew Larkin, Susan Motin
Meet and Confer Notes of September 8, 2005 – approved
Meet and Confer Notes of September 22, 2005 – still under review
Meet and confer Notes of October 6, 2005 – still under review
1. Centers of Excellence (FA – 9/6/2005)
AD: I’d like to notify you that we sent in three proposals for Centers of Excellence. None of those proposals were funded. Judy, I did send copies to you. We are very disappointed that none of our proposals were funded. I have seen comments on our proposals, but have not seen comments on any proposals outside of our institution. We will try to support some of the initiatives that were outlined in the proposals we submitted.
FA: I need to take care of one item of business before we continue. President Saigo is unable to attend today’s Meet & Confer. He did notify me of this. Provost Spitzer will be sitting in as the President’s designee. Having said that, I think we’re done with this item, and it can be removed from the agenda.
2. Attendance Policy ( AD – 9/8/2005)
FA: We have begun a discussion of this in Senate. At this time, the issue is being tabled.
AD: If we don’t hear from you by spring semester, we will begin implementing the policy.
FA: By spring semester? I think that gives us time to consider the issue, and hopefully the Senate will be able to take it up. What is the implication of this policy? We don’t know what the faculty will come up with.
AD: No, I didn’t say that. We want to have something in place by spring semester.
FA: I’m not clear about what you are saying.
AD: We want to have a policy in place and implement it for spring semester.
FA: Will non-compliance result in faculty discipline?
AD: Do you want to have this discussion now? I think we should wait until there is a policy in place before having this discussion.
FA: Let’s move on to item 3.
3. Motion from Teacher Development (FA – 9/22/2005)
FA: The Faculty Senate has continued its discussion of the problems that have been occurring in the College of Education and other places on campus. I have appointed two faculty members to meet with two administrators to discuss the task force and other issues. Frankie Condon and Debra Leigh have been chosen to represent the faculty. We also thought that Nancy Jessee might be part of the task force.
AD: The services of Nancy Jessee as a primary contributor to a process doesn’t seem right. A 1B1 investigation doesn’t seem to be an appropriate approach to developing a short- and longer-term solution to this.
FA: We sat down with Nancy Jessee and discussed this. We would like an investigation that would be broader in scope but would want Nancy involved. She reports to the President, and if he directs her to do a project, then she can be involved in this. We are asking Nancy to be involved in a project outside of the scope of 1B1.
FA: Hostile work environment falls under…
AD: If the hostile work environment involves discrimination, it does fall under 1B1. In the past, that person’s function was limited to 1B1 so that there is not an impression that the investigator is being involved in other things.
AD: There is correspondence from the Faculty Association to that effect.
FA: At the last Meet and Confer, Roy Saigo asked us what we can do about these issues. There are ongoing discussions by the Senate about this. I’m getting tired of this issue coming up again and again with no resolution.
AD: What do you want us to do?
FA: I can re-read the motions and provide a copy for the recorder. The first is a motion to propose that the Senate appoint two faculty members to meet with Administrators to discuss how to set up the Task Force on Diversity Education. The second motion is[a1] for the Senate to direct the Meet and Confer Team to take the issue of the 1B1 complaint to Meet and Confer and request alternative processes, including the services of Nancy Jessee as a primary contributor.
FA: Do you want to read the 3rd motion?
FA: The third motion is for Faculty Senate to direct the Meet and Confer Team to ask Administration to convene the College of Education Task Force described in the EEOC report.
AD: Judy and I have talked about the EEOC report. Administration and Faculty would comprise the task force.
FA: The EEOC report says that we are to “develop two task forces to address the problems of bias and perceived bias in the College of Education and the College of Social Sciences – History Department. Each task force should include administrative and faculty members from the college or department and should be facilitated by a neutral party from outside the college or department. The goal of the task forces should be to create a specific plan of improvement to resolve the problems which will be forwarded to the University President for implementation.”
AD: There is a good deal of interest in the College and outside the College to address this issue -- a commitment by administration to address issues as they come up. Nancy Jessee thought there were some things that were done improperly but could not determine for sure who made the comments.
FA: The 1B1 investigation found out that this is not appropriate for this problem. How can we do something similar.
AD: I don’t know what an investigation would accomplish. Faculty Association asked at another Meet and Confer what can be done, [a3] and I understand that C.A.R.E. has proposed that C.A.R.E. training be mandatory.
FA: This matter is on the Senate agenda for Tuesday.
FA: Maybe we shouldn’t refer to the process as an investigation. Maybe we could think of some other way of referring to the process.
FA: I would like to repeat something about the goal of the task force. The EEOC report indicates that the “goal of the task force should be to create a specific plan of improvement to resolve the problems.” What we talked about has to have the diversity task force come up with short and long term plans. We had to scrap that and will be working with the task force in a little different way. It seems that the EEOC task force could do what we intended. If this is the motion and you accept that, how do we set that up?
AD: There are a number of groups and task forces who want to work on this. There is a group meeting next week to discuss options. The idea of having a College group is very important.
AD: There’s a point of clarification – it doesn’t exist. We don’t have one. There was a proposal that was not accepted. We talk as if it exists.
FA: The EEOC [a4] recommendation was for the task force being comprised of faculty, administration and facilitated by a neutral party. How do we get moving on this?
AD: We would have to have representatives from the various departments. One of the issues we ran into was how to recruit members.
FA: You say there needs to be representatives from each department – how many?
AD: You would need to ask the faculty about this.
FA: Faculty at the College of Education or at the Senate?
AD: This group here. I would say perhaps 8-12 faculty representatives.
FA: If we’re talking one from each department it would be 8-10. If we asked two from every department the size of the group could become unmanageable by the time you add administration and the facilitator.
AD: Perhaps each department can elect one representative and the college elect two members at-large.
FA: The committee could be comprised of an odd numbers of members [a5] and also include administration members from the College or department.
AD: I think the Acting Dean and I would suggest Rex as well.
FA: So we are suggesting one from each department and at large, plus the Acting Dean and Rex.
AD: Perhaps there could be a member from the Mediation Team.
AD: Why not someone from the Mediation Team who is not faculty?
FA: I believe the mediators [a6] like to work in pairs so that they can confer between themselves. I was wondering if is should be a faculty member and an administrator?
FA: Let the Mediation Team decide.
FA: So the team would be comprised of one representative from each department, one at large representative of the college, two administrators and we would ask the Mediation Team to provide two members to serve as facilitators as well.
AD: There are some folks in the college not assigned to a particular department. I’m thinking of Les Green, for example. Should we treat them as a department so that they have representation?
FA: Do you have a list of those people?
FA: Can you get us a list of those folks?
FA: They would be considered a department, and we’d add them to the total number on the committee.
AD: Yes. Yes, I will get you a list of those individuals. So where are we with mandatory training?
FA: Faculty Senate has a motion recommending training and mandatory training. We have your responses to two but not the third motion. Do you want to take it under advisement?
AD: Yes, if we use the task force. I don’t see the value of an investigation. We know there are problems and polarization, and that is beginning to change under the new leadership. An investigation may not be beneficial to the changes that are taking place right now.
FA: The idea is to identify underlying faculty stresses or their contributing factors so we have a clear sense of the problems and how to fix them. An investigation would serve to gather information, and what we learn can help us to move forward.
AD: I hear the EEOC recommendation as addressing exactly that process. The goal is to develop a plan of improvement to resolve the problems.
FA: We can say fraternization or polarization; it can be this or that.
AD: We make it part of the charge that they identify problems and possible solutions.
FA: Question: do you want to ask the departments to start the process, or do you want us to - what about the mediation team?
AD: I think maybe we should have a joint request to the college and mediation team.
FA: Anything else on this item?
4. Recruitment and Retention (Administration – 9/22/2005)
FA: Do you want to talk about this today?
AD: I want to emphasize the importance of the enrollment and retention goals and convey to faculty that this is an important commitment to our fiscal well-being. We are currently 80 FYE below last year for enrollment and behind 20 FYE for summer. We are a total of 100 FYE behind our enrollment for last year, 13,924. Our budget was predicated on 14,200. We are below by 300. Our budget has taken a hit of $1.3 million.
AD: We received a lower allocation and raised tuition to compensate for losses. We’ll be okay for this year, but if we look at next year, we’ll need to raise tuition.
AD: There are some initiatives that may not be funded. There are consequences when we do not meet our enrollment and retention goals. It is important to recruit more students for spring and next fall. To whatever extent faculty can assist, we would appreciate it – for example, advising, attendance. The national experts who have visited our campus have emphasized the importance of attendance.
FA: Anyone else on this topic?
5. Uniform Start Date (Administration – 9/22/05)
FA: This item is on the Senate agenda. When action is taken, we will bring it back to Meet and Confer.
6. Search for Dean of COE (FA – 10/6/2005)
FA: This item was left on the agenda.
AD: I sent an e-mail to College of Education faculty today explaining that when we had the meeting appointing the Acting Dean, we also discussed the Interim Dean position. Some faculty expressed that they wanted to wait one year and some wanted to conduct a search this academic year. I have asked each department to elect two representatives to meet with me to determine whether or not we recruit this year or next. I think we only need one meeting. We will try to come to a mutual agreement. I’m trying to involve faculty in the process as much as possible.
FA: There seems to be some question about the difference between an advisory search committee and a search committee. We need to clarify how an advisory search committee differs from a search committee.
AD: It would be an internal abbreviated search. That’s what we did last time. We’d give people an opportunity to nominate and apply for the position, then have the committee meet and make a recommendation.
FA: It would be helpful to explain it that way to folks in the College of Education. Would you be willing to send an e-mail outlining that procedure in the next day or so?
AD: I’ll be able to do it tomorrow.
FA: I appreciate that. I’ve extended nominations until Monday.
FA: I’m confused…we’re electing a committee who will advise on ….
AD: There are two things happening. The one I just described should happen before what you are talking about.
FA: So you do intend to have a group choose an Interim Dean.
AD: After we decide how long the Interim Dean will serve.
FA: It would be good to have the process reiterated.
AD: I will write something to explain it.
1. Meet and Confer Notes (Admin – 10/6/2005)
AD: This has to do with notes posted by a member of the faculty Meet and Confer Team, particularly an item concerning the uniform start date. When I describe this, you will understand what I’m saying. This is what was written in the faculty member’s notes: “Administration distributed a memorandum from Linda Baer, MnSCU Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, to advance support for a common term start date among all MnSCU institutions. Her argument appears weak, so maybe this was imposed on the Chancellor’s Office by the Board of Trustees, but the way things work in St. Paul, it seems safe to say that the Chancellor’s Office will impose a common start date beginning in the Fall of 2007. The IFO Board of Directors discussed the uniform start last week at its meeting, and representatives from the other state universities expressed gratitude that SCSU began later than the others because the MnSCU computer system was unable to handle the huge load imposed in late August.” That reads like an editorial and may convey the wrong impression to the community. We do take official notes alternating between Administration and Faculty Association. Could we ask this individual to refrain from making editorial statements or not sending the notes at all?
FA: It states very clearly that they are not official notes.
AD: They say it’s an attempt to keep the campus community apprised. Maybe we should not keep official notes.
FA: There is nothing to stop an individual from sharing his or her impressions. To ask them to refrain from doing so is asking them to give up basic citizenship rights.
AD: I think that’s an exaggeration. We’re asking them to moderate their descriptions.
FA: There is a clear disclaimer and a clear right to do so.
AD: I don’t disagree with Robert. Perhaps a more appropriate place to post these notes is on “discuss.”
AD: I think that would make a difference.
FA: I don’t think the Faculty Association is in a position to ask faculty to suppress their rights.
FA: There is also some controversy surrounding discuss. Putting it on discuss virtually ensures that 10 or 15 people might read them – a miniscule number compared to announce. It’s a not very subtle way to ensure readership is limited.
AD: A message could be sent over “announce” that the notes are available on discuss. Perhaps the word notes should not be used. They are more like perceptions or observations. Maybe they could be titled observations/opinions.
FA: We are making assumptions about how things are being interpreted by the reader. There is a disclaimer.
AD: It is not a full disclaimer. What I’m asking is for some restraint about how this is handled so that it is clearer to people that these are opinions.
AD: Is there a Faculty Association listserv?
AD: There are separate college listservs.
AD: I don’t want to beat this to death. I’ve made my feelings known, and I’d hope they would be considered.
2. Grade Appeal Policy Guidelines (FA – 10/06/2005)
FA: We gave this to you in May. Do you have a response to this?
AD: I am going to respond to this. (Two handouts were distributed to the group) Here is the version you passed out and some proposed revisions. There are two handouts going around; one of which was approved by the Faculty Association in May, 2005. We discussed this at Academic Affairs Council and have come up with some changes and additions to the language approved by the Faculty Senate. First, the title of the document should read “Rights and Responsibilities Under the Grade Appeal Process.” I have marked where some of the changes are. Under “Instructor,” we inserted Item 1.1 – “The instructor must be available for a meeting during her/his office hours, or a mutually agreed upon time”; Item 1.2 – “The instructor will explain the grading process and the grade given to the student”; and, Item 1.3 – “The instructor will meet with the committee, if invited by the committee. The instructor will explain the grades and grading process in question to the committee.” Under Item 5 we added “to meet the student’s appeal.” We also added Item 6 “The instructor has the responsibility to maintain confidentiality.” Under the “Department” heading, Item 2 is new. It reads: “Each department has the responsibility to establish a grade appeals committee early each fall semester and review a departmental procedure for grade appeals that is within the general guidelines of this policy. A written copy of the departmental procedure will be given to any student who files a grade appeal. The departmental information sheet given to students will set fort the steps of a student grade appeal.” Delete the last sentence of Item 2. Item 3 was added and states: “The department has the responsibility to maintain confidentiality.” Two items were added under “Committee” In Item 1, the words “for grade appeals” were added. Item 3 should read: “The committee and deans have the responsibility to maintain confidentiality.” Any questions or comments? I would have given you a clean copy, but it disappeared from my computer.
FA: We will take this back to the Senate.
FA: Sometimes a student may be intimidated by appearing before a faculty committee.
AD: See Item 3 under the “Student” section.
FA: Regarding the statement that the instructor can improve the grade. What if the instructor finds that the grade should be lower?
AD: Then leave the grade as is. To change it to a lower grade may appear retaliatory.
FA: Not necessarily. There are times when a clerical error is made. Just like in our contract it says there’s language that indicates that management reserves the right to correct clerical errors. I always give that caveat to my students.
AD: The idea was not to punish the student for appealing the grade. If you want to suggest a change…
AD: We are trying to not punish a student for appealing a grade. If a student feels there is a risk of having their grade lowered, they may not appeal the grade at all. We don’t want to discourage students to appeal their grades. As it is, many, many students are afraid to appeal their grades in the first place for fear of retaliation. That’s one of the reasons that whole business about the student receiving assistance and coaching are in there – to make it more comfortable for the student. That was the thrust of that change.
FA: In Item 1.1 under “Instructor,” it says “The instructor must be available for a meeting during her/his office hours, or a mutually agreed upon time.” What is a reasonable mutually agreed upon time?
AD: I guess it would be sometime other than 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning.
FA: I have students who will tell me that’s the only time they can meet with me. They want to with me at 6:00 p.m. on a Monday evening to discuss their grade. Am I expected to comply with that? Or they want to come in on Saturday morning or they want to do it during the summer when I’m not in town. Then they say: “Well, I tried, but the instructor wasn’t there
AD: It think “mutually agreed upon” means you have to agree with it as well.
FA: So it does actually mean that it has to be a convenient time for the faculty member as well as the student. Okay, we’ll take this to Senate and see what they think.
3. Early Notification System for Students (a.k.a. Early Warning Notice) (Admin – 10/6/2005)
AD: We talked about this and said we would bring a proposal to you for an early notification system, sometimes called an early warning system. This is a proposal I think came from the Retention Subcommittee of the Enrollment Management Group.
FA: And faculty were on it.
AD: This would be an automated system. It’s based upon the same system that faculty use for entering grades so that the input phase would be very familiar to faculty. It’s an automatic system. Once the faculty member enters a comment, it will generate a series of activities and notices to the student, to the student’s academic advisors, to the faculty member summarizing the information that the faculty member entered into the system. It would notify those students who are doing poorly in a class and need some assistance, it would also include notices to students who are doing very well in class congratulating them on their good performance letting them know that they’re doing well. It notifies them of what tutoring and other services are available to assist them during academic jeopardy. So again I would like to entertain any of your comments or questions on this. I’m sorry that Mark Nook, who is primarily responsible for this from the administration side, is not available today.
FA: He did say in a meeting the other day, where this was presented, he did say that the first two pages are actually the proposal and that pages three and onward are kind of what he’s marked up as examples so they wouldn’t necessarily look like this. For example, on page four, all of those places, he made up room numbers. If you know what the actual room numbers are, you’ll know there’s no relationship to reality here, and since this is a sample template, it could contain different information. I just wanted to make that statement because he did. I guess he brought it to Enrollment Management as the final copies.
FA: Should we take this back to Senate?
FA: Yes. In fact, I already knew this was coming, so it is on the Faculty Senate agenda for Tuesday.
FA: So we are then at…
4. Template on Teaching Schedule/Office Hours (FA – 10/20/2005)
FA: Bill is going to begin the discussion.
FA: I think it would be good if we began by agreeing what language we’re talking about. Are we talking about contract language in Article 10, Section A – Faculty Workload, Subd. 2.
AD: Pretty much.
FA: Is there some other passage of the contract that’s also involved?
AD: I guess Section A as well.
FA: So it’s: Defining faculty workload including advising, maintaining and approving expertise in a discipline and pedagogy, serving on committees, student growth and development, student performance evaluation and so on - course preparation, research, maintenance of professional expertise, etc. That would be on the top of page 23 if you have a contract. The language we were wondering about is on the top of page 24.
AD: Primarily page 24.
FA: Do you agree with our longstanding assumption that the words “approved location” taken together with other contacts should be construed to include communication by our phone services or e-mail?
AD: I do within certain parameters.
FA: Could you talk to us about those other parameters?
AD: If those other locations are approved, then there’s no problem.
FA: Many of us have regularly scheduled, but entirely voluntary, commitment to contacts with students, such as the Math Help Room. Do we agree that such activities constitute contact with students at an approved location?
AD: As long they’re posted that way, yes.
FA: I understand we’ll get to the word “approved” in a minute – which is right now. (laughter)
AD: I was gonna hold my breath… (more laughter)
FA: Who approves such locations?
AD: It’s obviously not the Chair because the Chair is not a supervisor, so presumably it would be the Dean who is the supervisor.
FA: In another venue we were told that the Deans were already overworked and would welcome a lightening of that load with the assistance of the Chairs. But this would not be one such relief.
AD: It might be. What’s your point?
FA: I want to know what “approved” means.
AD: I guess I could give you the Chris Dale answer – it means what it says.
FA: In any case, it does not mean the department level.
AD: No, because departments don’t approve. I don’t think there’s an issue there in terms of the example that we gave that anyone would have a quarrel with the faculty member who’s in the Math Skills Center and posting office hours that state “during these hours, I’m in this location and you can see me there.”
AD: Are they assigned work hours in that location?
FA: Yes. They’re doing this as part of their contact hours and they’re being told that this needs to be above the office hours. That it doesn’t count as contact hours.
FA: I think you may have misunderstood a question we asked. That is a volunteer activity isn’t it – that these faculty are doing?
FA: I don’t know if it’s volunteer or not.
AD: I think there are going to be situations that need to be reviewed and evaluated separately to make sure that there’s agreement about what that means. I’m not sure of the circumstances you’re describing, but I would think that a person working voluntarily in the Math Skills Center would add those to their office hours. If Deans would argue against that, I would have a conversation with them about something like that.
FA: Maybe we could talk about the language in the contract. Clearly we’re dealing with an issue of faculty meeting their contractual obligations. Faculty contact with students is covered under the faculty advising part of the workload, and it states that faculty should have 10 hours weekly at approved times and locations. So there’s nothing in there that talks about office hours per se – it talks about contact with students for a certain amount of time. For us to be centering this issue around office hours, it’s really not specified in the contract.
AD: We’re talking about advising hours.
FA: But it doesn’t say where. It doesn’t say 10 office…
AD: No, it says “at an approved location.”
FA: Yes, so, labs, classrooms, even at Atwood Center, would be a place where contact basically occurs. For example: there are teachers who are involved in student organizations, academic student groups, … [a8] that might take place in conference rooms, the library or some other place. So the question is around office hours and this drive to hold faculty members a certain amount of office hours.
AD: For convenience we call those office hours. The contract doesn’t specify office hours.
FA: Could we talk about the contract language that underlines the Dean’s injunction against setting these contact hours by appointment? I’m assuming that the times for by appointment times are posted.
AD: The times for by appointment are posted?
FA: That’s right.
AD: Explain that.
FA: So, I will be available in my office from 2:00-3:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. I will be available by e-mail from 10:00-11:00 a.m. on the following days for immediate response. And this range of hours, by appointment.
AD: Which range of hours?
FA: What did I say? 3:00 p.m.
AD: I guess that doesn’t comply with what I think this says.
FA: So you understand or wish us to specify certain moments and not a range of times.
And if we stand by the Dean’s injunction against crediting office hours by other arrangement, such as appointment.
AD: I think I have no problem with what you said about being available by e-mail for immediate response during specified times. I think that meets this requirement. But I don’t know that saying by appointment meets the requirement of being responsible for those hours.
FA: So a faculty member who is posting these at his or her office and syllabi, should be saying they can be contacted by phone or e-mail during the following hours and during the following hours for meetings.
AD: I think it’s possible for a faculty member to say both of those.
FA: I think most faculty do. However, to specify the number and place of those hours is none-the-less contractual requiring approval by a supervisor. What about instructors not covered by Subd. 2 – specifically adjuncts.
AD: I don’t think that adjuncts are covered by this.
FA: I think that has an impact on retention. We are sometimes called upon, even by administrators, to consider foregoing a given office hour or perhaps even a block of office hours, to attend a meeting. Are you suggesting that we should attach the very highest priority to these specified time that we’ve set aside for contact with students?
AD: I think if you can notify students that at this particular hour, on this particular day, you’re not available, depending on the nature of the meeting, especially if it’s not a regularly meeting. We’re not talking about scheduling office hours during a regularly scheduled meeting time. Even in a case like that, if there were a note on the door that said “students may find me in the following room during this hour,” that would work.
FA: Can we agree that this template should have been brought to Meet and Confer before it went to the departments?
AD: It was intended to have that happen. At least one of the Deans sent it out to the departments.
FA: That’s the end of my questions. I would like to make a statement. As we react to this, I hope the administration will understand and reflect upon how drastically negative the range of feedback we received was. We have been reacting to a firestorm of faculty comment and consternation. I sat next to Judy at Negotiations Friday and Saturday, and I personally witnessed her spending six hours addressing this matter. As leaders on campus, we need to rise to some level of political sophistication in order to facilitate our ability to come to an amicable solution.
AD: Let me respond to what you’re saying. You said you were at Negotiations. One of the things that clearly impacted some of the folks from the MnSCU Board with regard to faculty workload, is that faculty are not around as evidenced by the unfortunate television broadcast, which some of us have seen. We want to be able to show the board that the vast majority of our faculty is doing what they are supposed to be doing and that, in fact, most are exceeding the requirements. This is not intended to be punitive. This is intended to be able to demonstrate to the Board and Channel 9 that we are meeting our obligations. At the end of their broadcast, Channel 9 said “we’ll be back.” We want to be able to demonstrate that our folks are meeting their responsibilities – and more so. We know that people are. I think that if there are faculty who are seeing this as some kind of an attempt to force them to do what they’re not doing, that’s not it at all.
FA: However, you do have to understand that from our side, we are acutely aware of the public and our responsibilities. We should be able to assume that it’s already on the table, and we would like to help. So when, for example, the administration appeared before the MnSCU board, faculty would have welcomed the opportunity and would have been glad to demonstrate that the majority of faculty on this campus are committed to fulfilling and over-fulfilling the contract.
AD: That issue with the board as it came up, was not a scheduled event.
FA: Most of the people that accosted me on this issue have said to me, “I meet with students all summer. I’ve never been on contract in the summer. I drive to places to meet with my graduate students [a9] that’s convenient for them. I’m not gonna do that any more because I just discovered that there’s no recognition for that – that my president and my dean don’t[a10] think that I do my job. So I’m gonna sit in my office for 10 hours a week all during the school year, refuse to go to committee meetings, refuse to do anything but sit in my office, and then when a student wants to meet with me for advising outside of that time, I’ll say, ‘You’ll have to come during my office hours because that’s what my dean has told me.’ I don’t get any credit. There’s no recognition that I’m doing my job. The assumption has been, and I’m now discovering this, that according to my dean, I don’t do squat.”
AD: That is a false assumption.
FA: That’s what they’re thinking, and they are very upset about it. A lot of these people, they sit down and they figure out their office hours, they’ve got them on their web page, they have them posted outside their door, they’ve put them into their Outlook calendar, and now they’re being asked, they’re being given another form, and they’re being asked/told/required that they need to do this. It seems that administration is not interested in the work being done over and above the requirements. They’re insulted. I don’t know how you’re going to recover from this. You can’t imagine how angry people are.
AD: More than 90% of faculty is going to find it easy to post their office hours. I think you’re going to find that this is merely something that documents what most of our faculty are already doing. We need to find other ways to explain things to the Board and the general public. We especially need to communicate this to legislators.
FA: Can’t you go to their web pages? Why ask them to do it again?
AD: The event that triggered this occurred the day before a Board meeting. A Faculty Association workload presentation that was given at that meeting was not well received. The Board saw the television report and that was an embarrassment to them. The Board asks at every meeting what is being done about this. The television report changed the Board’s perception, and Michael is trying to find a common, straight-forward way to demonstrate that the majority of faculty on this campus are doing what they’re supposed to do.
FA: I walked into Negotiations that week, and one of our priorities was workload. Every e-mail I’ve read and all the personal contact and all the things that people have dropped off at my office regarding this – there is a common strain. Faculty were really insulted by that report; we were damaged and hurt by it. Faculty now feel insulted again. I understand we need to address this PR issue, but how would it have been different if we said, “We have a pr issue. How can we work together to address that?” There are a lot of things that are being said by different deans that aren’t in agreement with one another. For example, if a dean says, “you can’t have office hours in a chat room.” What if I’m doing an on-line course and most of my students are distant? Some deans are saying “no,” and some are saying “yes.” We need to keep the meaning of the word “contact” in mind. There is concern about being too restrictive in defining “contact.” Many are doing more than 10 hours a week. That’s what I’ve done in the past. If I specify “these 10 hours,” it really limits availability to students. We’re really feeling badgered and insulted too. The firestorm is that we’re not trusted and not valued.
AD: I don’t disagree with what you’re saying. I would like to point out that at most universities, this information is routinely turned in. We want to demonstrate that faculty are meeting with students at least 10 hours a week. The vast majority are putting in more that 10 hours a week. This would acknowledge that work.
Faculty called for a caucus.
FA: We have listened to your ideas. If you have more to say we’ll continue to listen and take it back to Faculty Senate.
AD: What does that mean?
FA: If you have anything else you’d care to add…
AD: I have no problem getting together with a couple of faculty and meeting and talking through some of the permutations that may occur and how we address those.
FA: Would you like us to take that information back then and get a response?
AD: When is your next meeting?
AD: Sure. But I would like to get this moving at some point.
FA: Can we say in the meantime that the template is inactive at this point? I have lots of faculty who are worried about being disciplined because they haven’t filled out the template or they will be disciplined if they don’t fill out the template.
FA: They’re not even clear what they’re supposed to put on it.
FA: If the template hasn’t been issued and if at some point you plan to issue it, then we will have to respond to it. On the other hand, if you want to issue a proposal to ask for a way that we can collect information about this particular item of the contract, we can collect that information.
AD: I’m certainly not averse to having some faculty meet with some administrators to talk about how to address this particular issue, but I do want to have it addressed. I do want to be able to gather information in a standardized way that we can have available to the public and the Board as needed. I don’t see it as the kind of onerous task that some of you have portrayed it as being, or some sort of punitive measure. I think that within MnSCU, faculty at other campuses routinely do this.
FA: Yes, they have definitions of what is appropriate to put on. We need to have discussion on what is appropriate to put on there.
FA: The template has gone out to three different colleges that I’m aware of.
AD: So let’s, what I would like to do as I’ve said before, is have a meeting and talk about some ways to understand in a way that’s consistent across colleges.
FA: So you would like us to take that request back to Senate then?
FA: OK. We certainly can do that. So it looks like we’ve run out of time although we haven’t run out of agenda items.
FA: So how are we supposed to respond to this request to provide information?
AD: Well, I’ve never formally asked anybody to collect it.
AD: If a dean has asked for it, it’s difficult for Michael to make an agreement here to tell a dean not to do that.
FA: When I’ve been asked by faculty what the status of that template was, whether it’s come to Meet and Confer, I’ve said “no.” So as far as Faculty Association is concerned, it hasn’t been met and conferred on so that changes the obligation.
AD: I’m not sure that I would agree with that. I don’t know that it has to go to Meet and Confer. I think it’s fine to go to Meet and Confer, but it’s not a change in terms of conditions of employment is it?
FA: That’s what we’re hearing, though, because there are different definitions for… first of all it’s 10 office hours and the contract says “contact.” There are all kinds of different definitions of what can go on that form, and that’s what’s getting in the way I think more than that there is a form.
AD: That’s what we can certainly meet and discuss.
FA: It’s possible that in the past that people have been allowed to use chat room time, to use e-mail time, to “by appointment” so that they have 7[a11] office hours and then 6 or 8 that are by appointment. So if you’re saying “You can’t do that anymore,” that is a change in conditions of employment.
FA: And that’s where the uproar is coming from.
AD: And that’s why we agreed to meet and discuss those things.
FA: Can we spend just half a minute saying what we can take off this[a12] agenda? I think we’re done with Centers of Excellence, Recruitment and Retention, Search for Dean of the College of Education unless you want me to leave that on for later.
FA: Meet and Confer Notes. I am wondering if we can just jump a minute to item number 8 and wonder if we can defer any action on Spring admissions for DGS students until we can cover this in Meet and Confer.
AD: Why don’t you just take a minute and explain what your position is on that. That would maybe have an impact on our enrollment.
FA: This was a decision people began to hear about say, Friday of last week past. And when I say people, I’m talking about people who are on the DGS Advisory Committee whose purpose is to advise about the DGS program. Several years ago there was a strong recommendation from that committee that we dispense with Spring cohorts because the retention on them was much worse than the normal Fall cohort. There was lack of support services for the students, they didn’t have the same sense of community with one another, not that DGS has a huge sense, but they were even more fractured in terms sense of community with the University, there weren’t classes for them. And to have this happen without consultation with the DGS Advisory is problematic. We’re concerned about how the decision was arrived at, what sort of support there’s going to be for this cohort. It includes classes CT150, reading and writing classes – some of which are remedial. It’s the end of October. How is this going to happen with the appropriate classes and the appropriate support in this amount of time? What about Accuplacer testing for these students? I have a whole list of questions from DGS Advisory, and part of the issue is there was a recommendation several years that this not happen, and they haven’t been consulted. That is a university committee, if you’ll recall, that includes, faculty, different bargaining units, and excluded management to deal with advising this program.
AD: I didn’t know that this had been discussed years ago. I did have some conversation with some of the folks who are involved with managing the DGS program, and there is a commitment to provide the support necessary. I don’t see a huge number of students involved in this, maybe 20-40 students – but there would be support provided for those students in those courses.
FA: Would they be St. Cloud State courses and Anoka Ramsey courses?
AD: They’re generally St. Cloud State courses.
FA: So we’re placing people into DGS level on these rather than remedial level?
AD: If they were in remedial level, we would contract with Anoka-Ramsey to provide those services.
FA: You said there’s a commitment to provide support services. The people who are working in those programs are saying “We need a commitment.” There needs to be a commitment from someone above them to provide the funds…
AD: We will provide the funds.
FA: Okay. So we’re talking about a small cohort?
FA: And a cohort that is tested into DGS not just general placement?
FA: And we’re talking about sufficient classes?
FA: Okay. I guess I would recommend that, I know there are a lot of changes happening with this program, there’s the plan to move to 500 next year which faculty also are concerned about. We maybe [a13] need to keep this topic on the agenda.
FA: I’m going to hand you this series of concerns from DGS Advisory that I received via e-mail. Thank you very much for running over.
AD: Do you want me to hand this out?
AD: I think that’s a good idea.
FA: The e-mail as official communication?
FA: So you’re asking us for feedback?
FA: Is this the official one?
AD: There will be certain offices that will be authorized to send the messages. And we will have the diversity and public celebration of cultural differences sent to you on Monday.
Notetaker: Are we off the record now?
Meeting adjourned: 5:10 p.m.