Final Approved 3-2-06

Meet and Confer Notes

February 2, 2006


Admin:  Roy Saigo, Michael Spitzer, John Burgeson, Larry Chambers, Steve Ludwig, Mark Nook, Mitch Rubinstein, Rex Veeder, Margaret Vos, Anne Zemek de Dominguez, Patty Dyslin (note taker)


Faculty:  Judy Kilborn, Annette Schoenberger, Monica Devers, JoAnn Gasparino, Jayantha Herath, Steve Hornstein, Robert Johnson, Andrew Larkin, Bill Langen


Approval of Minutes:


Meet and Confer Notes of December 15, 2005 – approved

Meet and Confer Notes of January 19, 2006 – approved


Unfinished Business:


1.       Attendance Policy ( Admin) (9/08/2005)


FA:  We have a taskforce on that topic, and I’m wondering if the Committee’s begun meeting.  Do we know?


AD:  Yes. It has met.  We have made some changes in it, and it should be coming back in the next week or so.


FA:  So you’re hoping to have another meeting and then maybe bring things back?


AD:  I’m pretty sure that’s the way we’ll do it.


FA:  It’s good to hear things are moving forward on that.


2.       Taskforces on Diversity (a.k.a. Motion from Teacher Development) (FA) (9/22/05)


FA:  In terms of the taskforces on diversity, we’ve got two.  Is there anything new on those?


AD:  Yes.  The College of Education Taskforce this meeting is Friday.  The Committee has met and sent forth a proposal to Provost Spitzer, who has accepted the proposal, so we are arranging a meeting of the whole taskforce as soon as possible.


FA:  On diversity education?


AD:  Yes.


FA:  Okay.  Good. 


3.       Grade Appeal Policy Guidelines (FA) (10/06/2005)


FA:  The grade appeal policy will come before the Senate this next time, and then we should be able to bring it back to Meet and Confer the next time.


AD:  Can we just spend a minute on this?


FA:  Yes.


AD:  The changes to it were relatively insignificant.


FA:  Right.


AD:  It’s been quite a while.  I just want to get that out to students when they have issues – that they have a version of that policy that they can follow.  The only thing we added to it was the statement that the different folks involved had to maintain confidentiality.


FA:  There were some other minor changes, and the Senate felt as if it were appropriate to refer it back to the committee that initiated it, and they were asked to bring it back in February, and so that’s what I’m assuming will happen.  It still should be early enough to get things in motion.


FA:  We have a current policy.


AD:  Yes, I know.  There are safeguards for students that are not in the old one.


FA:  It’s not a policy.  It’s an addendum to the current policy.


AD:  It’s procedures for how that policy should be implemented.


FA:  Right.  So it’s not a new policy.  It’s like a layer on top of it, and I think there were some fairly significant changes, and we didn’t get it back until half way through the term.  To get it on to the Senate agenda, and then to get Senate to have it, and then if it gets referred to a Committee, you can’t expect them to work on it over break.  That’s where I think the slowdown was.  It was too late in the semester to actually get a fast response. 


FA:  Actually, that committee worked very hard on that policy and very strongly supported the students in bringing forward that advocacy model.  I do think we owe it to the committee who initiated it to let them review the changes before approving it.  So that’s where we are.


4.       Template on Teaching Schedule/Office Hours (FA) (10/20/2005)


FA:  We do have a taskforce on that, and I’m wondering where we are with that taskforce?


AD:  A meeting has not been scheduled?


FA:  Who was supposed to convene it?


AD:  Roland.  I got a request for when I was available, but there has been no meeting scheduled.



5.       DGS and University College (FA) (10/20/2005) and (Admin) (11/17/2005)


FA:  I sent forward the names of Faculty Association representation for those committees.  Related though to that whole idea of DGS and University College, we’ve received a request from the DGS Advisory Committee who would like to be able to review and make recommendations concerning the DGS Director position before the position is advertised.


AD:  I think that’s appropriate.


FA:  How soon can we have it?


AD:  As soon as it has been finalized.  The position has been approved and money allocated, but we have several other positions in Undergraduate Studies that are being worked on as well.


FA:  We’re wondering if you could forward it to DGS Advisory and us at the same time.


AD:  I don’t see a problem with that.


6.       Applied Doctorate (Admin) (11/17/2005)


FA:  We began talking about that at the Senate meeting last week, and we will be continuing our discussion at the next Senate meeting.  Hopefully we can bring forward some concrete recommendations.


AD:  This was the request to consider some of the ramifications to the University in offering Applied Doctorate degrees.


FA:  Right.  Actually, I’ll bring forward that piece from the Meet and Confer notes from December now that I have them so that they’ll have a really concrete idea of what we’re interested in talking about.


AD:  There might be one degree program that was not mentioned in those notes, so I’ll get that name to you so it can be incorporated in your discussion.


FA:  Okay.


FA:  Are degree proposals coming forward?


AD:  There are drafts of proposals that have been submitted, and in two cases, there are plans to submit proposals.  Those are in Higher Education Administration and in Educational Administration and Leadership and the last one would be in Audiology.


FA:  Anything else in relation to this item?  So we’ll bring back more conversation next time.


7.       Counseling Center (FA) (12/15/2005)


FA:  We’re wondering if you have a response to the message that was forwarded to us regarding a suggestion from another unit.  We’re wondering what is the Administration’s position is on the request.


AD:  What we would like to do is to look at updating that position description, and then once we have the position description, determine where the position fits best in terms of its unit designation.


FA:  How long will that be?


AD:  We should be able to have it by our next meeting.


(Faculty Association left the room to caucus)


FA:  In updating the position description, will the bargaining unit be proposed?


AD:  I think we’ll have an opportunity to provide that feedback.


FA:  Then the documentation that has been provided will be taken into account when preparing the job description?  We’re looking at the contract on this.  In thirty days, this is supposed to be resolved.  Are you looking for an extension of that thirty-day time frame?


AD:  Where does the thirty days come in?


FA:  The contract says that disputes are supposed to be resolved in thirty days.


AD:  Right, but we don’t have a dispute because we don’t have a job description.


FA:  There is a job description…


AD:  Right.  But when a position becomes vacant, we have an opportunity to review it, to consider the parameters of the position, and decide if that’s the way we want it to stay or if we want it to change.  So we haven’t done anything yet.  We’ve been waiting to see the input first, from the Counseling Center and from MSUAASF, and now we want to evaluate the position.  Then if we say it’s in one place and you think it belongs somewhere else, then we have a dispute. 


FA:  So I guess we wait to find out what you have to say next time and whether or not it’s something we agree to.


AD:  Right.


FA:  We may choose to disagree about when that dispute started.


AD:  That’s okay.


8.       Upper Division Writing Requirement (Admin) (01/19/2006)


FA:  It seems that there are two pieces of it.  We decided at last Meet and Confer that Mitch would meet with UCC to start figuring out a process for program approval, writing requirement approval.  Then there’s the assessment piece.  I don’t know if you have anything you want to talk about at this point or just that it’s simply in the process that you’re discussing.


AD:  It’s in process.  I will be meeting with UCC.  I’ve had the opportunity to talk with members of the Upper Division Writing Requirement part of the Committee.  Neal Voelz, Judy Winters and Terry Sheehan joined us.  We went over where things stood, raised some academic questions pertaining to the requirement, and we’ll have further discussion at the meeting next Thursday.


FA:  I guess one concern that we have is that in figuring out this assessment piece, we’re hoping to come up with something that will be fairly streamlined.  That committee met last year, finished meeting last year, and their report indicated that they we’re done with their work.  I do know that Neal has indicated to me that he has talked with all the members, and they would be willing to reinstate that committee, but if we did that, we would want to make sure that they had a clear charge.  Right now we would have assessment, they would be reporting to assessment.  Programs would need to do the assessment, and I think we’re trying to avoid some sort of complicated process that involves departments reporting to twelve different places.  I don’t think we need to decide anything today, but that’s one of our concerns.  We did see…


AD:  Wasn’t the assessment of the Upper Division Writing Requirement part of the program assessment?


FA:  That’s the way we’re reading it too.  So if this committee, what would its role be?  We could see possibly one role being to help ensure – okay, UCC might approve the Upper Division Writing Requirement, and the committee’s charge might be to help ensure that that requirement is being assessed within the program.  We’re not sure there is a role is this point, and I guess we’re suggesting that we look for a smooth process.  We really do believe that it belongs within the department or the program.


AD:  What I would suggest is that the Upper Division Writing Assessment Committee could simply certify that the mechanism for assessment is a valid one, and the program could go ahead and do the assessment.


FA:  Do we want to have them ascertain that there substantive components to the Upper Division Writing Requirement because to say whether it’s a valid mechanism is to make judgments about what – it varies – the idea is to have an approach – Approach A vs. Approach B.


AD:  Nobody said Approach A vs. Approach B.  There are multiple approaches that would be valid.  We want to make sure that the Upper Division Writing Requirement is being assessed and that we would be able to defend that as an assessment that’s legitimate.


FA:  Don’t the college assessment committees do this?  Isn’t that part of what the college assessment committees do for the program?  It seems to me that if the Upper Division Writing Requirement is part of a program, that the college assessment committee would be the place to do that.


FA:  In fact, I believe the people on the Upper Division Writing Requirement Committee are assessment directors of colleges.  I think that’s how it was comprised.  I think we’re really in the same place here, it’s just a matter of…


FA:  I can’t see what this group would do, and I think some of us are at that place where we can’t see how what they would do isn’t already part of what the college assessment committees have to do or how it’s different from that.  But there are others of us who do see that and somehow…


AD:  I don’t see this as a long-standing process.  I think once the requirements are reviewed as being appropriate, then after that, the committee would not be needed, and then it would fall under the purview of the college assessment committee.


FA:  Is it your sense that all of the requirements have been spelled out?  Because in the Senate it was proposed that departments establish three to five additional requirements or criteria.  Is it your sense that that notion has been firmly established now?


AD:  Let me respond to that question.  First, what we need to do is determine how many programs have writing requirements in place.  We need to determine which ones we have and which ones might be missing and then go back and determine which ones have submitted the requirements, where there might be some questions requiring clarification and clarify those and then obtain the requirements for programs that have not submitted them.  We would then proceed with any outstanding questions.


FA:  Who would do that review?


AD:  I suspect we will be working with the committee?


FA:  I guess what we’re asking are two things.  Number one, that the process be as streamlined as possible and that the programs have as much control over that as they can; and secondly, if in fact we reinstate the Upper Division Writing Requirement Committee, that they have a really specific charge so that everybody understands what it’s supposed to be doing. I think that’s one reason why we are where we are now, because we had kind of an odd process trying to work this out.  I’m assuming this won’t all come together for a little while, but when it does, that would be good.


FA:  Have there been any questions about which programs should be submitting these requirements?


AD:  We’re in the process of establishing which programs have their plans and which don’t.  We have a list of departments, and the first thing we need to establish are which are complete and which are not, and then in some cases there might be several programs within the department, and we need to make sure all those are covered as well.


FA:  What about minors and inter-disciplinary programs that cross several departments.  There are questions out there about that.


AD:  We don’t need upper division writing requirements for minors.  We need them for majors.  If there is an inter-disciplinary program, then from that program, we need to have an upper division writing requirement.


9.       Report on Searches (added by FA)


FA:  We’re just wondering about the status of some major searches going forward.


AD:  So far as I know, they’re all moving forward.  There are five administrative searches, and they’re all in progress – various stages of progress.  We had the search consultants for the College of Business on campus this week.  They met with the search committee and a number of other individuals.  We’ve had the other search firms on campus in the not too distant past and met with members of the search committees.  Search committees have been meeting, and we’re moving forward.


FA:  The College of Social Science committee met the other day.


AD:  It’s met twice.


FA:  Any questions?


AD:  The SLD Search Committee has met a couple times .


AD:  The Affirmative Action Search Committee is meeting regularly.  We have 4 or 5 candidates who are coming to  campus the week of February 13th.


AD:  13th, 14th, 15th and 17th.


FA:  Will those visits be announced?


AD:  Yes.


FA:  The earlier the better.  As soon as you get the schedule’s finalized.


AD:  It will probably be tomorrow.


FA:  Okay.  Thank you very much.



New Business


1.       Status of Senate Recommendations Regarding Strategic Planning (FA) (02/02/2006)


FA:  There were two recommendations:  one regarding approval of the revised academic distinction indicators which were much more concrete than the earlier version; and revised Strategic Planning membership and terms of service.  We wanted to have terms rather than have people sit on that committee forever.  What people were wondering regarding the status of that is, if that is approved, we need to call for new members and select a faculty co-chair.  Do you know anything yet?


AD:  No.  Have we received a request from you?


FA:  After the last Meet and Confer when I heard that I went back and sent a second request; a second copy of the Senate action.  It also came forward from Lisa Foss.  It came from both directions at the same time.  I remember we had this conversation, and I went back and sent a second copy of the motion.  I’m not sure what else to do.


FA:  Who opens your mail?  You might want to check with them.


FA:  I know that Lisa said she was sending it up to Administration at the same time that we sent it to Senate.


AD:  I don’t remember seeing it.


FA:  So how should we handle it?


AD:  We’ll get back to you.


FA:  Okay.  Thank you.  We’d appreciate action on that for obvious reasons. 


2.       Senate Motions Regarding Curriculum Forms and Academic Affairs Information (FA) 02/02/2006)


FA:  We’ve sent over some motions regarding curriculum forms for the curriculum process.  The UCC redid the forms primarily to clean up the format.  They did not make changes regarding General Education or Doctorates.  They believe that those changes should be made as those processes move forward.  So those forms, from our perspective, are usable at this point, and we could go forward and start moving to those forms as of the date, which I believe was June 1st or something like that.  They want us to get rid of the old forms.  We have two related motions regarding curriculum forms.  Senate would really like to have those forms available for downloading from a university web site.  Right now they’re in Bill Branson’s web site, and we would like an official place where people can go and download those forms.  The second motion that Faculty Senate passed was that they are urging Academic Affairs to establish a web page that would contain the pertinent information regarding academic functions so that faculty could access that information more readily.


AD:  We’re working on that, and we should have one soon.


FA:  Okay.  I should probably say one more thing about the forms.  We would like them to be forms that are usable so that they don’t have to be printed and then typed on so that they could either be forms that are actually Microsoft Word forms or they could be forms where people could insert the information on the Web.


FA:  No.  That’s more complicated.


FA:  The point is, they want them to be usable.  It is more complicated, but it’s possible.


FA:  There is a desire to move toward Web forms, but that will take longer.  In the meantime, we need to move forward with the Word forms.


FA:  The problem with PDF forms is that you have to put them in the typewriter, and who’s got one of those anymore? 


AD:  If we put the forms as a template in Word format, people can enter text in it and then print it out and send it or e-mail it.


FA:  That would be desirable.  Anything else regarding that?


3.       General Education Mission (FA) (02/02/2006)


FA:  Actually, that’s one we can take off.  The General Education mission statement was approved by Senate, and if you don’t have a print copy of it, here’s a print copy of it.  I’ve also printed the process they went through in arriving at that.  They’re right on schedule with what they had hoped to achieve in terms of the academic distinction indicators.


AD:  We’re very grateful to the General Education Committee for all of their hard work.


FA:  This represents their very hard work on a very short statement that is not necessarily easy to do.


4.       Academic Freedom Committee Report Recommendations (FA) (02/02/2006)


FA:  Do you have copies of those?


AD:  Yes.


FA:  As you can see, the Committee is really recommending three things.  First of all that we endorse the 1940 statement on academic freedom and tenure that is available from the AAUP web site; that we endorse and support the fundamental principles of academic freedom reflected in that statement; and that we jointly undertake a review of academic freedom principles and processes with the intent of developing recommendations.  I think in order to do that, we need some sort of joint body, deliberative body, to take on that specific task.  How would you like to proceed with that?


AD:  I think we should establish a taskforce to address those issues.


FA:  Are we thinking our regular make-up in terms of faculty with representation from the various colleges? 


FA:  Who is the original group?


FA:  The original group is primarily faculty, and then Provost Spitzer sat on it.  Could that group make a recommendation about taskforce make-up?


FA:  Did they talk about that?


AD:  No.  We didn’t address that.  I think there should be a couple of faculty members and a few administrators to try and develop something together that would then come back to this group for review.


FA:  How about if we ask the original group if they are willing, and if they are not willing, then we would try to replace the people.


AD:  Fine.


FA:  We could take this back to the Faculty Senate and have them put forth some names.


FA:  So we will take this to our Senate, and you will take this to yours?


AD:  Okay.  Since we’re on this topic, I would, parenthetically, like to mention that there’s an interesting document produced by AAC&U, the American Association of Colleges and Universities, that deals with this issue that was released, I think, this month.  It was released in January.  I think it would be useful for people to read it.  It deals with…


AD:  It’s on the AAC&U web site.


AD:  Rex, why don’t you e-mail it to Judy.


AD:  Okay.


FA:  Okay.  That would be useful.


5.       Conflict Avoidance Scheduling Policy (FA) (02/02/2006)


FA:  A group of faculty proposed to Senate that we adopt this policy, which we did.  It essentially asks that groups of students that represent the university on an on-going basis, have regularly scheduled rehearsals or practice time, sometimes involving travel, be allowed to register a day ahead of time.  You have a copy of this policy and we look forward to your response to it.


AD:  One of the things that we would like to do before responding formally is to give our student groups an opportunity to look at this and get some feedback from them as well.


FA:  We certainly encourage your response to this.


FA:  One of the other things that was part of the discussion at Senate had to do with how to get your name on the list.  If you have an organization and you think your students should be part of the list, or someone thinks an organization should be removed…


AD:  There are specific groups identified, right?


FA:  Here they’re identified, but if you wanted to identify an additional group, how would that occur?  I think you should send that question back to Academic Affairs Committee to look at that and see how they thought that might work.


FA:  For example, this was proposed by someone who is involved with these groups who went and talked to other people who also work with student groups.  But at Senate, another group was mentioned, and we added that because they seem to meet the criteria.  Now if you have another group that meets the criteria, are they excluded from this, or is there some process…


AD:  I would think they could be added using the same process by which this original document got produced.  It would come through that committee, to the Senate and to us.


FA:  This did not come through a committee.


AD:  However it came. 


FA:  We are asking Academic Affairs to make some kind of a recommendation for how we’ll do this so if it comes up, we’ll know what to do.


FA:  I look forward to hearing what students have to say about this.


6.       Proposal for Service Learning Advisory Committee (FA) (02/02/2006)


FA:  This proposal was brought to us by Christopher Bineman.  He’s the Service Learning Coordinator, and he is asking for a joint committee to serve as an advisory group for service learning, so we’re bringing that forward as being supported by Senate.


AD:  We agree to support that.


FA:  So we can actually go ahead and get representation for that.


AD:  Yes.  I would mention too that we have a request to establish service learning grants for faculty who develop service learning courses and that would be funded by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, the colleges, and my office, so you’ll be hearing about those shortly.


FA:  Will those be starting this semester?


AD:  I think the requests will come out this semester, and I guess the work would start in the fall, possibly in the summer.


FA:  So that item is done as well.


7.       President Saigo’s Student Feedback System (FA) (02/02/2006)


FA:  This item is a request for information about President Saigo’s student feedback system.  We’ve had a lot of questions about how that works and how it relates to our regular processes.


FA:  We’ve got some concerns about the feedback system and as Judy just mentioned, we’ve been fielding a number of concerns that have come to us through the faculty.  Here is a taste of some of the things that worry us.  We already have an array of existing policies and processes that are official mechanisms that came through Meet and Confer.  No one can be sure, but many of us suspect, that many of the comments that you’re going to be getting through this portal will be in the nature of complaints.  Those complaints already have officially existing mechanisms to handle them – in many instances.  What compounds the problem is:  what is that one of the policies we’ve confirmed at Meet and Confer is that the university e-mail system is the official mode of communication on this campus.  So now, we have the original complaint delivered through an official mode of communication.  The response is an official communication.  However, that delivery of the complaint and the response to it are outside of the already existing mechanisms that we have to field a full array of complaints.  It looks to us like a system that is airtight in its likelihood in producing conflict.


AD:  E-mail as an official mode of communication is uni-directional in the sense that it’s an official means of communicating official information to students.  That’s what that piece is about.  I think that the President has a right to solicit comments from the students, and if they are complaints, the students would be directed to follow the appropriate and official channels for having those complaints get addressed.


FA:  Okay.  So …


FA:  We already know of an instance where that has not occurred.  The student complained about a curriculum in a department.  The department received an e-mail from an administrator saying, “Here’s this complaint.  Would your department please deal with it?”  That is not the way student complaints are dealt with.  We already know that that’s not happening – that the students are not being told, “Go to the department, go to your advisor, and ask them about this question.”  That’s not what’s occurring.  We already know that.  If you would like that to happen, then whoever the administrator is who is dealing with these needs to be directed to do that.  But that’s not occurring.  We already know that.


FA:  So what you’re saying is that you’d like things to be referred to the regular processes.


FA:  I would like that web site shut down.  What I’m saying is:  we already know that students who make complaints are not being referred to the proper channels.  They are being given the impression that if they send a complaint to the President, it will be taken care of.  That’s not how things are set up.


FA:  I would like to go back to one thing before I lose this thread and that’s the response to e-mail as an official means of communication.  I think we need to keep in mind that it’s students who are using this and they’re probably going to assume, President Saigo, that you’re the one who is viewing the e-mail and that you’re the one who going to respond to it.  They’re going to see that as really official.  They’ve been told that e-mail is an official communication.  They’re going to feel that it’s multi-directional when they write to a faculty member or write to a web site.  Part of it is the perception that the students are going to bring into it – that it is an official medium, that it is going to be an official response from the university, and that’s somewhat troubling.


FA:  Even if you see, even if you don’t see the high potential of conflict that could arise, or union/administrative problems, even if you don’t see that, perhaps you could at least share our worry that this new mechanism could easily function to undercut and discredit already existing mechanisms.  That’s a worry to us.  A student sends in a complaint, the student feels that they’ve been brushed off, and it doesn’t make a distinction between a process that very well might have produced a different result if it would have been handled in a regular way, they would have been aware from the onset of what the rules were and what they could anticipate.  This is a matter of real concern.


FA:  To speak for myself, I would feel better if there was a response directing the student to the appropriate channel.  There needs to be some boilerplate language that immediately refers the student to the proper process.  It will also be educational in that it will teach our students to use appropriate, democratically designed processes instead of thinking that the way to get something done is to go complain to “dad.”  


AD:  I think one of the issues here, and I can see your concerns, is that at some point, together, we can decide on how to do that.  I will ask Lisa Foss to come to the next Meet and Confer to answer your questions and to address your concerns on this matter.


8.       Request for Enrollment, Retention, and Recruitment Data (FA) (02/02/2006)


FA:  One more thing, we would like to the see the data regarding sabbaticals for the past 5 years.


AD:  What information are you looking for?  The process is that the committee gives me a list with their recommendations and I make my decisions from that list.


FA:  We’re looking for a copy of the initial list that comes out of your office to see how many applications there were. 


AD:  We’ll get that information for you. 


FA:  My sense is that the two lists are the same and that the rank orders are… well, I don’t know…


AD:  I’ll look at it, and I’ll get you that data. 


(The Provost then distributed the enrollment, retention and recruitment data and explained the data to the group)


There being no further business to come before the meeting, it was adjourned at 4:35 p.m..


Respectfully submitted,


Patty Dyslin