Meet and Confer Notes
Thursday, January 17, 2008
Administration: President Potter, Provost Spitzer, Steve Ludwig, Kristi Tornquist, Rex Veeder, Larry Chambers, Avelino Mills-Novoa, Kate Steffens, Mitchell Rubinstein, Wanda Overland
Faculty: Judy Kilborn, John Palmer, Balsy Kasi, JoAnn Gasparino, Bill Hudson, David Warne, Michael Connaughton, Frances Kayona, Fred Hill, Robert Johnson, Michael Tripp
Minutes of December 13, 2007 – Approved.
FA: We will begin with new business item #5. We’re also going to delay new business item #6 because Patty Aceves can’t be here today.
NB5: Request for one faculty for the search for the new MSUAASF position at the MN Highway Safety & Resource Center (MHSRC) – Position title: Director of Training (Emergency Vehicle Operators Course Instructor) (AD – 12/13/2007)
AD: Well I think the item is pretty clear. It’s a request to provide a faculty member to serve on that search committee.
FA: Okay. We’re missing Robert who is actually supposed to speak to this item. Let me just check….
AD: While we’re waiting, welcome back for the Spring Semester everyone. It’s good to see you all again.
FA: I want truth in advertising. How in the world do you call this Spring? (laughter)
FA: Can we perhaps go to item 2 under unfinished business and make a little sidetrack while we wait for Robert to come in? Item 2 consists of some fairly fast follow-up items.
FA: Thank you for putting up with this moving things around.
a) Return to Title Four (AD – 8/30/2007)
FA: That has to do with the grading policy.
FA: My understanding is that we have some language from Mitch. Mitch, do you want to speak to this?
AD: There were some questions arising regarding the “SU” grades and their use and definitions. The Academic Affairs Committee is looking at this. I met with the chair of the Academic Affairs Committee the other day and we identified three distinct issues. I suggested some language that would address one of them and probably indirectly address the second one, at least that was my observation, and suggested that the third issue be subject to a separate review and exploration. That’s the way things stand now. I think that Patty will be taking that language back to the committee and I’ll see what the committee thinks. We’re anticipating a decision regarding that.
FA: That committee should meet before our next Senate meeting so we should be able to bring a response back next time that includes fixes for the issues that we addressed earlier. We’d like to keep this on this agenda.
b) Report on Budget (AD – 10/18/2007)
FA: We have received all but one of the pieces of information that we have requested and we have received part of that piece of information. We thank Diana for providing a quarterly report very promptly. Diana and I have still not had the meeting to come up with a common presentational format that on one page would show the financial status of the institution. I don’t doubt that when we meet, Diana and I can quickly come to agreement on that and in the future, we’ll have that snapshot of our financial status that will be as timely as the information that came out on for this quarter.
AD: Just a couple things. I want to mention that the academic budget subcommittee for the academic planning process; I’m very pleased at how that’s going along and how we’re developing kind of a work plan to go through that. It’s going to be very helpful. I was a bit apprehensive about that, but I think it’s coming along very well. John and Diana and I met early to kind of form a shape for that and I’m pleased with that. Also, we’re working through the budget for ’09 and we’ll begin to talk about the shape of that with the Budget Advisory group on Tuesday. I was in a conference call this morning with MnSCU that helped us get some of the pieces more closely aligned so that we can make a sort of rational approach to where we’re going to go. I’m encouraged by that. Frankly, the enrollment that we’re able to achieve for this year and the projection for next year is what’s going to help us make this a fairly straight forward process. I just wanted to offer that.
FA: Are we leaving this on the agenda?
FA: I think it’s an on-going…
FA: I’m wondering…
AD: Certainly, there will be discussion next time.
FA: I’m wondering if we should put the budget as a progress report. Would you be agreeable to that.
AD: Yes. Certainly.
FA: We’ll move it down to item #4 under our progress reports.
c) Diversity Plan (AD – 11/01/2007)
AD: That’s still on my desk. My thinking in the way of approaching that is changing as we have gone through the events of the last couple of months and my work with the ad hoc committee and a couple of other things. I’ll be ready to get that back on the table here in another couple of weeks.
FA: I’m assuming that you’ve been communicating with people who were on the previous diversity group so that they know they’ll be included still.
FA: Thank you very much.
NB5: Request for one faculty for the search for the new MSUAASF position at the MN Highway Safety & Resource Center (MHSRC) – Position title: Director of Training (Emergency Vehicle Operators Course Instructor) (AD – 12/13/2007)
FA: I’m not sure what happened to Robert.
FA: Judy, I can go ahead and address this issue.
FA: Okay, we’ll just go ahead then.
FA: It’s really a pretty straight forward and simple matter. We believe this is a conversion of an IFO position and we have seen no evidence of consultation with the unit. I talked to a member of the unit who says they don’t meet. If they don’t meet, they couldn’t have discussed the conversion of an IFO position to a MSUAASF position. We think it needs to go back to the unit for discussion. We do believe it is an IFO position and it would come forward as an IFO search.
FA: We do know that the person who is currently in the position is retiring.
AD: He is retiring. Dave is non-tenure track, NTT. According to the contract as I read it, it said no additional non-tenure track appointments shall be made. I looked at the MSUAASF agreement and it says non-credit training is for MSUAASF. I believe I’m following the two contracts. There is no credit product there. He’s NTT. I believe I’m following the contracts.
FA: NTTs are still covered by the IFO bargaining agreement.
FA: If there’s a conversion, consultation does need to take place.
AD: I’ll take it back to the unit.
AD: Let me just be clear. This is a position that is totally self-supported, totally on soft money and teaches non-credit.
AD: I’m certainly willing to do what’s good for the order, but it doesn’t sound like a faculty position to me. Is there any way we could short-circuit this when you look at the parameters of the position that it is non-credit, soft money, totally self-supported, no research – it’s a training position.
FA: There was an agreement reached between MSUAASF and the IFO at the state level which categorized positions. You made need to look at that agreement which identifies the nature of positions within each bargaining unit. I think there needs to be some discussion in the unit. If there is to be a transition or conversion of a position from one unit to another, then there may be a process that needs to be consulted.
AD: Was there a review of the position in that context, at all?
AD: Not in that context.
FA: That’s what we’re asking take place. There is a document that does distinguish between the characteristics of IFO and MSUAASF positions and we’re asking that a conversation over that conversion take place.
FA: There are positions within the IFO that do not fit the prototypical faculty profile. They may involve non-credit activity and the like. Not all positions in the IFO are tenured-track faculty lines.
FA: If the position converts on the merits of this agreement and that process, that’s one thing. But the assumption that that’s not a permanent faculty line because contract classes changed in past contracts is a little bothersome to me. NTT positions are considered permanent, full-time faculty. Just because that particular person is no longer doing that under the auspices of that NTT contract, I don’t believe that means you can say it’s not a permanent position and we’re just not going to hire it as a faculty position. That, to me, is an assumption that should not be a part of this conversation.
FA: I’m assuming you’ll go back and start that process? Do we leave this on the agenda or do we pull it back in when it’s appropriate?
AD: John said he would go through that process.
FA: In terms of the Meet and Confer status of that item, where are we? Do we want to bring it back if it’s appropriate and pull it off for now?
AD: I have no problem with re-evaluating the position. I think some members of the driving range were included in the development of the MSUAASF position. I didn’t think of this as a conversion. Maybe that’s naïve on my part.
FA: We just want to be sure that process is followed. Do we pull that off until it needs to come back? What’s your preference on that?
AD: You can take it off and then bring it back.
AD: Can you get that done in the next month?
AD: Yes. I believe I can.
AD: Why don’t you leave it on the agenda.
FA: I’ll move it to unfinished business for next month.
AD: Do you have a date?
AD: Two weeks.
AD: Two weeks from today?
AD: No, four weeks. We can bring in back the meeting after next.
UB1: Announce, Discuss and Bulletin Boards (FA – 09/07/2006) Policy for e-mail as a means of communication for employees
FA: I’ve had a conversation with Pat Arsenault and we’ve also got a recommendation. I’m going to begin with the recommendation. It seems to me that our motion that we acknowledge that management has the right to communicate with us officially through e-mail, except for personnel matters, is an acknowledgement that we see that this is in your purview. It seems to me that we could solve the major problem, short-term, very quickly, by simply doing one thing. That is, we’re requesting that certain administrative offices that communicate with faculty frequently be given distribution lists for faculty. This would include initially, the President’s office, the Provost’s office, Campus Safety and Security, and Human Resources. We’re concerned that with as low a percentage of readers that are on Announce now, that faculty are not getting information that they need. We think that having these offices have the ability to distribute to faculty about important issues for faculty, would be a very simple, short-term, quick fix for some of our grumbles. Then people could get off of “announce” and be assured that they wouldn’t miss important announcements. That’s item one. That really doesn’t address your request for the policy, but it would give us more time to deal with the policy if you feel we need to proceed with that. Pat Arsenault, our Director of Labor Relations, had some of the same concerns that we did. She acknowledged the employer’s right to communicate through whatever forms were available and for having an expectation that these sorts of things would be read. She was concerned about the broadness of that language “agreed, receive and act” as being so general as the time-frame isn’t really understandable, isn’t really workable. She was concerned that although the policy does talk about and acknowledge problems with access that might happen with system down time, it doesn’t acknowledge problems that could happen on the reader’s end. Some people may not have access to computers. We know, for example, that a lot of adjunct faculty and fixed-term faculty don’t have computers. We all know that systems shut down, hard drives fry, and so on, so the policy doesn’t address problems that may come on the reader’s end. It mentions reading on duty days. That was a little bit troubling to her because we’re not always at our computers necessarily on duty days. We may have a duty day and be off at a conference at a place that has no access to the Internet or no wireless connectivity, for example. We may be doing other things. There is that concern about access and down time that may not be system-driven down time. She also thought that the reading, receiving and acting upon e-mail was tied in, in some cases, with an inappropriate distributor. There’s that list of people who are official senders at the end, some of which really don’t have any connections with faculty. For example, if you have employees supposed to be reading lists from Residential Life, that seems like an inappropriate tie-in to what faculty and employees need to read. She also found, as we did, that list of “approved senders” in the appendix of the e-mail policy problematic because it should have more centrality. Those are just some of the things she noted. The bottom-line for us is, we are acknowledging your right to communicate with us through e-mail. We would like to have the problem e-mail taken care of pretty directly so that we can get the important messages we need to get as faculty through a distribution list that administrative offices have a right to have. Am I forgetting anything? That’s where we are right now. What do you think?
AD: I noted one unit not present. We usually send out notices of closure of cancellation of classes through University Communications, so my only comment is that I would like to see University Communications included on the list. Our habit is to us them to distribute this information. They notify the television stations and radio stations. It’s their job to get the word out in emergency situations.
FA: They also coordinate getting it on voice mail?
AD: Yes. They work through voice mail and the web site.
AD: I’ll give you an update of where we are with the broadcast e-mail. That is in place for all employees. We’re not looking at this as just as a faculty only list. Two office have been activated to use it. They each have to go through and get a password and a departmental code. It doesn’t take very long. The President’s Office and Public Safety have already been activated to do that and we were charged with looking at those other groups. They haven’t put forward who they want their people to be yet.
FA: Part of the issue, it seems to me, for faculty, and I’m just speaking for myself here, is that messages on Announce may go to everybody when only a portion of those people might be interested in it. For example, there are announcements by other bargaining units which are really important to those bargaining units but not very important for faculty.
AD: We have the capacity to set up all of those sub lists. We are able to work with any office that wants to have that happen. They can create sub lists within sub lists. All of that is very possible, but we need to know from the offices which sub lists they want.
FA: We’re requesting that faculty distribution lists be given to these particular offices and certainly, we’d be willing to entertain discussion about other offices.
AD: I’ve heard you say that you would like Academic Affairs, President’s Office, Public Safety and Human Resources.
FA: President, Provost, Public Safety and Human Resources would be sufficient for us.
AD: We can do that…
FA: We know such things are possible. We have our own lists that have been produced by somebody who works a maximum of 20 hours a week. When might this happen?
AD: I can have somebody working on this tomorrow and certainly within a week. The issue then is training the office to know what to do. That’s always the next step. I can do the technical. That’s simple. The offices putting it into practice is another.
FA: We’re talking distribution lists, right?
FA: We’re not really talking heavy duty training.
AD: That would be my reaction too.
FA: So if I press a button to send to all faculty, will e-mail go to all faculty?
AD: You won’t, but the offices named will be able to do so.
FA: We would very much appreciate having this happen. Is there anything else?
AD: I was only speaking about the technical part. I don’t know if Michael wants to say anything about it…
AD: What I’m hearing you say on the one hand, is that you have no problem, or that you prefer that these particular offices have this capacity. Then simultaneously you’re saying that you understand that the university can send e-mail to folks.
FA: We said that a long time ago through a Senate motion.
AD: I know. It seems to me that University Communications would have that same capacity in the context of the first part of what you said and yet you’re not including them in the second part.
FA: What is the second part of what I said? I’ve lost track.
AD: The President, Provost, Public Safety and Human Resources were the offices you said should have that capacity.
FA: Our concern is that the information that gets broadcast to all of the faculty, be information that is specific and sensitive to the work that they do – and relevant. If this control, as it were, were more widely practiced, we can end up having things that are not relevant, things that get in the way; we’ll just create Announce all over again. We don’t think we want to do that.
AD: We don’t want to do that either.
FA: We want to be very careful when going down the path, to make absolutely sure that when a message needs to be sent and received by a faculty member, it gets to that faculty member. I know, for example, I’ve unsubscribed to Announce, but today I got a message from LR&TS. I’m not on Announce. Somehow, there must be a distribution list that went out to me, that talked about the bulletin board and some other title. I didn’t ask to receive that. Somebody makes that judgment that that piece of information had to be treated in a way different than putting on the Announce. What were suggesting is that happen through those offices. I am a little nervous about University Communications. I think you’re absolutely right, Steve, that for the purposes of closing, that just makes tremendous sense. But I can see where there could be some erosion, some leakage of control of the messages, for good intention, from University Communications. It sounds to me like we’re making progress in providing those that need these lists with access to these lists and we’ll get to a point where we’ll all have confidence that when an important message needs to be gotten out, it is seen by those who need to see it.
FA: That idea of having confidence that people are going to get the information that they need is what we don’t have now. We don’t have the confidence that people are going to see things that are important.
AD: Let’s move on.
FA: What about this item? You’ve agreed to the listserve. What about the policy? Are we going to send it back for revision based on our concerns? Are we going to just say that we have MnSCU rules that govern this and these are sufficient? Are we going to say that the Senate motion that was made a long time ago made a lot of sense? What are we going to say about that policy?
AD: Let us look at the suggestions that you made and see if perhaps tweaking that a little bit will make a difference. In the interim, we have the other process in place.
FA: That makes a lot of sense to me. Thank you. Will we come back to this item when we’re ready and temporarily take it off?
UB4: Early Notification System (FA – 10/18/2007)
FA: We had a bunch of questions that we gave you.
AD: I sent…
FA: We got a document. We got it right before pre-Meet and Confer so we haven’t read the document. We understand that the document has a lot of information that answers our questions.
AD: Avelino, do you want to speak to it?
AD: The following were the questions that were part of the minutes. The first was, what was the effect of the system on student performance? At this point, we’ve run this system one semester, in Spring 2006, and it was run again this past fall. We haven’t had an ongoing, systematic process that really tests these things so we don’t know what the effect is. The purpose of the system is to reduce attrition. It’s difficult to assess this because we haven’t had the system in place, and even so, the reality is that while it’s an instrument that’s been shown to have a positive impact on other institutions, in and by itself, it’s not a solitary intervention; it’s part of a group of interventions that need to be in place. At this point we don’t know if it’s had any effect in reducing attrition because we haven’t run it for a long enough period of time to determine that. What I’ve given you is a preliminary report. I’m in the process of collecting student achievement data from the students who received notification in the fall – especially those students who received a notice that their grade was below a “C.” I’ll be following up to see what their grade was at the end of the semester. We also sent a questionnaire out to advisors, instructors and students in December asking them what happens as a result of receiving this information. We have received some responses back. It was a pretty low response, but it was sent out in mid December. We would like to be able to do that again, to run the system, ask for responses, and follow-up. Another question was whether or not the system was able to identify students at risk through the system itself. The answer to that is no. The system is intended for faculty and instructors to provide student feedback. In discussing this with faculty early in the fall semester, one of the suggestions was to have students who are on academic probation flagged on the system – who were at risk already. There were some differences of opinion on that. Some faculty thought that was a great idea while others thought that information might prejudice their perception of the student. The idea that was raised was that if those students could be identified on the Early Notification System, that notification could also go to Tom Andrus who works with students who are on probation and suspension so he can stay in touch with these students. There was a second instrument that was talked about. The next question concerned whether the system can identify students who are having difficulty in more than one course. The system can’t do that, but the advisor who receives the report will have, on one report, the multiple courses and work with the student to set goals and priorities. The next question concerned the interventions for students who have been identified by the system. The first one is to make sure the student is aware of their academic performance for that semester. Second is to encourage students to contact the instructor or advisor and seek help from the various support centers on campus. Thirdly, alerting the advisor that their advisee is having difficulty and in the case of outstanding performance, giving the advisor the opportunity to congratulate a student if they wish. Fourthly, encourage the student to follow-up with their advisor. The last question concerned whether or not notification changed student behavior. That is one part I’m still trying to understand. There were some things that we learned about the system as a result of having conversations last semester. The system is voluntary – no one is required to use it. The system is easy to access – 3 clicks takes you to your actual course list – and easy to use. The system is flexible – instructors have a choice of contacting only those students who are in need of assistance, or providing feedback to all students in the class. The last page of the information I provided goes over some numbers on usage. Most of the courses that used the system involved developmental math and reading courses. We are still in the process of collecting grade information to see if grades improved after notification. As I indicated, intervention alone will not be enough, although it is quite helpful. Secondly, the system needs to be run enough semesters to see if there is progress. Are there any questions?
FA: No questions. I was involved in the implementation of this. I think there is a basic design problem here. My sense is that the Early Notification System is a means designed to improve communication between faculty and students. I don’t think it was the sole purpose, or the main purpose of this system. As it says here, the idea is to reduce attrition and to increase retention. The early warning system is to assist us in identifying students who are having problems and then have an institutional commitment to give those students support to improve their performance from mid-term to the end. We can tell the students in class. Students already know that they’re having problems when they get their tests and papers back. How has the institution organized itself in terms of providing tutoring and advising? What are the kinds of resources available to focus on the specific academic problems students are encountering? I think this is being missed. The initial report talked about the technical problems of the system. The question that I getting at is: how can we improve the performance of students in order for them to be retained? This is not really addressed by the system or the report.
FA: Certainly, we have not had a chance to read this yet and we appreciate the summary you have provided.
AD: As I was saying, the system is insufficient for improving retention. There needs to be a line of information to advisors for them to work with the students.
FA: If a student stops showing up for class after week 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10, there’s a good chance that those students stopped showing up for other classes as well. So something else is happening. Maybe a student is at home playing video games, watching movies, going out with friends, experiencing the new found freedom they have, and they’re just blowing off their classes. Someone needs to be going to that student’s room and interrupt their video games and chat lines and tell them to get to class. That’s the kind of intervention that’s needed. If the system can’t identify students who are missing classes and doing those kind of things, then we’re not going to be able to organize the kinds of institutional responses to help that student be successful. Again, having advisors talking to students, they may or may not get to that student. If we’re not identifying those types of behaviors that lead to poor performance in classes, then the system will just be another nice toy to have. Until we focus on problems and affecting their behavior, I don’t think there will be much progress.
AD: Who do you have in mind to intervene?
FA: That would be an important conversation…
FA: Are you asking me to tell the Vice President and you?
AD: I’m asking you for your ideas.
FA: I’d be happy to give you some ideas, but not now. I’m just pointing out the flaws of what I see. The system is not going to affect the problems of attrition…
AD: You’re raising wonderful points, Robert. I think they’re right on target. I think that we need to develop a set of interventions that are going to address the shortcomings of the students who we’ve identified. The first thing we need to do, though, is identify who those students are. This is a system that enables us to do that. Once we know who the students are, we need to have a plan in place to have a set of interventions that are available for the appropriate person to use once that student is identified. We’re not there yet. We need to move in that direction.
FA: In order to identify the students you have to have faculty buy-in. Faculty need to know that action will be taken to provide services to assist students who are having difficulty in class. If it’s just another instrument for gathering information with tools for assisting students, faculty will just decide that they are too busy at mid-term to do this. Even though the system is easy to use, they will not buy-in to it. You need to let faculty know that by clicking into the system, students will receive certain services and attention to assist students in improving their performance in the faculty member’s class. You need to be designing those interventions in order to get faculty to participate in this in meaningful ways.
FA: I worked as a residence hall manager for many years and have seen what students go through as a faculty member as well. Tools are wonderful but good teaching cannot be reduced to tools and techniques. The end goal is that we want students to enjoy their stay here and graduate. They won’t remember what classes they took with me, but will remember they had a good time in my class. That’s what they’ll remember 10 years from now. They cannot come to me alone. They need to have access to all office on campus for assistance where needed. That’s the way to get students to stay.
FA: We have a process that’s currently under way called academic planning working groups. The charge for the student experience group is to draft a recommendation report envisioning the student experience at St. Cloud State University. As I listen to the dialogue between Robert and Avelino, it seems to me that part of envisioning the student experience is the kind of communication that would occur to assist students that are at risk or failing in classes in special ways than those that are not at risk and failing in classes.
AD: I’m the co-chair of that group.
FA: I noticed that.
AD: That’s one of the issues we’re talking about, among other things. You’re right. That will come out of that process. In the meantime, we have a system that needs to be tested. I think this is something we need to grow with this and work with advisors to get students the assistance they need. We’re developing a tutor training program – peer tutors that are trained. We’re building these systems together simultaneously. So we’re building the pieces and will bring them together to effect a total impact – building a network.
FA: I fully appreciate the need to find out if a tool can actually do what the tool is intended to do, on a basic level. We support what Robert has said about buy-in. I don’t think we have a good experiment. To get a good experiment, we need to, when I say we, it’s faculty and administration leadership, be an advocate for this experiment. We, on the faculty side, are at a disadvantage because we didn’t see the report until an hour ago. Some of us are auditory learners and some of us are visual learners. I can commit to you that in my dialogue with the Executive Committee and the Senate, that the need to test a means by which identification at the basic level can occur is an important step, knowing that it is a precursor to subsequent steps.
AD: Actually, what I came prepared to ask about was whether it would be a good idea to have a faculty committee to work on this issue and help shape the project we’re talking about so we can build that kind of buy-in.
FA: We certainly appreciate the responses to our questions and Senate requested that information. We will bring it back to Senate and see what their response is.
FA: There was a workshop that a number of faculty members participated in and came up with a number of ideas on this issue. That has been discussed before.
FA: Several times.
FA: Hopefully there has been some documentation of the proceedings from those meetings/workshops. People spent a lot of time working on this.
FA: We will bring this to Senate.
AD: Can you talk about this in the context of a comprehensive program with the interventions being tied together with the system?
FA: We can acknowledge that this is part of a larger framework.
UB3: The Processes for Appointing FA Representatives to College and University-level Committees under the IFO/MnSCU Master Agreement (FA – 10/18/2007)
FA: This has been a long-term item and it really does include search processes as well as appointing processes. I wanted to report that MSUAASF, Adam Klepetar’s the president, and I met with Larry and Susan Moss before Christmas to talk about constituting MSUAASF searches and IFO participation. Some searches do not require our participation and some do. I’m hopeful that that conversation was helpful. My understanding is that that information is going to filter through to the web site that’s being developed. Is that correct?
AD: We’re developing a web site that will outline all of the hiring procedures in one place.
FA: Certainly, this is all a piece of what started several years ago as a request from the joint bargaining units, the March 30, 2006, memo requesting that certain recommendations for search committees be followed. We did receive two responses from the administration; one in May of that year and one of January of this past year. In those responses the administration indicated their right to constitute committees based on management rights and we certainly understand that. But there were two concerns that were raised in the initial memo from the bargaining units that remain unaddressed. One of those was a request for notification of two weeks to provide representation for search committees at the director level and above. The other was that conveners notify all search committee members, in writing, at least one week prior to upcoming meeting dates. This continues to be a concern for us. I just wanted to bring in a troubling recent example and I wanted to thank President Potter for his intervention in canceling the first search committee meeting for the Special Assistant to the President. The request for information about availability came out on the 19th of December. On the 20th there was an announcement that the meeting was going to happen that day and it was not at a time that members of the committee had been asked for their availability. I certainly didn’t see this as a very helpful opening for such an important search. It was during finals week. I appreciate President Potter’s recognition that this was not a good way to begin. My understanding is that the search committee is going to be convening again shortly. I use that as an example of our need for being respectful of search committee members’ time and giving advance notice and also asking for availability ahead of time. I’m sure no disrespect was intended, but it was felt that way. It’s a very complicated time for all employees as we’re finishing up a semester, not just faculty, and I wanted to acknowledge that. I continue to be concerned because it was that sort of incident that was the reason for the joint bargaining units’ request the advance notice be given for search committee meetings.
AD: Larry, would you comment on where you stand in the process and our earlier conversation today?
AD: Yes. This is something that Susan Moss and I have been working on along with our staffs for a few months. At this point, I think we have about 90% of the information needed to provide faculty and staff in hiring procedure information from the existing HR and Affirmative Action web pages. It is primarily now in the hands of IT. The stuff has to migrate over. It takes time to do that, there is some need to clean up some of the coding. To make a long story short, it may be several more weeks before we’re at the point where we can have a draft for the President’s Council to look at and provide comments and then to the broader community. I can’t say exactly how long that will take.
AD: I have asked that both of those requests be included in the draft.
FA: I appreciate that. I think that people really do want to participate, especially when they volunteer, on such things and be able to participate by having advance notice is really what we’re aiming at here. Thank you for including those items in those documents. Once we see those documents, that really does close this concern that we began discussing a few years ago.
AD: Should we remove this item from the agenda?
FA: Yes. I am assuming that the administration will bring this item back when the web site is done for our review.
UB5: School Closing/Cancellation Procedures (FA – 11/15/2007)
AD: I agree that the document we distributed last fall was unclear. We’ve deleted the “call your faculty member” language. Employees, if they choose not to come to work because where they are is snowed in or whatever, have an affirmative obligation to inform their supervisor of that decision. We’ve changed that. I asked that the web site be reviewed and it didn’t have a statement like that on the web. We did change the language as requested and I think we can remove this item from the agenda. I would also like to add that it was our intention to distribute to employees, the handbook that outlines emergency procedures before the end of winter break. The printing has taken more time than anticipated. We have been told that the printing was supposed to be finished today. We will distribute the document to all faculty and staff as soon as we receive it. We will also be placing copies in classrooms and other common areas around campus so that people have ready access to it in those places.
FA: So the “contact your instructors” language has been omitted?
FA: Will we see a copy of the revised document?
FA: I’m trying to remember what it said.
AD: It usually has a picture at the top and it outlines the procedures and the radio stations and the like. We distribute it early in the fall to faculty and staff as kind of reminder. Our most frequent issue is the weather and closing. We didn’t intend to redistribute it. We thought we might create more confusion, especially during the winter season, by distributing something about closing.
FA: Not necessarily…
AD: I can bring you a copy of the revised one for your review.
FA: Steve, if we go to the web site, the web site information has been changed to be consistent with what the printed document would say.
AD: Yes. The web site is correct.
FA: Which part of the web site are we talking about?
AD: Emergency closing. When there is an event, we link it to the home page.
FA: Thank you very much.
FA: We should take time to acknowledge the good work that happens. Campus snow removal has been handled very well. We’re often remiss in not talking about things when they are going well. This kind of effort does not happen by chance; it happens by design.
AD: Thanks, John. I will take this back to our folks.
FA: A thank you letter might be nice.
AD: This was good.
AD: There was a public thank you letter. It was on Announce so you wouldn’t have seen it. (laughter)
UB6: Space for Honors Program (FA – 12/13/2007)
FA: First, we want to acknowledge Avelino and say thank you. The representative who came to speak with us was very appreciative of the work you are trying to do to address this space problem. The space is very much inadequate. They moved from a larger space to a smaller space. They don’t have room for their people, for their supplies. Things are fragmented, they’re not all in the same location from what I understand. Because it’s a recent move, there’s a sense I feel of permanency to this move. There is a feeling of unhappiness and feeling undervalued for the work, purpose and achievements that are expected of the group, of the faculty who do the work. To reiterate the need for early and frequent consultation regarding facilities and moving and space is certainly needed. These folks are feeling unhappy and uncomfortable. We are requesting help.
AD: Their space was unfinished.
FA: I didn’t want to bring that up.
FA: We do appreciate Avelino’s trying to lead and appreciate his work in this uncomfortable situation. But it does, for us, tie-in to the need for really doing a better job with early consultation on these sorts of moves and trying to balance the different requirements in a more transparent process, I suppose. When this came up last spring, this wasn’t the only group that was moving in. DGS was struggling with space issues. First Year Experience was struggling and I do think that we can do a better job with earlier consultation. Some of the concerns are repeated concerns – like space for advising. I know that’s also a concern for DGS. Maybe we can layer in to our discussions about our physical space and we can start building on some of these principles. Some of these issues came up quite frequently the other day and people had some good ideas.
FA: As we move through this semester into the summer, I don’t know if there is a quick fix to this, but during advising and registration days the last few years, I have worked the Honors program. One of the elements of that is family recruiting. The parents of those students are very concerned about what their kids are getting into. If the Honors directors are going to be able to have any of those kinds of visits prior to an advising and registration day during the recruiting process, if there were a space maybe in that building, or somewhere, that could be coordinated with someone else. There is no space in their current location to meet with two parents and a child or even one parent and child. And as the program grows, that is an immediate need in terms of perception. I don’t know what’s available in other places in the building. If they could get some kind of indicator where they might be able to say on very short notice that they have a family coming in one or two days and be able to reserve a small conference room. That would go a long way in helping them.
AD: I just spoke to Wanda a little bit. One thing we knew was available there, and still is, are the interview rooms within the Career Services offices right across the hall. Those interview rooms are set up to accommodate 3-4 people. They are scheduled and are not occupied all the time by a staff member. Discussions between Wanda, Avelino, and Addie would be good. In addition, there is a conference space available in the Deans’ office that they control the scheduling of.
FA: Maybe it’s a matter or reassuring them that there are spaces.
FA: We expect that at future Meet and Confers, we’re going to come back and talk about the support. Not just the physical support in the way of facilities, but the support staff budgeting questions tied to Honors, DGS, and First Year Experience. We know these are important ingredients in the mix of our academic program and we know there are students who come here as a result of these programs and we need to make sure that our knowledge is followed by funding. Facilities are one way to say that. Another is to be sure they are treated in manners similar to other academic programs on the campus.
AD: I just want to assure you that we are working with Honors to explore options for spaces available to them. There is a living community nearby that has space that can be used. The conference room in Undergraduate Studies is also available for use. Space is tight and we are trying to be creative. We are also talking about how to use Atwood.
FA: This is also maybe indicative of some of our ongoing rumblings about different issues. That gap between what is expected of us, for example, raising enrollment in the Honors program, and the kind of support needed – whether it’s facilities, financial, etc. It’s something that you’re probably going to hear from us often. We’re asked to do this, but with less and less – less time, less money, less space. It’s something we have to keep working on.
FA: Two things. When these sorts of things happen, we are able to come up with joint solutions. One thing that I would hope would happen is that with early consultation, we could start trouble-shooting the needs among programs and start planning in those things ahead of time. I hope that will be one outcome of this. It seems to me that there has been some troubleshooting that has happened as a result of this that we could start building into the process ahead of time. The second part of is about expectations and the support for them. Support for these several programs that we’ve been mentioning is one item that simply haven’t gotten to on our work plan. We’ve asked Gretchen to talk to the Executive Committee to talk about other things so we can get a better sense of how this is unfolding so that we can begin working, at least, in support of that program as well as others.
AD: Let me just note that that’s exactly the kind of issue that should find its way into the academic planning process that we’re going through now.
FA: Yes, it should. Systemically, we’re so used to doing so much with so little that it’s difficult for us to move to a more proactive way of doing things. We need to filter this into the academic planning process and the facilities plan based on that. I’m optimistic about this and will come back to related items later. As far as we’re concerned, we’re ready to take this item off the agenda.
NB1: Orientation Fee (AD – 12/13/2007)
AD: I don’t even know where to start with this. There’s no money budgeted for orientation but we’re committed to doing it. By orientation, you’re talking about a larger program than what happens just before classes start. It includes the advising and registration program, which we have a fee for as well as the pre-class activities. We have no budget or funding for the latter. This year, it came out of Undergraduate Studies’ budget carry-forward. The money was transferred to a separate fund. We are now in the midst of planning orientation activities for Fall 2008 and do not know where the funding will come from.
AD: Can you tell me what that covers?
AD: The $25 that’s being proposed covers food for students, programs delivered, paying student workers…. The one thing I know is that the $25 fee is not sufficient to cover the whole cost of orientation. I think that we will also require an additional $15k to the $60k generated by the fee. It will allow us to develop a program that is consistent with what we are trying to do and will enable us to spread programming over several days rather than trying to present everything in one day. Without some budgetary support, we cannot do that type of program. It’s getting to a point now where we need to start scheduling events, otherwise we’re not going to be able to move forward.
FA: The Senate had a lengthy discussion and will be concluding that discussion at our January 29th meeting. There are some philosophical arguments that are being made that deal with whether or not it’s good policy to recruit students and then the first experience they have is to pay another fee. They’re going to be paying tuition, they automatically get their student fees deducted, and if they participate in this event there’d be another fee. I can only speak for my position. I’m generally opposed to specialty fees. I think the more we can package services within one price, that means we’re only selling one item at a time. I think it goes back to the question of whether or not we know exactly where we are financially, at a moment, to be able to respond and make a decision. To do what has to be done – and that is, to have a high quality orientation conducted. Keep in mind, we don’t control the budget – although we’d like to – we don’t control it, but we do have feelings that are being debated, opinions that are being expressed and I trust that the process at Senate will come back with a recommendation with regard to the fee. We can deal with that matter at the meeting on the 31st.
AD: At this point I think it needs to be forwarded quickly because we are kind of stuck – we cannot move forward with planning. I know that other institutions charge well over $100 for this and the total of both of these fees is $60.
FA: We did receive at the last Senate, part of the discussion and recommendation by the Orientation Task Force that we go ahead and assess this fee. It’s our first item of old business at the next Senate agenda so I know that we’ll get to it.
FA: It was referred to the Budget Committee and the Budget Committee’s recommendation to Senate is to not charge the fee.
FA: That recommendation hasn’t been acted on by the Senate so we don’t formally have a position at this point. We’ll come back to this next time so let’s leave it on the agenda.
AD: There’s a strong likelihood that this issue will come to Student Government, because it has to go to them before anything like that happens, and that might be next week.
AD: We’re required to have consultation with them before the end of February and we have to give them time to consider.
NB2: – Request for Faculty Co-Chair for Enrollment Management (FA – 12/13/2007)
FA: We’ve been experiencing a number of successes in collegial activity – jointly led activities between the Faculty Association and the Administration. It started with TLTR. I suspect some of us were not all that delighted that we were told we had to have a committee that we now call TLTR. But TLTR provides a forum in which there is open, frank discussion on the issues that deal with technology questions on this campus. We co-chair that. The FA has a co-chair, and Kristi, I believe you’re the administrative co-chair. Strategic Planning is co-chaired by a faculty representative and an excluded manager. Having been on Strategic Planning for longer than I care to remember, and having been chair the last couple of years, I’ve seen a great deal of progress made in the collegial leadership of an important activity. Last year we established a Budget Advisory Group that is co-chaired by a faculty member and Steve Ludwig. Our Senate was convinced that it would be a wise idea to continue this string of successes and have a faculty co-chair for the Enrollment Management Committee so that a faculty voice can interact with an excluded manager’s voice in carrying out and leading those discussions and interacting then, with all of the other committees that have co-chairs. So we bring to you a request that the Enrollment Management Committee will have a faculty co-chair in the same way the Strategic Planning Committee chooses that co-chair. If we use that model, the IFO members on the Strategic Planning Committee elect the co-chair. We haven’t talked about whether that’s the appropriate way to do this, but I know that model works in Strategic Planning. We’re asking for a co-chair of Enrollment Management.
AD: I’d like to take this under advisement and get back to you. We haven’t really had a chance to discuss this so let’s come back to this at a subsequent meeting.
FA: We’re certainly amenable to that. If there are no objections, we’d like to move the agenda to a few time sensitive issues and we’ll go backwards. I’d like to begin with item number 9 of new business.
Ad: We would like to take this under advisement and get back to you.
NB9: Evening Class Schedule 2008-09 – (AD – 1/17/2008)
AD: I’m distributing what’s supposed to be meeting dates for evening classes for 2008-2009. I sent this around to a variety of individuals, including Judy, in part, because this is the first year we’re using common semester start dates and we’ve made a number of changes in the calendar. We’ll be starting before Labor Day, for example. We will be observing Veteran’s Day. We have a Fall Break. We’re also increasing the number of instructional days. I thought it would be worthwhile to get feedback to make sure we’re not overlooking something. Judy asked us bring this to Meet and Confer. We do have a deadline of February 15th. That is when department secretaries have to enter into ISRS the start and end dates for evening classes. The sooner we can announce this campus-wide, the easier it will make it for the February 15th deadline to be met.
AD: I can testify that department secretaries are calling my office to find out when they can have this information.
FA: We actually haven’t had a chance to discuss this and I’m wondering if EC would be amenable to asking that we have a chance to look this over at our meeting next Tuesday and troubleshoot it a little bit and have people like Annette there, who think really clearly about things like this, and give a response after that point.
FA: Do you really think we’re going to question you?
FA: I’m really asking if anyone can think of any reason not to do that?
FA: We’d like to have a little more time to troubleshoot this and will get back to you after next Tuesday’s meeting.
AD: I do want to point out one other element regarding a related matter with regard to the calendar and class schedule. That has to do with Caucus Day. As you know, Minnesota moved Caucus Day from March 4th to February 5th. We were advised that given the change, that if we had events and classes scheduled for February 5th, that because that schedule had been in place before the change in the caucus dates, to keep those in place. What we did was announce that we would continue to have classes on February 5th and that students, faculty and staff who wish to participate in the Caucus should not be penalized for not meeting their class or being in class. Apparently there has been some point raised by the MSUSA that other universities have canceled classes, now February 5th, and we haven’t, so why haven’t we done so. We’re going to check and see what the status is at those other universities. I wanted you to be aware of the issue.
FA: State statute says that a precinct caucus cannot recess until one hour has elapsed and the statute also specifies that certain actions cannot occur at the caucus until one hour into the caucus. The convening time for precinct caucuses is 7:00 p.m. If you delay one hour, that’s 8:00 p.m. For most 5:00 p.m. classes, there shouldn’t be a conflict. For the 6:00 p.m. classes there would be a conflict leading in. By law, those caucuses have to remain open for full participation of the citizens. There are very few people who go to caucuses and people may not realize what the statute requires so I wanted this group to know the statutory requirements are such that even if you show up at 8:00 p.m. at a caucus, you’re not going to be disenfranchised.
FA: It doesn’t affect the off-campus students, but I am wondering if we know whether the caucuses will be held for the voting precinct that includes the residence halls have been scheduled in this building?
FA: The Republicans caucus at Apollo so all of the caucuses are at Apollo.
AD: We have 3 locations on the other side of the aisle. I know that precinct 11 that takes in the residence halls, has been listed in a meeting place all its own so I’m assuming that meant they tried to do something here but I can’t speak to that with any surety. As John said, there should be plenty of time for those first-year students who want to participate to get to the caucuses.
FA: I have notified by sending to our faculty distribution list your earlier e-mail concerning this topic. I’m assuming that by the time some sort of determination will be made regarding this new information, if classes are canceled, that you might have your own distribution list to faculty.
FA: I look forward to seeing what you folks come up with in response to the students’ request.
NB8: Request for FTNP Rollover (AD – 1/17/2008)
AD: There are a couple of departments in which the departments have recommended to me that certain fixed-term faculty positions be rolled over beyond the fourth year. Our practice has been that if the department has made this recommendation, we have brought it to Meet and Confer and it has been supported. The departments involved in this instance are: physics, where there is a 4th year fixed-term faculty that they requested be rolled over. He is also the person who is the director of the planetarium and one of the few people who knows how to operate that particular set of equipment. The second one is a position in criminal justice where the faculty have endorsed wanting to roll over that person. At this time, I think it’s from a 5th year to a 6th year in that case. There are some interesting permutations to what happened in that particular instance in terms of the original search. The third case has to do with 3 faculty in math – primarily math skills. The department is urging that we reappoint them for a 5th year as well. I’m bringing that request to Meet and Confer. I will have documentation to provide to you that supports what I just said, from the department. Given that that information is provided, I’m requesting your acquiescence in this process.
FA: I’d like to take each of these items up one at a time. The first item, the roll over of the position in physics, we support fully. We received communication from the department supporting this. We do understand that it’s a very difficult position to fill and we do understand the department hopes in the interim to figure out a way to do a successful probationary search, and that they have requested that this probationary search happen subsequent to this. We are going ahead and saying it’s fine to roll this person over for another year with the idea that the department will be given authorization to begin a probationary search first thing in Fall 2008 for that position. The second position in criminal justice – we are not accepting the roll over on that because of the odd circumstances. It is our understanding, and I’ve communicated with the department about this several times, that the person currently in the position went through a probationary search, was offered the position, turned it down, and has been in this position 5 years and is asking for a roll over for a 6th year. If this person had been in the probationary position, he would have been up for tenure at this point. It’s our position that a probationary position should be a probationary position. In terms of math, I consulted with the math chair a while ago about the possibility of this happening. I was surprised that it was coming up at this point. The department chair told me that they weren’t at the point of requesting, when I had the conversation before, and I just haven’t seen any recent documentation about this request.
AD: It came to me just today, but since we were talking about the issue with regard to the other two departments, I wanted to bring it all together.
FA: I’m wondering if we can hold off on that one until next time – until I’ve had a chance to consult with the department and see the documentation. I’m not seeing that as a controversial action, but I just do want to assure that consultation has happened in the way it’s supposed to.
FA: So – yes, no, and next time.
AD: Just to step back, the Democratic caucus is scheduled for the ballroom
FA: Only for those persons in the residence halls. Any student living off-campus will have to go to other venues.
NB7: Update on Administrative Searches (FA – 1/17/2008)
FA: We would like to have an update on administrative searches.
AD: We mentioned the Special Advisor search before. The search for the Dean for the College of Social Science is moving forward. The search for the Associate Dean for the College of Business is moving forward. The AVP position in Academic Affairs is in the final stages and the search committee for the AVP for the Center for International Studies is about to be convened and get underway.
FA: Who is convening that last search committee?
FA: What about the search for the Associate Dean for the College of Education?
AD: That search is moving forward.
Nb4: Placement Testing (AD – 12/13/2007)
AD: It’s a matter of notification as much as anything else, that we’re required now to administer placement tests to all incoming students. The expectation is that the result of this is that there will be additional need for students to take developmental courses in reading and in some cases composition. That will happen either through the addition of some additional sections of English 100 or supplemental instruction to English 191. Part of the requirement with regard to the placement testing is that we may not charge students for the test. That’s a mandated requirement. We’re trying to estimate how many students will need additional course work or additional attention in each of those areas. That’s where we are at the moment.
AD: The piece that I would like to add is that Undergraduate Studies has reorganized its budget and positions and will be investing in a site manager to oversee and administer the testing. This is currently being done by Jaime Larson, who is the Anoka-Ramsey connections coordinator. The mandate will probably double the number of students who need to be tested so she will be unable to do that. We will bring in someone who can do the testing. The advising center did an excellent job knowing that this was going to happen. They had an empty ½ time positions so they brought someone in temporarily to work with the issues and work with the placement testing committee. They have the policy in place and are now working on the procedures part of it. This is all moving forward in a very positive way.
FA: When will the testing happen?
AD: The testing will happen at advising and registration days this summer. The test will take approximately 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how many tests the student has to take prior to registration. The scores will be available automatically to the advisors. The one challenge we’re talking about already is what kind of a system would be created in Records and Registration similar to the math system, so that students don’t register for inappropriate writing courses. That’s going to be one of our big efforts during spring semester – to get the system in place that will facilitate the process.
FA: What are the current estimates of the number of sections that you suspect will be needed for English 100 and reading – in addition to what we normally do – which is not much of anything in that department since we haven’t been able to in the past.
AD: I think that the way we looked at it, there are going to be nearly 1,000 students tested. In the past it was around 400. We’re probably looking at an additional 750 students who are going to need some sort of combination of reading and/or English 100.
FA: The last prediction I heard from the placement folks was 20-24 sections of developmental writing and approximately the same number for reading.
FA: I tried to get some of this information, but I am voicing a concern. I assume there will be some conversation on how to handle this – the matter of equity. Students come in who developmentally need that math transition course and there’s no credit toward graduation. If they take English 100, as I understand it, it will count as an elective, but does have graduation credit generating power. Those folks in that math class are going to be livid. I don’t know that its something that can be overcome, but having worked with students in that context, we can kind of explain the value of that math transition, but when they find out the writing class is supposed to have the same value and generates credit, I see that as an issue we should be thinking about ahead of time.
FA: I think I’m the only person at the table who was here when the developmental English course was changed from non-credit to credit. The only rationale for doing it was that students didn’t take it seriously unless it was a for-credit course. The solution is that someone might be thinking about is to remove the credit and make it an English 091. Our experience is that it’s not going to work. There needs to be some serious discussion about the implications of having 750 students who are not ready for English 191. It seems to me that we don’t have anything like 1/3 of our students failing 191. It may be that there is some solution other than English 100 that may be just as appropriate.
AD: We’re looking at some options.
FA: I’ve taught English 191 with 15 students in the room and believe me, it’s a different course.
AD: We’re looking at having students in 191 with a supplemental hour in the Write Place as an alternative to a separate course.
AD: We’re doing a pilot this spring with 3 sections of that and also smaller class sizes too.
FA: I think it’s important to have this conversation pretty widely. This is something we’ve been told for years that we couldn’t do developmental. We were prevented from doing it. Now all of a sudden to shift and have staffing to take care of this is a pretty scary proposition for some of us.
FA: If it’s for credit, then it’s not developmental.
FA: Not developmental in the sense as if it were pre-college.
FA: Correct me if I’m wrong, it seems to me that I remember from working in advising during registration, if a student transfers in the equivalent of 100 they take 291. If they take 100 on campus, they take 191. It seems to me if that is correct, there’s a kind of mis-match there.
FA: That brings up the other part of the conversation of why it was numbered 100. It’s because we’ve been using it for transferring in credits to a large degree too. For people who haven’t taken an equivalent course to 191. The Provost wanted to bring this in just to get the community aware of this shift. I don’t know if we’ve covered all of the areas that you wanted to talk about.
AD: I think we have.
FA: Judy, do you want to mention the two motions on the placement testing that the Senate passed? Senate passed a motion to approve the course placement testing policy as amended.
FA: I’d forgotten about that. We did support the work of our colleagues on the University College Placement Task Force who’ve been working with reading, writing and math and ESL. We have supported those cut scores and their recommendations. So we can take this one off the agenda?
FA: It does have a budget provision that we’ve not acted on. The report that Senate saw had some budget implications, and we asked to see the budget. I suspect we’ll take a look at that at the meeting on the 29th.
FA: We haven’t seen the budget yet. I haven’t seen it yet. Obviously, this has huge budget implications if we’re talking about 20-24 sections added to a department.
AD: Some of things on the budget are place holders until we have a better idea of actual costs involved.
NB3: Senate Motion Concerning E-mail Monitoring (FA – 12/1/2007)
FA: We won’t have time to discuss this, but we can at least get it on the table.
FA: The FA is asking that we meet and confer and hopefully agree that faculty that are having their e-mail monitored would receive written notification of it. We recognize that there might be cases in which monitoring is a sensitive data privacy issue – we recognize that. But we also believe there needs to be an openness, where possible, to be sure the faculty member knows their e-mail is being monitored.
AD: If that is a motion of the senate, can we get a copy of it?
FA: Yes. I can certainly send that to you.
AD: Then we can look it over, discuss it, and get back to you.
FA: The intent is that we would talk together about it.
AD: We will.
FA: We do know that there have been cases in the past – one that we’ve discussed with the administration – but one more recently, in which a faculty received a voice mail notification from Public Safety that her e-mail was being monitored. It was in relation to a public safety risk. It makes people worry about what else is being monitored that we don’t know about.
AD: Judy, do you know when that happened?
FA: Early fall, I think. I can send you an e-mail related to that because I do have documentation that I’ve given the Provost and President about that already.
AD: I would appreciate it if you could do that. It’s very odd. Public Safety doesn’t have the access to do that.
AD: Right. Anything like that would be signed off on by a VP or the President and come through my office before it happens. I have no recollection of that at all.
FA: I’ll get you that information and motion and information about the monitoring report I received and we can come back to that next time. Thank you very much. I think it’s been a productive meet and confer. We’ve taken many things off the agenda. Although it seems that it’s gone on for a long time, we have a much shorter agenda.
Adjourned: 5:01 p.m.