Final Notes — Meet and Confer
April 3, 2008
ADM present: Steve Ludwig, Kristi Tornquist, Mitchell Rubinstein, Wanda Overland, Nancy Jessee, Larry Chambers, Rex Veeder, Earl Potter, Michael Spitzer
Faculty Present: Jo Ann Gaspanni, Michael Tripp, Bill Hudson, Frances Kayona, Robert C. Johnson, Balsy Kasi, John W. Palmer, Judy Kilborn, Fred Hill, Dave Warne
Guests: Sue Bayerl, Lisa Foss, Rich Josephson, Wade Nelson
Note taker: Joan A. Wingert
Approval of Minutes
1. March 13, 2008
ADM: We do not have minutes yet.
(Because some people had to leave early, New Business Items #6, then #5 were moved to the top of the discussion.)
6. Web Registration for Transfer Students (FA) (04/03/08)
FA: When students try to go online to get one of our classes, the default that comes up says either a prerequisite is needed, or a test needs to be taken. What Annette Schoenberger actually was talking about was this first. As reported, the students will go to try and get their advising, which isn’t always possible, depending on what day they’re registering or if it’s in the summer. And when they find out there is no test, they either give up or don’t know what the next step will be. So we have both the trouble getting the pre-req through the transfer because of what seems to be a double pre-req. So one of the things Annette asked us to put on the table or see if there’s a possibility of maybe splitting that, with one seeing the department for pre-req information or seeing the department for test professing information. So that’s internally in the system.
The other two concerns that come up with that are not so much systemic as they are part of how it happens. We have students who can't get into sequence for major courses either because they're already closed when the transfer advising takes place over the summer and there are four or five days then for the Fall, which isn’t a system problem as far as the computer goes, but is another idea. When they don’t get started, we have added a semester or more of time, particularly those people who come into professional areas. And we don't exactly know how to fix that except that the numbers…for example, I just put in six or seven overrides for the Summer Session for students who are in that very boat. They’re coming looking at pre-reqs. It’s just that they happen to come in for Summer. But if they come in over the summer, trying to get in the Fall, I’m not sitting at my desk to put in overrides or counsel them about that. We've been requested to have people available for transfer registration. I know that we have at least one person for all the days asked. But it’s not always the case. So there’s a second issue around transfer registration, the availability of advising or the timing of the advising. To know what courses to take and that are not available is also frustrating. I'm not sure how to fix that other than to try and suggest that transfer students need to come in in April for the next Fall as opposed to June for the next Fall, and I don’t know how the logistics of that would work. Both of the problems stem around getting students into the track of courses or the sequence of courses that allows them to graduate in a hopefully timely fashion without waiting an extra semester. Like the nursing program, if you miss the first sequence for physiology, you’re waiting a year. Our hope is that some of those courses come in with them, but that is not always the reality. So those are the two concerns. There may be more that come up during the conversation. But we see one as a computer fix to make that a little clearer, but the second one, frankly I’m not sure what I would suggest at this point. Does that make sense?
FA: She was seeing a daily stream of people that delayed seeing their advisors when they got that email message, and we thought it might be helpful to at least split the message in half so they could go see somebody because she was dealing with professional course sequences also. Literally by the time they would see an advisor, they may have taken a year's worth of courses that did not count toward their major. Of course, a lot of this has to do with the culture of students avoiding advisors. This might be a piece we could start working on. Do you know if that's possible, with that splitting out?
ADM: No. Currently some of our courses require a test score or prerequisite. And the way MNSCU built those edits that go with prerequisite. The one that we’re using currently with the message that you’ve mentioned, that’s the one that will work for us. If we try to split it out, it will stop a student twice. In other words, if a course actually needs a test score, and we have these edits split out like you’re suggesting, it would stop both the test score and the prerequisite, even though they don’t need the prereq. And vice versa.
ADM: And that's what happens.
ADM: And so we’re trying to use the edit that isn’t for the test score or a pre-requisite course. It says that in the entire message, is everyone reading that? Probably not, because that test score message appears first.
ADM: Is it possible, or would it be helpful to have a message that said, “See an advisor”? Because that would apply to both of those cases anyway, and that would be a way of addressing the issue right off the top.
ADM: All the ideas are great, but again we’re working with a “one size fits all” system.
ADM: So you can't change the message?
FA: I thought I heard Annette talk about the timing question for a transfer student that may, in fact, have had the prerequisite. So they HAVE the prerequisite, and then it was a matter of getting that prerequisite to appear on the St. Cloud State transcript, so that when the student was trying to register and had made the check, it would find that the student had satisfied the check. Is there a timing question of how we key in the courses, that they are accepted and transfer follows then by registration?
ADM: As of last fall we had almost all credited transfer that had a direct equivalent in the system for students that were admitted the Summer of 2006 forward, and now we are trying to get the rest of the students in. Currently we have about 2500- 2600 students that we still need to do this. We have to deal with a timing issue.
FA: If the students would go directly to their advisors, their advisors could look over their transcripts and could do the overrides that were necessary, and could say, “Yes, you do have the prerequisite or you have two courses that do the same thing. We can do it,” so I guess the issue really comes down to basically, is there anything that we can do with that system that will give them the proper nudge to get with their advisors so they don’t think, “Oh, I need a prerequisite for this course, I’m going to have to take another course,” when it may not be true.
ADM: Clearly we need to make certain that when they admit a student, there is strong information about the desirability of their seeing an advisor as early as possible, so that these issues have been addressed even before they are eligible to register. Some of our transfer students don't come in until after the summer is gone, so what hope is there for that? They should still see their advisors before they start with the registration process. We should look at documents that are sent to those students to be sure that that information is displayed very prominently.
FA: I heard a presentation down at the Statewide Meet & Confer about this registration system, and I was given the impression through that presentation that we could have some local changes based on need, Why I am hearing you say is that’s not a change we can have locally, that that’s not within the parameters that they allow?
ADM: Correct, and I need to double-check that, too. Right now, there’s no other way to change messages, but that is on their list, but they currently don’t have the staff to do so.
FA: So they have a list of changes that they knew needed to be made and were waiting for authorization. This is just another example of how troubling it is when they don’t do…as you know, they didn’t do any kind of consultation on the campus with people who would be sitting with students, and perhaps some of these things could have been picked up on. But that’s not your responsibility, so I appreciate your working with us in trying to figure out what one might do.
ADM: The other option might be to turn off Prerequisite Checking. Then we would be back to where we were before. That’s an option.
FA: That’s just the point where we are here. I’m just not sure they are our only two options. In part through the system that a transfer student follows, through the path they follow, whether it all be computer contact or personal contact with the Advising Center or eventually getting to the department, it would appear to me there would be some choice other than “Check Prerequisites” or not check prerequisites that we may be able to come up with. I know, other than simply saying if you're going to be a transfer student at St. Cloud and you want to make best use of that experience, you need to come in the Fall if you’re going to be registering for the NEXT Fall, so that you can get the kind of advising needed for the Winter Registration process. Then we’re a year ahead. Now if that’s a reasonable request for students, then that could be a possibility. But if that’s an unreasonable expectation for transfer students,, there ought to be something other than we do it or we don’t. I would think the path they take would give us some endpoint into how we get that information to them. I’m just am not able to give (unable to understand word) at this particular point. It seems to me there's a long distance between those two, in my estimation. If we could score some alternatives, it could be helpful. We are costing at some point in the students' perspective time and the money that they are thinking they are going to gain when they come into the program.
FA: Right now, we’ve made an effort to update the transfer information, but we have a gap. If we could inform the advisor of the gap…When I advise transfer students, I got the assessment that came when I met with the transfer student. I go over what they sent me and then I…Look at me, I’m trying to duplicate that same. Physically the advisor would grant permission before registration started. Even though it wasn’t in the computer, it must exist somewhere. The computer system can’t tolerate. Is there not a way for a transfer’s advisor to get that in these key subject areas, so that what they could do is code in an edit override for this specific student, so the student never sees the mess. I get the impression it’s not all of the 2600; this is isolated to specific kinds of transfer students. It may be a temp fix. We may be going back to old technology.
FA: The way it happens now--and I have done transfer advising--you have a set of courses that people don't know what to do with. And you look at them, and look at information and make a decision based on the information that you know and have about this disciplinary expectation and so on. And Annette's point was, if I see these students I can do that, and I can do the overrides, but I can’t do it if they get this message and they say, “Well, that’s not going to work.” And they need to be prodded to come see me. I think that’s what we need to figure out. Thank you for explaining to us why that can’t be done, but…
FA: I know there’s a second part to that, but I think it’s coming later. Annette also had some elements about this on D2L in terms of archiving. That’s scheduled later, but I won’t be here. Apparently in the department, there’s a certain amount of data that is being archived on D2L so they can go back and get at it in a form that’s usable, and she's concerned now with the change of dumping some past courses, or getting up to speed on less space for the D2L and the kinds of things that are going on, that that assessment data will be lost without warning in some way. And that’s just a different issue, but I think it’s legitimate.
ADM: It is on the agenda.
FA: People need to go for Orientation training.
FA: I leave the question with you to get it on the table for the next step.
FA: Can I go back to the transfer thing? I think one of the suggestions was that, is there a way during registration, during transfer advising days, or is there a program for transfer students? Is there communication with students abroad? I think that what we’re saying is that something can be done that can prevent….
FA: From my perspective, there are several transfer advising days that take place over the summer which is a good time for students perhaps, but frankly Faculty are not here. And the Advising Center model that we are using deals with Faculty being the primary advising resource once you get to the major. So if you get an error message or you get something and you go to where your staff normally live, they aren’t living there in June, July and August for the most part, and then no one really is there to answer the question in part. That may be some of the issues as far as timing goes. We in my department go to all of those people teaching summer school and we had asked them to sign up for an afternoon to be available because we all do major advising. But if you were to go to computer science who doesn’t have as many offerings over the summer and tried to get specialized advising, or engineering, or nursing (except they do have a new staff advisor), those areas your likely not to get much. And it might be only three or four days out of all those that are available to transfer students, but that’s a fourth of the population if the equity is across all of the days.
FA: I think we should look at how we do transfer advising.
FA: Somewhere in the process there should be a touch point.
ADM: I think we can find a way to get Faculty present for those days, so that might be the best way to solve this issue.
FA: We know we need to do a lot of talking about that. My experience has been that there are ways for departments to address that need, generally, but the information is not usually very forthcoming. For example, if I’m a transfer advisor, which I am, and the summer dates are set and I don’t know, and I schedule a trip to England or wherever, then I am not available to cover those times, and even when faculty are here, it’s not always clear when that is going to happen and when they should allot those times if they’re available. I do think if we looked at a system that would connect the departments with Advising more directly and have a clear line of communication, that would help.
ADM: We should develop that.
ADM: Right now, advisors have access to the DARS archive for all the advisees, but they are listed as the advisor of record, and DARS would show whether there are transfer courses on there or not. If you know a student has transferred and don’t see those credits on there, that means that they are in a transition period. We haven’t gotten it all out there yet.
FA: To help identify.
FA: I got to know how this works, but again, when I get a new advisee I can never access their records until after I have signed the application for the major and it’s been processed. THEN I can get their records. I cannot BEFORE that, when I need them most.
ADM: That’s because it doesn’t have you listed as the current advisor for that particular student. That can be put in very easily.
FA: That may be an anomaly to my department, but I know I can’t get at them until after the paperwork’s been cleared.
FA: I can’t, either.
FA: That’s true.
ADM: If a student is seeking a new advisor or advice to come in, they’re not listed so that’s a problem, that’s a problem.
ADM: Thank you, Sue.
5. D2L Web Registration for Transfer Students (FA) (04/03/08)
ADM: The next topic has to do with the D2L Upgrade.
ADM: Maybe I could take a moment and introduce a few people. Given some conversations I’ve had with some of you in the past week or so, and some of the complexities of what’s going on, I thought it might be wise to bring in some of our folks that are working with this in more detail on a daily basis. I think most of you know Rich Josephson, and his folks provide direct support for Faculty and do a lot of training on D2L. Wade Nelson you’re probably not going to know. What week is this now that you’ve been here?
ADM: I think it’s Week 9.
ADM: Oh, OK, a little longer than I remembered, so that’s good for us. Wade came to us from another MCSCU institution, so he is a friend to this system and he oversees the people who provide the technical backend support for D2L on campus and at the system level as well. So I asked the two of them to come in. Would it be helpful, Judy, if they do a little 5-minute overview of the situation and open it to questions, or do you guys have questions?
FA: It’s been changing, it seems to me, almost everyday, and so it would be helpful if we all knew the same thing. So I would appreciate an overview.
GUEST: What I have is my talking notes, and I made a copy of it so people won’t have to write things down. I didn’t necessarily put this together with the idea of handing it out, but I know some of you have the copies of it, so I thought I would give it to the rest. We’re very fortunate, with Wade working with the System Office on D2L, that we’re able to get some information just a little bit faster. And as Kristi indicated, these things are changing daily, if not hourly. Before every meeting we go to, we typically do a debrief to go and see what's new in the last few hours. So we’re working really hard to keep up with the situation. We’re trying to have some contingency plans in place. We’re starting to, in our minds, getting a picture of what's going on, and we thought it would be useful to share that with you.
There’s really three issues: one is a lawsuit with D2L and Blackboard; the second thing has to do with some course materials that at some point will be deleted. So I’m going to cover the lawsuit issue first.
Blackboard, a competing entity to D2L, won a patent infringement lawsuit down in Texas. Of course, there are appeals going on. It prohibits D2L from selling or using the product, and there was a stay on the injunction for 60 days to give Blackboard and D2L time to come up with a royalty sort of agreement. We’re hoping that they are able to do that. In the meantime, D2L has come out with a new version which, they say, trust me, will not infringe on the patent, and if you change to this new version, life will be good and we’ll be out of the woods. We have every reason to believe that will occur, although at the System Office, they are pressing D2L very hard to be absolutely sure that that occurs and we are not left holding a software product that we really are not able to use. Some other pieces that you might have heard is that the Patent Office issued a non-final action rejecting all of Blackboard's patents. Now Blackboard and D2L will have time to respond. Some people think that rejection means that we are out of the woods and it’s all done. If you read Blackboard’s communications and press releases, you’ll find that Blackboard is saying, “90% of these things are upheld in the long run, and we’re really confident it will indeed go our way.” So depending on which version you want to hear, you just pick up on side or the other’s press releases, and they all give their side of the story.
Bottom line: Our assessment of the risk is in three different areas: 1) a relatively low probability is that they're actually looking at changing over to this new software sometime in the June 6-8 time period, which is right in the intersection of the Intersession and first summer session. Just one other thing from up above, that injunction lasts until May 11, and that May 11th hopefully they’ll have something in line to take care of royalties and that we continue to use the product. May 11th, if you’re not aware of that, the semester is over, but grades are not due until 13th—I’m not quite sure of the date—but at least a day or so afterwards, so there’s a little time period in there. The low probability is that everything goes on schedule, and the new software is so intuitive that everybody thinks it’s great. And any time you upgrade software, we expect some little hiccups in it. One little hiccup that we are sort of expecting--that’s on the high probability--the upgrade will take more than the two days they're planning, and we think it might be three days, so it might last over one day or so into the start of the first session. So that’s one thing from a communications standpoint we’ll want to be available. Of course, the official line is that it will be done on the 8th, but our guess is that it might be a little bit different.
There’s one other situation that I do want to bring up, and we think it’s a very low probability, is that if D2L and Blackboard do not come up with some sort of an arrangement on the royalties and they get a court order to shut down D2L, there’s the potential that on May 12 that that could occur. Our best guess is that that’s a very low probability. We think that if that would occur, we'd have some warning. My guess is that it’s less than 1 % that we’d be surprised with something like that. Of course, that's something we'd want to be prepared for and look at. First of all, we’re tracking it very closely to see where we sit with it, and number 2 we’re starting to do training for Faculty to make them aware of what the situation is. For Faculty Forum Days, we have other workshops scheduled. Once we get done with this and we get some feedback, if there are any issues, we’re going to start some communications out to the users of D2L to bring them up to speed. The other thing that we’re looking at is some preliminary absolute worst case, doomsday scenarios: What might we do if it looks like the world is coming to an end on May 12th? Which we think there’s a very, very low chance of, but there are lots of other things we’ve planned for that we don’t think are going to happen. Just in case. That's the issue with the lawsuit.
The next item has to do with the upgrade, and that’s the deleting of old discussions. There’s a tool in D2L that allows discussions with Faculty and students. There is a high probability that to make that upgrade happen faster, some of the old discussions from courses older than two years will be deleted. That’s one of the things that Faculty were looking at, going back to their discussions and doing some research based on those discussions that would not available, So that’s something that would have to be communicated, and we have in our training sessions looked at some work-arounds where Faculty would be able to save that. There’s a high probability that discussions will be deleted that are older than two years. We think that there’s even a high probability of older than one year. We think there’s not much of a chance of them getting rid of anything that would be sooner than one year. The planning that we’re doing on that is the workshops, looking at email notifications as soon as we get done with this, and then an offer to help them with the backup of the data, should they need that. So that’s the immanent, first-run, short timeline scenario. The next one has to do with the deleting of other course material, and we think there was some discussion of that earlier on. It looks like now that it’s the highest probability that there wouldn’t be any old course data that would occur until well into Fall Semester, which would give us time to do planning and training during the Fall. So Faculty would be able to go on and save their material from older courses. There’s always a low probability, if there’s a major problem, that they might have to delete that earlier, but we don’t think there’s much of a chance with that. There are some batch backups that are available. We think that will be coming online to allow the course content to be backed up on a system basis, but we’re also encouraging Faculty to do that on an individual basis and offering to do some of that for them. That third item is something we would anticipate doing at all of our training, but hitting the issue hard as we get toward Fall. That’s the nutshell of where we’re at with this. Questions or comments?
FA: I was led to believe by a member of the IMS Council that one of the solutions to the Common Start Date of D2L was to delete a substantial amount of material from storage. What you're saying or leading me to believe is that's now being deferred until the first common start date.
ADM: And this is as of, what, Monday?...
GUEST: As of yesterday. It surprises me a little bit, that conclusion; the amount of data in D2L does have some performance repercussions, but my understanding is that it is not one of the top couple of things that really lead into performance issues under heavy load. So that conclusion does surprise me a bit. I’m not sure I would concur with that. There are certainly reasons to get rid of some of that data, but right now the IMS Advisory Committee has not yet adopted its guidelines for data retention. In speaking to people, folks are not currently looking toward curbing data over the summer when Faculty aren't around to be able to act appropriately. I haven’t heard anyone advocating for that. I don’t believe that any action be taken unless we really get into a real situation like Kristi was describing.
ADM: I think my initial impression was the same as yours, and I think that there’s a shift in the perception and clarification on that.
FA: One of the concerns that we got a note from Annette about is concerning material not being automatically archived affecting departments who are using that for accreditation, so they are archiving materials for those purposes.
GUEST: To be clear on this, the decisions on what data is going to be kept and what the timeline is happening at the System Office and with recommendations from the IMS Council which MNSCU has… the Faculty Association has all the different bargaining units on the table.
FA: I have to say that it’s primarily populated by the two years, and they may have different issues for data than we do. They’re not looking at the same sort of stuff that we’re looking at in terms of assessment and accreditation or research. We just don’t have the same needs. I don’t know how we get that message…we certainly can take it up through the IFO when we have conversations about that, but I really appreciate your attention to helping Faculty, and I think it's going to have to be departments, too, to learn how to do different sorts of archiving for different purposes. I don’t think it’s going to happen at the system level. I’m not confident at all about that.
GUEST: I just have to mention a piece of data that is the most likely to be impacted in the near term like Rich mentioned is some of the actual data within the discussions tool, so focusing on that data and helping us understand some of those repercussions would be extremely helpful and timely. I know the next time that this is going to be looked at in great detail is at the IMS Advisory Council meeting on April 14th. At that time D2L is going to have done some research on our particular data set to help us understand the relationship between (and we think there’s a direct relationship between) how much discussions data might be deleted and the overall down time that would be associated with the first weekend of June upgrade. And so that’s the tradeoff that the IMS Advisory Council is taking again..
ADM: I might just note that these are open meetings, and so we sent some people to those IMS Advisory Council meetings that aren’t members because we want to make sure we’re tracking that, I know there’s IFO members that are official IFO members to that committee, but if there’s a concern that there’s not adequate representation from the University Faculty side, I think it would be great if some other folks attend. Wade, you could get Judy that information on when the meeting is?
ADM: You bet. It’s on April 14th. This also provides a roster of membership on the Committee. I believe this is accurate and it’s on the website, so I could send you a link to this and the meeting information.
FA: The focus on data and delete data, does that have to do with performance of the system, storage requirements, or the role of data and implementing for all three?
ADM: I believe it’s for all three…it IS all three. The driving force right now in the short term, if I had to rank them, the number one thing they’re looking at right now is the downtime of the actual upgrade.
FA: Assuming that the upgrade is a temporary matter, and the usage of data by Faculty and others is more permanent, why not offer the data in some temporary storage place through the upgrade and restore the data. Then the relationship between upgrade and data can now be removed or resolved.
ADM My understanding is the upgrade itself has to go record by record through the data in order to put it in to whatever new table formats they’ve developed for new release.
GUEST: In a timely way, Faculty do have choices as semesters come to an end. I did notice under batch backup it's pretty clear that assignments and student grades are not going to survive this backup on the batch process.
ADM: That would be the long term what we think might happen in the Fall.
FA: If departments and programs were depending on drawing on student work examples for accreditation, the prudent thing to do would be to systematically download that student work to a retrievable file independent of D2L.
FA: So the sooner that Faculty are encouraged to do that, the less likely we could run into accreditation problems. The same, then, is true for Faculty who may believe that they have backups to their grade book because they’ve been using the grade book features within D2L, so they can at the end of the semester export that file into a storable file more universally accessible.
FA: Those would be important messages for Faculty who use D2L to receive in a preventative form.
GUEST: And those are workshops that we are starting to have for Faculty. Part of the issue we have is that we’re not absolutely positive what’s going to happen.
ADM: Do you have a better idea of when you might know when things might happen so we could send information out to Faculty to address these issues in the various ways that John has mentioned, or do we think that some of this is so likely that we should make these plans now so that Faculty can be informed and be prepared to move forward with that information.
GUEST: I believe we will have a preliminary decision on that discussion data after the IMS Advisory Council on April 14th. I do believe that that is most likely the only data that’s really in play between now and the start of Fall Semester.
ADM: I think John is right that the student grade and assignments and the records of that that are usable for various assessments are of importance in a lot of departments.
FA: My only question was, if the software is changing and going through all the data, why (can’t understand words) change it if the software works with it? If John or someone downloads this, will they subsequently be able to read it and use it.
GUEST: Yes, in fact that’s one of the issues that we’re looking at is the download. If you want to make absolutely sure you have the data, here's how you can download the data and keep it yourself and not have to worry about any other system.
FA: It ends up as an Excel file. The majority of the student work would be in a word-processed file. There are Issues with that because of the inability of Word 2007 files not being readable. The concept is, you go with a contemporary desktop file spreadsheet and word processor.
FA: I think that it is really important that, once we know, we get out the word in as reasonable a way as possible. My other concern has to do with Summer Session classes, Some people like me are scheduled to teach an online course the Monday after the conversion. Fortunately, I’m having a face-to-face class, so if I need an extra day, I’ll be OK, but would you have any advice at this point for people who are planning to have online classes or hybrid classes using D2L starting for Summer Session?
GUEST; I think we’ll have a better picture as we get closer to that timeline. Our best guess is that it might take an extra day.
FA: For example, I have lots (can’t understand word) with the coursework and a lot of questions and a lot of regarding the data of student work which I can use. If I had to retrieve all of them, I’d have to get an external hard drive terabyte. You guys are saying that there’s a place I can get it back later, that’s one question. The other question is the non-binding action—we don’t know what to do, what’s going to happen in this non-binding action. It’s kind of vague.
GUEST: There would be ways that you would be able to save that, either exporting that data outside of D2L or copying it to another storage within D2L, so if you wanted to save it, that would be something that we would be able to work with you on, The downloading of data—I’m not sure that it’s a huge amount for individuals that it would require extra special sorts of storage spaces that we found; at the moment, there may be a couple of exceptional circumstances, but generally I don’t think that the storage is as big an issue. The non-binding action has to do with patent office, and I can’t imagine that would be decided. A couple years?
GUEST: It’s going to take time for them to go through that process. I was encouraged yesterday—or was it the day before?—at the last meeting, they were really pushing hard on D2L. The System Office has legal counsel engaged on this and is really trying to get assurances that we’re not going to be left out there for the courts to take action against. On a legal front, I’m feeling like we have engaged some good resources from the Attorney General's Office to advocate on our behalf and work that side of it. That's the side I’m least comfortable with.
GUEST: One question I have is April 14th would be the next IMS. That’s a couple of weeks away. I’m just wondering, from an announcement standpoint, if we just have a big list in sending something out to the Faculty saying that we think that there’s…well, I think there’s a 99% chance we’re going to see some upgrade on June 6-8, and with the potential that it could run one day over at this point. And the second thing is to bring up the issue that some old discussion data might be deleted in-between there, and if they have issues with accreditation or wanting to save it for research to contact us, and we would work with them and show them how to save some of that data. Do you see any risks in taking those steps at this point before the 14th, before we know for sure?
ADM: I think that’s a good Idea.
FA: I do, too. You don't have much time between the 14th and the end of semester. There’s getting to be less and less time that Faculty have to do things. I would certainly appreciate having that information ahead of time. I would think it would be useful.
ADM: Again, this is something we just found out about through discussions within the last 48 hours.
FA: Has there been any discussion of work-around? In other words, finding temporary storage that can back up all of the information? There's going to be a lot of Faculty who either won't get the message, won’t be able to do the backup on their own. Then come next year sometime, they're going to be in panic mode either the information’s not there or whatever. Secondly, has there been any discussion about alternative ways of handling these problems, taking off some of this information on a temporary basis, back it up somewhere, let them get the new system upgraded with our small set of data. Has anyone thought about more efficient algorithms and coding to speed up things? The amount of information is only going to grow over the years, so if the new system is in place, and people do more work and are still having the same problems, at some point, people will want to have the information. What storage can the system could provide and not place the burden on individual Faculty?
GUEST: From a process standpoint in trying to improve the upgrade process, I’m aware of two actions that have been taken at the system level; 1) our system has definitely been pushing D2L as a vendor to try and improve their process, because it does take a very long time. So they have been pushing on that. I would say D2L as a company has been really focused on responding to this law suit in the last several months and really hasn’t made significant progress on streamlining their process. 2) The System Office did engage an external consulting firm—I believe it’s called the Swat Team—and they are actually coming from an external point of view, taking a look at the upgrade process and helping both us and D2L look for opportunities to make that process smoother. Regarding taking the data offline and putting it somewhere else, there’s a two-part answer: 1) There’s the discussion data; 2) and there’s everything else. If you look at everything else, with this new release there is a tool, although we haven’t seen it yet, that is designed to backup and take data offline before it's deleted. It’s designed to do that, we haven’t seen it.
GUEST: That’s the course content data, not the grades or the discussions or the surveys sorts of things. The short answer is D2L does not have an elegant way of doing what you have suggested.
GUEST: We have no way as an institution or even in the MNSCU system, it seems to me that we’re saying D2L is not in a position to do this properly, the burden is on the individual Faculty member. And in between, the University and MNSCU system is kind of saying, “Because of their problems, you folks take the onus.”
GUEST: Bottom line, there isn’t an easy way to go and take that data off that we know of; otherwise, we’d be doing it right now. So it really falls in two areas: 1) We show Faculty and Departments how to do that 2) If they need help, we will do that for them. Now, of course, if everybody in the whole system says do everything for me, I’m not sure how I will do that.
FA: Clone yourself. Multiple times.
ADM: I don’t know what would be the right word, but it isn’t so overwhelming that for the departments that anticipate needing that for accreditation that we would go and say, “You tell us what courses you need from the discussions, we’ll put people on doing that for you.”
FA: I just fear there are going to be many Faculty and departments who fall between the cracks, thinking that they’re not strong enough, not high enough off the ground to survive this process. A year or two from now, we’re going to hear some things about what happened.
GUEST: Specific to the discussion tool, I’d just like to ask one more time or at least make the comment that in the last IMS Advisory Council meeting, they were going down a road that looked to me like they were going to delete discussion data in a way that was not going to come back or be backed up in a systematic way. It’s pretty clear to me they’re headed down that road. If there are other examples of voices, and I’ll be sharing information with you on the meeting, I think it would be extremely valuable to hear those voices on April 14th, because this is moving rapidly. I could sense they're headed down this road. I did not hear some of these concerns brought forward in regards to discussions at that last meeting.
FA: If you have the perspective that an online course is presenting information, the discussion forms wouldn’t be very important. If you see online education as having a variety of formats, you might have a different take on that. Many of us who have a more distributed vision or more decentralized vision of teaching and learning find the discussion forums and the chats (as disgusting as the chat function is on D2L) important features. Archiving discussion is archiving critical thinking and work with students, too, so if we’re looking at discussing that sort of thing, we need those discussion forms.
FA: Not everyone is tech savvy and can do this on their own. A system-wide solution is far better than trying to help each individual Faculty member.
GUEST: If I knew or had any idea of where we would go for that system-wide solution, I'd be in front of the pack saying “Let’s do it” and be pushing it as much as I could. I’m sort of in a reactive mode on this. It’s not in control of system or software, so we’re trying to do the best we can given the cards we've been dealt. It’s certainly not ideal. I anticipate some surprises that aren’t going to be so pleasant. What we’re trying to do is minimize the disruption as much as we can.
FA: I appreciate that attention. We’ve been working on this for a long time. When I say “we,” I mean both locally and on the system level. I think our folks here react in a much more proactive way than is necessarily true in other places. Many of us predicted that, when school started in the Fall, we would have D2L crashes because of the archiving function problems. The folks here knew there was a difficulty and, when it crashed, we weren't surprised. I really appreciate the local help with this. We can certainly encourage Faculty to provide some input April 14th and I would encourage you to let me know ways we can help you get the word out.
GUEST: Thank you very much.
ADM: Since it’s already 4
PM, should be move to…
FA: The VSA?
4. VSA (ADM) (04/03/08)
ADM: One of the things that has been discussed in a variety of venues and has gone through the Strategic Planning Committee and other ways that have been mentioned has to do with the Voluntary System of Accountability that has been developed by AASCV and state land-grant universities as a way of taking information that is publicly available and providing it in a single location to people of the Institution, people of the community, parents, and prospective students. This is a sample of what the VSA report looks like, and it would be on our webpage. The University is moving forward with presenting this information in this format. We wanted folks to understand that and have an opportunity to ask some questions.
ADM: What timeline are you having this posted? Is the initial document which includes most of the public data that’s already available since the middle of May. There’s a component that they hope to have online right away which is the Cost Calculator. That allows prospective students to go on to the Cost Calculator and figure out exactly what their tuition would be if they enrolled at the University that they are interested in. The folks putting together the VSA are having some issues. They’re working through them, but there’s a delay; that won’t be available until Fall, There are two components: 1) There’s a place to report your student engagement measures that we get through participation in the National Survey of Student Engagement. There are some learning outcome measures that we are collecting through the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA). Those aren’t scheduled to go online through the system for about two years. We're scheduled to have ours up by the middle of May.
FA: A lot of people haven’t seen this before. Are there certain things that you’d like us to note about this example.
ADM: The Provost thinks it’s important that people are aware that as of right now 226 institutions are participating: five of the seven MNSCU institutions—(Bemidji, Metro, Minnesota State University (Moorhead) , Minnesota State University (Mankato), ourselves—and the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities) are participating in this.
ADM: One of the things that people have been trying to do is to persuade the people at the Office of the Chancellor that this is a better accountability system than the one that the Office of the Chancellor has developed, and that the universities at least should be able to use this in lieu of what’s in use in certain areas. Whether that will be approved or not remains to be seen, but there is a possibility that that might be considered.
FA: I have a question about “voluntary system”—does it mean that there’s no organization checking the carbon footprint, standards for that.
ADM: The data you report has to be from public sources, so it’s the data we report to the federal government. You have to follow those definitions, the data you report has to match those already public sources. It’s just bringing it together into one location that’s easily accessible by prospective students and parents and others. So that’s their form of verification. You can’t use your own definition; you have to follow the federal government’s definition.
FA: What are we going to be referred to as a community?
FA: The Fighting Chickens
FA: Can we name a mascot?
FA: How do we determine the community we’re in?
ADM: It often includes other information, like the Campus Safety Report, so there’s links to that information. It’s just a bringing together of already available information in one place.
ADM: Any other questions or comments?
FA: Thank you, we'll share this information.
FA: Do we have to pay for it?
ADM: We just have to maintain it. There’s no fee for it. But you have able to put the document on your site.
FA: Since Lisa’s here, we’re considering moving to the Progress Reports for the Academic Plan, if there’s no objection.
Progress Reports on Long-term Concerns
1. Academic Plan (ADM) (10/18/07)
ADM: Yesterday, during Faculty Forum Day, there were two open sessions for Faculty to talk about where we stand to date with the Academic Action Plan. A lot more material has been distributed, and additional material will be posted on the Web. Faculty are being requested to provide feedback through the survey which will go up on Web that will ask specific questions about various elements about the Academic Action Plan, Lisa, you said you could talk about the dates and schedules?
ADM: Sure. The instrument should be completed by mid-week. We’re going to ask the Steering Committee to review this instrument on Monday and provide feedback. It should be available for the campus on Friday, and will be open for seven days, to the following Friday. We should have initial results by end of April to share with campus.
FA: April 11th would be first available, from the 11th -18th?
FA: Do we have ahead of time an address or something that we could provide, for example, on Tuesday. Would that be possible so we could at least point to that?
FA: The sessions were well attended and I thought the level of engagement was high.
ADM: It was.
FA: The sense I had was that people were ready, rather than looking backwards, they were looking at what has occurred, and they’re anticipating what is going to happen next.
ADM: Yes, people put a lot of work into the departmental plans, into the work groups, and a lot of what they've done has been reflected in some material that was created in response to what happened in retreat, and that more of this will be ongoing as we move forward. It’s been a campus-wide effort and much appreciated.
FA: Is the PowerPoint that was presented in those forum sessions going to be available on the Web?
ADM: By noon tomorrow.
FA: OK, so we can point to that.
ADM: Yes. We will send out email.
FA: OK, so I would suggest that if you’re going to alert the University community, that you use something other than Announce.
ADM: What would you suggest?
FA: We’ve suggested in the past that administrative offices have ability to notify Faculty when important things come up. It seems to me this might be one thing that should go out in a general announcement to the community.
ADM: Via email?
ADM: As a means of communication.
FA: We've agreed that the Administration has the right to communicate with Faculty via email.
FA: Some of the concerns are how do we align with the structure, how much money do we have? How do we sustain new programs? Is there going to be Faculty as a part of the programs? Is there someone to generate the money? We’d like to hear from the President more.
ADM: And now you will.
ADM: One of the things I said in every department meeting that I went to was that we needed a picture of the size, shape, and character of the portfolio programs that departments and colleges felt were needed and appropriate over the next decade, because that picture of where we want to go has to drive our facilities plan and our budgeting strategy and our strategy to obtain more resources. A lot of departments heard that, and some didn’t. The ones that didn't said, “You don’t support what we do now. We’re not going to suggest any new programs until you give us enough money to do what we’re doing now.” The trouble with that absent vision of the future, we can't plan for the space to house those programs. Absent a vision of the future, we can’t talk about size of the budget we need for the future. We got pretty good response, but it’s not perfect. With respect to the programs, in the presentation we showed all the programs that were suggested. The Budgeting and Strategic Planning Committee has a task force within the Academic Planning process which has suggested a process for the review of new programs which will be used to evaluate investment options. And obviously we have to have a strategy to fund new things. I said from the very beginning that we're not going to simply ask the Faculty to do more with the resources they have now. So our ability to do new things will depend on our ability to fund them. The one thing the Faculty may have trouble with—but I believe we have to do it--is that institutions have to change and institutions have to figure out how to stop doing some things and do things that are more important. And we haven’t had that conversation on this campus yet of how do we decide when we should no longer do something. And that’s a conversation that I would like to have over the course of the next year as we continue to develop strategies. Occasionally a local decision is made, meaning a department discontinues some things, but there are Faculty on campus that don’t believe we should ever stop doing what we’re already doing. That’s a difficult conversation. I recognize that. It’s not weakening a good program to put money into a new program, but it’s making sure that every program is good and warrants continuing investment. It was perfectly appropriate in the departmental plans to put up front the need for additional resources to sustain the strength of what that department is doing, to make a case that we need additional resources to do this the way we ought to be doing it. I would hope that department would then go on and say, “Once this is done, these are the future steps we might take. If they did that, then we now have the information to know where a strong program can go in the future and build a strategy to help it go in that direction. If they said, “We’re not going to suggest any new programs until we get the funding that we need right now, then I don’t have the vision and can't include them in our future vision. Those who say, “We don’t have enough to do what we’re doing now”--that's a widely shared perception. Sometimes it’s right, sometimes it’s not. Certainly in the main, this University doesn't have all the resources that we need to do the job we’ve been asked to do. And so we should not take on more that would damage what we’re already doing. I'm confident in the partnership that we have with the Strategic Planning Committee and the processes that we will do the right thing, but we are going to need to talk about how we stop doing some things. And we’re going to need to make targeted and clear investment decisions based on the strong business case that this investment will advance the University.
FA: President Potter, I can happily report that in this room on Tuesday, the discussion about the question you raised, deciding what it is we’re not going to do, is happening. That was at Budget Advisory. The conversation is started.
ADM: Thank you.
ADM: Any other comments? Thank you.
ADM: We should go to top of the agenda.
1. Follow ups
a. Email as Official Communication, Redux (ADM) (03/13/08)
ADM: We did receive from you the response to the document we had earlier disseminated. We will be working on a revision and bring that back at a future Meet & Confer.
FA: So that’s on hold at this point?
ADM: Yes, we’ll come back to it, I hope, at the next Meet & Confer, so that eventually we can get this item off the agenda. Some people think it’s permanent.
FA: We actually took it off, but we put it back on there. That why I added the word “redux.”
for Faculty Co-Chair for Enrollment Management (FA) (12/13/07)
FA: We have asked that that be given some consideration. We think it would allow for an additional voice from that community, from that group of people to the Strategic Planning Committee, and that that linkage would help in the ongoing conversations that are necessary for us to move forward together. We understand there were some contemplated changes that impacted on your side the leadership in Enrollment Management. We still believe a faculty co-chair is a good model that can work and contribute to wider conversations and interplay of committees.
FA: If you recall last December when we requested this item, we pointed to the Strategic Planning model that we believe has been so successful where you have a faculty member and an administration representative planning the meetings, facilitating the conversation, sharing the planning for the work of that committee. That model we believe would be very effective for Enrollment Management also. As President of the FA, one of my jobs is to sit on that committee, and what I find is that a lot of topics come up that are things relating to Faculty concerns in very specific ways (elements concerning first-year experience, academic advising, retention issues), and there’ll be discussions surrounding what faculty should do. It seems to me if those kinds of conversations are going to happen in that space, that faculty members should help plan and facilitate those discussions so there’s an understanding of faculty’s roles and responsibilities, of what they're accountable for. What I’m finding happening now is that, since I sit on Strategic Planning and Enrollment Management also, I have an understanding of what’s happening in both, but there is no formal connection between the two. So on the one hand, we are doing academic planning and there is no coordination between that and the Enrollment Management Plan and the way those committees are structured. The Enrollment Management Director should be sitting on Strategic Planning also, and is not currently doing that. And so there’s no linkage, and so, we’re hoping that, if this request is approved, that we can help shape discussions that have strong effects on Faculty and help coordinate those two important planning functions-- Strategic Planning and Enrollment Management.
FA: OK, so when would that “yes” begin and would that “yes” have reassigned time attached? That was part of the question.
ADM: That was part of the original question? I don’t remember that part, but I would think it should begin in the Fall. I’ll have to look into issue of reassigned time, consider that and get back to you.
FA: It seems to me that part of that conversation might involve what kind of functions you hope the faculty person would perform. If it works like Strategic Planning does, it is actually a load concern.
FA: We do have another committee that was formed about a year ago. It is an advisory committee that functions, and I have responsibility…
ADM: It’s ending its 2nd year.
FA: …I’ve had the dual responsibility of Strategic Planning and Budget, and I do have reassigned time that allows me to do what needs to be done in those capacities. It would seem to me to be an appropriate item to have, the amount of reassign time. When you’re starting something new, it’s very difficult to make a guess on, and one of the things we didn’t do was ask for any reassigned time for the co-chair on Budget and Advisory Committee. We’ve had some conversation with Lisa about what's going to happen next year when I'm not co-chair of Strategic Planning and I’m not co-chair of Budget and Advisory, how we’re going to work that out.
ADM: We’re going to need, I would expect, a co-chair for Budget and Advisory group, and I guess the Faculty also have some parallel committees. You have a Budget Committee. I don’t know if you have a Strategic Planning Faculty Committee or if you have an Enrollment Faculty Committee or not. Some have parallels. This is just an observation: Sometimes I think we're well served by you, John, this year, but sometimes I’m torn as to whether we getting a broad range of Faculty engaged between Strategic Planning, Budget and now talking about Enrollment Management. They're related, and I’m sympathetic to your discussion. I guess that’s something for you to figure out internally how…
FA: We expect it’s going to have two different people.
ADM: Two what?
FA: A person that will be on Budget,…
ADM: And a Strategic Planning person?
FA: It would be two different people.
ADM: Oh, OK.
FA: I would expect this person would be a third.
ADM: That seems more effective.
FA: Perhaps what we should do is to look at more functions that those people might do. Strategic Planning happens very differently. We had a Faculty Chair, and when we moved to the co-chair model, the administrative person took on specific support functions and it’s pretty clear—and I think we could have a discussion about what would happen—and it seems to me that the Enrollment Management Plan is supposed to take off after Academic Planning also. Maybe we need to sit and look at what functions might happen and whether or not reassigned time would be appropriate and how much might be appropriate if we believe it is.
FA: I would say there is some value in having some overlap because your example of serving on the Strategic Planning and Enrollment Planning to be able to bring to those conversations. And John serves both on the Strategic Planning and Budget Advisory, so it would concern me if there would be different people unless they served on some of those other groups. There is some value to having overlap to understand the context.
FA: We could talk about how that could happen. We’ve got a few positions that will come open for Strategic Planning next year and we have a few openings that we can look at and populate with the same Faculty member in a spot representing the college. That’s something we can explore.
ADM: Let’s follow-up on that and proceed with that, but generally the idea is that, yes, we agree to have Faculty member co-chair.
FA: OK, thank you.
2. The Processes for Appointing FA Representation to College and University-level Committees under the IFO/MnSCU Master Agreement (FA) (10/18/07)
ADM: This topic got sort of folded into the idea of what the processes are for searches for faculty and administrative positions. Larry, do you want to talk to that?
ADM: We talked about this combined website for Affirmative Action and HR. I have a draft, a link we’d like to have comments and feedback by April 21 or somewhere in the next few weeks. I’ll pass these out. Some of you already have it. It’s not final so take a look at it and send comments to Susan and me, and make sure we both see the same comments.
ADM: This document is about search processes. Are you seeking more general information about University-wide committees?
ADM: This just got folded into that topic.
ADM: Right, but it’s only about searches, filling a position?
FA: So you’re seeking input on this from us, or from a broader range of people?
ADM: You and a broader range of people.
FA: So it’s OK for me to ask Faculty to take a look at this and provide feedback?
FA: We can make this Website available, and that feedback would go to both of you?
ADM: Yes, both of us.
FA: OK, thank you.
FA: We still have the question about understanding what those processes are and that the Faculty Association and you at the IFO are the sole drafters of this copy and that the request for representational committees should come to the FA.
FA: That was part of our discussion, an important part of our discussion, and I hope it shows up on this Website in some way.
ADM: This has to do with how to appoint members to search committees for filling faculty and administrative positions.
FA: OK, it doesn’t include MSUAASF positions also?
ADM: And how we fill ACSME positions.
ADM: How committees are constituted to do that.
FA: I’m assuming this will also go out so that they can look at this as well. Robert, I think we’ll have to take a look to see if this answers the questions that we had. I don't know, because I don’t know what's on the website. We have a link. But certainly we’ll take seriously looking at this and make sure our conversations are reflected in this.
FA: Didn't Balsi have some forms to share with us. Wasn’t that part of the discussion for Unfinished Business #2?
FA: We didn't talk about that. This may be a separate piece. So this is just limited to the searches; it doesn’t have anything to do with...I thought the website was more expansive. I think what we should do is bring back on the next Meet &Confer as a separate agenda item something that we thought was related.
FA: OK, thank you.
3. Grants – Overhead and Grants During Sabbaticals (FA) (02/28/08)
ADM: I think there are two issues here: 1) the overhead issue. In SCPS, it provides for a single overhead rate for the Faculty grants that we provide. But I do want to go back with Sponsored Program and HR and Business Services and review the overhead rate, as some things have changed and I’m not sure if the rate is really correct. I think it may be a little high, but I want to go back and review that, especially now that apparently the Faculty contract is going to move forward. We can use that as a guide and review it. The other thing--did we finish the issue of grants during sabbaticals? That part was finished last time is my recollection.
ADM: So that's where we're at.
ADM: So we still have to come back with a response on the other piece.
ADM: That’s a more general thing, but yes. It’s an opportunity for me to look and say, “Well, gee, it’s been a little while. We should go back and look at that overall thing. I’m also going to go to MNSCU and ask. I doubt, given where they’re at with technology, if they’re interested in making that blanket a little more custom to people, but it can get very complex, so I’m not sure about if it can intersect with our federal and other grant overhead statements. We have to have a little bit of consistency there. So I’m going to wade into that with some folks and see what options are available and confirm it’s appropriate or adjusted.
4. Vista Upgrade (ADM) (03/13/08)
FA: You had provided some information about VISTA, a recommendation that we proceed with more caution. That information went out in Senate packets. We haven’t gotten to that item yet. We should have a response next time.
1. Requests for
Presidential Ex-officio Appointments
ADM: There are several committee appointments that we were requesting. Some of those are ex officio appointments:
· Semya Hakim to serve on the Student Welfare Advisory Group (ADM) (04/03/08)
· Steve Klepetar from the Advising Center to serve on the search committee for the Associate Director for Career Services (MSUAASF position) (ADM) (04/03/08)
· (New Business Item #2) Request for one faculty from the Counseling Center to serve on the search committee for the Assistant Director of Career Services (MSUAASF position) (ADM) (04/03/08)
· (New Business Item #3) Request for six faculty (one from each college) to serve on the search committee (national search) for the AVP for Faculty Relations (ADM) (04/03/08)
FA: Can we take these one at a time?
FA: In particular, the case with Presidential Ex-Officio Appointments, those are made based on special expertise, as you know, and I think we have questions about the expertise. Wanda, I don’t know if you’re the one to speak to each case here?
ADM: Our view earlier in the year related to the Student Welfare Advisory Group. We made a request re: expertise related to Counseling Services when that appointment was made. So we’re coming back and asking that we appoint Semya to Student Welfare Advisory Group. Just a recap of the Student Welfare Advisory Group, the group does look at its practices, policies, and works closely with the group that Mitch chaired to make sure that our policies and practices are current as well as looking at new practices and policies. We believe that she will bring the expertise of her work with a variety of student groups and organizations, particularly multicultural groups. Do you want me to talk about Steve Klepetar?
ADM: Or should we continue with this one person?
FA: We don't have a problem with the individuals. They’re well respected. It's the use of the ex officio appointments that we are concerned about. 1) What special need is being defined that required special expertise? 2) Is there a way in which the Search Committee or the committee can be composed such that particular experiences or background are included? That way people can be identified to fit those needs.
FA: The Student Welfare Advisory Group isn’t an ongoing group; it’s a brand new group. We’re just getting that group started, so certainly in the future I think when it has better feet and legs, we can do that. The Search Committee is probably a separate topic.
FA: Yes. We’re not talking about these specific cases, it’s just that how frequently or how regularly…
ADM: I hear you.
FA: …If it's anticipated that there's a need for input from various parties or whatever background, perhaps that can be identified at the point that that committee is being formed. It gets back to the question under Unfinished Business #2, the role the Faculty has in identifying their representatives to committees versus the Administration identifying members to be a part of it.
ADM: Let me share some personal perspective on this and underscore Wanda's reflections how this committee has an evolving charge and recognizing new needs as the committee does its work. It’s been over the course of this year that we recognize that the University doesn’t have good strategies for evaluating students whose behavior may pose a risk to the community. The policies we have, the way we approach assessing and evaluation are fraught with privacy and other issues. When this committee was initially formed, that type of issue was not on the table. I would ask that the Faculty Association be flexible and work with us for the benefit of our students to populate this committee with people who have the expertise to help us to do the important work that needs to be done, some of it urgently for the safety of our community. I understand the general concern about ex officio appointments, but I would hope that as we look at this request in particular, that we would have the well being of our students in mind as we talk about this today.
FA: We are not talking about the individual or the committee, but the nature of the appointment. That's the focus of our questions.
FA: It may be, too, that it’s in defining this specific need and special expertise that we need more information. We could act in a different way and take each one of them separately. So Semya has expertise to do this--why? Are there other people like her. I think that’s where Robert’s question is—they might have the same expertise or is there some reason why this particular appointment is important at this time for this need? I think that’s the general question, isn’t it?
FA: The Association has a balancing thing to do; that is, we represent all of the Faculty. Most of us realize that the Faculty have a high opinion of their own expertise,
ADM: And well they should.
FA: And well they should. So, what we look at is populating the committees that give equal opportunity and access to the Faculty that might have expertise. The more we know about what that expertise is desired that would make it unique, the more comfortable it is for us to say, “Yes, it was, and is, specialized.” The balance of representing all of the Faculty and yet responding to what President Potter said, which is to make sure we have the talents that are necessary on the committee that you’re asking for. That's why we raise the subject. Someone may come to us and say, "Why didn’t I have an opportunity to serve?" When we know what the expertise was that was asked for and why the special expertise, it makes it easier for us to answer back to our full membership.
ADM: In this case, it is a pattern of relationships with student organizations that raised the perspective of students of color in the conversation about the policies that shape so that we avoid disparate impact, that we frame the policies in such a way that are culturally sensitive. So Semya’s expertise is not just in her discipline, but actually in the pattern of relationships, the contacts, the voices she brings with her. The issue that the work of this committee has been moving under great pressure and stress across the year, and I completely agree with Robert’s assessment of designing a committee and its rule so that it offers the opportunity to participate. But the nature of this work has evolved in understanding the challenges involved over the course of the year. The kind of work they’re doing has changed.
FA: We don’t have to be coming back and asking this repeatedly. We’re at a place now that where we have an understanding that the work has changed drastically and what this group needs to do.
FA: We are skating on thin ice in that, combined with what Robert said, that we have to be aware of pace. Sometimes we have to move faster, but the process is a difficult thing. We don't want the danger of giving that impression.
ADM: And I understand that, and appreciate that.
FA: Wanda, can you also speak to the appointment that you’re asking for Steve Klepetar?
ADM: I didn’t put that on the list, so, I can’t even…
ADM: That request came from the Director of Career Services who wanted some Faculty member with advising experience in particular to serve on that particular committee as part of a search committee rather than a standing committee. One of the ways to address concerns you had, I don’t know what the term of service on the Student Welfare Advisory Group is, and whether there's turnover among membership. Maybe we can talk about a temporary coming in until the actual roles are defined, and that way selection of Faculty could come in that format once we go through the process at the beginning of next year.
FA: I think we just need to be…If you’re using this more regularly, I think that we as FA we need to make sure that we are representing all the interests of all the Faculty, and that we know why a particular appointment is being made or what the expertise is. Then we can make a judgment based on that.
FA: Our response to the request for the appointments is that 1) We anticipated the reasons why these individuals were selected because we already knew their specific qualifications, their special qualities and capabilities. 2) We do see a difference between the two types of requests for appointments, one involving a new situation that requires some adjustments, and that’s understandable. The second case is the Search Committee and asking for Faculty input, particularly people with experience in advising, and that seems to be a call for the Faculty to request someone to serve on that committee. And so our response is that we would accept the appointment to the Student Welfare Advisory Committee because of the information that we’ve received. We would like to take the second request about participation on that committee and send out a call to the Faculty to submit their name if interested.
ADM: We withdraw the request to have a faculty member serve on that search committee.
FA: And the Career Services one?
ADM: Correct. And we withdraw the request for the next item for Counseling Center, to have a faculty member serve on that search committee.
FA: We didn’t object to that one.
ADM: Well, we’re withdrawing it now. But we do want six faculty to serve on….
FA: We need to talk about that one because we have questions about the nature of the position. It seems to be shifting to a national search. We’re assuming that there might be a different definition of that position.
ADM: No, the position will be the same, but the search will be national.
FA: We’ve never seen that position description. Can we talk about this at another time since we’re over time?
ADM: We are over time, and I have no problem providing you with a description of the position, but we are going to have a vacancy in that position shortly. I would like to get it filled. If we wait until next time, I don’t know that we have sufficient time to conduct a search. I would not like to begin the next academic year with that position unfilled.
FA: This is shifting models from a three-year, internally-filled position to an external national search that I’m assuming is not a three-year position, yes?
ADM: That would be correct.
FA: That’s a huge shift. I’m not saying we wouldn’t accept that, but we need information about it, we need a chance to talk about it, and I’m not sure what to do at this point.
ADM: One of the conversations we had when I first got here was concerned about number of internal appointments that were in place, The process for filling internal appointments which, to many observers, appeared to be wired and manipulated by the Administration. So one of the commitments we made early was to conduct external searches as expeditiously as possible for all the internal positions that were currently in place. We negotiated, as we worked through the list, and agreement to appoint Dr. Veeder to that position, but at the same time agreed, when he vacated that position, to conduct a national search along with a broader commitment to do national searches. I do think it’s important that the Association understand the role of having a conversation about how that role functions in the University, and the merits of going from an internal appointment to national search and venue. I would find conversation helpful and the feedback useful as we finalized a commitment to do an external search. Frankly, the Administration Team in its discussions was not of one mind in determining to do an external versus internal search. It would be helpful to have the perspective of the FA. I do share Michael's concern about the urgency as we go ahead.
FA: Would it be reasonable, and I’m assuming my Team’s going to give a “caucus” sign if it’s not, but would it be reasonable to bring this request to Senate, and bring back questions that we had, and have a tentative agreement that we’ll have a conversation about this. We’ll ask for representation but we haven't agreed to anything until we’ve had a chance to have this conversation?
FA: When is the next Meet & Confer?
FA: Two weeks, so we would have a chance to talk to the Senate about it Tuesday.
FA: The Senate could take a position.
FA: The Senate could take a position on this and come back.
FA: And we could receive some additional information to take to Senate.
FA: We could talk about this first next time.
ADM: This meeting is adjourned.
Minutes respectfully submitted by Joan A. Wingert