40th Faculty Senate Chair’s Report
The Faculty Senate passed eight bills; three for Emeritus Faculty status for six faculty members. Others directly involved student-faculty interaction; one on interim grade reporting, one on adjudicating cases of academic dishonesty, and one relating to the attendance policy in developmental courses. An update of the 5-year calendar has been passed and is pending the President’s approval. The Faculty Senate also passed a bill that would remove the requirement for a nationally-normed student evaluation of instruction instrument. This bill was returned by the President.
Three resolutions were passed. The first had to do with requiring senators to serve on other legislative committees when also serving on the Membership Committee. The second had to do with recognizing changes related to the Office of Grants and Research Development. Finally a resolution was passed supporting a set of procedures drawn up by the Documents Committee for carrying out changes to the Faculty Handbook and tracking those changes.
Work continues on a grievance policy. A meeting with an Attorney retained by the University provided several suggestions for improving the policy. The Senate will also consider a resolution regarding the University policy of non-discrimination that does not include protection on the basis of sexual-orientation. The Faculty Senate was narrowly divided over a resolution recommending Faculty who wish to use student evaluation of instruction consult a set of guidelines drawn up by an ad hoc group on campus. The resolution was defeated by a margin of nine to eight with two abstentions.
Legislative Committees Action
I’d like to thank the Chairs of the various Legislative Committees:
Senator Bruce Mims did an exceptional amount of work dealing with a strenuous load on the Professional Affairs Committee. The committee acted to address inconsistencies between policies and practices relating to the use of student evaluation of instruction in personal decisions by directing letters to those decision makers in the promotion and tenure process.
Senator Cheryl Milde stepped in for Pat Willingham to guide the Compensation Committee. Hopefully the group will have negotiated the largest Faculty pay increase in years. They also brought serious consideration to addressing salary compression and increasing Professional Development dollars. The committee has been cited by the President and Provost as being particularly effective.
Senator Dave Reinheimer stepped in for David Baird as Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee, and had to “make up some ground” in preparing the 5-year Calendar. I’d also like to thank Senator Reinheimer for acting as Faculty Senate Liaison to Student Government.
Senator Skip Smith worked diligently as Membership Committee Chair and as a member of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. He has kept bettering the life of Faculty as a guiding principal of his work on the Faculty Senate.
Senator Zlokovich and the Governance Committee have done a fine job of patiently seeing through the legislative process relative to the proposed Grievance Policy.
Finally Senator MacLeay and the Documents Committee should be cited for being particularly effective. The changes in technology, the changes in the operation of the Faculty Senate, and the changes in the organization of the University have all made the job of keeping Faculty Senate documents and their organization up to date a daunting task.
Operations of the Faculty Senate
The operation of the Faculty Senate has seen a major change. Over the course of the summer and into the fall we navigated the hiring process and were lucky to hire Dana Glass as our new administrative assistant. We also “re-claimed” our space in the Johnson Faculty Centre by physically separating the JFC Office from the Faculty Senate Office. This involved a dusty day of sorting and cleaning, the installation of a Faculty Senate dedicated phone line (x2201), and purchase of a new computer, monitor, and flash drive to back up Faculty Senate files. Dana has attended as many training sessions as possible, including Banner Navigation. She has also been trained in FrameMaker software and has cleared a large backlog of changes to the Faculty handbook. The Documents Committee and its Chair Daniel MacLeay have been very helpful in the process.
With the help of Ms. Glass the Faculty Senate has met many of the goals of the Recommendation on Faculty Senate Reform. Principally, she has done an excellent job of electronic promulgation of minutes and other documents. She will be working on the searchable database of Bills begun in 2002. She has also created a database of Faculty members and their committee participation. This may serve future membership committees in identifying Faculty to fill committee vacancies.
Faculty Senate Involvement in Major Campus Initiatives
The Faculty Senate took an active role in three important campus initiatives: implementation of the Banner computing system; the AQIP accreditation process; and the Strategic Enrollment Management Taskforce. The Chair-elect and I participated in the Faculty Banner Taskforce that tried to facilitate Faculty training, and advise Faculty on changes in procedure that resulted from the use of the new computing system. Co-chairs Provost Stephens and Vice-president Holt invited Faculty Senate to organize Faculty participation in the AQIP accreditation process. To that end the Faculty Senate recommended names of four at-large Faculty and four Senators to President. Two at-large Faculty and two Faculty senators were selected. Vice-president Holt was encouraged to have more Faculty input to the Student Success Initiative. Senators Zlokovich and Smith, and I became participants on the Taskforce.
As Faculty Senate Chair I also participated in Phase III of Program Review. This will be an ongoing process that involves Faculty Senate Representation. Chair-elect Cobb, Senator Althaus, and I visited with the Missouri State Legislators as part of “Higher Education Day.” Representative Nathan Cooper was kind enough to recognize our group on the Floor of the House of Representative. Chair-elect Cobb also served as our representative to the Missouri Association of Faculty Senates. Part of our mission in those proceedings was to lobby in behalf of the River Campus – certainly a major campus initiative.
As departing Chair I would just like to say “what a long, strange trip it’s been.” I am grateful to the many Faculty Senators who have helped out along the way; many of those are the Chairs mentioned above. Certainly I owe a debt of gratitude to Senator Rick Althaus for acting as Parliamentarian, as well as his advice as past Faculty Senate Chair. I would also like to cite Senators Zhang and Wang for their hard work on Professional Affairs and their willingness to participate in all Faculty Senate activities. Senator Elaine Jackson has been a consistent contributor to the minutes. I apologize to those I have not credited. Chair-elect Mike Cobb has served the Faculty Senate in a number of ways – representing us to the Administrative Council, the Council of Deans, the Missouri Association of Faculty Senates, and more.
I would like to thank the following members of the Campus community for helping the Faculty Senate and myself: President Dobbins, Provost Stephens, Vice-president Holt, Vice-provost Janzow, the Council of Deans, Vice-president Mangels, Carol Heizer, Marti Suddemeyer, Christie Renner, Debbie Fulton, Mona Hughey, Martha Henckel, Sandy Hinkle, Dean David Starrett, SG President Adam Hannah, SG Liaison Heather Valle, and Vice-president Jim Cook.
My personal philosophy has been to engage the Campus community. I feel the Senate has to lead by example - to be the best teachers, advisers, scholars, and community members. For example some may have felt it inappropriate for the Faculty Senate to do fund-raising for Katrina relief, but I suggest that activity cast the Faculty Senate in a good light to the Administration, the Professional Staff, the Clerical/Technical Staff, and the Cape Girardeau community. Likewise I feel it has been better to stay engaged with the Banner, AQIP, the Information Commons, Student Evaluation of Instruction, and the Student Success Initiative even though we find some parts unpalatable, rather than to distance ourselves and lose influence.
Thanks again to all the Senators!