The 42nd Faculty Senate
Pestilence, forest fires, and volcanic eruptions did not disrupt Faculty Senate or the campus community, although we did experience damaging ice, snow storms, record setting rainfall, floods, and earthquakes during the Spring semester. Even so, Faculty Senate managed to complete a productive year.
Two Major Bills Passed
The biggest accomplishment of the Faculty Senate this past year was unquestionably the passage of the new Tenure and Promotion bill, and the new Merit Pay Policy bill. These replace the Merit Pay Policy that was due to sunset on April 30, 2008, which would have returned policy on promotion and merit to what was in the handbook five years earlier. Faculty Senate needed to either reauthorize the sunsetting policy or pass new legislation that could be accepted by faculty, the President, and the Board of Regents.
One significant change in the Tenure and Promotion bill is combining the applications of tenure and promotion into one process, rather than two separate processes, each with its own paperwork and calendar. It is expected that newer faculty will find this change to their advantage and that it will be a positive aspect of Faculty Handbook policies when recruiting new faculty.
The Merit Pay bill continues the post professorial merit compensation as before, but adds other options besides meeting the criteria for full professor, and removes the waiting period for the next application should a professor be denied post professorial merit.
The president has signed both the Merit Pay bill and the Promotion and Tenure bill, signifying his approval of them, and will present the bills to the Board of Regents at their May 9, 2008 meeting.
Mary Elizabeth Ambery, who will be Chair of Senate by then, and Martha Zlokovich, will both attend the May Board meeting.
I would like to commend the Professional Affairs committee in particular for their many hours of hard work writing, rewriting, meeting with one another, and meeting with President Dobbins, Provost Stephens, Vice Provost Janzow, and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. Even the very first draft of the bills met with praise from faculty and administrators alike. Both administration and Faculty Senate worked hard throughout the year, and both compromised significantly in crafting these two bills.
Faculty Senate discussed what other campuses in Missouri are doing to comply with the SB389 requirement for posting student evaluations of instruction. Academic Affairs brought forth a bill on this topic that will be voted on at the final meeting. The Grievance Policy bill was passed in September, and a form to accompany it will be voted on at the last meeting.
Missouri Association of Faculty Senates
SE’s Faculty Senate sent representatives to the Missouri Association of Faculty Senates meetings in October and February. Chair Martha Zlokovich, Chair-Elect Mary Elizabeth Ambery, and Senator Mike Cobb attended in October. Chair Martha Zlokovich, Senator Mike Cobb, and Senator Rick Althaus attended in February. Unfortunately severe winter weather cut the February meeting short. Visits to the hill in Jefferson City for all of the MAFS attendees were not planned, although Senator Althaus did find some time to talk to legislators. The ramifications of SB389 were discussed at length at both meetings. In February the discussion focused on meeting the SB389 requirement for posting student evaluations of instruction.
Faculty Senate Budget
Although Faculty Senate had requested a larger budget, after the budget review process was completed, it remained unchanged for next year. The provost did, however, commit to paying for four Senators to attend the fall and the spring MAFS meetings next year. Some costs were streamlined, such as eliminating an unneeded second phone line, when the Johnson Faculty Center budget was examined.
Faculty Senate Website updates
The Faculty Senate Website was moved to the new application promoted by the University, Red Dot. Although the program makes updating the website regularly a little cumbersome, new pictures and organization make it easier to navigate. If anyone has ideas for improving the website, please contact Faculty Senate Chair Mary Elizabeth Ambery, or Administrative Assistant Dana Glass. http://www.semo.edu/facultysenate/
Paula Cunningham retired in June of 2007 after serving the Faculty Senate, the Johnson Faculty Center, and the University for many years. Dana Glass, who had been hired in Fall of 2005 to work as Faculty Senate’s Administrative Assistant, took on some of the duties of overseeing the needs of the Johnson Faculty Center, while other duties related to the JFC were transferred to central scheduling.