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THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE AT CHATTANOOGA
FACULTY COUNCIL MINUTES

April 3, 1997
Signal Mountain Room
University Center

Elected Members Present: Ralph Anderson, Martha Butterfield, Prakash Damshala, bert Duffy, Joe Dumas, Fritz Efaw, Marvin Ernst, Gene Ezell, Leroy Fanning, Jim Hiestand, Bruce Hutchinson, Tom Kozubowski, Deborah McAllister, Bob Marlowe, Gail Meyer, Greg O’Dea, John Phillips, Verbie Prevost, Bill Prince, Laurie Prather, Farhad Raiszadeh, Barbara Ray, Mike Russell, Joyce Smith, Kristin Switala, Larry Tillman, John Trimpey, Margaret Trimpey, Shela Van Ness, Bruce Wallace

Elected Members Absent: Tatiana Bilgildeyeva, Craig Laing, Judy Miler, David Shepherd, Jim Stroud

Ex-Officio Members Present: Sheila Delacroix, Jane Harbaugh, Charles Renneisen, Tim Summerlin

Among the Guests Present: Mary Tanner, Ralph Moser, Lloyd Davis, Carole Taylor, Bob Norred, Ted Miller

Warning: These will not be the clever minutes you have become accustomed to!

Important Actions and Announcements

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*Passed several Handbook changes

*Passed two proposals and a Statement on Professional Fitness

*Approved the four recommendations of the Student Rating of Faculty Instruction Committee

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Joshua Munsey, a student of Dr. Mario Abril, provided the music.

Call to order

The meeting was called to order at 3:16 by President Gene Ezell. Dr. Peggy Gordon Elliott, a candidate for Chancellor, was present at the beginning of the meeting to answer questions. After President Ezell opened the floor for questions, Professor Mike Russell asked Dr. Elliott about her stance on collective bargaining. She responded that it is all right under certain circumstances; she herself was a member of AFT when she was a classroom teacher. She noted that some collective bargaining, however, was not helpful, including that which took place in Akron while she was there. Professor Robert Marlowe tried to clarify her stance by asking, "So you’re not opposed to university faculty unions?" She responded that she thought usually another type of bargaining could be more useful. One Faculty Council member expressed concern that faculty members were not given the opportunity to express their ideas. Dr. Elliott responded that usually you cannot change the amount of money you have, so it is simply reallocated. With unions, sometimes fewer people’s voices are heard. She encouraged becoming aware of the state law before you decide to unionize. Professor Bruce Wallace asked her if she did research in cyberspace and her stand on having a computer literacy course as a requirement for graduation. Dr. Elliott responded that she thought students might outgrow a computer literacy course rather quickly. She believes that it is more important for the university faculty to be "up to speed"; students are going to be able to use them. Professor Wallace asked if that meant she thought that professors would be using computers in the classroom. Dr. Elliott said that her research showed that some faculty are using it as a learning tool, but many are using it just as a clerical tool. Many places use computers in composition or math, but the faculty are not really incorporating them into their instruction. She believes that it is important to do that. She noted that she also likes books! Professor Russell, pleased that Dr. Elliott likes books, commented that he worried that a technology emphasis would keep us from getting needed library materials. He asked what her stance on library material vs. sports was. Dr. Elliott said it was important to build a good undergraduate library; the library needs to have emerging databases. Most of the places she has been have put the state libraries on line. With that system, usually faculty members can get information from member institutions within twenty-four hours. The private universities are now being added to the network in Ohio. When she was in North Dakota as a senior fellow, two campuses ( both small and poor) were served by the same faculty, who lived in different places during different weeks, and had students who relied on laptops for communication; there was little paper flow, and students were excited about Internet research. At this point, Ms. Susan Cardwell came and escorted Dr. Elliott to other meetings.

Approval of Minutes

Professor Leroy Fanning moved and Professor Shela Van Ness seconded the motion to approve the minutes. The motion passed unanimously. Acting Provost Tim Summerlin reported that after Faculty Council’s recommendation that the 1997 summer school budget should be at least commensurate with the 1996 summer school budget, $1.087 million had been added to the 1997 budget, bringing it within $100,000 of last year’s budget.

Committee Reports

Handbook Committee

Professor Gail Meyer reported on several proposed handbook changes, including a wording change for Section 7.1.4, the addition of a description of the Convocation and Mediation Committees, a change in the deadline for Faculty Council minutes, and a change in the Graduate grade appeals procedure ( the Grade Appeals for graduate students will go before the entire faculty). Professor Bruce Hutchinson wondered about changing the deadline for Faculty Council minutes, because he thought every faculty member should have a chance to read them in time to contact representatives before the next Faculty Council meeting. Professor Meyer said that Secretary Renee Lorraine had requested the change because she is not always able to get them to everyone at the same time; she wanted the guidelines to reflect reality. Professor Martha Butterfield commented that with fourteen days from one Faculty Council meeting to the next, she thought that ten working days would accomplish what Professor Hutchinson wanted. Professor Hutchinson said that he wants everyone to get the minutes at least one working day before the next meeting. Martha Butterfield said that this was not always possible, especially at the end of the year when Faculty Council meets on Thursday and then on Reading day. Professor Ralph Anderson asked if it was necessary to send a paper copy. Couldn’t Faculty Council minutes be "published" through the new Raven system? President Ezell reminded him of the have-nots without access to e-mail. Professor Russell noted that Faculty Council members are representatives and should contact their colleagues if they do not get the minutes. Professor Gail Meyer said that she had been working with Dr. Karen Adsit of the Walker Teaching Resource Center to develop a bulletin board rather than getting everything sent to your computer. That way you could use your computer to go find it. Professor Marvin Ernst had a question about the description of the Mediation Committee. He wondered who these people were. Professor Meyer answered that faculty members who are certified mediators should let the Committee on Committees know if they are interested in serving on that committee; they could be appointed. The motion passed unanimously by voice vote.

Committee on Committees

Dr. Verbie Prevost said that the Convocation and Mediation Committees had been added to next year’s committee list. If you want to serve on either committee ( she reminded Council that you must be a certified mediator to serve on the Mediation Committee), please notify her through campus mail or e-mail. She noted that her e-mail to the campus about who had responded to the call for committee requests was not intended to embarrass anyone. By doing this, she was able to find out that certain individuals and the School of Business never received the forms. She has now sent them forms. She also noted that the Faculty Club is no longer a Faculty Council committee; it now has an association which handles the business.

Athletics Committee

There were no action items and no questions.

General Education

The General Education Committee’s report will be given April 17.

Graduate Council

Professor Bill Gurley presented three proposals, from CEAPS on Educational Technology, EHLS for the MS in Athletic Training, and the Statement of Professional Fitness. Professor Jim Hiestand noted that the CEAPS document has no sign off sheet. Professor Gurley reported the votes, taken at two meetings. At the first (March 13, 1997), the motion passed 10-0-1; at the second ( March 27, 1997), the motion passed 11-0-0. Professor Mike Russell questioned the Statement of Professional Fitness. He wondered if there was liability for the University because of such a document. Professor Gurley responded that there wasn't, according to our University attorney who believes it is a good idea to have such a statement. Professor John Phillips asked how the new programs impacted faculty. Professor Gurley noted that the proposals themselves address that. Professor Phillips asked if the MS in Athletic Training program required faculty to spend additional time. Professor Leroy Fanning noted that some responsibilities would be shared; other courses are being developed. If the program is approved, two people will be selected to implement it. Some of the courses have both undergraduate and graduate students in them.

Professor Joe Dumas asked if the Professional Fitness statement applied to a specific program. Professor Gurley responded that it did not, but it gives any program a chance to implement it. Professor Larry Tillman asked if the statement referred only to graduate programs. He thought it should also refer to undergraduate programs. President Ezell explained that this proposal is for graduate only; there would have to be a separate motion for it to apply to undergraduates. The Academic Standards Committee could bring that up. Professor John Trimpey asked for clarification of the EHLS proposal. He wanted to know if the department was going to give graduate credit for an undergraduate course. Professor Fanning said that only three courses would be co-listed. The rest are 500-level stand alone courses. Professor Ernest asked if the joint undergraduate/graduate courses would have additional requirements for the graduate students. Professor Fanning said yes. The motion passed unanimously by voice vote.

Student Rating for the Faculty

In the absence of Professor Tom Jones, Professor Mike Russell, a committee member, offered to answer any questions. The report contains four points. Professor Fritz Efaw spoke against point #1, which would add four more questions to the current " The instructor of this course is an effective teacher." He believes that there is no reason to add instruction or for administrators to have something to hold over the heads of faculty. He cannot see how these questions would improve instruction. He further believes that if individual departments want this information, they can add it to the form themselves. In the past when the survey had seventeen questions, only one was used. He wondered how this questionnaire would be used and believes that is the significant question. He moved tabling #1 pending a detailed report on how the administrators used the former survey when additional questions were employed. He also encouraged the Committee to survey faculty to discover what effective questions individual faculty members had added to the form. President Ezell suggested that Professor Efaw move to divide the question; that is, to separate point #1 from the other three, rather than tabling the motion. Professor Efaw so moved, and Professor Margaret Trimpey seconded the motion. Professor Mike Russell is convinced that the instrument is used both for improving teaching and to give administrators information. He said that these questions were added by the Committee because many departments were already using them. The committee tried to identify questions that would not generate unusual reactions from administrators. That is, the Committee did not want to put in questions that could be used to "tar" faculty members. The members of the Committee also felt that Department heads were more familiar with teachers’ work than administrators were. Professor Kristin Switala said that these are the types of questions junior faculty members need in order to improve their teaching. Professor Martha Butterfield said that the written comments go first to the deans, then to the department heads, and then to the faculty. She also noted that for Professor Efaw to get the feedback he wants about effective questions, he would have to poll individual faculty members. Professor Joe Dumas said that he agrees with Professor Efaw, but in the past, he was not aware of which of the seventeen questions was being used by administrators. He believes that having only one question has encouraged students to take more time to write comments on the back of the evaluation; he personally likes having only one question and more written feedback. Professor Efaw further suggested that faculty members who find the additional questions useful should add them. He saw no reason to impose them on all faculty. Professor Switala said that junior faculty might not know what questions to ask. She thinks that these do improve teaching. If people act on these responses and improve their teaching, she gets better students and we all benefit. Professor Gregory O’Dea believes that one question is meaningless; it does not tell us how we are effective or ineffective. If evaluations are helpful, it is because the teacher follows through on the information. The English Department has a set of questions that untenured faculty must use and that tenured faculty may elect to use. Professor Russell said that he does not believe the committee can go around and find out how the instrument is used. Professor Shela Van Ness spoke against dividing the motion. She thought the committee did a good job finding questions which pertain to all classes. She believed the Administration should have to explain how they use the results. Professor Dumas spoke in favor of dividing the issue because there are both non-controversial and controversial parts. The vote on dividing the motion failed with 14 yes and 15 no votes. Professor Hiestand spoke in favor of point #1 in the original proposal. He finds it a welcome expansion. Professor Gail Meyer also favors the additional questions, but believes that the "effective teacher" question should not be first. She believes that after students check off other qualities, it is easier for them to decide that they have an effective teacher. Professor Ernst also likes the additional questions but not the mandate that all use them. He thinks the written comments have gotten better. His department uses ten additional questions, which they have modified after seeing those of other departments. He would like to see other departments distribute theirs. Professor Verbie Prevost thinks that she gets fewer written comments now that there are fewer questions. She thinks that additional questions stimulate students to know what they should comment on. She does agree that the "effective teacher" question should be last. Professor Fritz Efaw moved to table the entire motion pending a full and detailed report from the committee on (1) how administrators use the survey; (2) what additional questions have been used by faculty and what their experiences have been with them; and (3) how additional items proposed will improve instruction. Professor Dumas seconded the motion, which failed. With regard to the original recommendations, Professor Russell thought that it would be easier to add questions to the current form; the Committee had not addressed the matter of order. Professor Ralph Anderson felt that the one question showed him nothing. He thought it na´ve that anyone would think the administration did not use that single question to evaluate faculty. He believes we need to explore other ways of evaluating faculty. Professor Margaret Trimpey said that she is curious why the Faculty Council would want to mandate the additional questions Although she likes them and plans to put them on her evaluation form, she does not believe that all faculty need to use them. Professor Mike Russell explained that one dean has encouraged departments in his college to use other evaluation tools, for example videotaping a class. Professor Larry Tillman asked if point #4 ( which reads "that the students’ written comments be sent directly to the Department Heads and not to the Deans as is presently done") means that the deans will not get the comments. Professor Russell said yes. Professor Tillman asked if Faculty Council approved these changes, would the full faculty have do so as well. President Ezell said no; it would be approved for fall evaluations. Professor Efaw believes that by discussing whether the question about being an "effective teacher" goes at the top or bottom just suggests that you know that is the only question the administration looks at. Professor John Trimpey suggested that if you’re concerned about point #4, you are suggesting that only the department head has any insight into teaching. He does not agree. Professor Ernst remarked that the more we discuss the four points, the less he wants to consider them together. Professor Russell said that he was against separation. Professor Van Ness said that she did not understand the point about " mandate." Professor Ezell said it is a question of whether certain questions are or are not required; the evaluation itself is mandated. Professor Ralph Anderson said that point #3 (adding a category "unable to judge") makes him uneasy. Shouldn’t students who attend class be able to judge? Professor Prevost suggested that many students do not know whether they are graded fairly. Professor Butterfield wanted to know if having only one question was legal. She believed that if anything surfaced, the faculty member would have cause to challenge the decision. She suggested referring this to the Committee for next year. Because some students are not answering the one standard question which is there, the data is skewed. Professor Russell explained that that was one reason why they wanted to add the "unable to judge" choice. Professor Bruce Wallace said that like John Trimpey, he thought broader viewing of the results is good; deans as well as department heads should see the comments. Professor Switala called the question (to the great relief of many), which was seconded by Professor Fanning. The motion passed. The vote on the recommendations of the committee was 17 yes and 12 no; the motion passed.

Administrative Reports

Because of a scheduling conflict, Mr. George Ross asked to give his report at the April 17 meeting.

Old Business

There was no old business.

New Business

Professor Marvin Ernst expressed concern that we read about major budget questions in the newspaper, but no one from administration is here to discuss this matter. He wondered if faculty had any input. Professor Ezell reminded him that Mr. Ross plans to be at the next meeting. Professor Bruce Wallace asked about the procedure for starting another Faculty Council committee. Professor Ezell explained that we had just voted on two; Professor Bill Butterfield simply brought up a description and Faculty Council voted to accept them. Professor Van Ness wanted some information. Would the Monday meetings she had heard about decide on budget cuts? Professor Tom Payne said that there are on-going meetings; he has been to a number of them. Associate Provost Jane Harbaugh said the Academic and Administrative council meets Monday to discuss budget matters. Professor Van Ness asked if there was faculty input, to which Dr. Harbaugh replied, "No." President Ezell asked if faculty members could attend. Dr. Harbaugh responded that since it was the Provost’s meeting, she did not want to answer for him. She sees this meeting as an opportunity to discuss how to deal with budget cuts, not actually make them. As of May1, they will have to make some decisions because cuts affect long-range planning. Professor Van Ness thinks that some people from Faculty Council should attend, probably President Ezell and the chair of the Budget and Economic Status committee. Dr. Harbaugh said that they would probably be allowed to attend. President Ezell said that he would ask them. Professor Ernst said that we should not encourage across-the-board cuts which could hurt students. Dr. Harbaugh said that is a concern. Professor Martha Butterfield asked if at this strategy meeting, people would use documents generated before or would they be reinventing the wheel. Dr. Harbaugh responded that those documents had been circulated. Professor John Trimpey noted that there are two issues here: there is a difference between reallocation and budget cuts. Professor Tom Payne has been present at many of the budget hearings and is convinced that they are dealing with strategy. He has already been invited to a meeting on the 29th; he knows that the administration does not want to affect the major mission of the University. The old document was circulated and discussed at the last meeting, and saving academic units was a priority. The System issued a directive oriented against across-the board-cuts; they want to look at items individually. Everything is being considered, as is evident in the chancellor’s campus-wide e-mail which discussed some options. Professor Butterfield encouraged all faculty and students to write to the legislature to fund higher education. Cutting off funds will hurt our state overall. Professor Payne mentioned that the House Finance Committee had requested a list of reductions and their impact. Professor Bruce Hutchinson noted that the interview with Dr. Elliott was scheduled for a bad time when many people were in class. Professor Gail Meyer said that the schedule is set in Knoxville. Dr. Elliott’s open meeting was first scheduled at the same time as this Faculty Council meeting and in the Signal Mountain Room. She e-mailed Homer Fisher to ask him to change it. Friday morning was the second choice. Unfortunately the Search committee does not get to do the scheduling. Professor Hutchinson opined that late afternoon is not really very good either. Homer Fisher should arrange the meetings so that it is more convenient for students to attend. Meyer described the scheduling nightmare which exists when there are twenty-five groups which must meet with each candidate. She was concerned about the students who serve on the committee having to miss class; the students assured her that was not a problem. Professor Meyer urged people who meet the candidates to fill out the forms and return them to the committee. Professor Bill Prince reminded people that the material about the candidates is available at the Circulation Desk, not the Reference Desk.

Announcements

There were no announcements.

Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 5:07 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

Sally Young

Acting Secretary

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