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THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE AT CHATTANOOGA
FACULTY COUNCIL MINUTES

November 21, 1996
Signal Mountain Room
University Center

Elected Members Present: Ralph Anderson, Mary Brabston, Martha Butterfield, Robert Duffy, Joe Dumas, Fritz Efaw, Marvin Ernst, Gene Ezell, Leroy Fanning, Jim Hiestand, Bruce Hutchinson, Tom Kozubowski, Craig Laing, Renee Lorraine, Gail Meyer, Judy Miler, John Phillips, Verbie Prevost, Bill Prince, Barbara Ray, Farhad Raiszadeh, Mike Russell, David Shepherd, Joyce Smith, Jim Stroud, Kristin Switala, Larry Tillman, Margaret Trimpey, John Trimpey, Shela Van Ness, Bruce Wallace

Elected Members Absent: Tatiana Bilgildeyeva, Deborah McAllister, Bob Marlowe, Joe Trahan

Ex-Officio Members Present: Sheila Delacroix, Fred Obear, Charles Renneisen, George Ross, Tim Summerlin

Among the Guests Present: Bill Aiken, Reginald Avery, Richard Brown, Herb Burhenn, Brenda Davis, Larry Ettkin, Pam Holder, Larry J*, Ralph Moser

Important Actions

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Council approved a motion to have the Records Office change the grade of "F" to "WF" for students receiving Title IV financial aid who withdraw unofficially from the University. See below under "Standards Committee."

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Processional bagpipe music was provided by Guerry Professor Edward Green. Professor Green was stunningly clad in a kilt.

Call to Order

President Gene Ezell called the meeting to order at 3:18 p. m.

Approval of Minutes

Professors Leroy Fanning and Shela Van Ness moved and seconded approval of the minutes. Professor Fritz Efaw indicated that the courses he had wanted deleted from the International Studies minor were Bus/Mark 318 and 484, Bus/Man 439 and 483, Bus/Acct 481, and Bus/Fin 482. Professor Brabston stated that on line 8 of page 3, "Professor McCallister" should be substituted for "Professor Brabston." The minutes were approved as amended.

Committee Reports

Departmental Honors Committee

Committee Chair Jim Henry made motions to approve proposed Departmental Honors projects and projects approved for Departmental Honors. The motions to approve passed by voice vote. Professor Henry thanked Departmental Honors advisors and Committee members, and reported that a Departmental Honors Web page can be reached at http://www.utc.edu/udhc.

Standards Committee

Standards Committee Chair Charles White moved to authorize the grade of WF for students who are receiving Title IV financial aid and who have stopped attending UTC classes without withdrawing officially. WF would be the equivalent of an F for all academic purposes. This motion is in response to a federal audit of UTC. The government wishes to recover financial aid that had been provided for such Title IV students; the use of "WF" would allow such students to be targeted and monies to be refunded. Pell grants would be returned to Pell, student loans would be returned to the appropriate bank, etc. WF's would be applied only to Title IV students who had, due to unofficial withdrawal, received an F in all classes. Professors would be consulted to determine approximately when the student had dropped. (This would not require professors to take roll regularly; professors would simply be asked for the last available evidence that the student had attended class. Documentation from only one of the student's professors would be sufficient.) An explanation of the WF grade would be provided on the student's transcript.

Both Dean Charles Renneisen and Professor Marvin Ernst were concerned that Title IV students who had earned the same grade (F) as other students would be given what appeared to be a different grade, and urged consultation with legal staff on the issue. Professor Stroud pointed out that theoretically a student could have been long gone and still receive a passing grade in one or more courses. Director of Records Brenda Davis responded that as far as the government is concerned, a student who earns a passing grade is still "here." Professor Butterfield noted that we are already expected to target students who have stopped attending classes. Director Davis responded that this practice would not be sufficient to properly identify the Title IV unofficial withdrawals. Professor Mike Russell asked approximately how many students would receive a "WF" in a given year. Director Davis replied that of the 200 students who had received straight F's last year, over fifty had counted as Title IV-type unofficial withdrawals. (Upon hearing these statistics, some Council members moaned, gasped, or uttered other concerned sounds.) Professor Hiestand asked if students would be liable for returning funds. Director Davis indicated that if a refund were in order, the refund would go to whomever awarded the funds. In response to a query by Professor Hiestand, Vice Chancellor George Ross stated the University could lose tuition in some of these cases. Depending on when the student disappeared, in some cases a refund would not be forthcoming.

Professor Hiestand indicated that it was not clear who would record the WF grade. Would the Professor do so? Director Davis replied that the professor would record an F in such cases and that the F would be changed to a WF by the Records Office. In light of this, Professor Butterfield moved to amend the original motion to clarify that the grade of F would be changed to WF by the records office for students receiving Title IV financial aid who withdraw unofficially from the University. The amendment was seconded. Professor White added that such an amendment should include the statement that WF is the same as F for all academic purposes, and Professor Butterfield concurred. Professor Jim Stroud asked if a positive decision on the motion would go to the general faculty, and was told that it would. The amendment and the original motion each passed by voice vote. President Ezell asked that Brenda Davis consult with legal staff on the WF proposal and report back to the Council in January.

Professor White then moved on behalf of the Standards Committee and Assistant Dean of Business Administration John Fulmer that Business majors take at least 50% of their business classes at UTC. Professor Bruce Hutchinson asked how Business courses were to be identified, and Professor White answered that they all begin with a "B." Professor Dumas wondered if it wouldn't be more accurate to stipulate credit hours rather than courses, and was told that the language used was that recommended by a Business accrediting agency, the American Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). Professor John Trimpey posed the following question: If a student entered UTC with business hours from another institution, would the 50% rule apply to all business courses taken or only to business courses taken at UTC? There was also some question as to whether the 50% rule would apply to a particular major or to an entire business program. Professors Hutchinson and Bruce Wallace moved and seconded that the original motion be tabled until more specific information could be provided and the intentions of the AACSB were clearly ascertained. The motion to table passed by voice vote.

Faculty Rating Of Administrators Committee

Committee Chair Dave Shepherd reported that one of the major challenges of the Faculty Rating of Administrators Committee (FRAC; not to be confused with FARC) is finding a way to raise the level of participation in the evaluation forms distributed to faculty. (Depending on the administrator, only 25-50% of faculty turn in their evaluation forms.) In a faculty survey taken on why more faculty do not respond, the main reason cited was that the evaluation forms are not thought to be taken seriously enough or "do not have any teeth." The FRAC therefore recommends that the results of the evaluations become a meaningful, mandatory part of the EDO process for administrators. In order for this to happen, the Committee recommends that administrators be evaluated as early as January or February. The Committee also recommends that all evaluation forms be sent to the appropriate administrators. (In the past forms were not evaluated if there were only 3 or less received from a particular department.) Another complaint from faculty is that the forms are way too long (and rather tedious, a Council member offered). The Committee thus recommends that the items in Attachments A and B (see Addenda) be substituted for the present evaluation forms for the Provost and Chancellor. Professor Shepherd also recommended that "Effectively manages academic programs" be added to the list of items for the Provost.

Professor Russell asked who had access to the evaluation forms. Professor Shepherd responded that the forms were sent to the administrator being evaluated and to that administrator's superior. Professor Russell then expressed concerns that written comments on a form could in some cases be recognized by Heads (due to knowledge of handwriting, style, or content) as that of a particular faculty member. Students evaluating faculty can "vote with their feet," not taking further courses of professors they are critical of. Faculty members, in contrast, remain under the aegis of a Head they have critiqued, a condition that could lead to awkwardness or even retribution. Professor Russell thus felt that faculty comments about their Heads should not be accessible to those Heads, and that the comments should instead be communicated verbally to the Heads by the appropriate Dean. Acting Provost Tim Summerlin felt that this might be problematic in that at least theoretically, Deans might not relay all of the information offered by a faculty member, or might not capture its precise meaning. Professor Russell replied that he would hope that administrators would report comments fully and accurately. Professor John Trimpey wanted to know why on earth Professor Russell would assume something like that. Professor Russell conceded that difficulties could arise from the verbal-communication solution, but held his ground; he believes strongly that the possible negative repercussions for faculty members that can occur in the present evaluation process can be significantly problematic as well. Professor Farhad Raiszadeh suggested that perhaps only numerical data should be sent to Heads. Professor Shepherd asked if the concern expressed would be compounded by sending out evaluation forms even if there were less than three available from a given department, and a response was that this is a separate issue. President Ezell asked the FRAC to consider the concerns expressed and report back to the Council.

Administrative Reports

Summer School

Acting Provost Tim Summerlin, who had recently discussed Summer School issues with the Executive Committee, addressed some specific funding questions and some more general, philosophical questions relating to Summer School. These questions, and the Provost's responses, are provided in the attached addendum. While the THEC funding formula generated around $1.6 million for summer school last summer and around $1.2 million was spent on instruction, the actual summer school instructional budget was $857,000. The Provost reminded the Council that summer school involves costs other than instructional ones, such as salaries of Department Heads who teach, academic support, etc. He stressed that the THEC funding formula is a mechanism for funding Universities, not specific programs, and that a given University must make judgments about how various programs should be prioritized and to what extent they should be funded. Some monies allocated for summer school may be used for instructional costs in the Fall, for example. Professor Robert Duffy asked how the amount of $857,000 for instruction had been determined. Provost Summerlin answered that this was the amount allocated in the recent past. Summer School budgets tend to be raised every two to three years, and since the budget has been the same for the last two summers, an increase should be expected soon. Professor Fanning asked if the Summer School budget is adjusted when raises are given, and the Provost answered that this does not happen automatically. Chancellor Fred Obear noted that we are allocated a lump sum for all categories of raises, and that raise monies provided for summer school would have to detracted from other areas.

Professor John Trimpey voiced considerable concern about the disparity between the $1.6 million generated by the formula for summer school and the actual instructional budget of $857,000. He wanted to know how much we profited from the last summer school. Assistant Vice Chancellor of Finance Ralph Moser said he would have to "dig that one up." (At this point Vice Chancellor George Ross quietly walked toward an exit, and Provost Summerlin suggested with a smile that this was no time to abandon ship. Vice Chancellor Ross promised to be back soon.) Professor Trimpey was not deterred by this brief interruption. It appeared, he expressed forcefully, that summer school was being irresponsibly underfunded. Assistant Vice Chancellor Moser reiterated that administrative Budget meetings were a complex process in which the needs of the entire Institution must be assessed. Accreditation needs, for example, would take priority over summer school funding. In some years, on the other hand, there are no pressing needs that would preclude raising summer school budgets. Professor Trimpey then stated that summer school was once an integrated part of the entire Institutional budget, and asked if we were now singling it out in some way. Assistant Vice Chancellor Moser answered that the summer school budget is definitely not an isolated budget item but "is integrated big time." Professor Trimpey stressed that the summer school budget is an important revenue source and needs to be protected if not augmented. Provost Summerlin assured the Council that they could count on administrative intentions being shared with the faculty (or at least intentions about summer school budgets).

Continuing his presentation, Provost Summerlin compared UTC's salaries to those of other institutions; addressed why it is that some schools have more extensive programs than others; and reported that over the past five years, credit hour growth (3.6%) has not come anywhere close to keeping up with salary raises (44%; see addendum). Professor Raiszadeh suggested that it should be expected that salary increases would exceed increases in credit hour production. Professor Trimpey noted that credit hours cost more over time, and Provost Summerlin added that graduate credit hours, which are on the increase, also generate more revenue. Professor Duffy asked if there had been any tracking of the ratio of expenses to income or revenue. Provost Summerlin indicated that such data were not presently available. Professor Jim Stroud stated that the figures presented were not meaningful to him, at least partly because they are unstable or constantly changing. Was there some way figures could be presented, he inquired, that would be more meaningful to someone like him? The Provost reiterated that he will do everything possible to ensure that everyone understands where he is coming from. (Or to expand slightly: the administration has some tough and often unpopular decisions to make about summer school, but the Provost wants the faculty to be perfectly clear about the reasoning behind these decisions.)

Continuing his presentation, Provost Summerlin stated that it is not necessarily the case that future summer school appropriations will be reduced if a summer school budget is lowered, or lower than any given appropriation. Future allocations could definitely be reduced, however, if we were to cut courses. Heads have been instructed to look carefully at what summer courses are most important to offer, and Deans have been given latitude to shift resources among departments based on credit hour production. The Provost also indicated that some austerity may be expected of departments in which there is a significant disparity between credit hour production and costs. We must also weigh offering appropriate curricula against supplementing faculty salaries and rewarding productive faculty. Ultimately fairness must govern all decisions; summer school concerns will not be addressed in a Draconian fashion. The Provost concluded that while there was a good case to be made for a significant increase in summer school funding at some point in the future, in the meantime we cannot plan a summer schedule that vastly exceeds our budget.

Professor Russell noted that he would not want to see the formula for calculating summer salaries to change. Provost Summerlin indicated he had no plans for such a change. He invited all faculty members to address any concerns about summer school to him personally, via email or through other preferred means of communication.

The hour was growing late, and there were two remaining administrative reports left on the agenda: one on an inclement weather policy and another on a recent THEC budget meeting. (Unlike recent Faculty Council budget reports, this report will be unusual in its inclusion of actual numerical amounts.) President Ezell asked Council members if they would prefer to continue with these reports or to save them until the next meeting in January. Professor Butterfield urged that it would be best to receive the inclement weather report at the current meeting. (Presumably the logic was that since one never knows when inclement weather may strike, inclement weather could conceivably strike before the next Faculty Council meeting on January 16.) Assistant Vice Chancellor Richard Brown, who was as always in immaculate garb, stated that he was prepared to provide a brief inclement weather report and that he could speak very quickly. (Indeed, Vice Chancellor Brown can talk considerably faster than Secretary Lorraine can write.) Vice Chancellor Brown reported that the Ad Hoc Committee on Inclement Weather recommends that 1) Information in general about University openings and closings should be more specific; 2) On MWF, only even-houred closing times should be announced. On TT, the University should be closed at specific class times (9:25, 10:50 etc.). There should also be more specificity about times that labs are canceled or will restart. 3) University Relations should be clearer about whether or not the entire University is closed when classes are canceled. (Vice Chancellor Brown noted logically that if it is dangerous for students to drive to the University, it is likely to be dangerous for staff to drive as well.) 4) There should be more telephone lines available for questions about inclement weather; a special "Snow Bird" line will be available at 755-SNOW. 4) Campus Security, building supervisors, and custodial staff should be instructed to help inform faculty members of closings that are announced during class times. 5) It should be made clear whether closures late in a week will extend throughout weekends. 6) There should be more ice clearance and use of sand and salt, especially in high-traffic and priority areas like the University Center and Children's Center. Maintenance should be so prepared before the next attack of inclement weather. 7) Reading days should be considered as possibilities for make-up days. In conclusion, Vice Chancellor Brown invited anyone with concerns to contact the Campus Security Office or the Chancellor's office. President Ezell asked Vice Chancellor Brown to report back early next semester. [The budget report was postponed to the next meeting. Secretary Lorraine apologizes to Vice Chancellor George Ross for his taking time to prepare a budget presentation and sitting through two hours of the November 21 Council meeting. She cordially invites him to present his report at our next meeting, in which we should have lots of edutaining curriculum proposals.]

Old and New Business, Announcements

Professor John Trimpey stated that with all of this talk of summer school budgets and budget reports, the Budget and Economic Status Committee should be more visible. What, he inquired, are they doing? Professor Ernst suggested that the Committee should commence work at once. The Committee was so charged by President Ezell.

Adjournment

Professor Leroy Fanning moved adjournment; several Council members, including Secretary Lorraine, flashed "hero" Fanning big smiles. The meeting was adjourned at 5:17.

 In honor of the lovely processional music, cartoons dedicated to the Psychology Department. Cartoon on the right dedicated in particular to Professor (and recent respondent) Ken Carson

 

Respectfully submitted,

Renee Cox Lorraine

Faculty Council Crime Log

On Friday, November 20, at 10:15 AM, Secretary Lorraine was assaulted by a flying quarter. When a vote in her Music 111 class proved to be inconclusive, she decided to flip a coin and asked her students if she could borrow one. A student near the back of Cadek 200 offered to throw her a quarter, and Secretary Lorraine unwittingly raised her to hands to catch it. The coin, which was hurled from a distance of about 100 feet, and judging from impact, traveling at about 857,000 miles per hour, struck the Secretary right between the eyebrows. Although dazed and slightly wounded, she was able to finish teaching her class. As of November 22 she is still suffering from headaches, but there appears to be no permanent brain damage. (A slight speech impediment was present before the incident occurred.) Secretary Lorraine has decided not to press charges (since she "asked for it"), but will report immediately to Assistant Vice Chancellor Brown should any more objects, monetary or otherwise, be thrown at or near her head.

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