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The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Faculty Council Minutes

February 18, 1999 Signal Mountain Room
University Center
Elected Members Present: Jim Avery, Tom Bibler, Boris Belinskiy, Mike Biderman, Pedro Campa, Roland Carter, Fritz Efaw, Gene Ezell, Phil Giffin, Diane Halstead, Jim Hiestand, Charles Knight, Lenny Krzycki, Irene Loomis, Deborah McAllister, Eileen Meagher, Jonathan Mies, Cliff Parten, Marea Rankin, Marsha Scheidt, Lauren Sewell, Mac Smotherman, Vicki Steinberg, Felicia Sturzer, John Trimpey, Margaret Trimpey, David Wetzel, Randy Whitson, Mike Whittle
Elected Members Absent: Marlene Bradshaw, Valerie Rutledge, Ann Stapleton, Rick Turpin, Bruce Wallace
Ex-Officio Members Present: Bill Berry, Jane Harbaugh, George Ross, Bill Stacy
Among the Guests Present: Barbara Andersen, Herbert Burhenn, Neal Coulter, Betsy Darken, Joel Harrell, Lanny Janeksela, Jonathan Looney, Tim Summerlin, Mary Tanner, Robert Wynegar, Sandy Zitkus

Attention Committee Chairs

Committee reports are due March 26.

If you want to make an oral presentation to Council on April 1 or April 15, please let the Council secretary know.

Important Actions and Announcements

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*President Prevost announces members of a committee to review policies and procedures for Faculty Development Grants

*Council considers recommendations from the Academic Standards Committee, accepting two and rejecting a third

*Council passes 20-10-0 the Handbook Committee recommendation to approve the performance review draft of 2/16/99

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Call to Order

President Verbie Prevost called the meeting to order at 3:05 p.m.

Approval of the Minutes of February 4, 1999

The minutes were approved as distributed.

Committee Reports

Executive Committee:

President Prevost announced the members of the committee which will review guidelines for Faculty Development Grants. They are: Tom Bibler (Chair), Deborah Arfken, Aniekan Ebiefung, Linda Fletcher, Bill Gurley, Immaculate Kizza, Margaret Trimpey, Bill Wright, and Bill Berry (ex-officio). The committee to examine minority hiring issues is still being formed; Professor Oralia Preble-Niemi has agreed to chair that committee.

President Prevost introduced Professor David Wetzel who will represent Engineering for the rest of the semester, replacing Professor Joe Dumas who has a class on Thursday afternoon.

Handbook Committee:

Handbook Committee Chair Deborah McAllister distributed a memo addressing her committee’s consideration of the performance review draft dated February 16, 1999. She noted three additional corrections on page 9 of the draft. Attached to the memo was a complete list of old and new headings in the affected sections of Chapters 3 and 4 of the handbook. To reflect discussion in the committee and for information purposes, the committee also compiled a list of suggestions for revision and questions left unanswered by the Board document of June 18, 1998. On behalf of the committee, Professor McAllister moved approval of the performance review document dated February 16, 1999.

Professor Diane Halstead asked the meaning of "appropriate tenured departmental faculty members" in the last paragraph of page 9 of the draft. Professor McAllister said the phrase was the Board’s but noted the implementation paragraph on the next page spells that out that the phrase refers to members of the departmental rank, tenure, and reappointment committee.

Professor Felicia Sturzer said the relationship between the annual EDO and the five-year cumulative review still needs to be clarified for the years they coincide. Professor McAllister said the cumulative performance review did not replace the annual review, noting the annual review is between the faculty member and the department head and that the cumulative review is between the faculty member and the rank, tenure, and reappointment committee.

Professor Phil Giffin said he did not think it was necessary to have two reviews in one year. Professor Herb Burhenn said that the annual review was an evaluation, that the cumulative review was a faculty development tool, and that they were not duplicative.

Noting deficiencies in the document, Professor Pedro Campa urged Council members to vote against it, saying the Board was mandating an unnecessary review. He expressed concerns about the incursions into academic freedom.

Despite the flawed process by which the document came into existence and its failure as a model of clarity and elegance, Professor Burhenn said it did strongly affirm the concept of tenure. "Almost everybody you could think of would have to think you are a jerk for your tenure to be removed," he added.

Professor Jim Hiestand asked Associate Provost Jane Harbaugh about her suggestion to the Handbook Committee that the comments and questions not be forwarded to the system at this time. Why would this not be a better time? He said he thought the questions were reasonable and reasonably put. The Board could consider UTC’s comments along with the comments of other campuses, he added. Dr. Harbaugh said the questions were good and agreed a number of points in the document needed to be clarified. She suggested deferring the questions until the Board’s intent could be explored more fully. She noted deadlines established by the Board and doubted a full discussion could occur within the current time constraints.

Suggesting too many questions remained unanswered, Professor Fritz Efaw said Council did not have enough information to act on the document at this time. He said the process should take whatever time it needed to take, regardless of deadlines. Professor Efaw reviewed a history of the document and the bureaucracy he said produced it. He cited the failures of various administrators at Martin and Knoxville and pointed to a perceived need of some administrators to mollify a few members of the public who opposed tenure, saying none of the problems he discussed were related to UTC. He said he thought the document placed a lot of additional power in the hands of deans and department heads, noting a department head could trigger the removal process by giving a faculty member a below merit rating two years in a row. Saying faculty were being asked to act like sheep and bureaucrats, he urged Council members to vote against the document.

While noting the limitations of not being able to change the Board’s language, Professor Margaret Trimpey said her understanding was that UTC was being given the opportunity to make it more effective for this campus.

Professor Irene Loomis asked if performance review would cover administrators with faculty rank. Professor McAllister said several of the Handbook Committee’s questions address that issue. Chancellor Stacy said he assumed administrators with faculty rank would be covered.

Professor John Trimpey expressed concern that some of the language in the document was arbitrary and open to abuse.

Professor Marsha Scheidt said she did not understand the recourse available to a faculty member when the tenured peers supported the faculty member in the cumulative review process and the department head and dean did not. She said she could see a review committee being split 50-50. Professor Burhenn said the cumulative performance review did not trigger the activity of the review committee; only two below merit annual reviews would trigger the activity of that committee. The cumulative performance review does not trigger anything specific, he said. Professor Scheidt asked what it did then. Professor Burhenn said it was a faculty development tool.

Seeking to clarify the vote on the document, Professor Jim Avery asked if the vote was on how the Handbook Committee inserted the materials into the Faculty Handbook.

Professor Campa said he was concerned faculty would agree to cooperate in the policy and then be told at later litigation that they had signed off on it.

Professor Jonathan Mies asked if Council was voting to meet a deadline. And was there time to meet the deadline? President Prevost said the campus had to complete the process in order to meet deadlines established by the Board of Trustees, indicating Council needed to vote today to ensure two readings before the full faculty.

Professor Giffin moved for a secret ballot and Professor Campa seconded. A vote was taken, but parliamentarian Hiestand later ruled a vote was not necessary.

Provost Berry said the Board policy was discussed earlier in the week at a meeting he attended in Knoxville. Comments indicated the Board would not entertain changes or modifications to the policy right now but might in the future. At the meeting he raised several concerns about the Board language, concerns shared by the Handbook Committee. System administrators said they shared his concerns and indicated other campuses were also wrestling with these issues.

Chancellor Stacy said he felt the document strongly affirmed the Trustees support of tenure. He said that, contrary to the earlier portrayal of President Johnson as a faceless bureaucrat, he had, in fact, stood in the way of the Trustees making a terrible mistake for Tennessee. He noted President Johnson’s imminent retirement and suggested blowing smoke at him was a futile gesture.

Chancellor Stacy said the "awful administrators" at Martin and Knoxville referred to earlier in the discussion had nothing to do with this document, saying "the awful administrators are your faculty peers, your chair, your dean, your Provost and your awful Chancellor and nobody else." He said the vote was not about administrators at Martin or Knoxville. He said the document would apply to the UTC campus family.

The vote on the recommendation from the Handbook Committee to approve the document and send it to the full faculty passed 20-10-0.

Academic Standards Committee:

Due to the implementation of Banner and General Education, President Prevost said the Standards Committee had been asked to consider and make recommendations on several issues, including the three being brought forward at this time. Although these issues have been considered several times in the past, the committee has taken a fresh look at them, discussing at length the merits of each, she added.

Academic Standards Committee Chair Barbara Andersen offered the first recommendation: "It is recommended that students complete all institutional credit courses within the first 42 attempted hours or 30 for transfer." She said the committee replaced "required" with "recommended" in an attempt to reflect campus practice.

When she was director of developmental mathematics, Professor Betsy Darken said they reminded students constantly that they had to complete developmental courses in the first 42 hours. She said she was assured on numerous occasions the rule was being enforced. Professor Andersen said the committee’s understanding was that the rule was not being enforced, noting students could drop classes without a signature. Professor Darken said she always told students they had to get permission to drop. Professor Andersen said the institution could always choose to require a signature. Professor Darken said she was told we were requiring one..

Professor Darken asked Associate Provost Harbaugh to address the issue. Noting it was no longer one of her areas of responsibility, Associate Provost Harbaugh recollected talking to students who had had holds placed because of the 42-hour requirement. She said she thought Julius Dodds dealt with those holds now. She recollected a few problems with transfer students but said she did not have the data to answer the question.

Professor Bob Wynegar, the current director of developmental mathematics, said the campus should not weaken a policy thought to be important. "Why should we weaken the policy because we have trouble enforcing it?"

Special Projects Director Joel Harrell said he had asked Julius Dodds how many students failed to meet the 42-hour requirement in recent semesters. Mr. Dodds estimated 400-450 failed to do so in the spring of 1998. Director Harrell questioned whether the institution was prepared to dismiss 400-450 students because they had not met the requirement.

Director of English Composition Lauren Sewell said students placing into English 105 or 106 need to take those courses in the first 10 hours—"forget 42"—or the consequences for those students would not be good. Supporting a strong policy, she said students who lack good writing skills don’t do well at the university. She supported students taking the courses as early as possible.

Academic Standards recommendation No. 1 failed 4-20-0.

Professor Barbara Anderson said the committee’s second recommendation was the adoption of the grading mode * A-* F for the institutional credit courses, meaning the grades would not count toward the student’s GPA. She said the committee did not want the grades to count toward graduation credit but felt the information would be helpful to advisors.

Professor Randy Whitson asked if the grades currently counted toward college credit. President Prevost said they counted until the student finished the developmental courses.

Professor Darken said developmental math students can go into four or five different courses, noting the lack of a single exit criteria. She compared this situation to developmental English where the student goes to one class—English 121. She said a student making a C in developmental math could reasonably advance to some courses but not others. She suggested the English and Math Departments consider using different grading scales. She noted difficulties with the proposed * A-* F system, saying students would inevitably shoot for a C.

Professor Jim Avery said a student’s GPA often drops when he/she can no longer carry developmental courses in their continuation GPA. He said they hang on for three or more semesters when they should have been gone in the first one. Professor Darken said she found this scenario difficult to believe, pointing to the sad passing rates in developmental math courses. She said that arguing that UTC is keeping students on campus by letting them stay in developmental courses did not make any sense.

In Fall 1998, Associate Provost Harbaugh said students made about 350 A’s, B’s, and C’s in developmental math and English and about 170 D’s and F’s. If they were to count, she noted, they would count positively for about twice as many as they would count negatively.

Professor Hiestand asked if Council would be considering this change if not for Banner. President Prevost said the issue had come up several times in the past but that the current discussion was initiated by the Banner implementation.

Professor Margaret Trimpey asked if it would be possible to complete a semester part-time in developmental studies and end up with no GPA at all. Professor Andersen said it would. Professor Trimpey asked if the hours would count. Professor Andersen said they would not. President Prevost noted they would count for financial aid and continuation because they are regarded as prerequisites.

Rather than being an avenue to student wallets, Professor Mac Smotherman suggested the policy of counting the grades for a period of time was somewhat more benevolent, i.e., giving students an opportunity to succeed. He said he had seen students in his department start poorly but improved over a period of time.

Professor Darken asked if anyone could explain the benefit of changing to the * A-* F policy. Professor Victoria Steinberg, a member of the Standards Committee, said the math representatives on the committee spoke favorably of the * system because they felt it would help them direct students to the next appropriate course.

Professor Wynegar said he adamantly opposed the grades never counting. He asked how many Council members could imagine teaching a class that meets five hours a week with 40-50 students who have a proven lack of ability in a particular subject—"and then you tell them the grade doesn’t count." He said the * grading system would be ineffective for the Math Department. Professor Sturzer pointed out the class was a prerequisite, so the student couldn’t fail and continue in other math courses.

Professor Halstead asked if the individual professors could determine what passing was. Could passing be set at 80%? Professor Wynegar said raising passing to 80% in developmental math would mean failure for about 80% of the students.

Professor Giffin asked if Council could vote on pass/fail instead of * A-* F. Professor Wynegar said the star grading system was of no value to him. Echoing Professor Steinberg, Professor Andersen said the recommendation was mainly being made for the Math Department. Professors Darken and Wynegar said no one had asked them. Professor Steinberg said two members of the Math Department were on the committee and convinced everyone else the * A-* F mode was the preferred option. Dean Tim Summerlin said he had discussed the issue on a couple of occasions with the head of the Math Department.

Professor Giffin moved to amend the recommendation from * A-* F to pass/fail. Professor Sewell seconded.

Professor Hiestand asked if Banner could accommodate pass/fail. Director Harrell said it could.

Professor Sewell noted the differences between developmental math and English. In developmental English, she said the choices were easier; a student knew he/she had to pass 106 to go on to 121—a situation different from moving on to one of several courses. She said pass/fail would work in English and had already been discussed as a possibility.

Noting the assortment of courses students can move to from Math 106, Professor Wynegar said pass/fail might work but that the bar would have to be raised to prepare students for the hardest course they take after leaving developmental mathematics. He said he could easily see passing rates as low as 20 or 25%, given that, as of fall 1998, 50% of the incoming freshmen placed into developmental math.

Professor Darken said the only thing wrong with the current system was that Banner could not implement it. Professor Andersen said the current system was benevolent but suggested it might give students a false sense of security. Professor Mike Biderman asked why the current system could not be implemented in Banner. Professor Andersen said she understood that it would require a considerable outlay of funds. Professor Darken said she felt the proposal was being driven by cost and technology rather than a need to change a standard.

Provost Berry said he did not know how much it would cost to make the change in Banner. He said at $1500 most faculty would probably preserve the standard but that at $100,000 the standard would receive more scrutiny. He said the developmental courses do temporarily inflate the GPAs of some students. After the developmental courses are removed, he noted, some students go from being reasonably successful students to being on probation or kicked out of school. He said the academic and human reasons are as important to the discussion of the standard as the cost of Banner.

Provost Berry asked Professor Wynegar if he knew how many developmental math students who make a C actually go on to the harder math courses. A few? Many? Professor Darken said she studied that question a number of years ago and that about 50% were headed to pre-Calculus. Provost Berry suggested a role for advising. Are we really working hard enough to tell some students they are not ready?

Professor Darken said she knew of more students who improved their GPAs when they finished the developmental courses than the reverse. She said she is astonished by the agrument that students suffer when developmental courses are removed from their GPAs.

Dr. Harbaugh said the average developmental math GPA for the 500+ students this past fall was 1.69.

Dean Summerlin said reviewing some of the Banner/Mocs Express history might help the discussion. When the institution began discussing the advantages of an automated student information system, one of the considerations was the manifold problems with the legacy system, he said. The implications of a new system were discussed, including the probability that questions would arise about the existing policies and whether to change them. In some cases the standard would be deemed absolutely critical academically, and in others the central principle would be thought less important and the new computer system would be accommodated. He said this issue may have arisen at this time because of Banner/Mocs Express, but that faculty would have to decide if a critical principle was at stake or if Banner/Mocs Express should be accommodated.

Professor John Trimpey asked if anyone knew how much it would cost to modify Banner to do what we currently do. Director Harrell said he thought it would be a major coding modification, possibly more than $100,000. In addition to initial costs, the SCT Corp. charges ongoing costs. Based on conversations he has had with other schools which have made modifications, he predicted the ongoing cost would be 40-50% of the initial cost. To get official numbers, UTC would have to develop specifications and submit them to SCT. The company would respond with a proposal and pricing information, and UTC would be charged for the proposal and for any subsequent installation. Director Harrell said one issue would be cost and that a second issue would be timing. The cost study would take 30-60 days and would surely delay the implementation. The campus would have to decide whether it wants to do that or not. The Banner implementation is tied to the Y2K compliance issue, and any modifications would delay UTC’s ability to meet Y2K compliance deadlines, he said. Professor Hiestand said his son, who is a computer scientist, considers the resolution of the coding problems trivial.

Chancellor Stacy asked Director Harrell if Banner could produce two transcripts, two grade reports, a fee report, and a regular report. Professor Jonathan Mies asked if a student could be entered twice with a different number or perhaps a star. Director Harrell said neither of these could not be done without significant modifications, adding that Banner supports one official GPA and one official record. To alter or modify it to have various instances of records and GPAs would require significant modifications to the code, he said.

Professor Wynegar asked if grades and number of hours could be changed in the Banner system. Director Harrell said yes. Professor Wynegar asked if UTC could assign the grade and then go back and zero out the grade and the hours once they are completed. Director Harrell pointed out the amount of manual intervention involved in that process.

Professor Tom Bibler said he found it "remarkable that developmental math students are too smart to be lured by a *A and too dumb to realize developmental courses didn’t count." Professor Darken challenged the idea that developmental studies students are dumb. She said many faculty had suggested over the years that the students shouldn’t be on campus at all. Most people can figure out that a *C will do just as well as a *A. "What do you want us to do? Lie to them?"

Professor Mies asked if the Math Department could set the benchmark grade for entry into some classes at a B or higher. Professor Andersen pointed out that the practice was used in Nursing. Professor Mies said a higher benchmark might be an incentive for students to be better prepared for the next math course.

The question was called on the amendment—to change the *A-*F to pass/fail or pass/no credit. The motion failed 2-21-0.

Professor Anderson restated the original motion. Professor Margaret Trimpey asked if the two developmental programs could use different grade modes? Director Harrell said yes. Professor Andersen said the question could be brought to Standards.

Academic Standards recommendation No. 2 passed 17-7-3.

Professor Andersen offered recommendation No. 3: "In considering repeat course grades, all grades will be calculated in the GPA; the highest grade recorded will be considered as earned hours that may be used for progression in the major." Professor Andersen said she discussed this issue with Professor Steve White who was chair of the committee the last time the issue was considered. He described the discussion as leaving "blood on the floor of the Standards Committee."

Professor Andersen noted that, if this recommendation is adopted, all grades would be calculated in the GPA. She noted this recommendation varies from the current policy which allows students to repeat courses five times before all grades begin to count. The recommendation also calls for the highest grade to be used for earned hours and progression in the major, a change from the current practice in which the last repeat grade is used.

Noting she was on the Standards Committee the last time it considered the repeat policy, President Prevost recollected the committee was very divided—that one group wanted no repeats and another group wanted unlimited repeats; the compromise was five replacement grades. Professor Margaret Trimpey pointed out the proposal means students who make B’s will now be able to repeat courses. Professor John Trimpey noted they would not, however, be able to achieve a 4.0 under this recommendation. Professor Andersen said that perception was correct.

Returning to the topic of grade changes, Professor Gene Ezell inquired further about Banner’s ability to change/replace grades. For example, can an incomplete be replaced with another grade several weeks into the semester? Director Harrell it could be done. Professor Ezell asked if the same process could be used for repeat courses. Director Harrell said the number of occurrences would preclude that procedure being used. While staff could handle a handful of changes, 700 or 800 would pose a significant manual task. Professor Hiestand observed that Banner would probably not be able to track the five repeats. Director Harrell said the repeats are now being tracked by the legacy software which was customized to keep those counts.

Academic Standards recommendation No. 3 passed 18-8-2.

Administrative Reports

Chancellor’s Report:

Chancellor Stacy called attention to his email message concerning his appointment of Planning, Budgeting, and Evaluating oversight committees. While planning occurs many places on campus, he said, these committees will be the place for all these activities to come together.

Each Vice Chancellor will present his budget recommendations at open meetings of the Budget Committee beginning next Tuesday, February 23. One of the topics will be revenue projections. The hearings will continue through the first week in April. By late April or early May the campus should have some sense of what the legislature’s appropriation is likely to be. He urged everyone participate in the hearings.

He described evaluation as being a critical function at all times but even more so as the campus enters the SACS process. As the process goes along, the campus and various committees will consider the university’s goals and benchmarks and whether they have been achieved or not. The campus oversight committee for evaluation has links to the SACS Subcommittee on Institutional Effectiveness. He noted that the most important single effort of SACS is the evaluation of the institution against its mission, goals, and other statements. Among the questions for these committees: Are we being true to the mission and the purpose of the institution? Are we putting our dollars where they ought to be? Are we evaluating properly? Do we have the right mission? Do we have the right strategy? Do we spend the right money? Did we get any results? If we didn’t get the right results, it means we didn’t pay enough, we didn’t have the right strategy, or we tried the wrong thing, he said. He said these committees would help the campus ensure we "got it right."

Provost’s Report:

Provost Berry generated good cheer by saying: "In a transparent bid for popularity, I’ll sit down."

Vice Chancellor’s Report:

Vice Chancellor Ross reinforced the Chancellor’s remarks, encouraging everyone to attend and participate in the budget hearing. He said he still had Gold Circle tickets for the Elton John concert.

Announcements

Professor Steinberg invited everyone to the Bessie Smith Hall on Friday evening, February 26, to celebrate Foreign Languages week. She said her colleague Professor Sturzer was going to be an impresario for a reggae band that night.

Adjournment

President Prevost adjourned the meeting at 4:48 p.m.

 Respectfully submitted,

  

Kathy Breeden

Faculty Council Secretary

 

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