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The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Faculty Council Minutes

March 4, 1999 Signal Mountain Room
University Center
Elected Members Present: Tom Bibler, Boris Belinskiy, Mike Biderman, Marlene Bradshaw, Pedro Campa, Roland Carter, Valerie Copeland-Rutledge, Fritz Efaw, Gene Ezell, Phil Giffin, Diane Halstead, Jim Hiestand, Lenny Krzycki, Irene Loomis, Deborah McAllister, Eileen Meagher, Jonathan Mies, Cliff Parten, Marea Rankin, Marsha Scheidt, Lauren Sewell, Ann Stapleton, John Trimpey, Margaret Trimpey, Rick Turpin, Bruce Wallace
Elected Members Absent: Jim Avery, Charles Knight, Mac Smotherman, Vicki Steinberg, Felicia Sturzer, David Wetzel, Randy Whitson, Mike Whittle
Ex-Officio Members Present: Bill Berry, Sheila Delacroix, Jane Harbaugh, Richard MacDougall, Bill Stacy
Among the Guests Present: Deborah Arfken, Joe Beckett, Bob Desmond, Marvin Ernst, Meg Farrell, Rod Fowler, Richard Gambrell, Danny Grant, Tonia Heffner, Lanny Janeksela, Jeff Kell, Joseph Kizza, John Phillips, Lee Robinson, Glenda Sullivan, Tim Summerlin, Mary Tanner, Kelsey Vaughn, Sandy Zitkus

Attention Committee Chairs

Committee reports are due.

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

 

Actions and Announcements

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*Council approves revised deans’ rating form

*Council approves proposals from Graduate Council

*Council approves proposals from Curriculum Committee

*Council approves recommendation from Executive Committee to return performance review implementation policy to the Performance Review and Handbook Committees for further revisions

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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 18, 1999

The minutes were approved as distributed.

Committee Reports

Faculty Rating of Administration:

Committee Chair Joseph Kizza distributed copies of the current and revised deans’ rating form, saying the committee was recommending adoption of the revised form. He noted the number of questions had been reduced from 37 to 23 in an effort to make the form more focused. The committee solicited comments from faculty via Raven and considered those responses in the revised questionnaire. If adopted, the form would be used this year.

Professors Eileen Meagher and Roland Carter noted misspellings in the proposed form. Professor Mike Biderman said his understanding was that the faculty form was reduced from many items to very few because students only distinguished faculty on one or two dimensions. He questioned whether all 23 dimensions were looked at separately, suggesting some questions might go unused.

Professor Kizza said the questions were cross analyzed as part of the effort to reduce the number of questions. Professor Biderman asked if questions with very high correlations were eliminated. Professors Kizza and Meagher said those questions were removed along with questions that drew few responses from faculty.

Professor Carter noted the similarities between questions 17 and 21. Professors Kizza and Meagher said question 17 dealt more with communications between the dean and the faculty while question 21 dealt with the transmitting of particular information. Professor Meagher added that 21 dealt with the dean sharing new information with faculty.

Professor Carter asked how many faculty actually rated the deans, adding that he thought fewer questions might produce more responses. Professor Kizza said 77 faculty rated the deans in a recent year. Professor Carter moved that questions 2 and 10 and 17 and 21 be combined. Professor Margaret Trimpey seconded. Professor Meagher said question 10 dealt with the dean accommodating differences between departments while question 2 dealt with the dean supporting the department with words, money, staff, and so on.

Professor Jim Hiestand moved that the voting on questions 2 and 10 and 17 and 21 be divided. Professor Margaret Trimpey seconded. The motion passed on a voice vote. Professor Biderman asked if there was a correlation between the items. If they were responded to identically, then they should be combined, he said; if they were responded to independently, then they should be left separate. Professor Kizza said the question was hard to answer because of the many changes between the old and new form.

The question was called, and the motion to combine questions 2 and 10 passed on a voice vote.

On the question of combining 17 and 21, Professor Hiestand said he thought they addressed two different issues. Professor Margaret Trimpey said adding "and relevant information" to question 17 would address the concern. Noting these questions were numbers 31 and 33 on the old form, Professor Biderman asked how they correlated and how many faculty responded to them. Professor Kizza said they were retained because of the number of faculty that responded to them in the last round--about 24 people or 15% of all respondents.

Professor Loomis asked who saw the outcomes of the forms. Professor Kizza said the outcomes were seen by the person above the person evaluated, so the Provost would see the deans’ forms. Professor Fritz Efaw asked what the people who saw the outcomes did with the information. "Is it used by anybody for anything?" Professor Kizza said he thought the information was more informative than anything else. Professor Efaw suggested it might be a useless exercise.

Dean Tim Summerlin said he wanted to be sure the form included a place for comments. Professor Kizza said it did not in its present form. Dean Summerlin said he found the comments on the student ratings form helpful to faculty because they often addressed specific areas not covered by the questions.

The motion to combine questions 17 and 21 passed by a vote of 17-4-2.

Professor Carter made a motion to add a comments section to the form, and Professor Hiestand seconded. The motion passed on a voice vote. Professor Hiestand told President Prevost she should ask for the "ayes" so she would be able to report that "the ‘ayes’ are above the ‘nos,’" eliciting groans from Council members.

The motion to adopt the form as amended passed on a voice vote.

Graduate Council:

Chair Tonia Heffner presented two proposals, noting they were passed unanimously by Graduate Council. The first proposal concerned title changes and credit hour adjustments for EHLS 520/521. Professor Joe Beckett reviewed the changes, and the proposal passed unanimously on a voice vote.

The second proposal involved a change in application procedure for the Master of Education in Guidance and Counseling. The proposal passed unanimously on a voice vote.

Curriculum Committee:

Committee Chair John Trimpey said the Political Science Department proposal, "Controversies in Public Policy," was not approved and should be removed from the packet. He moved approval of the remainder of the proposals, noting they passed the committee unanimously.

Professor Margaret Trimpey asked why the most recent readings in the Human Services Management 101 proposal were from 1989. Professor Marvin Ernst said the articles were examples and that more recent articles would be used in the class. Professor Pedro Campa asked why the Human Services proposal had a general education cover sheet when the others did not. Professor John Trimpey said the originals had the cover sheet with appropriate signatures and that they were on file in Dr. Harbaugh’s office. He did not know why the cover sheets with the appropriate signatures were not copied for Council.

Professor Margaret Trimpey asked if the Foreign Languages Department had to sign off on the deletion of the foreign language requirement from the Bachelor of Music proposal. Professor Deborah McAllister said Professor Renee Lorraine had asked her to address the issue. Professor Lorraine was told by Brenda Davis that the proposal did not require a Foreign Languages signature but did require a catalog change. The changes represent a wash in terms of the students who would be taking a foreign language. Students who do not take a foreign language now would not take one under this proposal, and students who take a foreign language now would continue to do so.

The proposals passed 23-1-0.

Professor John Trimpey announced that the last curriculum committee meeting of the year would be on Tuesday, March 23 and that it would be the last opportunity for the committee to act on proposals in time to submit them to Faculty Council for their action this year.

Executive Committee:

Speaking on behalf of the Faculty Council Executive Committee, President Prevost commended the Faculty Council for the positive vote they gave to the performance review implementation policy as developed by the Performance Review and Handbook Committees. She regretted not making clear to the campus why Council supported the implementation policy. In talking with faculty about the vote, she said reasons for voting against the implementation policy fell into a couple of categories: 1) a desire to show Knoxville and the Board of Trustees that the UTC faculty would not accept their performance review policy and 2) confusion about what was being voted on.

President Prevost said the Board policy was not at issue since it had been part of the handbook since June of 1998 and would continue to be part of the handbook until the Board of Trustees decided to change it. While the UTC faculty may see rejection as a slap at Knoxville and the Board, she said it was perceived in Knoxville as a slap toward the Chancellor and the Provost and raised questions about their leadership. She said faculty committees had worked on the implementation policy because Drs. Stacy and Berry wanted faculty to have a voice in any implementation policy, adding that one flawed policy should not give rise to another one.

President Prevost said that, although the Performance Review Committee had worked long and hard on an implementation policy, improvements were still possible. She noted the committee had been handicapped by the failure of faculty to distinguish between the Board policy already in place and the proposed implementation policy, adding the campus could not control the Board policy but could control the implementation policy.

She said some faculty told her they did not have enough information about the implementation policy, telling her they voted against the policy when no faculty spoke for it. She suggested some faculty had not read the proposed policy and were too willing to depend on the opinions of other faculty.

She said the failure of faculty to speak for the implementation policy was not surprising. Although comments at the meeting concerned faculty fearing reprisals from administrators, she suggested faculty fear their own colleagues more than administrators, especially when the whole faculty is together. "Who has the courage to stand up and speak against colleagues, especially when the wind seems to be blowing the other direction?" She noted the metaphorical follow-up to the faculty meeting.

In speaking out on issues, she said she had never felt intimidated by a department head, dean, or chancellor but had felt intimidated by colleagues, especially before the full faculty. Although she has tried to speak out anyway, her role as President of Faculty Council has made that more difficult. As Council President, she said she felt a need to be as neutral as possible. "When should you lead and when should you stand back and let faculty talk without guidance?" Since her role calls for her to spend time with administrators, some faculty see her as a lackey for the administration if she supports any initiatives also favored by the administration. She said administrators and faculty have to find avenues to work together for the good of the institution and for higher education in Tennessee in general, suggesting constant suspicion was detrimental to all concerned.

She said she did not think the faculty at UTC wanted Bob Levy or a system administrator to write an implementation policy for the campus or to impose the UTK implementation policy on this campus. Noting the flaws in the Board policy, she said she did not think UTC would want an equally flawed implementation policy.

On behalf of the Executive Committee, she recommended the Performance Review Committee be requested by Council to write a revised version of the implementation policy for the April 1 meeting and that Council consider the issue again.

Saying the Board ignored the petition signed by 184 tenured faculty members, Professor Campa said the faculty vote emanated from the "hateful document forced on the faculty by the Board of Trustees." He said the Board document posed too many unanswered questions, and he expressed concern about the reluctance of some in the room to send those questions forward. President Prevost noted Council was considering the implementation policy not the Board policy.

Describing it as a Trojan horse, Professor Campa said the two were symbiotically related, noting the Board policy came to the faculty with the implementation policy for approval. President Prevost asked if he wanted the implementation policy in a separate document. Professor Campa said he would vote against any policy, but that President Prevost could do whatever she thought adequate to get a positive vote. He said he did not think she would be able to get a positive vote and that he thought Knoxville was perfectly capable of imposing a policy. He said the Board wanted the faculty to cooperate in a policy "they had nothing to do with in the beginning." President Prevost pointed out the Board did not want faculty approval of the performance review policy. She noted it had already been passed by the Board and was in the handbook. She said the Board wanted the campuses to establish an implementation policy, a message she said had gotten lost in the discussion of the flaws in the Board policy. She said people could talk all they wanted to about voting against the Board policy but they couldn’t because they didn’t have the authority to.

Professor Campa said faculty had to vote their conscience on the issue regardless of what the Board thought or didn’t think. Saying the Board document was an imposition from the very beginning, he noted it was not a grassroots document that originated with faculty and administrators sitting together in consultation. He said the Board worked on drafts of the tenure document that members of the advisory committee did not see. "Why should we trust this?" he added.

Dean Mary Tanner pointed out the Board advisory committee was just that—advisory. Noting tenure was the perogative of the Board, she said they had the right to award or deny tenure and the right to write their own policy. She said she and Professor Gene Ezell served on one of the advisory committees but did not work directly with the Board committee that drafted the proposal. She said their committee did not see all of the drafts but that they were consulted from time to time about matters of process and policy. Pointing out that tenure is awarded by the governing board of an institution, she reiterated that tenure is not a grassroots principle. Professor Campa said the tenure faculty members already had was a contract and that some faculty members would go to court over the issue. He said federal judges understood tenure because they had it.

Professor Diane Halstead asked who would write the policy if UTC did not. President Prevost said she understood that Bob Levy or someone in the systems office would write it, probably in conjunction with the system attorneys. Noting that legal recourse was one option, Professor Halstead said two choices existed for faculty who did not view a legal solution as realistic or practical—write their own implementation policy or let Bob Levy and some system lawyers do it. She said she understood Professor Campa’s viewpoint and that she had been appalled and offended by the language in the Board’s policy. Saying she had wavered on the issue and had, in fact, voted against the implementation policy at the last meeting, she said she could sympathize, empathize, and applaud faculty who wanted to send a message through legal action. On the other hand, she said people frequently grapple with constraints and must decide between unpleasant choices. She said she wanted to have her say at a certain point and didn’t want Bob Levy and the system lawyers writing the implementation policy. While acknowledging the bigger battle may have been lost at least temporarily, she said she did not see why faculty could not win some smaller battles in the crafting of the implementation policy.

Professor Campa said choosing the lesser of two evils was not acceptable to him. Professor Biderman said that voting against the implementation policy seemed like accepting the worst of two evils to him. He suggested separating the vote into two issues—a vote on the implementation policy and a vote on faculty feelings about the imposition of the Board requirements.

President Prevost said the faculty concerns about the Board policy were conveyed by former Council president Gene Ezell last year. She said Knoxville knew how faculty felt about the policy. Professor Bibler said the Board had passed its policy and had little interest in faculty feelings at this point. He said the comments of some Council members reminded him of 10-year-olds who wanted to thumb their noses at the authorities. "We could do that, but what earthly purpose would it serve?"

Professor Campa said the earthly purpose was related to future arbitration and litigation. "They will say we approved that mandate by a vote," he added. President Prevost and others pointed out that faculty were not being asked to approve the Board policy already in place. Professor Campa demurred, saying that passage of the document constituted acceptance of all of the contents. Professor Bibler led a chorus of "nos" in response to the comment.

Professor Margaret Trimpey suggested the implementation policy be rewritten as a separate document from the Board policy. President Prevost said it was possible but faculty would still need to refer to the Board document. Saying he wanted to move the discussion away from what faculty did or did not want to do, Professor John Trimpey said he thought some changes could be made to improve the implementation policy, adding he did not want the need for changes to get lost in a political battle. President Prevost said she felt the implementation policy had not been looked at closely enough because of the focus on the Board policy.

Chancellor Bill Stacy pointed out the Board creates administrative law when they create and pass a policy, comparing it to a law passed by the legislature and signed by the governor. He noted the campus was not in the process of creating the contract, adding the question was not one of signing the contract or not signing it. He said the law exists and that proper remedies are in place as part of the legal system to overturn or to civilly disobey a law. "It’s not as though this is a contract in the making. It’s administrative law. It’s done." Acknowledging the concerns about the Board policy, he said the task of the campus was to implement it at UTC so "we can stand the nuances" but comply in a way "that fits this culture, that fits our expectations, and our habits at UTC." "Is there anything that we can dovetail with what we’re already doing around here that has a minimum nuisance added to it?" In closing, he reiterated that the Board policy had the weight of administrative law.

Noting the comments and speculations about how Knoxville, the system, the Board, and Bob Levy might respond to various policies and plans, Professor Efaw asked how people knew these things. President Prevost noted the Board policy said the campuses were to provide an implementation plan by June 1999. Professor Efaw asked President Prevost how she knew Knoxville saw the vote as a slam against the UTC administrators. President Prevost said those were views expressed to her by system administrators. She said she attended the Board of Trustees meeting last week and felt that she had an understanding of the political realities of the situation. Professor Efaw asked how she knew that Bob Levy would write the policy. President Prevost said she did not know that Bob Levy specifically would write it but thought it likely that someone in the systems office would undertake the task.

Professor Efaw asked if the Executive Committee recommendation meant the performance review committee would be reconstituted. President Prevost said the committee, as currently constituted, would be asked to reexamine the implementation policy in light of concerns, comments, and suggestions at the Monday faculty meeting.

Noting emails and phone calls from Knoxville since the vote, Provost Berry said he could say with absolute confidence that the system would write the policy if UTC did not, adding he did not know who specifically would write it. Acknowledging his disappointment with the Monday vote, he attributed some of it to the atmosphere in the room. He mentioned the series of people who rose to speak against the policy, noting the several references to a fear of administrators and the fact that no faculty defied the atmosphere of the room to speak in favor of the policy. He said the fear of administrators vs. the fear of faculty mentioned by President Prevost seemed to be sharply in evidence. While acknowledging the privilege of secret ballots, he said he was disturbed by them as they suggest mistrust and fear. He noted that no one in the room would have written or passed the document the Board passed last June.

Provost Berry suggested the vote indicated UTC could not write an implementation policy as good as Knoxville and fueled concerns that some members of the Board of Trustees have about tenure. He said the people in the systems office who write the implementation plan would not write a policy to punish this campus even though they might be frustrated and disappointed as they undertook the task. He said he wished the political realities were different. He said the implementation plan, while not perfect, was still better than the one Knoxville would write. He encouraged Council to permit the committee to reconsider the implementation policy and improve it still further.

Provost Berry praised the Chancellor for his candor on the budget shortfall but noted such honesty was unlikely to make the Chancellor’s life easier in the system. He said the vote raised questions in Knoxville about whether the campus needed more central running. He said the vote, if it stood, would strengthen that perception. He said it was critical for the Chancellor to be seen as having the support of the campus.

Professor Campa said if the Chancellor and Provost would sign an affadavit saying they would stay at UTC for the next 20 years then the document would probably pass. Noting that administrators come and go, he said the policy might not be implemented by very honorable people. He pointed to documents still in place from previous administrators. He said current faculty had to be aware of their legacy to future faculty.

Professor Halstead said she was concerned that the Chancellor left the room and speculated that the questioning of his integrity might have been part of that. She said some people did not need to sign an affidavit to demonstrate their commitment, saying she was willing to give the Chancellor and the Provost a chance. She said she did not believe that refusing to put together an implementation policy was in the best interests of the campus. She told Professor Campa she respected him a great deal but disagreed with his stand. She said she accepted the reality of dealing with something forced on the campus and said the faculty should be proactive in the matter. Professor Campa said the bottom line was that faculty would be punished for not cooperating. Professor Halstead rejected the idea and suggested a cooperative relationship was always better than an adversarial one.

Professor Marsha Scheidt said the faculty she talked to thought voting for the document implied support of the document. Several faculty had asked her why the tenure policies were not being applied to all campuses equally. "Why is it necessary for UTC to have a totally separate policy? If the Board policy is the law, why doesn’t the Board implement the policies?" Dean Tanner said the question returned the discussion to square one. Noting tenure is governed by the Board and that the Board’s policy is the same for all campuses, she said the opportunity for the campus was to determine how that policy would be implemented at UTC.

Professor Scheidt said she understood that the bold print was the same for every campus but said the problem was explaining to faculty that UTC’s implementation would be totally different from the implementation at any other UT campus. She said the faculty saw the vote on the implementation policy as being a vote for or against the Board policy. She suggested separating the Board policy from the implementation policy. President Prevost reiterated that voting for the implementation policy was not voting for the Board policy.

In discussing the new Board policy, President Prevost noted one of the ironies of the new policy was how much harder it would be to fire a tenured professor than under the old policy. She said more faculty/peers would be involved now whereas the old process involved only administrators. Professor Scheidt asked why the differences had not been discussed. President Prevost said her feeling was that faculty had not read the policy. Professor Bibler said the Board policy was not at issue. Professor Campa suggested removing the Board policy from the document.

Professor Halstead said she thought it would be feasible to publish the Board policy and the implementation policy separately. She agreed the Performance Review Committee and the Handbook Committee needed to work with them hand in hand, but suggested faculty would be less hostile if the Board policy and the implementation policy were in separate documents.

Professor Margaret Trimpey said the two policies were so linked in people’s minds that she didn’t know how anyone would go about separating them. Dean Deborah Arfken suggested the Performance Review Committee or the Handbook Committee prepare a succinct cover sheet with frequently asked questions and answers about the documents.

Professor Phil Giffin said he thought the issue was dead when the policy was turned down at the Monday faculty meeting. He said he did not understand the great concern with having faculty approve an implementation policy. "Why can’t it be sent to Knoxville without any faculty approval?" President Prevost said it could be but that Drs. Stacy and Berry wanted very much to have faculty input. Professor Giffin said, if the UTC administration wanted to send it to Knoxville, then that seemed perfectly reasonable to him. President Prevost said she thought some faculty would like that since it would give them an opportunity to blame the administration and would continue a scenario of "us vs. them." She said it would be much easier for the administration to send Knoxville a policy since going through a faculty committee was often a slow and tedious process.

Provost Berry said it seemed odd to him to separate the documents but that he would yield to the concerns of others in the room. He noted faculty would have to refer to the Board policy in order to understand the implementation policy and that faculty should remember that the policies would reappear in the handbook in an integrated way. Professor Campa said that he thought the policy would fail even with the bold print removed. President Prevost said a number of faculty told her they were confused about what was being voted on and would reconsider their vote.

Directing his question to anyone who could speak for Knoxville, Professor Efaw asked if an implementation policy could go forward that conflicted with the language in the Board policy. Can minor changes be made? Provost Berry said he raised a number of such questions during a recent meeting between himself and his counterparts in the systems office. He asked specifically about revising some of the language and clarifying some minor points. The message he received was that two types of submissions would be rejected—1) language revising the bold print even if strictly editorial in nature and intended to clarify the intent of the Board and 2) language that conflicted with the Board language. He noted that, within the bold print guidelines, the campus could decide on implementation policies.

President Prevost said the original motion was to ask the performance review committee to write a revised version of the implementation policy for the April 1 meeting and that Council consider the issue again. If approved, the policy would go to the full faculty. The call of the question passed on a voice vote.

Professor Campa asked on what basis revisions would be made. President Prevost said revisions would be based on the concerns, comments, and suggestions expressed at the Monday faculty meeting.

The motion was approved 18-5-0.

Professor Margaret Trimpey asked that the Handbook Committee be involved as early as possible in the process. She said the committee was hampered by having to take a document faculty had worked on for a year and then integrate it into the handbook. Professor Hiestand asked that the Performance Review Committee highlight changes so the Handbook Committee would not have to review every point again.

Administrative Reports

Provost’s Report:

Describing it as a matter that honorable people could disagree on, Provost Berry said he appreciated the vote and the seriousness and intelligence of the Council. Saying it was a difficult and troubling issue, he said he hoped the campus could soon move to other issues. "I know we’ve had several serious discussions on this topic and I know everyone is tired of it." Acknowledging the issue had the potential to set close colleague against close colleague, he asked everyone to remember that the campus is a family. "After this issue is settled we will still need to be able to work together." He noted that performance review, budget, and Banner policy issues had understandably agitated many people on campus. He again applauded the Chancellor for dealing with the budget problems in such a candid way. "We’re going to have better times together, and I look forward to those better times," he said.

New Business

Professor John Trimpey moved that this Council "urge, support, and encourage the Chancellor to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure financial responsibility in the future." Professor Carter seconded.

Professor Trimpey said he thought everyone on campus was tired having budgets cut year after year, especially when the reasons might not be academic in origin. He said the person most impacted was the Chancellor who had to put off worthy projects and explain to people downtown why UTC didn’t have an 11-0 football team and so forth. Professor Hiestand said he was sympathetic but didn’t think the Chancellor needed the urging. Professor Trimpey said his motion was for people beyond Council who see the minutes and need to get the faculty viewpoint.

The motion passed unanimously on a voice vote.

Professor Bruce Wallace said he had a concern to bring forward but would put it in a letter to the Executive Committee.

Adjournment

President Prevost adjourned the meeting at 4:35 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

 

 

Kathy Breeden

Faculty Council Secretary

 

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