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THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE AT CHATTANOOGA
FACULTY COUNCIL MINUTES

October 7, 1999
Signal Mountain Room
University Center

Elected Members Present:
Tom Bibler, Roland Carter, Fritz Efaw, Gene Ezell, Diane Farone, Dawn Ford, Phil Giffin, Ron Goulet, Lee Harris, Jim Hiestand, Charles Knight, Deborah McAllister, Gail Meyer, Burch Oglesby, Cliff Parten, Edward Rozema, Mike Russell, Lauren Sewell, Ken Smith, Mac Smotherman, John Trimpey, Margaret Trimpey, Rick Turpin, Steve Underwood, Mike Whittle, Sally Young, Sherry Young

Elected Members Absent:
Pedro Campa, Mike Long, Irene Loomis, Verbie Prevost, Valerie Rutledge, Marsha Scheidt

Ex-Officio Members Present:
Jane Harbaugh

Among the Guests Present:
Deborah Arfken, Herb Burhenn, Betsy Darken, Jonathan Mies, Dan Webb

Actions and Announcements

Council passes Curriculum Committee proposals.

Council passes proposal from Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Development Grants

Call to Order

In the absence of President Verbie Prevost who was attending the UT Board meeting, First Vice President Tom Bibler called the meeting to order at 3:01 p.m.

Approval of the Minutes of September 16, 1999

The minutes were approved as distributed.

Report from the Curriculum Committee

Chair John Trimpey offered a packet of proposals for approval, noting that all passed the committee unanimously except the Science and Society proposal which passed 9-1-2. Regarding the latter proposal, he said a Geology representative addressed the committee’s questions and that at least nine of the 12 committee members were satisfied by the explanations.

Professor Mike Russell said he could not read the name of the person who signed off as Dean/Director on the Foreign Languages proposal. Several people identified the signature as former Dean Tim Summerlin’s.

Turning to the Math proposal, Professor Russell asked about the language concerning the writing component. Professor Betsy Darken said the language was taken directly from the General Education requirements. Professor Russell said he understood writing to mean essays. Professor Darken said it varied from category to category and that, in Professor Russell’s area, it did mean essays. She said the meaning was more flexible in mathematics and science, going on to explain the different forms it might take. She noted educational research which supported the value of writing in mathematics and said her colleague Professor Steve Kuhn had been asking his students to do an extensive amount of writing for quite a few years. Her students are also asked to write, and she finds that it elicits how well the students understand the mathematical concepts that have been covered.

Professor Ed Rosema pointed out that the General Science proposal only called for two units of college preparatory math when the university entrance requirement was three. Professor Trimpey said the question did not come up in the Curriculum Committee. Professor Darken said the General Education Committee declined to certify the course, in part, because of the prerequisite discrepancy. Professor Trimpey said he thought it was an unintentional error that could be handled as an editorial change, adding that passage by the Curriculum Committee and approval for General Education were different matters. On behalf of his colleague Dr. Wang who was not present, Professor Jonathan Mies said he was confident it was an unintended error and that the department would be willing to make the editorial change.

Professor Rosema asked if the prerequisite for the Geology proposal should read Math 106 rather than Math 116. Professor Mies said it should. Some discussion ensued about the variation between the Geology proposal which specified math placement level 20 as one possible prerequisite and the Science and Society proposal which did not. General sentiment seemed to be that adding a math placement level 20 prerequisite to the Science and Society proposal was a more substantive change that would require the proposal to be sent back for revision.

Professor Jim Hiestand noted that the Women’s Studies proposal had little in the way of explanation or justification. A discussion ensued about the nature of the changes reflected in the proposal. Professor Trimpey said it included no new courses that needed to be approved. Professor Hiestand said the Social Work proposal did not give the exact vote within the department, only the word "unanimous." Professor Diane Farone said the question came up in the Curriculum Committee and that it was reported that three people were present at the departmental meeting.

Professor Rosema asked if there was a standard form that people were supposed to use when they submitted proposals, pointing to the lack of description and the bare bones approach of the Women’s Studies proposal. Professor John Trimpey said there were standard criteria but that Curriculum Committee members obviously felt that the Women’s Studies changes were minor and did not significantly alter the nature of the program. Professor Rosema said he was concerned that the proposals were all printed on only one side of the paper, especially since some of them involved ecology and conservation.

The proposals with the editorial amendment to the Science and Society proposal passed 25-0-2.

Report from the Ad Hoc Committee on Faculty Development Grants

Chair Tom Bibler said the committee reviewed the current stipulations in the Faculty Handbook (Chap. 7, pp. 2-3) and liked most of the language. He said their main proposal was to transfer the granting of the awards from the Deans’ Council to a Faculty Council committee modeled on the Faculty Research Committee. The committee would have no fewer than 17 members and the Provost would be an ex-officio member. The proposal deadlines would be September 15 and March 15. Professor Margaret Trimpey moved adoption of the proposal.

Professor Phil Giffin asked why the change was being proposed and why it would be better than what we’re doing now. Professor Bibler said the committee felt it would be better for faculty to award the money than for the deans to do it. Professor Giffin suggested it would create more bureaucracy and would result in more wasted time. Professor Russell offered that it might make the process more political while others suggested it might make it more democratic.

Acting Dean Herb Burhenn pointed out that the representation on Deans’ Council was not proportional to the different areas so that the awards often amounted to a lot of horse trading. He noted the proposal did not address a main concern of Deans’ Council which was drawing the line between paper reading proposals and workshop/professional development proposals. Professor Bibler said the committee felt the lines were rather clearly drawn in the handbook and that the deans had simply not heeded the lines. Acting Dean Burhenn suggested little of the money would be awarded if the guidelines were strictly followed.

Professor Mac Smotherman asked why the deadlines were reduced from four to two. Professor Bibler said the committee’s perception was that the deans intended to award the money in equal amounts but that, in practice, most of the money was allocated in the earlier meetings, leaving little or no money for the later dates. Several Council members concurred in this assessment. Professor John Trimpey pointed out that faculty often didn’t find out about summer opportunities until after March 15. Professor Bibler said the committee discussed that point but did not have a good solution for it.

The proposal passed on a voice vote with one abstention.

Administrative Reports

No reports. Several administrators were in Knoxville attending the UT Board of Trustees meeting.

Old Business

Professor Fritz Efaw asked about the report on Campaign 2000. Professor Bibler said that Vice Chancellor Margaret Kelley was in Knoxville for the Trustees meeting but would report at the next meeting.

Professor Efaw complained that several questionable decisions had been made recently regarding the use of space in the Metro building. He said the departments involved were not consulted. He said the same thing happened a couple of years ago during the process of moving the Economics Department from the library to Metro. At that time he raised many questions about the process with the happy result that the Facilities Planning Committee began announcing their meetings and posting their minutes to Raven. He said that, as best he can determine, the process has stopped and that departments no longer have an avenue for input into facilities decisions. He said the process needed to be revisited once again. Professor Bibler said he would pass the concern along to Vice Chancellor Brown. Professor Efaw reiterated that his concern is with the Facilities Planning Committee, not Charles Scott’s Facilities Use Committee.

New Business

Professor Bibler welcomed newly elected Council members Diane Farone, Dawn Ford, Phil Giffin, and Sally Young.

Professor Russell, the Chair of the Student Evaluation of Faculty Committee, said the committee had been considering a number of issues over the last two years including the improvement of teaching and the use of evaluation forms. He said the committee was also concerned about grade inflation on campus. He said there seemed to be a widespread perception that administrators overemphasize the value of student evaluations and that this may have resulted in grade inflation. He asked Institutional Research to provide him with data on the undergraduate GPA both by school and across the university. Their report showed a .3 increase from 1984 when the average GPA was 2.491 to the present 2.779. He was alarmed to discover there are two schools in the university where the average grade is "A" and expressed concern that A now meant average. He said he wanted to bring the potential problem to the attention of Council but did not know if it should be referred to the Provost or Academic Standards or some other entity for further discussion.

Professor Sally Young noted that a move to abolish the evaluations didn’t get very far a few years ago. She said she thought that part-time instructors felt especially pressured to do well on student evaluations in order to keep their contracts.

Professor Russell said the university could face a problem in deciding who graduates with honors. He said his committee is looking at recommending that the dean or department head have at least one other instrument to evaluate quality teaching.

Professor Margaret Trimpey expressed concern about the way the HMO announcement was handled. She said faculty and staff received information in the mail without knowing that it had any relevance or represented any change. She said she found it hard to believe that someone in the system didn’t know what was happening. She said she felt people would have been less angry and offended if they had at least known a change was on the horizon. She said she was offended but didn’t know who to be offended at.

Personnel Director Dan Webb said his office was notified on August 23 that there would be some kind of change in the HMO, but were not provided any details about the change. His office communicated that information to Chancellor Stacy and to Acting Vice Chancellor Bill Aiken. Director Webb said he and his office elected to wait on additional information before alerting the campus. He said in retrospect that was a mistake. He apologized for not alerting the campus community in a timely fashion and said the campus had a right to be better informed.

Announcements

Professor Bibler encouraged everyone to visit the Faculty Club for lunch. The club has a new manager who is more amenable to doing smaller meetings and dinner gatherings, so he encouraged everyone to consider the Faculty Club for lunch and dinner events.

Adjournment

First Vice President Tom Bibler adjourned the meeting at 3:46 p.m.

Respectfully submitted,

 

Kathy Breeden

Secretary

 

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