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September 21, 1995
Signal Mountain Room
University Center

ELECTED MEMBERS PRESENT: Tom Bibler, Mary Brabston, Ken Carson, Prem Chopra, Betsy Cook, Neal Coulter, Ahmed Eltom, Leroy Fanning, Nick Honerkamp, Bruce Hutchinson, Doug Kingdon, Tom Kozubowski, Renée Lorraine, John Lynch, Jim Macomber, Bob Marlowe, Gail Meyer, Anna Panorska, Tom Payne, John Phillips, Verbie Prevost, Bill Prince, Barbara Ray, Katherine Rehyansky, Mike Russell, Joyce Smith, Maria Smith, Kristin Switala

ELECTED MEMBERS ABSENT: Martha Butterfield, Robert Duffy, Shawn Evans, Phil Kazemersky, Jim McDonell, Margaret Trimpey, Sally Young, Shela Van Ness


AMONG THE GUESTS PRESENT: Ralph Moser, Tim Summerlin, Mike Whittle

Call to Order

President Martha Butterfield being away in Knoxville at a meeting of the UT Board of Trustees, the meeting was called to order by Professor Ken Carson at 3:22 P.M.

Approval of Minutes

Professor John Phillips pointed out that the minutes should reflect (p.2, top) the name of the committee to which Professors Kristin Switala and Anna Panorska were elected: the Graduate Council.

The minutes were approved with this recommendation.

Committee Reports

Professor Carson noted that, in the absence of Professor Butterfield, no report would be made by the Executive Committee.

As chair of the Committee on Committees, Professor Carson distributed photocopied notes from that committee. He announced that Professor Larry Ingle had resigned from the Council and that the Executive Committee will hold an election for his position at the next full faculty meeting in November.

Professor Carson pointed out the need to elect another alternate for the Honor Court, to replace Professor Switala. Professor Jim Hiestand has agreed to be a regular member, and Professor Gene Van Horn will be chair, but an alternate is still needed. Professor Gail Meyer nominated Professor Tom Waddell. Professor Nick Honerkamp moved nominations be closed, Professor Bob Marlowe seconding. Professor Waddell was elected by acclamation.

Professor Carson announced that the Part-Time Faculty Committee lacks one member from the full-time faculty. Professor Tom Bibler suggested Professor Anne Hunt for the position. Professor Carson said that he will call her.

Professor Meyer noted an error in the photocopied information, which stated that the alternate for the Honor Court would be elected by the Graduate Council; in fact, the Faculty Council just did so. Professor Carson agreed this was an error.

Professor Lorraine recalled that last year it was mentioned that an ad-hoc committee would be appointed to consider the recommendations of the Faculty-Administration Relations Committee, and asked if anything had been done. No one had any information about this, but Professor Carson said that the Executive Committee will consider appointing such a committee.

Professor Carson noted that we did not vote at the last meeting to approve students nominated to committees, and called for a vote. Professor Doug Kingdon moved approval of the students nominated, Professor Honerkamp seconding. The nominations were unanimously approved.

New Business

Professor Jim Russell raised the issue of privacy in faculty offices. A colleague had complained to him that the department head had entered his office without his knowledge or permission. Although the department head eventually admitted doing so, there was never any resolution of the matter. Professor Russell pointed out that other issues are involved besides privacy of papers, such as the contents of computer files and personal effects. There are no guidelines on this matter in the Faculty Handbook, and Professor Russell recommended that the administration respond to this concern—is there a policy?

Professor Carson said that the Council could either discuss the matter or assign it to a committee.

Professor Sheila Delacroix asked what form such a policy might take.

Professor Russell said that he would like to know if the administration already has a policy that should be communicated to department heads; the Council needs to get a response from the administration. Professor Richard Brown said that Security has a policy not to enter faculty offices unless the faculty member or department head is present.

Professor Meyer asked whether the presence of the department head in particular was what gave rise to objections in the case mentioned by Professor Russell, or whether anyone’s unauthorized presence in the office might have been equally objectionable.

Professor Russell said that any unauthorized entry would have been objectionable.

Professor Honerkamp said that he hoped the matter would not be sent to the Handbook Committee, which is unprepared to handle it. He expressed regret that the matter came up at all and said that there is a great variety of feelings and situations related to privacy of faculty offices. He questioned whether we should develop a policy at all—is it perhaps better to continue to handle this matter informally?

Professor Carson pointed out that a formal policy could not be formulated without legal advice. He suggested that the Executive Committee ask Provost Walker to address the issue, or to suggest someone else who might address it.

Professor Bruce Hutchinson mentioned the matter raised at the Council’s last meeting concerning reduction of the number of periodicals the library will subscribe to. He expressed concern about the proposed cutback and inquired what procedures would be used in implementing it. Journals are not neatly categorized, but overlap academic disciplines; an economist might well make use of a history journal, or vice-versa. Sending a list of periodicals to departments is too simplistic a procedure, since a journal on one department’s list might well be highly valued by another department on whose list it did not appear. Professor Hutchinson moved, Professor Russell seconding, that the Faculty Council be authorized to review the procedures the library will use in making cuts.

Professor Bibler said that these matters should be discussed with the Library Committee.

Professor Mike Whittle, who is chair of the Library Committee, said that the committee will discuss the matter.

Professor Hutchinson said that that would not be a sufficient safeguard; because there might be issues unique to departments, the procedures should still be approved by the Faculty Council. The Library Committee does not have access to all the relevant facts, and it will be too difficult to correct mistakes after action is taken.

Professor Phillips said that he agreed with Professor Hutchinson. Cuts should be made fairly, and the Council should know all the facts.

Professor Russell pointed out that one department might want to delete a journal that another might want to keep. How would such issues be decided?

Professor Delacroix said that the library is working on procedures, which will be distributed to departments. The Library Gopher and the Web Page have a list of all the journals the library subscribes to, broken down by departments. The faculty can review this list and let the library know their feelings. The list includes both titles and costs of journals. If departments feel that certain titles should be added to their lists, or else should not appear at all, they should let the library know. Some titles were included under more than one department, if it was felt that more than one department would use them. The library will not allow any department to eliminate a journal without consultation with related departments.

Professor Hutchinson asked why the process could not be open to all faculty. In fact, he said, every journal belongs in every department. The issue is how the faculty is to get input into the process of dropping journals.

Professor Delacroix said that the faculty will have plenty of input.

Professor Hutchinson said that he could not be sure of that, since many things have been done covertly in the past.

Professor Russell asked what will happen when a new faculty member in a department represents a new field and gives rise to the need for new periodicals? Will old ones have to be dropped?

Professor Honerkamp said that that has in fact been done in the past.

Professor Lorraine asked whether lists will be sent to the departments so that they can decide which journals they can do without.

Professor Delacroix said that such lists will be sent out before the end of next week.

Professor Lorraine asked whether departments will also be allowed to indicate which journals they can’t do without.

Professor Delacroix explained that the library will ask departments to prioritize journals by groups, not to choose certain journals to be cut.

Professor Phillips asked what criteria will be used by the library in making the cuts.

Professor Delacroix asked whether a report from the Library Committee to the Faculty Council would help in this matter.

Professor Carson pointed out that that is what the motion asks for.

Professor Honerkamp asked what we mean when we speak of "the administration"; to whom should we address our request to be permitted review of procedures for cuts in periodical holdings?

Professor Hutchinson said that he assumed the request should be addressed to the Chancellor.

Professor Carson suggested that the request be addressed to the Chancellor, the Provost, and the University Librarian.

Professor Carson restated the motion: that the Council send a request to the Chancellor, Provost, and University Library that procedures governing reductions in journals will be reviewed by the Faculty Council before being implemented. The motion was unanimously approved.

Old Business

Old Business appears out of order because the arrival of Professor Maria Smith was delayed by her attendance at a class.

Professor Smith reported from the Ad Hoc Committee on Distance Learning Standards, referring to the recommendation of the Faculty Council that all undergraduate courses to be offered through distance learning after Fall 1995 should be approved specifically for distance learning by the Curriculum Committee. Because of insufficient information the committee was unable to address this and several other items referred to them for consideration, and Professor Smith recommended that these items be revisited by the Faculty Council. In particular, Item B in the report sent to the Ad Hoc Committee through the Committee on Academic Standards is in need of clarification, and Items C and D could not be considered without such clarification. The recommendation of the Ad Hoc Committee was that the Faculty Council consider the items in question to see whether its recommendations could be implemented and whether they would in fact have the desired effect. The Ad Hoc Committee did not believe it could carry out the recommendations without further clarification and information. Distance learning is a method of course delivery, and that is not something that is specific to the course syllabus; faculty do not have to say how they will teach each course. In addition, codes and policies for distance learning are already in place.

Professor Carson offered a clarification, explaining that the Council voted over a year ago to have all distance learning courses go through the Curriculum Committee even if they had already been approved by that committee. The Ad Hoc Committee questioned the rationale for that requirement. Professor Carson explained that two kinds of action were possible, either to refer the matter back to the Academic Standards Committee or to take action now.

Professor Honerkamp asked what remained for the Curriculum Committee to approved the second time around. Have we developed standards for distance learning?

Professor Kingdon said that the Curriculum Committee is trying to get some directives for distance learning. The matter came up in the Standards Committee because some courses, e.g. labs, were not appropriate for distance learning; that is why the Curriculum Committee was to review courses for appropriateness, to see whether an adequate job of teaching a course can be done by distance learning.

Professor Honerkamp said that this seemed to be a matter, not for the Curriculum Committee, but for the Standards Committee. He moved, Professor Bibler seconding, that the Council rescind its proposal to send courses to the Curriculum Committee twice. The Council cannot expand the duties of the Curriculum Committee without consulting with it.

Professor Russell said that there should be some oversight of the matter, however, even if it was not done by the Curriculum Committee.

Professor Meyer said that the intention of the Council was not to send courses through the Curriculum Committee to be approved twice, but to get a different KIND of approval the second time: approval for distance learning. The course would then be listed in the catalogue as one approved for distance learning.

Professor Honerkamp said that it is not the curriculum that is at issue, but academic standards.

Professor Meyer said that there is no mechanism for courses to go through the Standards Committee.

Professor Hutchinson said that the intention of the recommendation was to shorten the time departments must spend getting courses through the approval process; it is undesirable to hold discussions twice, once in the Curriculum Committee and once in the Standards Committee. The Curriculum Committee doesn’t mind implementing the recommendation, but needs for standards to be enunciated.

Professor Bibler agreed with Professor Smith, saying that distance learning is a delivery system, and why should we concern ourselves with it if we do not concern ourselves with other delivery systems? Why try to legislate the matter when there has been no problem?

Professor Hutchinson said that a decision might head off problems. Since departments get special funding for offering courses through distance learning, there is great pressure to staff courses. The issue should not be left to the administration; the faculty should take charge of it.

Professor Meyer said that the concern with standards was mainly to protect departments from pressure to offer inappropriate courses through distance learning.

Professor Carson noted two issues in the discussion: Should there be standards enunciated for distance learning? And who should develop those standards?

Professor Honerkamp said that staffing is not a curriculum matter.

Professor Russell offered an amendment to the motion on the floor, Professor Marlowe seconding. He proposed that the oversight of distance learning be delegated to the Standards Committee.

Professor Prevost asked whether the decision to offer a course by distance learning should not be made at the department level.

Professor Honerkamp said that he would consider the amendment a friendly one if it provides for getting a response on the matter from the Standards Committee.

Professor Russell said that he would accept Professor Honerkamp’s addition to the amendment.

Professor Lorraine said that the question whether courses are offered by distance learning or not is, in fact, a curriculum matter.

Professor Prevost said that the concern is with HOW the curriculum is delivered.

Professor Smith said that the Curriculum Committee does not seem to have anything to do with manner of delivery.

Professor Prevost noted that there is a similar issue in the delivery of courses in English composition, some of which are offered in computer labs. Is the English Department breaking the rules by changing the method of delivery of the course without consultation with any committee?

Professor Barbara Ray said that distance learning is a method of instruction, not a curriculum matter. But there is the assumption that some kinds of curricula can’t be delivered through distance learning, so there is a relationship between what is taught and how it is taught. Faculty do have to be involved with standards. She could, she said, argue in favor of oversight by the Curriculum Committee, but somehow the faculty does have to monitor the appropriateness of the courses for distance learning.

Professor Lorraine asked who will decide whether a course will be offered by distance learning.

Professor Jim Macomber suggested that there might be a need for a new permanent committee, since neither of the existing ones seems exactly suited to make this kind of decision.

Professor Kingdon said that some standards need to be set as to what is appropriate for different kind of technology. Ultimately, he said, the matter will come back to the Faculty Council.

Professor Carson called for a vote on the amendment.

Professor Bibler suggested that the Council first clear up the issue of staffing—why should we be any more concerned about staffing courses offered by distance learning than about staffing any other courses? Someone must give a charge to the Committee on Standards so that they know what to do.

Professor Prevost said that the issue was too vague and uncertain. The first need is to decide what we want done; then we must decide who can do it.

The Council voted on the amendment, which was passed.

The Council then voted on the motion itself, in this form: The Council will rescind the decision to have the Curriculum Committee consider requests to teach courses through distance learning, and will refer such matters to the Academic Standards Committee. The motion passed unanimously.

Professor Lorraine asked if she might return to Old Business. She said that, although she would not want Professor Ingle to do anything that might be injurious to his health, she will miss his thoughtful and conscientious consideration of issues and the courage with which he expressed his opinions.


The meeting was adjourned at 4:30.

Respectfully submitted,

Katherine Heinrichs Rehyansky

Acting Secretary

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