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The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Faculty Council Minutes

April 15, 1999 Signal Mountain Room
University Center
Elected Members Present: Tom Bibler, Boris Belinskiy, Mike Biderman, Pedro Campa, Valerie Copeland-Rutledge, Fritz Efaw, Gene Ezell, Phil Giffin, Jim Hiestand, Charles Knight, Lenny Krzycki, Irene Loomis, Deborah McAllister, Eileen Meagher, Jonathan Mies, Cliff Parten, Marsha Scheidt, Mac Smotherman, Vicki Steinberg, Felicia Sturzer, John Trimpey, Margaret Trimpey, Rick Turpin, Randy Whitson
Elected Members Absent: Jim Avery, Marlene Bradshaw, Roland Carter, Diane Halstead, Marea Rankin, Lauren Sewell, Ann Stapleton, Bruce Wallace, David Wetzel, Mike Whittle
Ex-Officio Members Present: Bill Berry, Jane Harbaugh, George Ross, Bill Stacy
Among the Guests Present: Valarie Adams, Herb Burhenn, Neal Coulter, Betsy Darken, Bob Desmond, Leroy Fanning, Lanny Janeksela, Greg O’Dea, Larry Stokes, Mary Tanner

Actions and Announcements


*Council approves Curriculum Committee proposals

*Council approves Departmental Honors Committee recommendations

*Council endorses recommendations of the Student Rating of Faculty Committee

*Council approves March 25 draft of implementation policies with changes recommended by the Handbook Committee


Call to Order

President Verbie Prevost called the meeting to order at 3:03 p.m.

Approval of the Minutes of April 1, 1999

By email, Professor Ann Stapleton wrote that she was present at the February 18 meeting. Noting the last full paragraph on page 2 of the April 1 minutes, Professor Fritz Efaw said the "two years" should be "one year." Following the clarification, the minutes were approved.

Committee Reports

Curriculum Committee:

Chair John Trimpey moved approval of proposals from EHLS, Education, and Political Science. The motion passed unanimously on a voice vote.

Departmental Honors Committee:

On behalf of Chair Greg O’Dea, President Prevost moved approval of the recommendations from the committee. Professor Margaret Trimpey said Michael Jeffries’ "pending" should be changed to "honors." The recommendations passed unanimously on a voice vote.

 Student Rating of Faculty Committee:

Chair Mike Russell said the committee focused this year on finding ways to improve teaching at UTC. In that regard, he said the committee had two recommendations:

  1. The committee recommends faculty make better use of Dr. Karen Adsit’s Teaching Resource Center. For example, an evaluation could be conducted early in the semester just for the purpose of improving teaching. The results would not go to department heads and would not be part of the evaluation structure unless the faculty member so chose. This early evaluation would give faculty an opportunity to make improvements in the course. Then at the end of the semester faculty could follow-up with a few questions to see what worked and what didn’t, again for the purpose of improving teaching.
  2. The committee also recommends the creation of a Peer Review Panel. Department heads could recommend faculty to serve on the panel, and Dr. Adsit could maintain a list of potential reviewers. The process would be completely voluntary both on the part of the reviewers and those wishing to be reviewed. Reviewers would receive training from Dr. Adsit. Department heads would not be notified of the results unless the faculty members chose to share the information. Review panels would be cross-disciplinary and would review for methodology rather than course content.

The committee also considered concerns about how the numerical data from the evaluations was being used on campus. Dr. Adsit and Dr. Dick Gruetzemacher have volunteered to prepare a tip sheet which would explain how to use numerical data to evaluate teaching. The tip sheet would go to all administrators and would be available on a web page and on raven. Professor Russell said some complaints to the committee involved, for example, department heads who took the median of several classes to arrive at a mean, a process which constructs a meaningless number. He said such practices were likely not malicious but at the same time were not justifiable either.

He said the committee also considered concerns that the comments from student evaluations were misused with some being put in reappointment letters and the like. He said the committee also received complaints that the comments were being selectively edited and misrepresented in the EDO. He said the committee recommends that faculty experiencing that problem include all comments in their EDO folders.

In response to a concern expressed by a faculty member, the committee considered gender bias in the evaluations—whether female faculty do as well as male faculty on the evaluations. Some studies suggest they do not. Dr. Gruetzemacher looked at the situation at UTC and reported to the committee that female faculty at UTC do slightly better than male faculty.

Although the committee is not recommending any changes in the actual form, Professor Russell did point out a misstatement on the form’s cover sheet which says that says that the comments go to the provost, deans, department heads, and the faculty member being rated. The comments only go to department heads and the faculty member. The error will be corrected when more forms are printed.

In response to a question from Professor Felicia Sturzer, Professor Russell reiterated that the peer review process would be voluntary both on the part of the reviewers and the person seeking to be reviewed. For faculty who do not choose to be peer reviewed, the evaluation process would remain exactly as it has been. He said the process was being offered as one way for faculty to improve their teaching. He thanked Dr. Adsit for being so helpful to the committee. Professor Phil Giffin expressed concern that voluntary processes often turn into requirements.

The recommendations passed on a voice vote with two abstentions.

[The full report of the Student Rating of Faculty Committee can be viewed on the Faculty Council web page.]

President Prevost said she had had an email recently from the SGA requesting a meeting between the SGA and this committee. The SGA wants a different set of questions on the form and wants the evaluations made available to them for publication.

Handbook Committee:

Chair Deborah McAllister said her committee was offering ten suggestions for changes in the Performance Review Committee draft dated March 25. The changes have been discussed with the Performance Review Committee. President Prevost pointed out that the most important change was that the department head would be an ex-officio member of the review committee.

Professor Efaw said he wanted to confirm that cumulative reviews would be for all tenured faculty including those holding administrative posts. President Prevost and others said that was their understanding.

Professor John Trimpey asked if section was discussing dismissal for cause or for unsatisfactory performance when it said the faculty member would be entitled to one academic year’s salary. Professor McAllister said the section dealt with dismissal for unsatisfactory performance in teaching, research, or service. Professor Jim Hiestand noted the addition was to bring the policy into alignment with the policy on untenured faculty who had been at UTC at least two years.

The motion to approve the March 25th draft of the implementation policies along with the changes from the Handbook Committee passed by a vote of 15-8-1.

President Prevost said the Executive Committee was offering resolutions which, if passed, would accompany the implementation policies and the Handbook Committee changes to the full faculty.

Professor Hiestand said he had been exchanging ideas with Professor Richard Rice on changes that might be implemented in the EDO process. He said they had discussed the introduction of a fourth category—"needs improvement"—which would be the equivalent of a D grade between the C and the F. President Prevost said one of the purposes of the resolution was to spell out the need for a review of the current EDO process.

Professor Campa asked how the Executive Committee arrived at the need for the third paragraph. President Prevost said the paragraph attempted to indicate that the Performance Review Committee had received many conflicting suggestions and, so, could not address all of them. Professor Felicia Sturzer said she thought the paragraph was poorly worded.

Professor Fritz Efaw expressed concern that Council was being asked to make pronouncements about amendments and suggestions that had only been seen by the Performance Review Committee. He moved that the paragraph be striken. Professor Hiestand seconded. The motion passed by a vote of 19-3-2.

Professor Mike Biderman asked why the Council was considering the resolution. President Prevost said faculty had indicated a desire to express certain attitudes that could not be part of the policy. She said the Executive Committee modeled the resolution on the one passed by the Faculty Senate in Knoxville.

Referring to the fourth paragraph of the resolution, Professor Biderman said his sense was that faculty did not feel that the new polices protected academic freedom and due process. Professor Campa said the only resolution he would support was one that expressed faculty displeasure about the whole policy.

Professor Biderman asked about the intent of the fifth paragraph. President Prevost said it expressed in writing the need for a review of the current EDO process.

Professor Sturzer moved that voting on the two resolutions (paragraphs four and five) be separated. Professor Giffin seconded. The motion to separate the voting on the resolutions passed on a voice vote with one abstention.

The motion to accept resolution number one (paragraph 4) failed by a vote of 3-15-6.

The motion to accept resolution number two (paragraph 5) passed by a vote of 21-2-1.

The motion to accept the resolution as amended failed by a vote of 10-9-4. Parliamentarian Hiestand explained that a majority had to be in favor for the resolution to pass.

General Education Committee:

Professor Betsy Darken said Council should have received the committee’s end-of-year report along with a separate memo outlining several committee recommendations.

Professor Margaret Trimpey asked about the recommendation that transfer students entering UTC in 1999-2000 academic year be able to adopt the 1998-1999 catalog. Professor Darken said the current rule is that transfer students can adopt the catalog of the year in which they started college or the catalog of the year in which they enter UTC. She said students at community colleges and other colleges have likely been taking courses based on the old general education requirements. She said the committee was asking for this one time exception to the rule, saying that UTC needed to focus on the incoming freshmen in the fall of 1999. She noted that transfer students who want to be under the old general education requirements could always adopt the catalog of the year they entered college.

The motion to accept the committee’s recommendations passed by a vote of 23-0-1.

Professor Darken said her report points out that departments were supposed to submit integration plans to the committee by March 11. The General Education Implementation Committee decided not to list departments in the 1999/2000 catalog that did not submit integration plans. She said she hoped these departments would submit these plans in the future.

In response to a question from Professor Sturzer, Professor Darken said some faculty apparently thought simply appearing on the "plan-to-integrate list" that she sent out over raven took care of everything. She said departments still needed to submit a plan to be approved for certification.

President Prevost said end-of-year reports had been received from other committees and would be entered into the record.

Administrative Reports

Chancellor’s Report

Chancellor Bill Stacy said he admired the faculty for their attention to the details of the implementation policy, the resolutions, and so forth during the long consideration of these topics.

He said he had had the wonderful experience of swapping places with a student for a day as a part of a lottery sponsored by the Student Alumni Council. While a student handled the duties in the Chancellor’s office, he attended three classes with terrific professors.

He thanked the campus for the hospitality extended to the Development Council a few weeks ago. He said he had really wanted to show off the wonderful faculty and students of UTC. He said the Council raises money for the various campuses and are helpful with a number of important projects. He said he felt like UTC "just blew them away. It was just terrific."

Noting the end-of-year report from the Budget and Economic Statues Committee, he urged faculty to continue their interest in budget matters. He said the campus would soon begin the process of allocating funds to the various university functions for the coming fiscal year.

Professor Margaret Trimpey asked about newspaper reports that funding for higher education and the Engineering building in particular was in jeopardy due to the state’s tax woes.

Chancellor Stacy said he remained optimistic about state funding. He said a number of people in Chattanooga and around the state were continuing to lobby the governor and the legislature concerning taxes and funding for UTC and higher education in general. He noted that the Engineering Building was the marquee project of all the capital construction in the state and that UTC was the only campus to have a building on the list, adding that UTC was also the only campus scheduled for a major appropriation increase. He has been assured by a number of people that UTC would come out okay in the eventual budget, but he continues to lobby various people and encourage other people to do the same.

Vice Chancellor’s Report

Vice Chancellor George Ross said the budget hearings had been completed and that his office was in the process of compiling and formatting the information to fit into the system processes. He said budget requests exceeded projected budget revenues by about four million dollars and noted the challenge of allocating the projected revenue to the various campus units.


President Prevost adjourned the meeting at 3:50 p.m.


Respectfully submitted,




Kathy Breeden

Faculty Council Secretary


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