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Meeting, March 9, 2006

 

 

Meeting, March 9, 2006
Gallagher Business Building, Room 123

DRAFT

 

 

Members Present:
E. Ametsbichler, D. Beck, C. Bruneau, F. Cardozo-Pelaez J. Carter, G. Cobbs, J. Crepeau, D. Dalenberg, A. Delaney,  S. Derry, P. Dietrich, D. Doyle,  W. Freimund L. Frey, J. Gannon L. Gillison, K. Hill, W. Holben, C. Johnston, S. Justman, K. Kane C. Knight, L. Knott, B. Knowles, M. Kupilik, B. Larson, J. Luckowski, J. McNulty, V. Micheletto, M. Monsos, C. Nichols, D. Potts, E. Putnam, B. Reider, Y. Reimer, F. Rosenzweig, D. Schuldberg, P. Silverman,  G. Smith, J. Sommers-Flanagan, F. Snyder, H. Thompson, K. Unger, N. Vonessen, A. Ware, S. Yoshimura

Members Excused:
B. Allen, M. DeGrandpre, F. Glass, S. Gaskill, S. Gordon, S. Greymorning, C. Lawrence, C. Loisel, D. McCrea, S. Stiff, M. Tonon,

Members Absent:

J. Campana, K. Canty, B. Chaney, C. Hand, S. Li, D. Six, R. Skelton, A. Sondag, T. Whiddon

 

Ex-Officio Present:
Provost Muir,  Registrar Bain, Associate Provost Staub and Walker-Andrews

Call to Order:

Chair Crepeau called the meeting to order at 3:12 PM.

Registrar Bain called roll.

Senator Frey gave the following resolution:
"Let it Be Resolved that the Faculty Senate of The University of Montana formally acknowledges Phil Bain's many years of service and thanks him for his significant contributions to the University of Montana, in particular those he has made to its faculty. His unquestioned dedication, unfailing humor, and untiring efforts have made our campus a better and more humane academic community. We will all miss him and extend him our wishes for a prosperous and happy retirement."

Registrar Bain was presented with a certificate and token of appreciation from the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate.

The minutes from 2/9/05 were accepted as a matter of record.

Communications:

 

 

UFA President Mike Kupilik

UFA President Kupilik attended the Board of Regents meeting in Dillon last week.  He addressed the Regents concerning TIAA-Cref.  Earlier at the meeting the Regents had discussed University retirement mainly with regard to the unfunded portion of TRS.  He explained the burden on young faculty members, and problems of recruitment and retention related to the lowest retirement contribution rate in the nation.  The issue got the Regents attention.  Regent Semmons was particularly interested.   He informed the Regents that the UFA will be bringing legislation to the next session and asked them to join in the effort of getting it passed.  The Regents expressed a willingness to do so. 

UFA President Kupilik also spoke about inversion, and the problems it is causing with moral and retention.  He provided examples of entire departments that have been inverted with new hires.  It made the point that past policy affects programs. 

In terms of salaries, the Regents had been informed that MUS faculty salaries are at 98% of peer institutions.  UFA President Kupilik explained that according to a recent survey, MUS is in the lowest 10% salary range, but recruit from the national market.  Other Universities at this level were North Dakota, South Dakota, Idaho, Arkansas and Mississippi. They found this interesting and questioned the validity of the Commissioner's Office salary survey.  The current budget proposal stands with a salary increase of 3% and 3% for the next biennium.  He asked the Regents to consider something higher such as 6%.

The Union supports academic freedom unqualified.  It is in the contract and was most likely the first issue negotiated in 1977.  The UFA stands ready to support any faculty member in any academic freedom dispute, regardless of whether we think the ideas are good.  If you have an issue, please call the grievance officer Barry Brown or himself and the UFA will certainly take action

Chairs Report

Chair Crepeau summarized the items on the chair's report.

  •           Faculty Senate Elections
    The electronic voting system sent incomplete ballots to some of the voting groups.  This was corrected and complete ballots were sent in order to have a valid election.

    On a positive note, ECOS is investigating the possibility of an improved electronic voting system through the Information Technology Office.
  •           Code of Ethics
    ECOS has given President Dennison feedback related to the proposed Code of Ethics.  The suggestions were to revise negative statements into positive statements, be inclusive of administrators, and to include the various unions in the discussion.  The latest draft was linked to the agenda for information.

Senator Knowles asked whether the President intended to bring to Code to the Senate for a vote.  Professor Ausland's publicized objection to the use of the term ‘requires' because it infers an edict from the President.  Senator Knowles requests that ECOS make this comment if it is asked for further feedback.

Chair Crepeau responded that he is not sure how the President plans to proceed or how the unions will respond.  ECOS has not taken a position of support or opposition to the code.   He encourages faculty to send their comments directly to an ECOS member or to their senator to assure their voice is heard on the issue.  It is presumed the Code will be forwarded to the Senate for a vote if it is to be enacted.

  •           March 2006 Board of Regents Meeting

Transfer Goals:
At the Academic and Student Affairs meeting Roger Barber, Deputy Commissioner of Higher Education introduced Transfer Goals created by the Chief Academic Officers.  The faculty representatives were confused by the 3rd goal.

Reduce the number of credits that transfer students need to complete so that number is as close to the total number of credits required to earn a degree as possible.  I.E., 60-72 credits for an associate degree and 120-128 for a baccalaureate degree, depending on the degree program.

There was no forum for discussion so the intent was not clarified.  There is a proposed budget initiative of 3 million on transferability. (See complete listing or http://www.montana.edu/wwwbor/ITEM130-101-R0306ATT.htm)

University of Montana admissions plan, phase four-Regential policy change:
(http://www.montana.edu/wwwbor/ITEM130-102-R0306.htm)

The University is currently in phase three, where by at risk students are advised to attend the College of Technology Associate of Arts degree.  There are 235 students who voluntarily enrolled in the AA program.  The majority of these students will matriculate into baccalaureate degree programs fall 2006 with much of their coursework satisfying UM's general education perspective requirements. Phase four would implement standards above enrollment requirements set by the Regents and require students not meeting these requirements to enroll in the AA program.

The Academic and Student Affairs Committee was not in favor of a standard above that set in Regents policy 301.1 and 301.2.  It also was against a mandatory enrollment in a two-year program.  Provost Muir and Chair Crepeau attempted to persuade the committee that the program would be beneficial to "at risk" students. The students would matriculate to the main campus rather than transfer. The student regent felt the policy was disparaging and discriminatory.

Senator Dietrich asked whether the Regents were aware of differential entrance requirements at other public institutions.

Chair Crepeau did not think the Regents had this information.  The Regents are still struggling with the notion of the two-year colleges as a resource toward a four-year program.  They still view the two-year colleges as separate from the 4 year schools with non related missions.   

Associate Provost Arlene Walker Andrews stated that these students are admitted provisionally at this time.  After up to three semesters on the main campus approcimately 37% of the provisional students have maintained an acceptable grade point average to continue.  So we are loosing 63% of the "at risk" students that do not receive special attention.

The provisional students at the College of Technology are typically taking 12 credits to qualify for financial aid and receive individual advising on study skills, writing and math placement.

According to Senator Hill the students are difficult to track because the COT lacks the funding for follow-up.  The College believes it is having good success from anecdotal information. The increasing number of students indicates something.

Montana University System Faculty Association Representatives (MUSFAR) breakfast meeting with the Regents.

MUS is excited about there new evaluation of administrators.  Included in their process is reporting of how the administrators are utilizing the results to improve the performance of subordinate administrators.

MUSFAR asked the Regents about the funding for the Academic Administrator salary increases and were told that is included in the overall budget.  

MUSFAR afternoon meeting with the Montana Associated Students (MAS)
The students would appreciate a more efficient way of understanding course equivalencies within the Montana University System to facilitate transfers. They agree that resources would be required to develop a web site to do this.

 

  •           Friday March 17, 2006 Davidson Honors College Social
    The Faculty Senate is co-hosting with President Denison.  There will be lots of appetizers.

 

Committee Reports:

Graduate Council

  •           Graduate Council Chair Neil Moisey presented the curriculum consent agenda.
    After a brief discussion regarding the use of the term ‘authentic' in the course title Authentic Assessment the new course in Curriculum and Instruction was approved unanimously.

    Associate Provost Walker Andrews explained that she has been to several conferences where the term is used and it actually means measuring students work compared to indirect methods of assessment. 

ASCRC

Curriculum Consent Agenda
R-TV 489, Preparing for an Internship

Senator Knowles explained that Radio-TV tried instruction sheets circulated to students, but found it necessary to bring the students together to prepare them for the competitive nature of the industry and assure that they represent the University of Montana appropriately. The students do a lot of preparation for their careers in the course.  The course is taken the fall semester prior to the internship to allow the students to prepare for deadlines in February.

In looking at the syllabus, Senator Justman was reminded that a few years ago the Senate approved a policy that disallows career skills courses to count toward a baccalaureate degree.  It should not receive academic credit according to Senator Frey.

The students meet once a week and report on market research, calls to alumni and other assignments. They research media markets, where they want to work and live.

Senator Holben commented that he didn't see how the course was fundamentally different from courses in grant writing or preparing for presentations that exist in other programs.

Senator Frey commented that the only difference may be the focus on resumes, mock interviews and so forth.

Senator Gillison stated that it seems that the students are doing the type of research that they are going to have to do as professionals in the field.  That these are skills they are honing and they are being directed by a faculty member.

The internship is either1 to 2 credits informed Senator Knowles. According to accreditation standards students may only take 40 credits within the major so the number of internship credits is limited.  The other concern is that students are paying for a non-paying position and living at their own expense often in a high cost city. 

Senator Ware called the question to close the debate. There was a division.  The debate was closed with a vote of 35 in favor, 4 opposed, and one abstention. 

The consent agenda was approved 39 in favor and 3 opposed.

General Education Review report

The General Education Review report was presented as an information item.  ASCRC reviewed perspective 5, Ethics and Human Values and 6, Natural Sciences.  There was a small list of courses that departments elected to withdraw from the perspective list and a four courses in the Natural Science Perspective for which appropriate information was not received and therefore removed from the perspective.

Internship policy change
"Students may count toward university graduation requirements up to 6 total credits of internship credit in 198, 298, 398, and 498 courses." 

ASCRC Chair Luckowski provided some background.  ECOS requested that ASCRC investigate the issue and it has heard from various individuals several times.   There have been lots of discussions in ASCRC.  The data provided by the Director of Internship Services, Terry Berkhouse was very informative. Over a three year period, 1538 students took an average of 2.4 credits of X98 internships; 323 students took an average of 6.1 credits; 48students took an average of 7.5 credits; 3 students took 10.7 credits, 14 students took 12 credits; and 3 students took 13.7 credits.  So the number of students taking over 6 credits of internships is relatively small.  ASCRC debated the grading option and heard both sides of the argument.  It felt strongly that six credits was a generous number of X98 internship credits.  This policy does not affect X90 supervised internships or program's practicums.

Senator Kupilik was contacted by the Department of Environmental Studies regarding concerns.  He introduced Professor Neva Hassanein explained the departments opposition. Their faculty members concerns have been expressed at ASCRC, but the current motion is still problematic for the department. 

The relatively small number of students taking more than 6 internships credits begs the question what problem is the policy intended to solve.  More importantly is the University's increases focus on the value of civic engagement and service learning.  Arbitrarily limiting the number of x98 internships sends a negative message.  EVST takes the oversight of internship courses seriously.  Students meet with faculty to identify a site and work out specific learning objectives. A midterm and final report are required from the student.  These are reviewed along with the employers report to award the student credit or no credit for the experience. Thus, grade inflation is not an issue. Other universities require more experiential experiences for graduation. Six credits is limiting.   EVST encourages students to learn while doing, to make contacts, and get experience in this way.  Internships are an important way the University contributes to the community.  EVST feels strongly that the proposal is problematic and crosses the line of micromanaging departments. If the problem is grade inflation then restrict the credits to credit no credit.  

During the three year period there were 26 EVST students that took over 6 credits.  The department considers this a lot of students.  It has been suggested to use Independent Study or another course number, but this adds more work for the faculty considering Internship Services cannot be utilized.  The department would like to have the flexibility for students who wish to spend the summer working in the field the entire summer (over six credits).  The department would be more comfortable with a credit limit of 12 or 9.

Senator Gannon asked whether students are provided any type of feedback from the midterm and final report that indicates whether students are learning/progressing and getting something meaningful out of the experience.

Professor Hassanein responded that if problems are identified by the student the faculty member would intervene, but students were not normally provided with feedback after the reports.

Senator Holben suggested that part of the anxiety is related to the amount of time students are in an unsupervised/unstructured environment that counts toward their degree.  

According to Professor Hassanein, this has not been a concern in EVST and should be something decided by the departments.  There are 36 credits required in the program and the internships would be part of the students' elective credits that count toward the 120 credit requirement.

Senator Johnston, a member of ASCRC clarified that the policy refers to a cap on credits toward graduation only, students could take over 6 credits of internships, but only 6 will apply toward the 120 for graduation. Not having a limit opens the system up for abuses. Many programs utilize x90 for supervised internships.  These are managed by the department. 

Senator Luckowski shared additional data from Internship Services.  In the same three year period 327 EVST students took an average of 2.81 internship credits. The range was from 1 to 8 credits.  Twenty-six students took 2 or more internships that totaled between 7 -8 credits.  

Senator Holben expressed concern that departments can determine the grading option for internship credits and this may allow non-faculty to influence grades.  He suggests that the courses be limited to credit/no credit.

Senator Johnston responded that ASCRC had many discussions regarding this issue.  The School of Business made a strong case for maintaining the letter grade for their internship program which has a high level of oversight.  The grade is determined by the Internship Coordinator based on the papers submitted by the students.  Interfering with a system that has proven effective would be micromanagement on the part of ASCRC.

Senator Potts, a member of ASCRC explained that the hope of ASCRC is that every program would offer internships for credit no credit, but the School of Business has tried the credit/no credit option and found that their students perform better when the internship is graded and establish a better relationship with the employer. Therefore ASCRC considered this proposal a better alternative.

Senator Frey moved the question that was unanimously approved.  The motion was also approved unanimously.

Declaration of the major policy change

"Students must declare a major prior to completion of 45 credits or after three semesters, whichever occurs first.  ASCRC was asked to consider this issue by the academic deans as a means to increase retention."

Senator McNulty spoke against the motion.  The reason the Senate is asked to consider the change is to increase retention.  However there is no evidence that declaring a major earlier will lead to graduation.  As an advisor for students who are undecided, she believes students need time to explore, weigh the options, and then decide on a major.

If forced to declare a major and change majors several times, they will not have consistent advising.  An earlier declaration of a major might not increase retention.

Associate Provost Walker-Andrews explained that the deans asked for this to be considered because of a report provided to the deans that identified student engagement with faculty is an important factor in retention. Data was reviewed for students who declared compared to students who had not.  There are other factors that impact retention such as motivation.  The deans felt that faculty advising could help to motivate students.

At a recent teleconference, The Sophomore Year, The Forgotten Year, students were interviewed and felt that they needed ‘deep advising'.  Where they would receive career measure oriented advising that explained multiple path ways to graduation. Students need a lot of guidance when doing exploration.  Students leave when they are not getting good advising and there is a problem on this campus with retention.  Students need to make a connection with faculty and this is one way to do this.


There will not be any punishment if students do not declare a major at 45 credits.  However they will be flagged for special advising attention.

Senator Dalenberg was confused as to whether the correlation applies to causation.  He would argue that there is another factor.  Performance is driving both choice of major and retention. He is concerned about unintended consequences. Resources are divided out by major.  And the earlier a major must be declared the more students a department has to advise, so there could be a potential reshuffling of resources.  On the flip side faculty may not be very good at general education advising.

Senator Dietrich spoke to another unintended consequence.  If we pressure students to declare a major there is potential for students to change their major which could lengthen the time it takes to graduate.  He doesn't support putting pressure on students this early.

The current policy requires students to declare a major at 60 credits.

Senator Ware asked about the number of students is there that haven't declared by 45 credits but do declare by 60 credits.

Senator McNulty had data from the Undergraduate Advising Center.  There are 360 students that are undeclared between 30 to 60 credits, 78 students with 60 to 90 credits, 22 with 90 plus credits, and 81 post baccalaureates. A lot of the baccalaureates are getting certificates in the School of Education.  Many of the students in the 30 plus do not have the GPA requirements to get into their desired major.

Senator Beck asked how this would impact the professional schools.

Senator Luckowski responded that the pre majors can be considered a declaration.  The current language refers to a degree granting program and that was removed.

Senator Silverman suggests that the purpose of retention be considered.  It is primarily financial and not particularly important academically.  One of the key purposes for students at the traditional age is to explore.  He would argue that 60 credits is the appropriate guideline.

Associate Provost Walker-Andrews commented that for every extra year a student is in school he or she is accumulating a larger debt.  The issue is not just a financial concern for the University.  It some since the University would lose money if students actually graduate in four years.

Senator Frey remarked that the declaration of a major is an academic benefit.  Students benefit by being connected in a program earlier.  It might concentrate students mind to require a declaration.

Senator Luckowski is in favor of the motion.  She was persuaded that encouraging students to make choice sooner is beneficial because they would borrow less money.  Students' debt load is almost an ethical issue.  However there is an argument on the other side that it could take longer to graduate if students change their major.

The question was called by Senator Dietrich and passed unanimously

The motion was approved with 23 in favor and 15 apposed.

Good and Welfare:
Senator Justman is concerned about student debt loads.  A considerable number of students are paying tuition on credit cards.

Registrar Bain indicated that a lot of students' parents pay on credit cards because of the convenience. 

Senator Ametsbichler announced that the Graduate Student and Faculty Research Conference is coming up on April 8th in the University Center.  She encourages faculty participation.  The details are on the website at: http://www.umt.edu/gradfacconf/

The meeting was adjourned at 4:55 PM.