Meeting, April 12, 2007

Meeting, April 12, 2007
Gallagher Business Building, Room 123

Members Present:

L. Ametsbichler, C. Anderson, T. Atkins, L. Barnes, D. Beck,  R. Bendick- Kier, F. Cardozo-Palaez, B. Cochran, J. Crepeau, M. DeGrandpre, A. Delaney, P. Dietrich, B. Douma, J. Eglin, L. Frey, J. Gannon, F. Glass, J. Glendening, S. Gordon, L. Hayes, K. Hill, M. Kupilik, B. Larson, G. Larson, C. Lawrence, S. Li, J. Lopach, J. Luckowski, M. Mayer, S. McCann, D. McCrea, J. McNulty, N. Nickerson, M. Pershouse, D. Potts, L. Putnam, B. Reider, Y. Reimer, F. Rosenzweig, D. Shively, R. Skelton, F. Snyder, J. Sommers-Flanagan, S. Stiff, R. Stubblefield,  D. Swibold, A. Szalda-Petree, H. Thompson, M. Tonon, E. Uchimoto, N. Uhlenbruck, A. Ware

Ex-Officio Present:

President Dennison, Associate Provosts Staub and Walker-Andrews, Dean Strobel, Registrar Micus

Members Excused:


Members Absent:

N. Bradley-Browning, K. Canty, S. Justman, L. Knott, M. Monsos, M. Neilson, T. Seekins, P. Silverman N. Tuleja,

B. Allan, W. Freimund, C. Hand, C. Nichols, G. Quintero, G. Smith, A. Sondag, D. Stoll, K. Unger


Professors Kiely, VanDenPol, and Gallagher


Chair Ametsbichler called the meeting to order at 3:10 p.m.
Registrar Micus called roll. 

The minutes from 3/8/07 were approved by unanimous consent

President Denison
The graduation lists presented by Acting Provost, President Dennison were approved.

President Dennison reported on a proposal to provide, on an experimental basis, the opportunity for students on academic suspension to take special courses over the summer.  This pilot program requires a suspension of the Board of Regents policy that requires students to sit out a semester before reinstatement.   The goals of the program are to support students and improve retention.  Students will be closely monitored to determine its effectiveness.  An important reason to test the program is that the majority of students forced to stay out a term do not return. If effective, then a permanent change will be proposed.  ASCRC was supportive of the pilot program.

April 1st is the initial acceptance date for many top universities. Students not accepted to these will be considering alternatives.  This is a critical period for recruiting students and communication from faculty makes a difference.  President Dennison, as acting Provost, asks that faculty make connections with students via email, letters, or telephone calls. The deans will be provided with lists of potential student names and addresses.  Each academic unit will determine how to distribute the names.   Enrollment Services will be tracking whether the students contacted choose UM.  These connections have shown to make a 20% difference in persuading students.

Many issues arose regarding the fall 2007 implementation of the 3-credit-continuous registration in Graduate Council and at the Graduate Student Association's open forum last night.  All most everyone considers one credit of registration the policy.  It is not.  The policy specifies that students should enroll for an appropriate level of credit, with one credit as the minimum.  The current practice does not assess the level of university resource use and not much attention is given to communicating to students how to progress in a timely fashion.  A Graduate Council Workgroup will collect best practices, determine how to calibrate the reliance on university resources, and evaluate how the university should affect the two issues.  It is quite clear that students have made their plans according to understanding the rule as one credit, and implementing the change this fall would create an overload of hardship cases for the graduate school. And there isn't a good practice in place to deal with hardship cases.  So, in view of all the concerns, the implementation will be delayed until fall of 2008.  However, all incoming graduate students should be properly informed of the policy.   Other institutions require a range from 1 to 9 credits with 3 as the most common requirement.   We need to address the issue of reliance on university resources and how we can help students to move in a timely way through a program.

The Legislature is moving along.  Bill 820 is now the education funding bill.  The Governor's College Affordability Plan is intact.  At this time, the one-time-only start-up funding for the speech pathology program is included.  The long-range building bill, 830, has been amended to include plans for a new College of Technology building and an HVAC system for the Law School Building that were inadvertently missing from the executive budget request. There is also a provision for technology and furnishings for the new Journalism building. Whether these will survive remains to be seen. There is still no agreement for an integrated or broad-band pay increase for Montana state employees.

Senator Beck asked whether the development of the speech language pathology program will move forward without the special appropriation.

The President responded that if the special appropriation is not awarded, the University will request money from the program development funds.

Professor Lopach asked the President to comment on the financial-aid stories and whether there are any implications for UM.

President Dennison indicated that the administration has looked very closely, but UM does not seem to have any problems.  UM lists all the loan agencies and students can choose any of them. 

UFA President Kupilik
UFA President Kupilik reported that HB 95 past the house and is currently in the Senate Finance and Claims Committee.   Senator Greg Lind has volunteered to guide the bill through the floor of the Senate.  Senator Mike Cooney is concerned that this bill could take funds away from other projects. Faculty might consider sending Senator Cooney an email explaining the importance of this bill to the university system. It is critical for recruitment and retention and is the equitable thing to do. Emails to Carol Williams by the end of the day would also be appreciated.  She has been working hard on this and could use the correspondence from constituents. 

HB 525 has been resurrected by Representative Koopman as HJ 55.  It is the same diversity bill with a slightly different action requirement.  It calls for an investigation of diversity on the Montana University System campuses. It had a hearing in the Resolutions Committee, but no one spoke in favor of it.  It likely will not get out of committee.  But again an email correspondence would be appreciated.  

Chair's Report
Chair Ametsbichler announced that the Joint Campus Governance Ethics Committee has started to meet, but one more faculty member is needed.  If interested, faculty should contact the Senate Office.

The election results were an information item under the chairs report.  Email communication has circulated concerning the validity of the recent election. Chair Ametsbichler explained that ECOS has discussed the issue.  Recent practices have been in place for at lest the last five years.  ECOS's intention is not to exclude any faculty member from serving on the Senate, but to allow flexibility so that senators who are granted sabbaticals or leaves can return to fulfill the remainder of their elected term.  Elected senators occasionally are scheduled a course for a semester that conflicts with the senate meetings and have been temporary replaced for the semester as well.  ECOS came to a consensus that there is a difference between a vacancy and a temporary absence, and this language is suggested in the bylaw amendment later in the agenda.

Senator Anderson announced that the recent election is being contested and proposed the following resolution that was distributed to senate members via email.


- The ballot and the announced results for the immediately past Senate Election have been challenged in a timely way;

- the challenge relies on By Laws VII.B and F;

- By Laws VII.F have traditionally been understood and applied to require the replacement of Senators going on leave, without any right of return following the leave;

- ECOS has in response proposed to amend By Laws VII.F to bring them into conformity with its recent actions, which depart from the traditional understanding;

- the announced election results are for this reason manifestly clouded; 




- that ECOS re-hold any affected nominations and elections, in the form of a by-election in any affected Voting Group, and that this by-election be conducted in accordance with By Laws VII.F as it has been traditionally understood and applied.


Senator Putnam asked for a statement of facts that explains the basis for the contention for those who have not been following the email.

Chair Ametsbichler explained that concern is based on ECOS's interpretation of the Bylaw VII. D (not VII F as referenced in the resolution):
            If a vacancy occurs after a final election, ECOS will fill the vacancy after giving      due consideration to the vacator's runners-up. Such selected faculty members         will fill the vacancies until the next regular election. 
For the past five years, senators have been allowed to take temporary absences for a semester or year and return to their seat.  In this last election, there was a senator on the semester-abroad program, who was listed on the ballot as a senator.  The faculty member contesting the election claims that faculty on leave should resign their senate seat.  So, there should have been an additional vacancy in the humanities and in the Modern and Classical Languages specifically (only three senators from one department are allowed).  The faculty member on the semester-abroad program had the understanding that he would return to his senate seat in fall semester 2007, and therefore did not opt-in for the senate election.  

There was considerable debate and a motion to postpone action on the resolution failed. However, Chair Ametsbichler requested to resume discussion later in the agenda in order to accommodate a guest's schedule, and the new center item under new business was presented.

New Business: New Center for Work Physiology & Exercise Metabolism

Professor Ruby presented information on the Center. The Center will be 100% funded through grants. The focus of the research is extreme environmental factors on human physiology and offers opportunities for collaboration, internships, and graduate student support. The building plans for the lab will improve the aesthetics of McGill Hall. He still needs to meet with the Dean of the Library regarding collections, but does not anticipate any additional needs.  The Center was approved.

Committee Reports:
ASCRC Chair Allen Szalda-Petree

Senator Szalda-Petree presented the curriculum consent agenda.  The experimental energy technology AAS program was described by Professor Gallagher, Chair, Applied Computing and Electronics at the College of Technology.  The proposal is the result of a Department of Commerce grant funding opportunity for economic development in rural Montana and involves partnerships with Dawson and Miles Community Colleges, Montana Tech, and in the second year, Tribal Colleges. Experimental courses have been taught successfully for a couple of years.  Graduates of the program could find jobs as energy auditors, in oil fields, and with small non-traditional energy businesses.  The proposal is for an experimental, two-year only program.  If the program is found to be successful a detailed program plan and proposal will be submitted in two years.  All items were approved.

Graduate Council Chair Louis Hayes
Senator Hayes presented the curriculum consent agenda.  It was approved.
He also informed the Senate about the Department of Mathematics creative approach to support more students through pre-doctoral associate positions.  The proposal was made available for other departments that may be interested in trying something similar.  Any questions should be directed to Senator McNulty. 

Unfinished Business:  None


New Business: Center Review

The Centers were presented by an ECOS member that participated in the review.  The documents were approved as presented with the exception of the Montana Rocky Mountain West.  It was amended as identified below.

Center for Ethics

Continue, review again in two years. The new director should be given the opportunity to develop funding sources and action plans.  The objectives are supportive of the University's mission.

Montana Business Connections

We would recommend the Montana Business Connections resubmit a report next year that provides additional information regarding changes its mission, how its activities are benefiting Montana and the University, and updated information on budgets and grants.  Until that time, and as long as grant monies are available, and the business community and the university feel this center is providing a service not already available from the private sector, we would recommend continuation of this center.

O'conner Center for the Rocky Mountain West

Two-year review of the Center with approval of the Center contingent on significant movement towards self-sufficiency. (The expectation is that 75% of the budget should be from outside funding). The Center took the Faculty Senate's recommendations from two years ago into consideration. It has provided thorough documentation of its activities and broad-based program/s -all compelling and valuable. The Center provides important services to the region, as well as participating in educational programs at UM. Part of the reason this Center is controversial, however, and as pointed out in the 2005 report, "is because its budget is heavily weighted towards personnel." This continues to be the case - this past year, $800,000 of the $863,000 budget went to personnel. We reiterate: the Center must become more self-sufficient. ECOS and the Senate are disappointed with the Center's progress toward this goal.  (Amended with 4 senators opposed.)

The Shafizadeh Rocky Mountain Center for Wood & Carbohydrates

ECOS recommends that the center be continued. The center appears to function mostly from funds generated from external sources.  The Center Director has made significant improvements in the Center's infrastructure (equipment upgrades) and the activities of the Center involve other faculty and students and therefore benefit the university.  Finally, the center has shown a high level of productivity and value to the university and scientific community

The Western Montana RiteCare Language and Literacy Clinic

Recommend continuance. University funding is used for this speech-language clinic but the money is well spent on an important community service.  It is the view of the Executive Committee of the Senate that the clinic should move to financial independence from the President's Office during the next five years. There is clear evidence that the clinic is achieving its stated goals.

Chairs report: Contested Election continued

Discussion resumed regarding the contested election. The problem seems to be the inconsistent interpretation of the bylaws.  There is no language in the bylaws that states a senator must resign if he or she goes on sabbatical or leave.  The resolution failed 29 to 9 with 3 abstentions.


New Business Continued:
Bylaw Amendments

The Bylaw Amendments were presented for first reading. 
The amendment proposed to ByLaw V.G is proposed because of the difficulty in finding faculty to serve on the Unit Standards Committee. The number of student members was also reduced.

UFA President Kupilik referenced the Collective Bargaining Agreement and found that this type of committee is required to have at least 2 student members.

Senator Uhlenbruck is on the Unit Standards Committee and would be willing to meet with ECOS to discuss why it is difficult to get faculty to serve on the committee. He also does not understand why department chairs are excluded from membership on the committee.  They are members of the faculty.  

The amendment proposed to ByLaw VII.D is designed to clarify the language so there will no longer by ambiguity regarding the procedure for senators on sabbatical or leave.  The language differentiates between a vacancy and a temporary absence. Senator
Anderson moved to amend the amendment according to the resolution sent to senators via email.  There was some confusion whether the motion was in order given that the bylaw amendment could not be voted on until the next meeting according to the bylaws. Therefore, the resolution was not considered.  The vote on the bylaw amendments will take place next month.

General Education Model
ASCRC Chair Allen Szalda-Petree presented the draft General Education Model.  ASCRC has been working on the model for quite some time.  It has had consultation with various representatives from departments that had significant difficulties with the draft prior to this one. The model has been sent to department chairs.  If at all possible the model should be acted on at the next meeting.  His concern is that if it goes back to ASCRC next academic year, it could take another year with a new committee.

There was debate regarding the process for considering the model.  It was noted that

an issue as important as general education needs time for campus-wide discussion.  Recommendations to delay the vote until fall semester, to extend the May meeting, and for ASCRC to draft an explanation document were made. 

Good and Welfare:  None

The meeting was adjourned at 5:10 pm.