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 Faculty Senate

The University of Montana

Meeting, October 9, 2008
Gallagher Business Building, Room 123

Approved 11/13/08

Members Present:

B. Allen, D. Allington, C. Anderson, T. Atkins, D. Beck, R. Bendick-Kier, N. Bradley-Browning, B. Brown, A. Carpoca, J. Carter, D. Dalenberg, A. Delaney,  B. Douma, A. Duwell, L. Dybdal, L. Eagle Heart-Thomas, J. Eglin, D. Freeman, L. Frey, J. Glendening, A. Golbeck, N. Hadad, B. Halfpap, J. Halfpap, L. Hayes, J. Henry, J. Herbold, E. Hines, N. Hinman, D. Hollist, B. Ikeda, B. Larson, J. Lopach, J. Luckowski, M. Mayer, S. McCann,  M. McHugh, N. Nickerson, M. Patterson, D. Potts, B. Reider, J. Renz, E. Rosenberg, D. Shively, D. Six , R. Skelton, G. Smith, D. Spencer, D. Stolle, R. Stubblefield, H. Thompson, E. Uchimoto, N. Vonessen, A. Ware, P. Williams, C. Work                       

Members Excused

L. Barnes, J. Burroughs, B. Cochran, T. Seekins, G. Twigg, K. Uhlenbruck

Members Absent

K. Canty, S. Gordon, W. Holben, E. Moore, S. Stiff, M. Valentin

Ex-Officio Present:

President Dennison, Provost Engstrom, Associate Provost Walker-Andrews, Registrar Micus, ASUM President Hunter,

Guests:

Bill MacGregor-Director of Transferability, Mary Moe-Deputy Commissioner of Two Year Education, J. Hirsten

Chair Ware called the meeting to order at 3:10 p.m.   
Registrar Micus called role.

The 9/11/08 minutes were amended and approved.

Communications:

President Dennison
Enrollment
President Dennison distributed an Analysis of Enrollment Variance handout.  Next month there will be an enrollment analysis provide by Bill Muse, Jed Liston, and Register Micus.  UM enrollments are up which is good news.    Fall enrollment was projected at 12,072.  Actual enrollment is 12,296.  FTE are up for resident freshmen as well as non-resident.  So the recruitment efforts of Enrollment Services have been successful. Projections were exceeded in all areas except graduate student enrollment.  However, many graduate students are expected to start in January. The administration will look into the cause of low graduate student enrollment.  It is likely that the issues that are indented to be addressed by the graduate education initiative -stipend levels and resident status among other issues are part of the problem.

Budget Request Discussions

The ending fund balance has increased to approximately one billion, which is in line with the starting point two years ago.   However, the climate is different due to the credit market and stock market crises.  So there is concern regarding the stability of the projections.  Yesterday's budget meeting primarily dealt with present law adjustment assumptions.  Present law adjustments include the inflators that go into planning the budget so that current services can be delivered to the same number of students.  For the most part there is agreement on the assumptions. It will be more difficult to determine how the revenue will be generated.  The administration is in favor of a similar College Affordability Program - 0% tuition increase for resident and a tuition increase for non-resident students that cover only the inflationary increases associated with the education of non-resident students. This would require the state to fund approximately 80% with the other 20% funded by tuition generated from non-resident students. There are still a lot of unknowns such as the K-12 funding law suit.  There are several similar issues that need to be determined.  The next step will be to decide the mix of tuition and general fund and whether there is any funding left for campus or system initiatives. Following this decision, proposals for buildings, facilities, and maintenance will be considered.

There will likely not be clarity regarding the ending fund balance or other issues until after the elections on November 2nd.     

Provost Engstrom
Non-tenurable Academic Faculty Report
According to university policy 101.2 a report on the use of non-tenurable academic faculty is to be presented to the Faculty Senate.  The report shows the percentage of instructional faculty in non-tenurable positions.  The policy requires that the percentage remain under 25%.  Overall the university is at 23.9%.  The Law School and College of Technology make heavy use of adjuncts and exceed 25% mostly due to the need for specific expertise.  There are also a few individual departments that exceed 25%.  The detail is in the report and senators may review the information at the Faculty Senate Office by appointment.

The use of adjunct faculty is heavier at the lower-division level.  Provost Engstrom requested that the Office of Planning Budgeting and Analysis look at the total adjunct teaching at the lower-division level.  Forty-eight percent of lower division credit hours are taught by non-tenurable faculty.  This is something to think about in terms of statements made to potential students regarding exposure to top faculty and leading experts.  He will be discussing this issue with the academic deans.

Senator Rosenberg: Several years ago a new lecturer status was implemented.  Is it appropriated to count them as non-tenurable faculty?   President Dennison agreed that this is a relevant issue because lecturers are considered part of the permanent faculty.  The report counts them as non-tenurable faculty.  They should be separated out in the report detail. Provost Engstrom will follow-up on this.

Senator Frey: Do the reports show a trend over the last three years?  The percentage went up by 2-3% from last year.  

Senator Vonessen: Where are teaching assistants counted?  To the extent that teaching assistants are instructor of record they would be counted in the non-tenurable faculty. Many of the teaching assistance are not the instructor of record.

Dean Searches
There are two searches in progress- the School of Law and the School of Fine Arts.  The search committees are made up of a combination of faculty, students, staff, and professionals.  The School of Law search committee will be chaired by Associate Provost Perry Brown and the School of Fine Arts will be chaired by Dean Peggy Kuhr.  Committee membership is posted as information to senators.   The desire is to have the searches completed for the new deans to start next fall.

The Accreditation Steering committee and Academic Strategic Planning Committee are making excellent progress and are on schedule.

The Common Course Numbering initiative is a huge project with specific deadlines and expectations of state policy makers.  Betsy Bach is the campus transferability liaison.  Provost Engstrom urges faculty involvement and cooperation with the project.  

 

ASUM President Hunter
ASUM President Hunter reported on the efforts of ASUM.  At last night's meeting ASUM passed two resolutions- one supported incorporating service learning into the curriculum, and the other acknowledged the Residence Life housing problem and offered ASUM's assistance.

There is a Rock the Vote widget on the CyberBear main page which allows students to register to vote by printing the form, completing and sending it.  Five hundred and forty-six students have used the site as of yesterday.

ASUM sponsored a How to Lobby Workshop Tuesday evening.  It featured three former student lobbyists. It was attended by 40 students.

There will be a House District Candidate Forum on October 23rd.   There will also be a debate between the two candidates for House District 93.

ASUM is planning a panel discussion on the Congressional Bail Out Plan on October 16th. The discussion will cover the different aspects of the bailout and how they affect Montana's economy.

ASUM is currently recruiting for a lobbyist.  Interviews are scheduled for October 27th.

ASUM is working to pass legislation for online voter registration.  The proposal will use the Washington, Arizona and California systems as models.

The Off-Campus Renter Center is working on legislation to revise the tenant landlord act including harsher penalties for security deposits wrongly withheld and provisions for mold issues.

ASUM passed a resolution opposing ASCRC's proposed solution to the repeat fee.  The fee and the grade point average calculation have now been separated into two issues.   ASCRC is addressing the academic policy of how grade point averages are calculated and the fee issue will be negotiated with the administration.  ASCRC is currently considering changing the policy so that the last grade earned is used to calculate the GPA.  ASUM President Hunter will draft a resolution in support of this policy if it is approved by ASCRC.

 

UFA President Kupilik was not in attendance

 

Common Course Numbering Initiative - Mary Moe, Deputy Commissioner for Two Year Education and Bill MacGregor, Director of Transferability

Mary Moe provided a brief background on the transfer initiative.  The legislature has been interested in the perceived problem of transferability in the Montana University System for some time.  In 2005 there was a transferability audit conducted by the legislature that had mixed results. Discussions took place between the Commissioner of Higher Education and the Legislature in terms of how the problem could be fixed. In 2007 the Board of Regents proposed the common course numbering initiative to the legislature.  The initiative was funded with 1.5 million. Eleven disciplines must be aligned throughout the system in the first year, an additional eleven are to be completed in the second year.   Additional disciplines will be added in following years until all disciplines have been reviewed.   In July, Bill MacGregor was appointed to direct the initiative.

In August Faculty Learning Councils were formed with representatives from all the units of the Montana University System, and Montana's community, tribal and private colleges.   In November the Regents adopted a Common Course Numbering Policy (301.5.5) that went beyond what the transfer initiative required.  The basic provisions of the policy are that all undergraduate courses will be reviewed to determine whether they are equivalent.  A common scheme for numbering the courses will be implemented. The courses that are identified as equivalent will have the same prefix, number and title. This addition involves significant IT and Banner issues in order to implement.

Bill MacGregor distributed a handout that provides a snapshot of the Faculty Learning Council's progress. The Councils are made up of faculty from specific disciplines.  Some required sub disciplinary councils to facilitate the review.  The faculty that know the most about the courses need to be involved in the discussions. The list shows that UM and COT have been heavily involved.

Politically the perception is reality.  The perceived problem makes the University System, individual campuses and faculty targets for the legislatures disdain.  The perception is that students are not being served.   The common course numbering solution is addressing only perceptions. All we are trying to do is label things so clearly that no one can be confused about whether courses transfer automatically, whether it is an equivalent course, or whether it doesn't automatically transfer.  This does not mean that the courses that are not equivalent don't transfer.  These courses remain a campus decision.  The common course number will provide the students with some predictability in their curricula planning after making the decision to move from a two-year to a four-year program.

Common course numbering does not interfere with academic freedom; it is simply dealing with the labeling of courses.  It doesn't impinge on curriculum committee prerogatives.

Evidence of progress on common course numbering must be provided to the legislature in January, otherwise the relatively substantial investment will come back to bite us. The arguments for funding were based on the need for faculty involvement in the process. The Commissioner's Office is committed to completing 12 disciplines by January. Completion means that the Councils determined which courses are equivalent and which are not out of all the courses in the discipline across the state, and leaning outcomes have been identified for equivalent courses.  The deadline for the first state of determining equivalences was September 30th and the learning outcomes deadline is October 31st.

Several difficulties need to be resolved to move forward.   The dividing line between 200 to 300 level courses is a dilemma.  Two- year campuses cannot offer 300 level courses and four-year campuses cannot be pressured to lowering course levels for the sake of transferability.  The initiative is only about clarity in the transfer process it is not intended to force changes to courses.

Another issue is identification of lecture and lab courses.  The majority of the council's agree that there should be separate credit courses for the lecture and the lab.  However potentially unique pedagogy combine the two.  So the dilemma is how to ensure, based on outcomes, the equivalencies are honored in terms of transfer without forcing one campus to conform. 

Clear guidelines need to be developed to address upper division courses -when a 400 level course has to remain a 400 senior level course.  Faculty need to work on these.

A standardized numbering system has been devised for variable credit and content courses such as independent study, special topics and etc.  The X90s will be used for this purpose which is similar with UM's current bag course numbering.

At the completion of the project there will be a matrix with campuses, list of courses, and a check for equivalency.  This does not imply that if there is no check that the course will not transfer.  It simply means that the campus must determine whether the course transfers.   The transfer initiative involves no intent to control, manipulate, or alter faculty determined goals and content for courses in the discipline.   Its only intent is to make plain what courses transfer as equivalent within the system and what courses don't.

Campus based program requirements might affect how the transfer courses help students complete their degree program.  Campuses retain control of the program requirements.

Common course numbering will not solve the problem of poor advising.

Questions:

Senator Vonessen:  When are the revised course numbers going to be in the University catalog? 

Deputy Commissioner Moe: The online catalogs will be updated as decisions are made. However, there will likely be addendums to the printed catalog for 5 to 6 years.

Senator Vonessen: Program descriptions will have to be revised to incorporate the common course numbers.  If course levels change there will be the need for departmental deliberation to align the requirements with the new numbers.  This will require time.


Director MacGregor: The Councils will decide whether courses are equivalent.  It should be clear to students that upper-division courses are at a higher level than courses with similar titles at other institutions.

Senator Eglin: It seems that common course numbering is going to reduce flexibility in terms of programs revising their curriculum.  What happens when new faculty want to redesign courses? 

Director MacGregor: If the course is no longer equivalent then it would request a new number that is not a common course number.  

Senator Hinman: What mechanism will review new courses for equivalences and how will the course number be determined?  Where is the decision oversight?


Director MacGregor: Curriculum committees will have a list of all courses.  When a new course is proposed, the curriculum committee should review the list and look for an appropriate match.  If there is a corresponding course then the proposed new course would be sent to the Transfer Initiative Coordinating Council for review. The Transfer Initiative Coordinating Council has oversight of the Faculty Learning Councils and will remain active to ensure the functioning of the system. 

Senator Rosenberg: Common course numbering removes the student from the advisor and could be detrimental with regard to two semester sequence courses.  Students may end up in courses they are not prepared for because they haven't had the appropriate sequence of courses.


Director MacGregor: The sequence problem is another dilemma that should have been mentioned earlier.  Faculty will need to work on a solution that works within the constraints of the initiative.

Senator Renz:  Is there going to be any change in the way grades and course credit are recorded on the transcript? 

Registrar Micus: Courses will be recorded from the institution where the course was taken and as transfer credit for the receiving institution.

Senator Frey: The new common course numbers will be out of sync with programs' course numbering and will impact the integrity of the numbering scheme.  Why can't departments keep their course numbers and cross list courses with the common course numbers if equivalent?  This will allow programs' course numbering systems to remain intact. 

Director MacGregor: The Faculty Councils are bringing together faculty from around the state so that programs can evaluate their curriculum and numbering schemes and improve them.

Senator Carter:  Isn't the total number of equivalent courses less than 20%?  There are relatively few courses that are equivalent in any give discipline.  The matrix for Accounting was used as an example.
Senator McCann:  It seems that the project will involve continued work to maintain functioning.  What type of support will be provided by the Legislature?


Director MacGregor: Once started down this road, there is no going back.  It remains to be seen how the legislature will support the initiative in the future.

Senator Mayer:  Many courses on two-year campuses are not taught by faculty holding PhDs. This is a serious problem in terms of equivalency. 

Director MacGregor: It is important that faculty participate in the process to determine course equivalences.

Senator Luckoski: Every program has created a series of courses that make sense.  Common course numbering will create issues with the entire numbering system. 

Director MacGregor:  If programs have a sequence that is important then they will need to make it meaningful and fight for it through the Faculty Councils' deliberations.

Senator Luckoski: What happened to the articulation agreements? 

Director MacGregor: The articulation agreements are unreliable because they have not been kept up-to-date.

Senator Luckoski:  Will all the professional programs have to have the same prefix? 

Director MacGregor: The prefix will be the same for the equivalent courses.  Your involvement in the Faculty Councils will help make these decisions.

Senator Lopach: As Chair of the Political Science Department, he has been as generous as possible in determining transfer credits.  This initiative is a solution without a problem.  Students transferring from community colleges have an inflated expectation about their performance at the junior and senior level.  There is no way that he would consider the possibility that a 200 level course at a community college could be equivalent to a 300 level course at a four-year campus.  


Director MacGregor:  For the most part the Councils have maintained the distinction between the lower- and upper-division courses.  It needs to be made clear, in terms of outcomes, why a upper-division course with a similar title as a lower-division course is deferent - in terms of the students' ability to succeed.


There are professors with PhDs teaching at community colleges.  Only 8% of Montana two-year college students transfer to four-year colleges.  The national average is 60%.  So something needs to be done about the nexus between Montana two-year and four-year campuses.   We can't go back.  The policy is what it is.  Working with that, faculty need to participate to get the project completed.  This needs to be done in a way that does not hurt our programs, does not harm students' success, and achieves the benefits that it was intended to do. Please send additional comments/ concerns to Director MacGregor at bmacgregor@montana.edu.

Chair Ware encourages faculty to find out who is representing there discipline, take a look at the discussion board and send comments/ concerns as appropriate.


Jim Hirstein, Chair, NWCCU Accreditation Steering Committee
The committee has been busy.  The website for the Steering committee is at WWW.umt.edu/asc.  There should be a link from the Provost's site shortly.  The site includes the last accreditation report and some archived documents. 

Academic Strategic Planning Committee update
Carol Brewer, Chair of the Academic Strategic Planning Committee is traveling so Chair Ware provided a brief update. The Committee is finishing up the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunity and Threats (SWAT) analysis.  When this is complete, it will start to have various open forums for discussion. He encourages faculty to participate in these venues.

Chair's Report:
Board of Regents Meeting

He and Chair-Elect Hinman attended the Board of Regents meeting in Butte.  They had the opportunity to listen to the budget presentation.  There was also a session with the Montana Faculty Association Representatives (MUSFAR) and the Board of Regents. At this meeting MUSFAR expressed its appreciation for the 1% increase to TIAA-CREF, but that it was still behind and needs to be addressed.  The transfer initiative was also discussed in great detail.  It is very important that UM has active participation in the Faculty Councils. It seems that some of the two-year colleges see the advantages of aligning their curriculum with the four-year schools since they are likely the transfer destination. The two new programs - PhD in Medicinal Chemistry and minor in Mountain Studies were approved with little discussion.

Service Award
The deadline for nominations for the Faculty Service Award is November 19th.  Please send nomination materials to the Faculty Senate Office.  Please refrain from nominating faculty that are currently serving on ECOS as it determines the award recipient. Nominations are retained for three years.  Additional material may be added to update the files.

 

Committee Reports:

Writing Committee Chair Nancy Hinman
The Writing Committee submits three documents for the Senate's consideration.  The Writing Course Guidelines and the Catalog language will be voted on next month.  The Writing Committee has been working on the guidelines document for a couple of years.  At the request of ASCRC it was sent to departments for feedback last year.  The Frequently Asked Questions document was developed in response to the feedback.  

Senator Lopach: Do the guidelines for the upper-division writing course also apply to the upper-division writing expectation? 

Senator Hinman: The upper-division expectations must address how they meet the learning outcomes.

 

Senator Lopach: There needs to be more guidance regarding the second option for departments when they fill out the forms for the upcoming review in the spring.

Senator Hadad: The reduction in the allowed class size will cause a lot of problems for departments.   The committee received this feedback and it is addressed in the frequently asked questions.  If the enrollment exceeds 25 the committee wants to know how each student will be assisted in meeting the learning outcomes.

Professor Shively:  Is there any updates on what is happening with the Writing center's Writing Assistants Program?  Kelly Peterson is the new director of the Writing Center. She is hoping to work with faculty as much as possible to provide support the writing goals of the university. Last year there was an interim chair and some of the programs were not supported.

Senator Duwell:  What is Information Literacy? Information Literacy was added to the writing requirement at the request of the Mansfield Library and supported by Provost Engstrom.  Senator McCain from the Mansfield Library defined information literacy as being able to understand the different information ecologies that students are required to use when making arguments. Information Literacy is the ability to find, evaluate and use information effectively. 

Senator Duwell encourages an addition to the FAQ's describing information literacy. He suggests the need for clarification regarding what kind of confidence is needed with regard to information technology and digital literacy. 


Senator Hinman:  Individual departments would need to define what is required within their discipline. An example of the type of digital literacy needed in Philosophy might include the use of search engines to find work that is published online. What does your discipline require and how are you going to get that information to your students?

Senator Carter, last year's Writing Committee Chair and a current member, pointed out that the document includes a passing grade of C-, however the committee strongly supported a C.  ASCRC suggested the C- to be consistent with other general education requirements and the Board of Regents Policy.   It is the faculty's prerogative to set higher standards and the Senate should consider this.

 

Good and Welfare:
Chair Ware encouraged senators to send comments or concerns regarding common course numbering to Bill MacGregor or Betsy Bach.  

The meeting was adjourned at 4:55 pm.


Faculty Senate

The University of Montana

Missoula, MT 59812