Meeting, February 12, 2009

Meeting, February 12, 2009
Gallagher Business Building, Room 123


Members Present:

D. Allington, C. Anderson, T. Atkins, L. Barnes, D. Beck, B. Brown, J. Burroughs, K. Canty, A. Carpoca J. Carter, B. Cochran, D. Dalenberg, A. Delaney,  B. Douma A. Duwell L. Dybdal, L. Eagle Heart-Thomas, J. Eglin, D. Freeman, L. Frey, L. Gillison, A. Golbeck, S. Gordon, N. Hadad, L. Hayes, J. Herbold, E. Hines, N. Hinman, W. Holben,  R. Judd, B. Larson, J. Lopach, J. Luckowski, M. Mayer, S. McCann,  N. Moisey, E. Moore, J. Morton, N. Nickerson, E. Rosenberg, T. Seekins, D. Shively, R. Skelton, W. Sheilds, M. Shogren, D. Six, G. Smith, D. Spencer, D. Stolle, R. Stubblefield, H. Thompson, G. Twigg, E. Uchimoto, K. Uhlenbruck, N. Vonessen, A. Ware, G. Weix, P. Williams, C. Work                      

Members Excused

B. Allen, R. Bendick-Kier, J. Glendening, D. Hollist, B. Halfpap J. Halfpap, M. McHugh, D. Potts, S. Stiff

Members Absent

B. Ikeda, M. Patterson J. Renz

Ex-Officio Present:

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


J. Hirstein, J. Lundt, K. Shanley

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

Registrar Micus called role.

The 12/4/08 minutes were approved.


President Dennison
There has been no further action on the MUS budget.  The state is scheduled to publish the ending fund balance projections tomorrow.  The revised December executive recommendations eliminated the present law adjustment agreements that were in the November proposal.  This would carry the current budget forward for fiscal year 10 and 11 without any increases, not even for health care.

A bonding bill will be introduced to the legislature that would fund several MUS facility projects, including a new College of Technology building.  Governor Schweitzer is opposing the Bill.  Several legislators support the Bill.  Bonds have not been issued in two biennia so the debt has been paid down.  The bond would be for 65 million.  

President Dennison spoke briefly about some of the proposed items in the Federal Stimulus Package that would affect Montana - tax relief, extended cobras and Unemployment benefits, Pell grants, student loans, and tax credits.  It is unclear whether higher education would see any of the money proposed for state stabilization.  Other provisions will provide funds for NIH grants, energy programs, and comparative health care.

Senator Judd asked whether anything is being done regarding the pending status of WICHE and WWAMI funding.  He has pre-med students that have been accepted into programs but are on hold because of the status. 

The administration is pushing to keep the scholarship funds.  The outcome of the program is tied up in HB2 and there has been a lot of posturing. He suggests that students send letters to Chairman Villa, who is arguing the case.

President Dennison was asked to comment on the handling of Federal Grants issue that resulted in the reprimand of the Commissioner of Higher Education by the Board of Regents.  He explained that several years ago there were audits on the accounting practices for research funds that focused on congressional grants.  At that time a policy was put in place that requires reports be submitted to the Board of Regents in September and January.  However, these dates don't correspond with when the dataare available and the policy has not yet been revised.  UM submitted the report but MSU did not.  The issue will be resolved if the Universities do what is expected and the policy is revised.  

Provost Engstrom
Provost Engstrom introduced the new College of Arts and Sciences Dean, Chris Comer.  He also wished Registrar Micus well in his new position at the King Abdulla University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. 

Course Repeat Fee

The administration has reached an agreement with ASUM regarding the course repeat fee.  There will be a mandatory course repeat fee.  It will be $25.00 for the first course repeated, $35.00 for the second and $50.00 for the third or more.  The revenue from the fee will be directed to student retention and success efforts.  The fee will be phased out after two years.  It is the expected that improved retention will replace the revenue from the fee.  There will be an exception clause for hardship situations.  

The searches continue for the Law School and the School of Fine Arts Deans.  Candidates will be visiting campus soon.

The Design of the Undergraduate Discussion Group has been established and will be chaired by Associate Dean Tompkins.

The Provost was asked to comment on the rumors that peer advising will be eliminated.  Academic Affairs is evaluating the effectiveness of peer advising and may make some adjustments.  For example every undeclared student should have a professional advisor and freshmen should not be advising other freshmen. The program will not be eliminated.   A mechanism will be put in place for faculty input. 

ASUM Vice President Smillie
Several new senators were elected this spring. ASUM passed the textbook ordering resolution because of concerns from students with disabilities.  The transcription process delays access to textbooks for three weeks. ASUM's main focus this semester is the legislative session and taking students to Helena to lobby.  Faculty support to get students civically engaged is appreciated.  ASUM has a new bus and has record riders.

UFA President Kupilik
Health Insurance
The insurance reserves have been reduced and next year's insurance rates will be based on cost.  UFA President Kupilik will report in March what the rates will be.

Organizing at MSU
Cards have been signed by 50% of faculty at MSU so an election can now be held.  The Commissioner's Office disputed the designation that included adjunct faculty.  It argued that adjunct faculty members do not have a common interest.  A compromise was negotiated that will result in separate elections for tenure tract faculty and adjunct faculty.  If both elections are successful then MSU faculty Associations could file to join the unions.  The election is scheduled for April 10th.   If MSU is unionized, Montana will be the only state in the union where every university is unionized.  In order for the Universities to bargain together the state law would have to be changed.

Regular meetings have been held since December.  Language has been exchanged with the administration.  Compensation has not yet been discussed.  A change is proposed for 7.2 Reassigned Time- Faculty Senate.  Current CBA language provides a one course release per semester for a designated representative of the faculty senate, but does not specify where the funding comes from.  The proposed language would provide for two course releases per semester for faculty governance representatives and would identify the funding source.  Compensation will be addressed after the Governor releases his budget in March.  Departments will be notified at that time. 

The Tiaa-Cref equalization lobbying efforts were not successful.  The proposal to address compression and inversion also did not succeed at the legislature.  


Jim Hirstein, Chair, NWCCU Accreditation Steering Committee
The final report is due a year from now.  The draft will be edited in the fall. The committee's efforts have been focused largely on gathering documentation. Please respond to requests to academic program data.  

Chair's Report:
Academic Strategic Planning Committee Update
It is important that faculty are involved in the strategic planning discussions.  Please participate in the town hall meetings.  The results of the strategic planning process will guide the university over the next 5-10 years. 

Board of Regents Transferability Initiative

The common course numbering efforts continue.  UM faculty need to be more involved with the process.  Any concerns should be directed to the UM faculty representative on the appropriate Faculty Learning Outcomes Councils. There will be conversion guides available electronically, the catalog will list former course numbers and Banner will have old and new course numbers as equivalents.   The Registrar's Office will try to minimize the confusion as much as possible.  Professor Betsy Bach is on the implementation team.

Textbook Ordering
Faculty received a message from Academic Affairs regarding the need to order textbooks early. Apparently there were glitches in the Bookstore's automated ordering system.  It was suggested that the Bookstore send out more reminder communications.

Committee member needed
A member representing faculty governance is needed to serve on the Design of the Undergraduate Curriculum Discussion Group. 

ECOS membership

A replacement member is needed for Professor Bradley-Browning.  The Senate will caucus shortly to decide on a replacement.

Charter Day Ceremony
Chair Ware will be leaving early in preparation to present the Faculty Service Award to Professor Luckowski at the Charter Day Ceremony.  Senators were encouraged to attend the event.

Committee Reports:


Academic Standards and Curriculum Review Committee Chair G.G. Weix
The curriculum consent agenda was approved.

The general education follow-up consent agenda was discussed, amended and approved with one senator apposed.  Group III Modern and Classical Language or Symbolic Systems lists variable credit 0-10 or 3-6, consequently many of the symbolic systems sequences list only one course.  This was the result of negotiations between the Symbolic Systems Subcommittee and the department of Mathematical Sciences.   Many majors currently require MATH 117 and a statistics course.  However Mathematical Sciences did not submit MATH 117 for review as a symbolic system course and recommends that the terminal course meet the requirement.  Many of the symbolic sequence courses have pre requisites.  These will have to be included in catalog language as information to students. The variable credit provides students that have taken pre calculus in high school to meet the requirement with one course.

The symbolic systems sequence compromise was intended to serve extended majors that could not fit foreign languages into their curriculum.  It seems that the review of symbolic systems sequences did not require justification by the major.  The linguistics sequence was removed from the consent agenda because it was not required by a major.  The math sequence at the College of Technology was also question because it is not required by a major, but rather an Associate's degree.  This should be reviewed in the future.  It was suggested that the revised framework be adjusted after the initial implementation.  Another issue that should be reviewed is the number of upper-division courses.    



Unfinished Business

Drop / Add Policy Revision
The revised policy was debated, amended and approved.  In the last paragraph the phrase ‘or alter grading option' was deleted.  An amendment to include a statement that poor course performance is not sufficient reason to drop a course failed by a raised-hand vote. Faculty can close their courses to electronic registration by contacting the Registrar's Office.  This can be done for an entire department per semester if desired.  The intent of the change is to expand the period of time a student can withdraw from a course. ASCRC researched UM's peer institutions- the ninth week is in the mid range.

New Business


Senate Election Bylaw Amendment
A subcommittee discussed ways to increase participation in the Faculty Senate and recommends changes to the election process that are included in the proposed bylaw amendment.  The change would provide faculty with updates regarding candidates on the ballot for a three week period.  This should eliminate the need for write-in candidates that receive very few votes.   Senators should consider the revision for discussion and vote next month.      


Consideration of Honorary Degree Candidates
Honorary degree candidates were presented by Professor Shanley and Lundt.  Both nominations were approved by the Faculty Senate.  Nominations are confidential until they have been approved by the Board of Regents.


Caucus to fill spring vacancy on ECOS
The Professional Schools caucus nominated Senator Gordon.  There was no longer a quorum to approve the nomination, so the nomination will be confirmed at the March meeting.


Good and Welfare: None

The meeting was adjourned at 5:30 pm.