Faculty desktop computers are not provided by or effectively supported by
computing services so that item seems to be in the wrong place in this
survey. Why should I know the GPA's of UMM athletes? The question has a
factual answer and is not a matter of opinion. I did not appreciate being
asked that question because it appears to have ulterior political motives.
Not a very scientific survey - the phrasing of many of the questions, and
the allowed responses, made it difficult to get at the sense of my
feelings on these subjects. So let me restate them here: i) Travel
support, while improving a little, is fundamentally inadequate to support
research requirements. I spend thousands out-of-pocket each year merely
to attend essential conferences. It adds up alarmingly quickly. ii) The
library's support for research is close to non-existent. ILL is fine as
far as it goes, but is not a credible FOUNDATION for support of faculty
research. iii) UMM talks as if it expects serious faculty research, and
does much huffing and puffing when it comes time for salary reviews,
tenure reviews, and the like, but provides little of even the basic
necessities to support said research: library resources, travel money,
and TIME. A full teaching load all terms makes serious r esearch all but
impossible at any time other than in the summer. I love my teaching, but
find it somewhat professionally unrewarding that that is ALL I have time
for, and unfair that I am supposedly expected to perform feats of wonder
without adequate ti me in which to perform them. iv) In sum, I find UMM's
attitude toward faculty research disingenuous and essentially unfair. If
serious research is to be made a significant requirement for salary
increases, tenure, and promotion, then serious support should be provided
for it. Other wise, it's time for a little truth in advertising - and
fairness and honesty in salary and tenure reviews. I frankly doubt that
UMM's pride will permit it to admit openly that it is not in a position
to provide the support for research that it claims it expects. I do,
however, believe that this prideful denial leads to essential injustices
in assessment of faculty performance. This is a serious issue, one that I
doubt that we have the courage to honestly address. I suspect that we
will, therefore, con tinue on the current path, and continue to lose good
faculty because of it. More's the pity. We could - and should - do
better. (Please note that my comments do not arise from any perceived
injustice to me personally. They are merely reflect my honest assessment
of the present situation.)
This seems a survey designed to elicit negative responses.
I think UMM has a distorted picture of itself. We claim to be a strong
liberal arts college but lack the faculty, the course diversity, the
staffing, and the resources to compete at all successfully with other
schools even just in Minnesota.
The research issue is a continuing sore point for me. We recruit faculty
based on their research and connect ourselves to the University for
thesame reason. However, we do not institutionalize research. It's made
clear in practice that research is something one does during their
breals, summers, weekends-- a hobby that one does without pay, but is
nonetheless necessary for advancement (or an excuse for punishment.) Yet
we, as an institution, bleed our young faculty, giving them a sizable
service load, placing the burden on them to say "no" when they really
don't feel they have complete choice. We've set up an environment where
students see us as service providers-- available at all times to meet
their needs. The fact is, if it doesn't have a deadline, it gets lost in
the shuffle. Research is what gets pushed aside. As a campus, we're
extremely uneven on what we see as important for productivity and in our
encouragement of scholarly activity in balance with teaching. We are
unique BECAUSE of our research focus and connection with a premier
research institution. We need to better articulate that and begin to act
like it. I'm encouraged that this survey placed this concern first--
maybe it'll provide some necessary movement in the correct direction. One
last, related comment: Much of the strain on time, research, and
effectiveness has to do with staffing. We are woefully understaffed to
ever become the "best." The student loads in the more popular majors make
research productivity and faculty satisfaction lower than acceptable. I
enjoy my job because of the students-- but there's a limit to any good
thing. Comparably sized institutions often have upward to twice the
faculty in their discipline as we do with larger support staffs WITHOUT
the research expectation. Is it any wonder we feel torn, stressed, and
forever behind? As long as we continue to try and run the place on a
shoestring, with barely adequate staffing, we will NOT be the "best
liberal arts college;" we will be like much of our physical plant: tired
The two questions on athletics are badly phrased. Sure, athletics are a
useful tool for recruitment and retention. The question should be, is
intercollegiate competition in an established conference the only way
that athletics can serve the recruitm ent and retention goals of UMM. Or
one might pause to ask: SHOULD athletics be used for the purposes of
recruiting & retaining students? Perhaps other kinds of athletic programs
might serve the campus better in other ways and at far less cost.
Regarding GPA's of athletes, "About the same" hides large differences. In
women's sports and some men's sports, it is probably true. In football it
isn't, but I get so few football players in my classes that this view is
second-hand. I'd also like to comment on the research questions. I
disagreed with the statement that UMM should be "primarily" a teaching
institution, because that implies that research should be MUCH less
important. I agree that quality teaching should be UMM's highest
priority, but I see UMM's potential distinctiveness--and its necessary
distinctiveness, if it is to retain its status as a University of
Minnesota campus--as the integration of undergraduate instruction and
research. To pit the two against each other does violence to that
concept. At the same time, to allow teaching loads to rise the level of
"primarily teaching" institutions is to undermine the faculty's ability
to provide that integration. (It will be hard to interpret responses to
that question, because one can't tell whether disagreeing means the
respondent wants UMM to be and exclusively teaching institution or one
that places greater emphasis on research. I suggest the answers be
analyzed in relation to each other--letting the answers to the third and
fourth questions on research elucidate the answers to the second question.
no question about athletic budget? There may be some concern in that area
if large amounts of money are being spent for travel, uniforms, coaches,
and equiprment while the central academic units on campus do not have
adequate budgets. The budgets I adminster are NOT adequate.
The question about athletes' GPA is an empirical question and should not
be asked on a survey of preferences.
Athletics question: In general, women's athletics seem to be more "in
order" than the men's program. Anyone who thinks UMM will be better off
if we could just offer athletic scholarships doesn't know what is
happening out there! I see a significant fraction of the present male
athlete population as lacking in academic orientation. Imagine what that
would be like if they were being paid to compete. We are a Division III
school, why not opt for division three athletics?
I didn't answer the question above on athletes' GPAs because I don't have
good data to support my answer. However, my gut-level feeling is that
women athletes are generally quite strong students but male athletes are
bimodally distributed in their achievement -- some of my strongest
students have been athletes, but on the other hand I've had some student
athletes who in my estimation should never have been admitted to UMM. By
doing so, we set them up to fail.
Athletics needs to better integrate itself into the campus community. I'm
exhausted by the embattled state I find them in. I think the building of
the Regional Fitness Center must demand a change in attitude of us
against them, to us. For example, rather than constantly urging me to
attend atheltic events, coaches need to show up at some nonathletic
events. Rather than acting like anyone who swims is "using this facility
as if it is your private health club," welcome anybody, especially women
who show up.
I have no idea what the average gpa of our student atheletes is; I
suspect it is probably lower. I support the athletic program at UMM TO A
LIMIT. We should not ever be in the business of paying student atheletes
to come here (aka athletic scholarships). We are about academics first;
sports should be a distant second.
The athletes I have had in my classes(EXCEPT for football) have usually
been very talented and better than average students.
Student athelete academic performance varies by sport.
The "watermark" makes the survey difficult to read.
I'm not sure this survey pertains very well to non-regular faculty. Many
of the priveleges and opportunities that this survey expolores are not
available to us. We should work towards being more inclusive of the
professionals who provide instruction without benefit of tenure line or
An oxymoron. One cannot "maintain" serious schol. activ'ty at a
"primarily tchng. inst." Give us time and resources for our research or
you have no right to make demands for research. Your questions on the
research section aren't clear. They are what we call "double-barrelled"
because they're asking different things within the same question. What is
each question aiming at? Why no questions about the curriculum? Why no
questions about the lack of a faculty assembly & faculty governance? Why
no quest ions about unequal service loads? Why have 10 campus male fac.
rec'd tchng awards this year and 0 women faculty?
Why would we ask about the athletes GPA's, only because as a whole on
this University we feel the athletes perform in the classroom much worst
than the general student body. Athlete retention rates are higher and the
committment to UMM as a whole is more evident in our athletes. Than the
general student body.
I would like to know the significance of asking people what an athlete's
GPA ranks compared to the student body. Most people on the UMM campus do
not have any interest in UMM athletics, so how would they know where an
athlete falls into rank with the general student body. Also, for the most
part, people on our campus do not understand the role of a strong
athletic program in regards to retention and recruitment. They perceive
that a strong athletic team would mean our academic standards would be
reduced. There is no institution in the country that allows their coaches
to decide who should get into school. The admissions counselors will and
should always decide who is admitted into a university. A competitive
athletic program attracts student-athletes from across the midwest and
country. In reality, quality student-athletes do not chose a school
solely on the quality of the institution. These student-athletes look at
the academic reputation as well as the athletic reputation when chosing a
school. I know this is hard to understand for people on our campus. I
believe in UMM and what it stands for academically. There is no reason
why we can't have successful academics and athletics.
Some interesting questions here.
I think UMM needs to have a sustained collective discussion on the issue
of research, and its place in our institution. We cast ourselves as a
serious research institution, and yet UMM does not provide the kinds of
resources that enable research to ge t done. With understaffed
disciplines, excessive committee assignments, and a daily teaching
schedule, research perforce takes lower priority. I think UMM needs to
figure out what its identity really is.
The theme of the self study is the quality of student academic life in a
public liberal arts college that is part of a large research university.
The survey seems weighted toward faculty research concerns rather than
I think that we must make very wise choices about the way in which we use
our assets in attempting to improve our program. I am concerned by my
sense that we waste much of the time spend in exercizes such as this.
I am not sure about the GPA for the campus, but I am fairly certain
students in intercollegate athletics have a lower GPA in the sciences.
Intercollegate athletics is not useful to an academic environemt. Too
much time, resources, and emphasis is put onto intercollegate athletics.
The conference sometimes have the power to affect our academic offerings.
Students should be participants inathletics and not observers. Drop
intercollegate athletics and put the emphasis on getting every student
involved in incorporating exercise into their daily program. Put the
money and resources into an intramural program and a health fittness program.
Perhaps I missed something, but I am surprised by the emphasis in the
questionnaire. Why are there not more questions about teaching, about our
satisfaction with the focus of the educational mission, about media
services,the nature of technical and clerical support?
I don't know what overall Athlete's GPA is...I know that women athletes
have very good GPA's
The question about athlete's GPA's is a curious one -- are you just
wanting to measure misconceptions? The questions about the library and
our being the "best . . ." -- again, if we really want to be "the best"
we simply must have a larger resource base -- books and journals and
personnel cost money -- without money we simply will continue to muddle
along, acceptably good but far from the best. (There's only so much
mileage that we can get out of faculty and staff enthusiasm for, and
selfless dedication to, UMM and what we are doing -- if we're going to be
the best then we need to support and reward everyone as though they are
The main improvements I would like to see: 1. More travel money. 2. More
emphasis on quality teaching and somewhat less on research. I feel most
"research" is an effort to get published regardless of any actual
contribution to society. The ridiculously large number of journals in
existance supports this claim. The average article is read by noone. 3.
Athletics is an important part of the college experience. Our record of
support for our teams (both financially and with attendence) is sad. More
should be done to encourage faculty and student involvement to help build
a better sense of identity.
Library resources need to be augmented and not diminished. Making
available only the publication abstracts on computer in lieu of actual
professional journals in the library is not the way to promote the goal
of liberal education. There appears to be a need to look into the number
of research journals that have been taken off the subscription list in
the last few years.