University of Minnesota, Morris
October 24, 2006
The Campus Assembly met on Tuesday, October 24 at 4:30 p.m. in the Science Auditorium.
I. Chancellor's Remarks.
Chancellor Johnson called the meeting to order and explained that the purpose of the meeting was to consider a single agenda item: the final recommendations of the Strategic Positioning Task Force. She explained the history of the agenda item for newcomers to campus who have not been a part of the year and a half conversation and process that has taken place. The October 20 document is unique to UMM but an important part of a broader Twin Cities campus effort to craft a strategic direction and tie it to the biennial process. Coordinate campuses were invited last year to undertake the process with the expectation of community-wide involvement. Chancellor Johnson’s first encounter with the strategic plan preceded her visit to the campus last spring, when she was captivated by the focus and distinctive niche UMM has carved for itself as one of only a few public liberal arts residential campuses. She has since watched it being shaped and formed. It is interesting and right that the campus assembly should play a role of recognizing and acknowledging the strategic plan for the campus. The ability to secure funding to carry out the recommendations in the plan will require official action through the governing process of the campus. Recommendations for financial resources will be strengthened by the governing endorsement of the plan that has been obtained throughout campus and especially today by Campus Assembly. If the vote is positive, we will move to the next stage of assignment of cost and responsibilities. Chancellor Johnson invited Andy Lopez, chair of the Task Force, to present the motion.
Andy Lopez introduced the following motion to the assembly:
Be it resolved that the UMM Campus Assembly approves the general strategic direction for the University of Minnesota, Morris as outlined in the revised strategic planning document posted on October 20, 2006. Refinements and definition of key metrics will require on-going input from the Campus Assembly and consultation with other appropriate entities of the governance system.
The Campus should have an opportunity to vote on the direction that this document takes us. Out of necessity, the document will need to remain flexible (a living document) as we adjust to the new realities that we will be faced with.
Michael O’Reilly voiced a concern that the term “honors” was included in the document. He recalled that early in the 1990’s UMM had a student body worthy of being called an honors college. Since then, the administration has tried to boast that Morris was more than it was, partially contributing to the decline of students. The students are not getting what they were told to expect from an honors college. He asked that the motion be amended to delete the words “honors college.” Pareena Lawrence answered that the task force is not set on a definite tag line but does not want to remove the line. A study will be done with students to see how marketing UMM as an “honors college” or “honors experience” is viewed by potential students.
Siobhan Bremer asked in what way the tag line would this be tested, and whether there would be another vote in Campus Assembly after the test. Chancellor Johnson stated the concept of a living document is important. In her opening remarks at Convocation she had stated that there must be a full and clear articulation of what it means to be an honors college or to have an honors experience. We must also articulate what the liberal arts means in the twenty-first century. It is wrong to make a claim not backed by clear indicators. Paula O’Loughlin added that the last sentence of the motion clearly states that definitions have to be clearly articulated.
Stephen Burks repeated Siobhan Bremer’s question, asking if Campus Assembly will have another opportunity to vote on the term “honors” in the future. Andy Lopez answered that it would. The vote today is not on whether to use the term “honors.” That is for the campus community to decide later in the process. Paula O’Loughlin added that if it comes to a Campus Assembly committee, it will come back to Campus Assembly.
Greg Thorson stated that the entire plan will come back time after time, as various pieces of the proposal are considered. He commended Andy Lopez and the task force for making revisions as they consulted with various groups on campus. He cautioned that the assembly members should not get caught up on specific issues in the plan at this time because there will be many opportunities to discuss them later.
Bert Ahern had a concern on wording in the Executive Summary, pages 2 and 8 in reference to the Native American Tuition Waiver program. He suggested dropping the word “mandate” from the document. Sandy Olson-Loy stated that the possibility of UMM getting federal funding is greater than getting state funding. Bert responded that this is a state obligation and not federal obligation. Andy Lopez asked Bert Ahern to e-mail any suggested word changes to him.
Steve Burks commented that UMM does not have enough finances to support the plan, which he said should more appropriately be described as a vision statement. He did not recommend voting against the motion, but advised the members to know that hard choices will have to be made with trade-offs still to come.
Bert Ahern questioned the wording on page 19 of the document: “provide comparable salaries for faculty and staff.” It could mistakenly be taken as meaning a comparison of faculty salaries to staff salaries. Pareena Lawrence explained this was meant as “comparable salaries for faculty and staff to faculty and staff salaries at other comparable institutions. Andy Lopez said they would revise the language to make it clearer.
Paula O’Loughlin called the question and moved to vote by secret ballot (seconded by Cyrus Bina). The motion passed.
The motion to accept the Task Force Report passed: 87 in favor, 5 opposed, 2 abstentions.
The meeting adjourned at 5:10 p.m.