University of Minnesota, Morris

Campus Assembly Minutes

 

November 28, 2007

 

 

The Campus Assembly met on Wednesday, November 28 at 4:30 p.m. in the Science Auditorium. 

 

 

 

I.               Chancellor's Remarks.

 

Chancellor Johnson gave the following remarks, ŌMy comments this afternoon will be brief, since I want to make sure we have adequate time for the significant items that appear on our agenda for todayÕs campus assembly.  I will, however, in a separate meeting come back to you—to the community—before this semester concludes with an update on a number of things—including where we stand with the budget for this year and with some ideas about how we respond to short term short falls, and then, even more importantly, how we respond longer term to secure a stable financial position—one that allows us to invest in the things that matter and in new opportunities that present themselves.  IÕll also come back to you with some excerpts from the presentations that several of us have been making to a variety of external constituents—the Regents; legislative delegates; American Institute of Architect members—and more.

 

I do want to spend just a few minutes now, however, reflecting on the marketing findings that many of us have been listening to over the course of the past two days.  And I want to place this in the context of our strategic planning efforts—when I come back to the community with a budget update in the next few weeks, IÕd also like to provide, in concert and consultation with CRPC, a more extensive update on where we are with strategic planning, because we have in fact accomplished a lot this semester and can mark significant progress on our strategic planning grid.  But just in case you didnÕt hear the reports regarding our market position and brand identity, let me pick just a few things out of this data and information that seem relevant to me.  And even if you did hear, their ideas bear repeating. 

 

Our Lipman Hearne colleagues tell us that the picture of UMM painted by the various constituents they have consulted—alumnae, donors, students, prospective students, faculty, staff, parents of prospective students—is remarkably consistent É and remarkably positive.  While you might think they are engaged in marketing of their own, I donÕt think that is the case.  (Extensive data and multiple methodologies belie that belief.)  Having worked on a similar extensive marketing research project before, I know that the data can just as easily be disturbing and disappointing.

 

If you havenÕt had a chance to hear Donna and Casey, our ŌpublicsĶ define among our assets these things:  the strength of our academic program; our excellent faculty—in Casey TurnerÕs words:  UMM faculty ŌmakeĶ the UMM experience.  We are noted for our caring community; the attributes associated with our students are these:  smart; hard working; curious; questioning—students who focus on learning.  We are not homogeneous—not cookie cutter.  We support student-driven, academic pursuits—out of curriculum boundaries.  People see us as quirky—as edgy perhaps.  As complex.  As accepting.  We are a campus with character; I would add that we are a campus of characters.

 

And we have an equally remarkable convergence of opinions related to our challenges---which we will, of course have to turn into opportunities.  While our prospective students (and current students) see ŌgreenĶ as an asset—they donÕt quite get how it fits into the whole picture here.  Our location (yes we are indeed 45 minutes from Target, according to the Star Tribune reporter the new marker for civilization apparently) and we have to counter the notion that rural means isolated; that there is nothing to do here.   Our facilities, in particular but not only our residence halls, are cited as a challenge and we will need to do more in the ways of exploring what that means and addressing the issue.  One of the best statements—I think—that came out of the market researchers observations was this:  that we might be well served to present the liberal arts as a renewable, sustainable, education—I had an interesting conversation with one of our student athletes about the manner in which the scholar athleteÕs role and self definition fits into this.

 

Next steps involve a back to the office and table effort for Lipman Hearne to take the ideas we put forward regarding brand identify, foundation, values, etc. and shape them into something that will come back to us in the near short term.  Stay tuned.  There will be additional opportunities for involvement and opinion sharing.  In the meantime, I am really grateful to the members of the steering committee and to the many members of the campus community who participated in focus groups earlier this semester, and who participated in the information sessions.  IÕm open to hearing directly from you about the value and outcomes of this project—Lipman Hearne also invites your feedback.

 

II.             Minutes from 10/16/07 Campus Assembly were approved as presented.

 

III.           From the Executive Committee.   The following committee replacement was approved as presented.

 

Jana Koehler replaces Curt Bredeson on Academic Support Services

 

IV.            From the Curriculum Committee.

 

1) Eliminate 48-credit limit in a single discipline that can count toward the 120 total credits to

    graduate

 

Bert Ahern said the issue of breadth was a concern for him and he hopes that assembly members choose not to accept this proposal.  He believes this is tied to the character of our general education requirement and that we need to look at this very carefully.  Chris Cole does not see how the proposal eliminates the breadth.  Jeff Ratliff-Crain asked for clarification on whether or not a student taking beyond 48 would still receive credit.  He believes that a level of breadth is already built into interdisciplinary program.  Greg Thorson believes the rationale is not compelling and that this is a fairly substantial change that strikes at our mission as a liberal arts college and that this should not be done piecemeal.  Clare Strand supports this change because it gives students freedom to choose their electives and it makes it easier for students to graduate in a timely manner.   Douglas Williams thinks we should study this further to determine the implications before making a decision.   Len Keeler does not feel that this is contrary to our liberal arts mission and that if cannot address the depth in 60 credits, then something is wrong.  Nathan SwansonÕs main concern is that it could prolong the student experience here.  Our Strategic Plan says that we should improve our graduate rates and he doesnÕt see how this would help.  Ellery Fisher added that his exposure to different disciplines has enriched him so much more than if he had simply taken more courses in his major.   Motion to table was made by Bert Ahern; second by Eagan Health.  Motion passes by show of hands – 67 in favor of tabling; 34 opposed.   The Executive Committee will consider what to do with the proposal.

 

2) New Major – Environmental Studies (EnSt) 

 

Pete Wyckoff noted that our Environmental Studies major has been around for sometime.  Additionally, the formulation of an environmental studies major is in our Strategic Plan; our Admissions office reports there is an untapped demand; our new chancellor is very supportive and our competitors all offer similar majors that look very much like one proposed.  It was noted that this comes as a motion from the Curriculum Committee.  Chancellor Johnson asked if members were ready to vote.  Motion to approve major passes unanimously by voice vote.

 

V.             For Action.  From the Scholastic Committee.  Revised Academic Integrity Policy.  Attached.

 

Barry McQuarrie reminded Assembly members that this was discussed at the last meeting.   Motion to approve policy passes by show of hands – 55 in favor; 12 opposed; 11 abstentions.

 

VI.           Campus Committee Reports.

 

Michael Korth reported that we are scheduled for our reaccreditation by the Higher Learning Commission in 2010.  We will need to conduct a self-study before that visit.  The self-study steering committee has met and will be looking at developing a special theme.   He will keep the campus informed of their progress.

 

Dave Swenson reported that the FYE disappearing task force continues to do their work.  Please respond to e-mails and check out the blog.

 

Vicky Graham reported that the Green Prairie Committee has been meeting all semester and plans to host a meeting on December 4.

 

VII.         All University Reports.

 

Eagan Heath mentioned that student evaluations are on the agenda for the Student Senate Committee and one of the questions about how successfully or unsuccessfully an instructor implements each instructional method might be removed.   He thinks the question should remain on the evaluations.

 

 

VIII.       Old Business.

 

None.

 

IX.           New Business.

 

None.

 

Meeting adjourned at 6:00 p.m.