University of Minnesota, Morris

Campus Assembly Minutes

 

March 3, 2010

 

 

 

I.               Chancellor's Remarks.

 

Chancellor Johnson referenced the message that was sent out to campus from Pete Wyckoff as chair of the Campus Resources and Planning Committee.  She believes we have a very good partnership between CRPC, the administration and central administration with the help of Linc Kallsen.   We have increased our collective understanding of UMM finances, budgeting, and budget modeling.  This was an important precursor to our efforts to achieve financial solvency.  We expect to end this year with a surplus—our revenue will surpass our expenses—and thatÕs good news.  We have modeled the FY11 budget and we also anticipate a modest surplus at the conclusion of FY11.  That includes the 891K in cuts we were directed to make.  We have been able to do this by:  1) the financial effects of reorganization—combinations of layoffs, RIOÕs, and not filling some retirement positions; 2) reduction in the number of faculty part time positions and the manner in which we distribute revenue from our former continuing education program; 3) conservative modeling for the budget for FY10; and 4) achieving nearly 100 students over the model we had projected for this fall.

 

Because our stimulus funds will disappear after next year, we anticipate additional budget reductions in the next biennium.  We have taken these factors into account and we believe that the surplus we anticipate from this year will allow us to cover anticipated deficits in FY12 and FY13 without additional layoffs.  This is the model, and we all know things can change but this is the best budget news IÕve had since IÕve been here and I hope everyone feels the same way.   There are various assumptions tied to this modeling and the anticipated surplus—staff and faculty numbers will be flat over the course of the next five years—it doesnÕt mean there will not be changes or some replacements or some hiring as a result of reallocations internally but in essence, there will be no new salary dollars.  The model also assumes modest increases in student enrollment over the course of the next five years and if we donÕt hit our numbers, then we go back and recalculate. 

 

Through a formal resolution from CRPC, we have come to an agreement about the need to create a campus reserve that will help us cover anticipated and unanticipated deficits in the years out.  Our model also assumes that we will create an investment pool using some of the surplus resources but we canÕt back away from the task of reviewing what we are currently doing, reallocating and making additional tough decisions if we are going to continue to move ahead and thrive, not just survive, in the 21st century.  She offered her thanks to CRPC members, division chairs, vice chancellors, Lowell Rasmussen, Colleen Miller, Jean Valnes and Linc Kallsen who have worked so hard to get us to the place we need to be when we have our annual budget meeting next week with the Twin Cities officers and who have worked to hard to lay the foundation for a different and stronger financial future for this institution.    She also offered her congratulations to the campus community because of their good work—our very successful community of scholars; an East Cliff event when we met with prospective students and their families; at individual meetings with students and families.  Thanks to those of you who have taken on extra responsibilities as a result of the reorganizing we have done and those who work long hours and care so much about this place.  Thanks to those of you who have shoveled sidewalks and parking lots in the bitter cold.  However you have contributed to this effort, we are on a positive and hopeful path, even in the midst of very difficult times. 

 

The chancellor will provide a full update on the work of the Blue Ribbon Task Force after its final meeting.  There are interesting common themes emerging from our conversations that tie directly into the financing the future task force report, to our budget situation and to our need to think in different ways about how we do things that will provide the basis for additional work that will weave its way through governance and likely in the form of some special task forces to continue the work started here.

 

She encouraged everyone to visit the Welcome Center and quoted one of our most renowned and self-proclaimed campus cynic who visited the building during the open house and said, ŌEven I, who am usually horrible and cynical, can see that this is a good investment.Ķ  It is a beautiful facility and a great investment in our future.

 

Congratulations to Tim and Paul Grove and the womenÕs and menÕs basketball teams who have knocked the socks off of others in our conference.  Our men won the conference championship and our women were invited to the NCAA regional playoffs.

 

II.             For Action.  From the Executive Committee.  Minutes from 1/21/10 Campus Assembly meeting approved as presented. 

 

III.           For Action.  From the Curriculum Committee.  UMM Student Learning Outcomes

 

Cheryl Contant, Chair of the Curriculum Committee, moved to adopt the proposed UMM Student Learning Outcomes as outlined below.

 

The process for development of our student learning outcomes has been extensive and has involved a wide variety of campus groups and individuals over the past three years. In May 2007, the University Faculty Senate adopted seven outcomes for the Twin Cities (TC) campus and asked us to adopt these same outcomes for our campus or develop our own.  In fall 2007, the Curriculum Committee decided not to adopt the TC outcomes because they were not focused on liberal arts education, not tied to our unique campus mission, and did not integrate student personal development as part of the educational process.

 

At that point, the Curriculum Committee worked on developing a set of learning outcomes for our campus.  This proposal was presented at the 2008 Fall Faculty Retreat and comments received.  In spring 2009, the Curriculum Committee reviewed several alternatives for learning outcomes and passed a set of draft student learning outcomes for review and feedback from members of the Morris campus community.

 

In fall semester 2009, the Curriculum CommitteeÕs subcommittee on Student Learning Outcomes sought input and comments from students, faculty, and staff on campus.  The draft Student Learning Outcomes were posted on the Curriculum Committee website and an email message was sent to all members of the campus referring community members to the website and inviting input and comment.  In addition, the subcommittee conducted an extensive array of meetings, forums, and open conversations, including:

                  Student Services Committee

                  Assessment of Student Learning Committee

                  Scholastic Committee

                  Morris Campus Student Association

                  Division of Education meeting

                  Division of the Humanities meeting

                  Division of Science and Mathematics meeting

Division of the Social Sciences meeting

                  Open forum with students

                  Open forum with staff and faculty

                  Email comments received from campus community members

 

In December 2009, the subcommittee revised the proposed outcomes to reflect the comments and suggestions received through this extensive review and comment process.

 

On December 10, 2009, the Curriculum Committee unanimously approved the attached set of UMM Student Learning Outcomes.  On behalf of the Curriculum Committee, I move approval of the UMM Student Learning Outcomes.

 

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UMM Student Learning Outcomes

(Approved Unanimously by the Curriculum Committee)

December 10, 2009

 

The University of Minnesota, MorrisÕs goal is for students to have gained, by the time of graduation:

 

1. Knowledge of Human Cultures and the Physical and Natural World through:

 

2. Intellectual and Practical Skills, practiced extensively across studentsÕ college experiences, including:

 

3. An Understanding of the Roles of Individuals in Society, through active involvement with diverse communities and challenges, including:

 

4. Capacity for Integrative Learning, including:

 

As a student member of the Curriculum Committee, Mike McBride participated in subcommittee meetings, division meetings and the student forums that took place.  He believes the new student learning outcomes accurately reflect what students want to get out of their education and he whole-heartedly gives his endorsement to the extensive process and the end product.  Contant added that she will be meeting with the Assessment of Student Learning Committee to start developing the process for mapping the courses.

 

Motion was made by Gordon McIntosh and seconded that #3 of the above outcomes be deleted.   His rationale is that this point is difficult to instruct and seems impossible to assess.  He cited several cases where he believes our alums have shown unethical behavior.   Many members of the assembly spoke against the motion.   Nancy Carpenter moved to call the question and end the discussion.  Chancellor Johnson asked assembly members to vote on the motion made by McIntosh.  Motion fails by voice vote with 1 no and 1 abstention.

 

Roland Guyotte expressed concern about co- and extra-curricular activities in #4.  Bert Ahern believes this should be an understanding and not a requirement.  Barbara Burke asked for a more detailed description of co-curricular.  Jenny Nellis believes that not everything thing is required for every single student but it could be a goal.   This is the framework that discipline assessment has been building for the last five years and she believes most faculty already have this framework in place.  The outcomes give us a way to represent what we already do for assessment.  Sandy Olson-Loy added that the concept of students having a capstone experience and reflecting back on their experience, not just in their field, but also across the campus and campus life is powerful and exciting.     Sarah Buchanan moved to call the question and end the discussion. Chancellor Johnson asked assembly members to vote to approve the learning outcomes.  Motion approved by voice vote with 1 no vote.

 

IV.           For Action.  From the Curriculum Committee.  Intellectual Community (IC):  First-Year Experience Curricular Component

 

Cheryl Contant, Chair of the Curriculum Committee, moved to adopt the proposed Intellectual Community (IC) First-Year Experience Curricular Component as outlined below.

 

The broad goal for an Intellectual Community (IC) seminar course aimed at first-year UMM students is to produce a small class setting where students will become part of a liberal arts intellectual community.  To accomplish this, these IC courses will introduce students to the skills necessary to engage in discussions with one another and encourage active involvement of students with the material, each other, and their faculty instructor.

 

The proposed IC component is fashioned after the other general education components of the curriculum: it describes what the expectations are and it allows faculty to design and decide how these expectations will be best met.

 

Goal of the IC requirement

Foster development of an intellectual community among new college students at UMM

IC courses need to

á       introduce students to intellectual and practical skills that they will need to participate effectively in an intellectual community

á       be designed to promote active participation (written, oral, creative) by students

á       provide students with the opportunity to work with and to know others from their cohort well

á       provide students with the opportunity for close interaction with faculty

Implementation Considerations

1.    IC courses could have discipline-based prefixes or could be IS courses, but all will be at the 1xxx level.  IC courses could range from 2 to 4 credits, depending on the course content.  Course enrollments for 2-credit courses would be expected not to exceed 18 students; enrollments in 3- or 4-credit courses would be expected not to exceed 25 students.

2.    All new college students would be expected to complete the IC requirement in their first semester of enrollment at UMM.  Transfer students who have completed 12 credit hours or more of courses as a degree-seeking student at a college or university would be exempt from this requirement.  Students who fail their IC course will still be required to satisfactorily complete the IC requirement.

3.    Course proposals for the IC designation will be solicited from faculty on campus, using the attached proposal form.  A subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee will screen these proposals and work with faculty to ensure that the goals of the general education requirement are met by the course as described.

4.    Courses with the IC designator will be brought through disciplines and divisions, reviewed and approved by the full Curriculum Committee, and brought to Campus Assembly for approval.  For the fall 2010 semester, it may be necessary to approve these courses provisionally, after review by the Curriculum Committee, to ensure that courses are available for new student registration, and then brought to Campus Assembly for information only.

5.    While this general education requirement meets the curricular aspects of the First-Year Experience for college students, we expect to work closely with campus committees and staff in ensuring that other aspects of the transition to college are addressed through appropriate campus programs and events.

Motion to approve proposal was approved and seconded.  Contant reported that a variety of proposals were put forward—from doing nothing, to a variety of options, to getting rid of the curricular component entirely.  She asked Jeff Ratliff-Crain, chair of the subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee, to lead us in the conversation and answer questions about the process.

 

Ratliff-Crain said the subcommittee looked at models from other schools and discussed a number of options and possibilities.  One of the things that kept coming back to the group was what are the core elements for a first year curricular experience.  What are we trying to do to help students make the transition from high school to college?   We also discussed developmental aspects and if they were appropriately placed in the course structure.  Concerns of trying to have a single theme were also discussed.  One of the key elements was why not treat it like any other general education category.  We donÕt dictate how to teach but we have a set a goals and skills and content that is reflected.  The proposal is to take that kind of approach and identify primary goals and then identify how that would be accomplished in broad terms. 

 

Additionally, this will give students the opportunity to be in a smaller class.  Some of the frustrations tended to be more common elements and that the convocation was not particularly well received.  What we did not sense is that this is something we should get rid of.   We have had difficulty getting faculty interested in FYS because many found it constricting. 

 

Contant added that one of the things explicitly silent is that these courses could count towards major or minor requirements as electives.  We have worked with division chairs who have solicited prospects for courses.   We feel comfortable we could staff those courses because of the double counting.    Some of the student members at Assembly said they enjoyed their FYS experience while others did not.  A question was asked about the course would only be offered in the fall.  Ratliff-Crain said we want students to take the course during their first semester on campus but they are prepared for a small number to take in the spring. 

 

Motion to extend meeting to 6:10 moved and seconded.

 

While Nancy Carpenter believes this is a move in the right direction and she is optimistic we will eventually come up with the perfect FYS, she moved to call the question and end the discussion.  Chancellor Johnson asked assembly members to vote to approve the Intellectual Community (IC):  First-Year Experience Curricular Component.  Motion approved by show of hands:  71 in favor of the proposal; 3 opposed, 16 abstentions.

 

Motion to extend 5 minutes was made.

 

V.             For Discussion.  From the Executive Committee.  Recent vote on the proposed constitution

 

Chancellor Johnson reported that the Executive Committee would like to solicit wisdom and feedback from the campus regarding the recent vote on the proposed constitution.  There are three possible strategies:  1) continue to be governed by the current constitution with the EC being charged to make title changes and things that are out of sync with Regents policy; 2) vote again; and 3) consider an opt-in option for Assembly members that would begin next fall. 

 

VI.           Campus Committee Reports.

 

Report from Pete Wyckoff, Chair of Campus Resources and Planning Committee (sent electronically to the campus)

 

We have been working hard with UMM administrators to help develop a budget for next year as well as budget projections for the next five years. As all are aware, the State of Minnesota and the University of Minnesota as a whole are facing severe budget challenges, both this year and going forward. This is partially tempered at UMM by positive financial trends that will help us cushion the blow of both certain and probable cuts in state support. For one, we went through a painful series of cuts last year that have helped right our balance sheet. Additionally, a recent uptick in enrollment has greatly aided our bottom line. We are a very tuition driven campus, so our long term financial health is, and will continue to be, dependent on attracting cohorts of students on par with the class we brought in for fall 2009 (and even larger would be better!).

 

We are currently developing a budget for FY2011 (by the U system, FY2011 starts July 1, 2010) that includes a $900,000 cut in the level of funding we receive from the central administration. We will most likely end 2010 in surplus, and we should be able to absorb the $900,000 blow without further draconian actions. Our five year projections include scenarios in which we assume an additional 8% cut in state aid starting in FY2012. Again, if enrollment holds up and expands modestly, we should be able to weather that storm and emerge relatively intact.

 

None of the relative optimism I am trying to convey is meant to minimize our ongoing need to find ways to fund new programs/ initiatives and build campus reserves. It is also quite possible that the cut in state support will be more than 8% next year. Going forward, establishing and maintaining high enrollments is absolutely essential, and to do so we must make hard decisions going forward on how best to make ourselves maximally attractive in a very competitive student market (all without an influx of new resources). I am just reporting the state of budget discussions at CRPC, which are not as acutely dire as I think some in the community may assume.

 

Another thing to noteÉ. Nothing here is related to the Ō27th pay period/ possible 3-6 day furloughĶ discussion currently going on at the University-wide level. That situation arises from a one-time (hopefully) university accounting issue, and has nothing really to do with long-term University or UMM financial health. It is also (thankfully) not something that involves CRPC.

 

Adjourned at 6:15 p.m.