Campus Assembly Minutes

October 26, 2010

 

 

 

 

I.   Chancellor's Remarks. 

 

Chancellor Johnson gave the following remarks, “ We mourn, together and alone, the loss of any member of our community, and since our last campus assembly we have lost two very important individuals.  David Murdock, a senior majoring in philosophy, touched the lives of many people here—faculty, staff and students and died before we had the opportunity to benefit fully from his particular views, his particular vision and his gifts.

 

Tom McRoberts served this institution for his entire adult life—he started as a student leader, founded programs, mentored and nurtured students, support staff, and acted always with distinctive grace, humor and dignity.  He was one of a kind and he leaves a lasting legacy here.  The spirit of community derives from the individuals who comprise them, and we mourn the loss of these two community members, even as we celebrate the accomplishments of their lives.

 

Thanks to everyone who has worked so hard this fall to celebrate the 50th anniversary of this institution—we had a wonderful Founders Weekend celebration followed two weeks after by a special 50th anniversary homecoming celebration.  Hundreds of people came to campus; hundreds of people came back to campus.  Many of you in this room participated in planning and implementing and enjoying these events—so thank you.

 

As usual, at the October meeting, the Regents receive the U’s Accountability report, replete with data.  The Regents are also asking for cost per unit information—very interested in your thoughts about this, following this discussion carefully.  U is also preparing to conduct a study of its economic value to the state’s economy, and that will include campuses and units within and outside the Twin Cities.  The November meeting provides an opportunity for the four non-Twin Cities campuses of the U to provide an update to the regents on our strategic plans.  We each get 10 minutes to present—then questions and answers.  As I have in the past my presentation will focus on enrollment trends; graduation rates—4, 5, and 6 year.  Our 4-year dropped a bit; our six-year is at an all time high.   Focus also on retention rates, looking at first to second year.  Previous two years, we had achieved all time highs—at 89.something percent.  But last year’s class showed a decline in several percentage points and we will want to continue to look at that and devise strategies to improve retention.  I will comment on our strengthened financial position.  Always try to capture some of the spirit of this place and will excerpt some clips from the Promise of the Prairie documentary and a variety of visual images that showcase accomplishments.

 

We received word today that the Higher Learning Commission has acted upon the recommendation of the visit team that we will receive the full 10-year reaccreditation.   We are obligated to do an update on our financial situation and an interim report on activity related to assessment.  This is what expected and this is very good news.”

 

II.   For Action.  Minutes from 9/20/10 Campus Assembly meeting approved as presented with correction.

 

III.   For discussionFinal discussion of the proposed Constitution.

 

Sarah Buchanan reported that voting will begin on November 10 at 8:00 a.m. and will close on November 16 at 4:30 p.m.  All voting will be done electronically.   Members of assembly who have not voted will received an automated message reminding them to vote. 

 

Paula O’Loughlin speaks in favor of the idea that if you do not show up at assembly then you give up your space.  She acknowledges and applauds the students for showing up.  Sara Haugen expressed concern about the removal of subcommittees.  Sarah responded that it is likely subcommittees will be created as necessary.  Michael Korth noted that currently adjunct committees are assigned to an assembly committee and that structure has not been functional for many years.  Our current By-laws state that adjunct committees must report to their assembly committee every other year and the Campus Assembly is supposed to take action on whether to continue the adjunct committee.  Remy Huerta said the Queer Issues Committee is a subcommittee of the Student Services Committee but it works independently.  She believes there is a fundamental flaw in the current set up.   Sarah noted that the proposed constitution will be easier to amend.  Mark Privratsky asked about the rationale of 3-year membership terms vs 2-year membership.  Dave Roberts said there has been wide spread concern about inexperience on committees and the lack of continuity.

 

IV.  For discussionCommittee scheduling. 

 

Chancellor Johnson said the Executive Committee decided to bring this as a discussion item due to the challenge of scheduling meetings and to find out if the assembly sees this as a big problem or has ideas on how to handle it.  Two possible suggestions include:  1) a common meeting time would be declared in the week during which all meetings would be held; or 2) a committee specific meeting time allowing people to volunteer for other committees if they are not available during that specific committee meeting time.   Sarah added that the Executive Committee would like feedback on which committee should address the problem.

 

Jen Goodnough agrees that finding a meeting time is a problem.  Nic McPhee would like to see a better

way to include students in the planning process and wondered if Consultative Committee should address this.  Remi Huerta likes the idea of having a common meeting hour for meetings.  Mark Privratsky echoed Nic’s concern and thinks the second option might be a larger problem of what we already have.  Argie Manolis agrees this a serious problem and reported that the Crookston campus reserves 12:00-2:00 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays for meetings.  Barbara Burke wondered if Campus Assembly meeting would be shoehorned into the committee time slot.  She also believes the campus addressed this problem when we made the switch from quarters to semesters.  Margaret Kuchenreuther thinks the second option would be problematic for Science and Math faculty and could disenfranchise some faculty from being able to serve on committees.  Roger Rose thought the common time was a good idea but noted that students often do not have a common time available just to exchange ideas.  This should be an important consideration in this larger discussion. 

 

Paula O’Loughlin thinks the Consultative Committee should discuss with the Executive Committee.  She believes this issue is a big problem and is worth investigating.   She would encourage the Executive Committee to talk to Peh Ng because Peh’s students would have the ability to figure out specific time constraints working with the Registrar.  She is in favor of a common meeting time over a specific committee meeting time.  In terms of ownership, she believes it is better for the good of the campus by allowing people to rotate on committees to develop as faculty and staff and learn how the campus runs.  Katherine Benson does not believe the campus gave enough attention to this issue during the switch to semesters and believes we should consider the regular committee meeting time.  Clare Dingley said there is not one  time during the day when classes do not meet.  The major obstacle is being able to schedule classes.  The Office of the Registrar is very supportive of trying to determine a solution and would like to be included in the discussions.  Chancellor Johnson said clearly the problem was worth discussing and it seems like the right place to address it might be a combination of Consultative and Executive Committees.

 

V.  For discussionService expectations for faculty and P&A.

 

Chancellor Johnson said the issue here is there is not a common understanding of service expectations for faculty and professional/administrative staff in terms of campus governance. 

 

Mary Elizabeth Bezanson believes the Membership Committee should handle this.  She thinks some tension has been created with faculty serving on all-University committees.  Additionally, the committee preference sheets are thought to be inconvenient.  What we indicate on the form cannot always be honored because of divisional requirements, etc.   There is also the perception that people of low political status on campus are intentionally excluded from powerful campus committees.  There is also the problem of people not going to meetings once they are assigned.

 

Sarah Buchanan said placing people on committees is not as simple as it might seem.  There are parameters the Executive Committee is required to use and some of the committees are hugely popular while others are not.  The proposed constitution tries to address some of those issues.  Additionally, All-University service complicates that as well.  She wondered if we want to have some baseline expectation for faculty?  Jen Goodnough is concerned that setting a minimum will encourage people to just do the minimum expected and then work that needs to be done will not get done.  Are there rewards for some of this service?  Choosing between research and service is a difficult one for faculty members.  What are the incentives that come into play?  In the division of Science and Math, service is a factor.   Len Keeler believes self-governance is not our job and mission.  As a faculty member, your primary responsibility is teaching and research.  He believes we would be going down a dangerous road of all becoming administrators.       

 

Paula O’Loughlin commends the Executive Committee for noting the fact that excessive service is an important concern on this campus.  There are other meetings that faculty serve on that are invisible to the governance process.   Roland Guyotte believes we cannot require untenured faculty to serve on committees, but this deprives committees of young, vibrant faculty contribution.  Because we are a people of diverse situations, we are expected to teaching, research and serve.  Chancellor Johnson said the way the current constitution is written, it is a struggle to populate committees.  There are also a significant number of people who do not return the committee preference forms making the process more complicated.

 

Pareena Lawrence believes there is an expectation that you will provide service.  There is also the expectation that service will be less until you receive tenure.   Sarah Buchanan said the problem is definition of service.  Some may discredit service on a local level while some view service to UMM as not an integral part.  Mark Collier suggested that Campus Assembly would count as a minimum participation of faculty members and suggested taking attendance.  Knowing who does not attend might be useful information.   Nancy Carpenter said this has been an eternal problem and there is not a one size fits all solution.  Service is not something you legislate but something you mentor.  Peh Ng said the Regents policy is very clear about the definition of service.  Not just service to the profession but campus wide.

 

VI.   Campus Committee Reports.  

 

Scholastic Committee

 

Jen Goodnough reported that the Scholastic Committee recently approved the following motion:  To allow course information from international transcripts to serve as evidence that a student has met the spirit of a general education requirement.  Courses designated as ARTH(FA), ARTS(ArtP), BIOL(Sci), CHEM(Sci), CSCI(MSR), MATH(MSR), STAT(MSR) will result in a waiver of the general education requirement.  This will be administratively handled by the transfer specialist.  Students retain the right to petition to have other general education categories waived but would be expected to provide additional information.

They have had various discussions and reports related to 1) the use of electronic translators on exams and 2) how students are expected to turn in work (electronic or hard copies.)  It was clear that, while there will always be a variety of ways for faculty to handle either issue, having available some sample language for use in a syllabus is desired.  We plan to work with the appropriate people and offices to create such language (suggestions always welcome).

 

Campus Resources and Planning Committee

 

Bart Finzel reported the committee has had a busy agenda this fall and wanted to inform the assembly of one item in particular.  Following the recommendation of the budget and finance office in the Twin Cities, CRPC passed a motion to create a $2 million dollar contingency and strategic reserve using balances from the fund 1000 accounts to do so.   The committee recognizes this is a significant change but believes it will be extremely helpful to limit the adverse affects of support to the University in the coming years.

 

Faculty Affairs Committee

 

Mary Elizabeth Bezanson said the committee is working the salary issue.

 

VII.   All University Reports.

 

Peh Ng reported that the Provost has convened the Enrollment Management Committee.  Most of the recommendations made will not directly affect the Morris campus.  If coordinate campuses would like to incorporate any of the committee’s recommendations they are welcome to do so, according to Vice-Provost McMaster.

 

There are many education policy updates coming from the Graduate School.  It has been proposed that any tenured or tenure-track faculty at the University of Minnesota would be allowed to serve on graduate committees, but only a tenured faculty may be the chair of the committee.  This proposed policy is in response to the fact that the classification of graduate faculty no longer exists.

 

VIII.  Old Business.

 

Mary Elizabeth Bezanson said this is her yearly reminder that we should enforce our smoking policy on campus. 

 

Michael Korth requested the names of the student Campus Assembly members be brought forward for approval as required in the by-laws.

 

IX.           New Business.

 

Mike McBride and Remy Huerta said the MCSA passed the following resolution on bullying on October 11, 2010.  

 

Morris Campus Student Association

Resolution 1.6

Brought Forth by Representative Huerta

A resolution concerning bullying and harassment

 

Whereas:  The Morris Campus Student Association strongly discourages and condemns any acts of harassment or bullying.  It is necessary for all students, faculty, staff, and visitors to enjoy an environment free from persecution and threats.  Harassment and bullying impact the ability of a student to receive an education, to reside in the residence halls, and to attend classes in a safe environment and may not be tolerated; and,

 

Whereas:  “Harassment or bullying” is defined as any gesture, written, verbal, graphic, or physical act (including electronically transmitted acts—i.e. internet, cell phone, personal digital assistant (pda), or wireless hand held device) that is reasonably perceived as being motivated either by an actual or perceived characteristic, such as race, ethnicity, religion, ancestry, national origin, gender, sexuality, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression; or a mental, physical, or sensory disability or impairment; or by any other distinguishing characteristic.

 

All students are held to a standard by which they should conduct themselves in a manner which is reflective of the collegiate setting they are in and consider the implications of actions taken by an individual or a group on the campus as well as the community.  Certainly students are expected to challenge themselves and their own ideas as is part of a liberal arts education, however, pressuring others to shift, change, recant, or denounce any aspect of themselves is considered bullying and harassment and may not be tolerated.

 

Therefore be it resolved:  The Morris Campus Student Association encourages witnesses of harassment or bullying to intercede if possible or to contact an appropriate authority figure such as a Community Advisor, Professor, Police Officer, or Vice-Chancellor.

 

The Morris Campus Student Association supports all students and respects their rights to live as an autonomous individual within society, free from judgment and persecution for any characteristic that is perceived or distinguished based on identity.

 

 

Josh Preston reminded everyone to vote on November 2.

 

Adjourned at 6:00 p.m.