March 7, 2006
Constitutional Revision Committee
University of Minnesota, Morris
Meeting #2, 2/27/06
Present: M.E. Bezanson
(Chair), M. Korth, T. Lindberg, J. Ratliff-Crain, G. Rudney, K. Strissel, G.
Thorson, R. Wareham, R. Webb and T. McRoberts (interim secretary)
completed, the minutes of the February 20 (meeting #1) were not
distributed earlier. We agreed that the committee members should have a
chance to review the minutes before posting them on the website. (They
will have up to a week to review them before they are posted.)
Secretary-Need for a secretary-the chair is continuing to pursue
chair asked if anybody would be willing to serve with her as vice-chair in
anticipation of illness and other demands on the chairıs time.
of the Constitution-The chair posed the question if we are examining the
constitution (looking at the document article by article) or do we wish to
address global issues first? One member suggested that we take a brief
period of time to sketch out the global issues right away and then return
to the review of the constitution. Another member joined in and indicated
a desire to address the global issues as well.
Issues Regarding the Constitution (cited here as they were raised by one
or more members)-
- Campus governance is bypassed by task forces or special
committees; the existing committee structure is ignored. Campus
governance is consistently bypassed.
- Some questioned the legitimacy of the Chancellorıs leadership
team as an institutional (constitutional) entity and its leadership
- The function of the Campus Assembly and its constituent members
is not clear.
- The jurisdiction and the relationship of such committees as the
Executive Committee, the Consultative Committee and the Faculty Affairs
Committee is unclear.
- The role of staff members on committees-when there are changes
or reductions in committee sizes, frequently the staff member is dropped.
- The selection process for committee membership is uneven--the
selection of the student members for committees is not in sync with semesters-membership
is affirmed by the Assembly before students are appointed.
- Committee jurisdiction-too much work for too few committees.
- Mechanism for removing members for non-attendance at the
Assembly (or on committees) is unclear or nonexistent.
- Committee service is uneven-some faculty with sufficient
seniority donıt have to serve at all, where others must serve.
- The relative power of the Assembly is unclear-in relation to the
Chancellor and the Executive Committee. Under current practice, policy
matters are shaped by the Chancellor, not by the Assembly.
- Discipline coordinators are not in the constitution, but play an
increasing role in day-to-day activity in the divisions.
- The Academic Dean is not in the constitution.
- Should all senior administrative officers be in the constitution
and at what level do they need to be identified (i.e. directors,
vice-chancellors, division chairs)?
- We need to define governance and define who has authority in our
- What role does the Assembly or the broader campus community play
in the institutional budgeting process?
- A host of matters related to the constitution remain vague, from
the amendment process to the definition of a quorum. In our constitution,
the nature and scope of responsibility of key committees is not entirely
clear and their relationship to each other, particularly the Consultative
and Executive Committees is not spelled out, and in one case, the Grievance
Committee is non-existent.
- There is an absence of a philosophy of shared governance-how do
we make it more shared? Pressure is for a corporate model of governance.
- If the Assembly is supposed to function as a Town Meeting, it does
not function with the authority it should have.
- The constitution lacks clarity on matters of process.
- The constitution lacks clarity on the various constituencies
that make up the Assembly and their role in our governing processes
(faculty, academic staff, students, civil service and bargaining unit
- Much of the constitution is not really usable any longer. A
committee member noted that the basic structure of the constitution may
be sound-we donıt need to blow up the structure-but we may need to better
define the existing structure. It was suggested that we look at other
models of governance. If there is a need to change the constitution, we
have to have a clearly define the amendment process.
chair expressed concern about where we were going. One member suggested that
the nature of the comments suggested that the constitutional revision needs to
be substantial. There followed a conversation about how we would actually go
about making these changes. One member suggested that we use on-line
technology (wikki) whereby each of us could participate in an ongoing dialogue
about constitutional change.
to the Constitution Article 1, Section 3
- There was a discussion of the budget development process that is
clearly not consultative. It is not clear from our constitution if
consultation is expected or required. Another committee member wondered
about the role of the Campus Resources and Planning Committee-does the
Chancellor consult and the Campus Resources and Planning Committee simply
sign off on the Chancellorıs position? There followed a discussion about
whether or not the campus budget should be developed by the Chancellor or
by the Campus Resources and Planning Committee.
- There was a suggestion that the Campus Resources and Planning
Committee simply approves or disapproves of administrative actions and is
not really a policy body. That seems to be true of other committees as
well. The process of committee business is not clear. Another member
observed that there is no mechanism for cross committee consultation-they
function in isolation. Others suggested that such efforts at
consultation were actually thwarted.
- Section 4: There is a concern that the college is micromanaged
by senior administrators at the expense of committees. There is also the
concern about the creation of new positions that require consultation,
where little has occurred. There is a concern that there is a
proliferation of administratorıs without consultation. Our constitution
does not adequately define the limits of administrative authority in the
process of selecting administrators.
- Under section 5, Faculty tenure, there followed a lengthy
discussion about how tenure is defined within each of the divisions. There
are some questions as to whether or not the definitions of tenure should
be in the constitution. The discussion ended at that point.
- The committee will reconvene on March 13. In the meantime,
committee members should look at various articles on shared governance
and other collegesı constitutions.