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Faculty Affairs Committee Minutes (03-01-07)

Meeting: 03-01-07

Present: Stacey Parker Aronson, Janet Erickson, Bart Finzel, Argie Manolis, Alex Murphy, Michelle Page, Timna Wyckoff,

Absent : Tom Mahoney

Guest: Jennifer Rothchild (Commission on Women)

The meeting was called to order at 4:05 in the Prairie Lounge.

Senator's Report (University Senate Committee on Faculty Affairs)

Erickson reported on President Brunicks' argument against Tuition Benefits. He was quoted as being "acutely uncomfortable" with the idea of brining such a request to the legislature.

Parental Leave Policy

Wyckoff began the discussion indicating that we should discuss the Parental Leave Policy as it pertains to actual policy and to backfill. She suggested that the Faculty Affairs Committee collaborate with the Commission on Women and brainstorm possible suggestions.

Currently, university faculty member female received 6 weeks of paid leave for the birth of a baby. University faculty member males receive 2 weeks of paid leaves and up to four week of unpaid leave for the birth of a baby. University faculty member males and females receive 2 weeks of paid leaves and up to four week of unpaid leave for the adoption of a baby or child. The Family Medical Leave Act provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave.

As regards the issue of backfill,

--colleagues are expected to cover job responsibilities for the faculty member taking the leave

--6 weeks of paid leave is great for faculty but is more difficult for students on semesters

--doesn't fall under FMLA

Wyckoff spoke to Carol Carrier and to the Director of Human Resources Sara Mattson. According to Ms. Carrier, backfill is a campus issue and campuses have the flexibility to determine how best to deal with it.

Erickson noted that the current Parental Leave Policy implementation is inconsistent. Some division chairs have compensated colleagues for filling in; others have not.

Wyckoff suggested that one possible solution might be to give faculty members the option of taking 12 weeks leave (almost the entire semester) at 50% salary, thereby allowing for greater flexibility.

Jennifer Rothchild told the committee that the Commission on Women has been focusing on the backfill issue. She suggested that we might be able to establish "pipelines" to the TC campus for graduate students to come and provide backfill. She suggested that Division Chair be consulted about this idea.

Page noted that small discipline have more difficult copy with leaves of all types (single semester, parental, illness, etc.)

Jennifer said that there already seemed to be a protocol for dealing with Single Semester Leaves.

Finzel reminded the committee that we needed to distinguish between PLANNED   leaves and UNPLANNED leaves. In the case of Planned leaves, the person can be given other duties besides teaching since teaching is not our only responsibility.

Page noted that Education couldn't simply cancel classes as some are state-mandated requirements for teaching licensure.

Erickson suggested that there must be money in reserve to cover these backfills. The committee as a whole was in agreement that backfill for more than two weeks should be compensated financially.

Finzel commented that the current 20-credit teaching load (5 classes) is a UMM invention. A person could be assigned other duties.

Erickson wondered whether a person could be reassigned for 9 weeks.

Wyckoff suggested we come up with some possible scenarios and examples of reassignments.

Erickson suggested that we ask Chancellor Johnson for dedicated funding to cover backfill. She also agreed that reassignments could be creatively carried out.

Finzel also agreed that there needed to be financial compensation to those colleagues who are required or who volunteer to take on an increased load (teaching, advising, etc.)

Erickson said that UMM needed a Backfill Funding Policy to cover the hiring of faculty both from within (UMM) or from without (TC campus graduate students).

Wyckoff and Aronson both reminded members that expecting faculty colleagues to assume backfill without compensation could breed resentment among colleagues, particularly towards female colleagues of childbearing years.

Aronson suggested that colleagues are more congenial about filling in in the case of illness or emergency than for childbirth as she believes that many consider childbirth a lifestyle choice (how many children to have, how often to have them, etc.)

Page suggested that a policy to adequately and appropriate compensate backfill contributes to the retention of faculty and makes them feel appreciated by the institution.

Manolis and Page suggested that we talk to Chancellor Johnson about this issue since she will be responsible for setting the priorities for the new dean.

Finzel suggested that a natural place to find money to compensate backfill is the 1/2% the Chancellor places in reserve.

Page said that if that 1/2% is dedicated to compensating backfill, people will not likely object because at least they will know where it is going.

Manolis preferred a two-part document, one part to deal with backfill and the other to deal with creative suggestions for Planned Leaves.

Finzel also preferred that there be two separate but closely related statements to compensate for both Planned and Unplanned leaves.

Page suggested that we proceed in two steps: (1) address the issues of backfill (formal document) (2) ideas for consideration in the case of planned leaves (informal)

Erickson agreed to draft a document to share with the Faculty Affairs Committee and the Commission on Women for input before sending it to the Chancellor.

Wyckoff agreed to contact the Director of Human Resources Sara Mattson to get the data regarding the number of cases of Planned and Unplanned leave there have been in the past 5-10 years.

Rothchild wondered how we should go about preparing the Division Chairs.

Erickson suggested that we come up with scenarios and creative solutions.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:00 p.m.

Respectfully submitted by Stacey Parker Aronson (Chair, Faculty Affairs Committee)