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Faculty Affairs Committee Minutes (03-15-06)


Stacey parker-Aronson (Chair), Janet Schrunk Ericksen, Bart Finzel, Keith Brugger, Pam Solvie and Engin Sungur (guest)


Argie Manolis, Tom Mahoney

FAC Minutes 3/15/06
Stacey called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m.

Engin Sungur was our guest to discuss the proposed survey for Faculty Assessment/Evaluation

Concerns about survey brought up by members :

Length of survey: members agree that the length is daunting and would like to see it shortened or tailored to the needs of the faculty.  

Should be a way to choose what units the faculty wants to evaluate.

Frequency of survey (maybe once every 3 - 5 years) instead of annually

Interpretation of questions-left up to the individual faculty; questions in some areas were ambiguous, hard to answer.

Engin's response:

Survey should be looked at as a package with 4 tools introduced if faculty doesn't want to do the long form they can choose to answer 2 - 3 questions instead. It includes faculty opinions of all units in one survey not multiple surveys and the Electronic version will be easier to use. Engin estimates the response time to averages 15 minutes.   It should be done annually because input from faculty will constantly be changing and it needs to be compared annually. He would like to see a response rate of 35%.  

There are new faculty hired every year and some leave after 2 years or so and if the survey has not been offered within that time frame they will not have had the chance to voice their opinions-good or bad. If the survey can save one or two faculty from leaving it will be worth if.   When results are seen the faculty will want to fill out the survey whenever it is offered.

Engin said that the questions are asked in three different areas and so should be self explanatory.

Who the survey and information gathered is intended for

            A member mentioned that statistically we should be getting the same survey.   Another member explained that it is a way to show people there are positive things being done as a result.   FAC and P&A are not mentioned explicitly as to who it pertains to.   Feelings are that it should be more inclusive of P&A-teaching and administrative positions, and would like some questions added for those positions.

Another member asked how the information would be kept for faculty and P&A eyes only; he asked if the information is password protected.   If it is open to the faculty governance structure is it open to P&A?   The Faculty committee steps needed for the information was questioned also, why can't the information go to UMM in general-would like to see less hierarchal divisiveness.   The division makes it looks like the information is not available to everyone, just what we send on.

Engin's response:

There will be another survey for staff needs; he does not want to take on the load of this if we know what it is that our faculty need and the issues involving them.   If we already know these things then the survey does not need to be done.   He added that when people see changes being made as a result of the survey they will want to respond to it.

He answered that this survey is not a production for general university and the definition of faculty includes P&A positions.  

Members' thoughts on Faculty - P&A

Faculty Affairs Committee should be representing the teaching part of P&A, we should be looking our for teaching faculty, maybe non-teaching P&A should form their own committee.

Another member said that P&A staff who are not teachers need to take matters into their own hands. Another member said that it is not necessary to label entities; it provokes arguments and would be counter productive.

Engin's response:

Several issues have been resolved, the Faculty Development is all P&A, and the Faculty on Line Club has been stopped.   Faculty has been defined as: Associated Professors, Assistant professors, Professors, Academic staff and Teachers; we cannot move from this definition-if someone is faculty they are defined as so.   Only teaching staff as faculty, was brought up.  

How data will be compiled and used

The faculty center will decide what portions are relevant to our committee and then pass on the information. Three committees will get non-interpreted results from each year's survey.    A member was concerned that it misrepresents what happens to the information, it looks like the Faculty Affairs Committee will be handling the information and handing it on to the next tier.   It is unclear how Faculty Affairs committee will use the information. The results will be available immediately; a faculty member can go to the web and get support for his/her argument.   The purpose of the survey is to collect information scientifically and get results from the data.   The Faculty has governance or ownership of this information and then it is passed on to the administration.

Engin answered that this survey has not been created overnight, but that lots of thought and research has been put in to the project.

He mentioned that there has been policy changes already mandated from survey results.   A member asked what changes have been made.   Not enough full time tenure line professors, too much part time; OST reimbursement has been changed, retired faculty's need for office space and computer access.  

Additional item: Draft for policy on exit interviews:

Bart had a copy of the draft for policy on exit interviews. Thoughts on Exit interviews are that the way information is funneled should be reviewed and that every employee should be offered an exit interview when leaving the employ of the University.   Due to time restraints, there was not much discussion on this subject.

Meeting adjourned at 10:02 A.M.

Submitted by:
Judy Van Eps