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Faculty Affairs Committee Minutes (05-10-07)

Meeting: 05-10-07

Present: Stacey Parker Aronson, Tom Mahoney, Argie Manolis and Michelle Page

Absent: Janet Ericksen, Bart Finzel, Alex Murphy and Timna Wyckoff

The meeting was called to order at 4:00 p.m.

Minutes (03-29-07) : The minutes were approved.

Backfill document:

Aronson will follow up on this with Ericksen and Wyckoff to find out the status of the document.


Regarding the suggestions from the Chancellor regarding the staggering of elections for the Faculty Affairs Committee. The Chancellor has suggestion the following round of elections:

*Spring 07 elections for the Humanities and Education slots

*Spring 08 elections for Social Science, Math & Science, 1 P&A staff and 1 non-tenure track faculty member position

Here is the e-mail she sent:

I know that there has been some conversation and perhaps confusion around an earlier message Paula sent regarding membership on Faculty Affairs Committee.   Paula and I met this morning and reviewed the proposal for formation of the committee, the motion related to it from an earlier campus assembly meeting, and e-mail correspondence between former Chancellor Sam Schuman and Chair Stacey Aronson.   There is some ambiguity in these various documents.

From that review and our discussion I conclude the following:   Two divisions--Humanities and Education--should select members this spring to serve in what will be the first year of second terms effective fall 07.   This will allow for some staggered membership on the committee.   These two division representatives will thus begin two year terms this fall, serving from fall 07 through spring 09.

Committee members from the two other divisions and other committee members (1 staff and 1 non-tenure track faculty member) will be in the second year of their first two-year term in 07-08, and these positions will either need to be renewed for a second term or someone else appointed in spring of 2008.

The student member position is a one-year appointment so is not affected.

I believe that this is in keeping with the various documents that exist around this issue.    Please let me know if you have any questions.   Jacquie

Mahoney suggested that in the spring of 08 either the 1 P&A staff or the 1 non-tenure track faculty member be elected for a one year term only and the other for a two year term, as a way to stagger these positions as well. Aronson will forward this suggestion to the Chancellor for her approval.


Non-tenure-track contracts:

I [Manolis] recently sent an e-mail to all the non-tenure-track faculty, as I had shortly after being elected to this committee, to see if anyone had any issues to bring up to the faculty affairs committee. After the first e-mail (about a year ago?), I got very few responses, and none of which seemed appropriate for this committee. This time, the result was quite different.

Without going into too much detail (about half of the respondents asked that I not name them), there seems to be a need for more clarity about how non-tenure-track contracts work. I realize that the point of non-t-t is that we have no definite job security--or else the position would be a tenure-track position--but it does not seem to make sense that there is so much variation in the following:

•  Whether we are reviewed on a regular basis, and if so, who completes the review

•  What we are asked to complete for our reviews

•  Course loads

•  Whether we receive support for scholarly research (eg, travel funding, etc.)

•  How much notice we must be given to be let go

•  Advising expectation

•  Service expectation

I wonder if the committee would support a statement of some sort to go to (CRPC? Consultative? The V.C. group? Assembly?) that requests more clarity about the nature of these appointments and points out the discrepancies w/o revealing individual complaints.

I am sending this now so that I do not forget to submit the item for discussion next semester. To be discussed: whether a statement of some sort is merited; if so, what information should be included in the statement; and if so, who should receive the statement.


Page suggested that there should be a broader discussion of different types of job classifications and the requirements for each. These discussions should take place on the level of the dean, divisions and disciplines. While a person's teaching load should not change mid contract, a 2/3 teaching load may not be appropriate nor fiscally responsible when there is no advising, service or research requirements. We should look at the language and general guidelines. What counts as a full load?

Mahoney reminded the committee that for students to be eligible for financial aid they must take "classes"and that what constitutes a "class" is inconsistent across divisions. He wondered whether the Faculty Affairs Committee could facilitate the discussion or be used as a sounding board by the dean, division chairs and disciplines?

Page suggested that the Curriculum Committee should consider the ramifications of such a discussion as it might affect curriculum.

Manolis noted that when she conducted her informal survey, no part-time music faculty responded. The responses she received were from temporary faculty, sabbatical replacements or one-year replacements.

Regarding the issue of "What we are asked to complete for our reviews," Page wondered if there were differences within divisions, while acknowledging that there would certain be differences between divisions? She wondered what the expectations are for temporary and contract employees.

Manolis suggested that the discussion be tabled until next semester so that she could have more time to prepare the data she gathered.

Page also wondered whether university expectations corresponded to written job descriptions? Do supervisors realize that they might be treating employees differently? She suggested that we should be more clear about job responsibilities and expectations as a trade off for the ambiguity inherent within the nature of the positions (no tenure).



The Faculty Affairs Committee received the following e-mail from Kathryn Benson regarding the issue of workload:

At 03:44 PM 2/9/2007, Katherine Benson wrote:

Hello Bart,

I have a workload issue for the Faculty Affairs Committee, and it's about faculty getting workload credit for teaching course credits that are required for students in their programs.

Right now, Directed Studies and Internships are considered to be voluntary overload assignments for faculty that do not earn credit toward our teaching workloads.   However, not all of these options are optional.   For example, in the LAHS Major, students must complete an Internship to graduate, which means that these are not optional credits for faculty, either, because students have to take them, so we cannot refuse them.   My understanding is that some Majors require students to do one or more Directed Studies to graduate, although this is not the case in Psychology, where Directed Studies are optional for the faculty and the students, both.   But for those Majors that do require them, Directed Studies for Major requirements should count in the faculty teaching load.

Colleagues have commented that a UMM "3-2" teaching load is far heavier than even a "5-5" load elsewhere, and part of the problem is that much of our mandated teaching effort isn't counted. 

Will you please consider the possibility of introducing a policy change from the Faculty Affairs Committee that would count our real teaching load?   In other words, propose a policy that all Internships and/or Directed Studies that are required for the students' programs be counted in our teaching load; (Directed Studies and Internships that are optional on the students' parts would, on the other hand, be considered optional for faculty, too, and would not count toward faculty teaching load).

If we all stopped accepting these assignments because they do not count in our load because the Administration considers them to be "optional," then how would our students graduate?   These really are not "optional" assignments.   Required teaching should count in our loads.

Thanks for your attention,

Katherine Benson, Ph.D.

Response from Bart:

I agree that this stuff should count and I will bring this to the FAC.   That said, a "policy" across all disciplines on campus may prove elusive. Labs, recitals, etc.   make this a very tricky balancing act.   Please note, however, that many Disciplines have solved this problem by making certain EVERYTHING counts.   In this instance, for example, someone might be given responsibility for the oversight of the internship in lieu of some other course responsibility. 

Page noted that this same situation happens in math, as well, with the Senior Seminars, which are not counted as part of the workload

Mahoney suggested that if they are required, then, yes,   they should be counted as a part of the workload.

Aronson and Page noted that different disciplines handle this situation in different ways. English and Spanish, for example, offer a Research Symposium (Senior Seminar) course. Page suggested that if a discipline cannot support the courses it requires, then it should re-evaluate its requirements.

Manolis noted that if everything counts (including directed studies), then there might be abuse, as in the case of a faculty member's taking on an inordinate amount of directed studies as a way to supplement income.

Page reminded her that ultimately divisions chairs have to agree and/or sign off on these directed studies and should say "No" to an excessive amount of summer directed studies.

Mahoney wondered if anyone ever asked about teaching load when proposals come to the Curriculum Committee or to the Campus Assembly. He believes that the Curriculum Committee needs to ask the question about the impact on workload. He suggested that the Faculty Affairs Committee look at the broader issues in the fall and perhaps engage the Curriculum Committee in the discussion.

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

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