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Faculty Affairs Committee Minutes (9-23-08)

Meeting of the Faculty Affairs Committee

23 September 2008, 9:00am, Sci 2555


Present: Argie Manolis, Tom Mahoney, Eli Mayfield, Leslie Meek, Pam Solvie, James Wojtaszek, Timna Wyckoff

Guest: Cheryl Contant


I. “Backfill” document

We started out the meeting discussing issues surrounding the duties of faculty and P&A staff during colleagues' leaves. Contant distinguished between leaves that are federally mandated (medical, parental), leaves that are mandated by the University (sabbaticals) and leaves that are negotiated (phased retirement). Due to budget constraints, phased retirement will be used quite sparingly, if at all, in the near future. Contant mentioned that she and others on the TC campus have been discussing changes to the sabbatical policy.

In order to correctly “credit” people for filling in, we need to know what faculty and P&A workloads are – a complicated and touchy subject. Teaching, research and service commitments may differ by discipline and/or division. Wyckoff said that this topic has come up in almost every discussion at FAC meetings. Contant asked that we directly address it.

Outcome: FAC will compile workload documents that exist at COPLAC schools and UMD (unionized campus of the U of MN) as a starting point for this discussion.

II. hiring chart

Last year, FAC had several discussions about the constraints put on searches by the UMM hiring chart. Contant shared that she is currently working on a new hiring chart with Human Resources that will have clear distinctions for at least two subsets of non-tenure track faculty – short term (1-2 years) and longer term (>2-3 years). She shared that she has asked each Division to put together discipline personnel plans for the next 10 years. This will help with planning for non-tenure track and tenure track faculty needs.

Outcome: Contant will forward us a draft of the new hiring chart for comment.

III. faculty/staff picnic

We mentioned that one discipline and several individuals have expressed interest in reinstating the faculty/staff picnic. While agreeing that such an event would be positive for morale, Contant admitted that in these budget times she probably needs to use any available funds for other things (like faculty salaries!).

Outcome: This topic is tabled until such time as there are available funds.

IV. single-semester leave policy

Wyckoff sent a memo to Contant last week regarding the possibility of guaranteeing single-semester leaves to all probationary faculty. Contant said that single-semester leaves are, in her mind, tied very much to sabbaticals (even though the Regents' policies on them are quite separate). We had a lively discussion and brainstorming session regarding the goals of both types of leaves and whether either, both, or neither should be competitive. Contant feels that both types of leaves should be rethought together.

Outcome: These leaves are part of Regents' policies, and as such, are probably best addressed at the all-U level.

V. other

Contant asked that we add a topic to our agenda for this semester/year: spousal hiring. She will send Wyckoff a copy of a recent article from the Chronicle addressing issues of spousal underemployment, the need to be proactive about spousal hiring, ways to signal “spouse-friendliness”, and possible downsides (like community perception).

Wyckoff pointed out that everything we discussed today has substantial resource implications. She asked what our goals should be, given the current budget climate. Contant suggested that right now, prioritizing programs that would improve faculty and P&A affairs should be the goal. That way, as resources become available, we can use them strategically.

Outcome: We will discuss spousal hiring. We might also make a concise list of programs and poll our constituencies as to their priorities.


Minutes submitted by Timna Wyckoff, 6 October 2008