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The U.M.K.C. Faculty Senate Report

 

The Voice of the U.M.K.C. Faculty

 

September 15, 1998

The Chancellor Meets With the Faculty Senate:

$$$ and Policy

Continuing Education "Thought piece" Discussed

Chancellor Wants Faculty Advisory Committee on Neighborhood Issues

"No problem" with idea of meeting with some Senators to discuss budget prior to finalizing it

Budgets Incremental with Marginal Adjustments, Schwartz Happy to Discuss Fund Shifts, New Funds

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Note: The Chancellor came to the meeting well prepared and armed with numerous books and charts. She is clearly well liked by Senators, and the tone of the meeting was friendly. Still, many important policy issues were raised and discussed. It was an intense meeting, and by the end of it the Chancellor, along with most Senators, looked exhausted. The Chancellor noted that she looks to the Senate as an advisory body and uses it as her primary method of talking with faculty and hearing from them.

Marvin Querry and Tom Fichtner also attended the meeting and took part in the discussions. There were many visuals. Some are included in this Report [your reporter bought a scanner :-) ], others might be posted on the UMKC web page and are available from Tom Fichtner.

 

Continuing Education

This chart was referred to frequently by the Chancellor, since it shows that Continuing Education (CE) courses have been used to generate an increasing percentage of the University's tuition income. Some of the courses are taught on-campus at regular times, and by UM rules these cannot be counted as CE courses.

On the other hand CE courses have been used to generate "venture capital" and to allow units and deans to innovate and experiment with new programs. If this money was taken away from the units and blended into the general operating budget opportunity for innovation would decrease. Senators didn't think the money should be used to subsidize athletics or other unpopular shortfalls of the general budget. If the money was converted into regular rate money, would it go back to the unit that generated the income? Schwartz said that it probably would mostly go back, and used several examples in which there was a 1 to 1 conversion of CE money into rate money, but would not make a firm commitment. Several Senators remained suspicious.

There was an extended discussion of the advantages of different ways of budgeting CE money. The Chancellor agreed that a great deal more consultation was needed, including discussions with Deans, Chairs and the Senate. She said it was unfortunate that an unsigned proposal/thought piece had leaked, and that it was mistakenly taken as policy. It is not. She also strongly assured the Senate that policies developed would not be retroactive.

The Neighborhood

In its previous meeting the Senate had discussed the idea that there were many people on the faculty who could help in the negotiations with the 49/63 neighborhood, and some Senators wondered why this faculty resource was ignored.

1 The unsigned memo made the policy retroactive to July 1998.

 

At the beginning of this Senate meeting the Chancellor said that she had appointed Chair Loncar to the University's negotiating committee since she was the highest elected faculty representative, but thought that she could benefit from meeting with a faculty advisory committee that could discuss issues and alternatives. They would also be free to advise the Senate about issues. She specifically mentioned Phil Olson (Sociology) as someone who had special knowledge in this area. Some Senators also mentioned Robert Downs (Law). The Senate will consider the issue and make recommendations to the Chancellor.

The Budget

The Chancellor indicated that she was quite willing to discuss budget issues with the Senate. She wanted to start with an overview, and would discuss different issues that the Senate was interested in at subsequent meetings. At the last Senate meeting several Senators had argued that a simple review of the current year's budget priorities was insufficient -- the Faculty Senate needed to be involved in the setting of new budget priorities for next year. The Chancellor seemed to agree with that perspective, and at the beginning of the meeting she said she would be happy to have two (approximately) Senate members who could sit down with her as she was finalizing the upcoming budget. That way the Senate would be involved in setting priorities and not just in reviewing priorities that had already been set.

There was some discussion of the different budget categories, but it makes little sense to go into those in this report. Suffice it to say that most of the money the university gets is committed to specific purposes (like salary increases) and that the university has little flexibility in the way this money is spent. There are also restricted gift, grant and contract funds that have to be used for specific purposes, and there is a capital budget that is appropriated for designated projects and has to be used for the specified purposes.

There is some discretion, however. Some things are earmarked for expansion, some areas lose money, and some money is shifted around. It is these shifts and increments/decreases that largely represent policy choices, and it was those areas that several Senators suggested it would be most fruitful to discuss. The Chancellor was amenable to the suggestion and said that she would bring data to her next meeting with the Senate. She was also agreed to the suggestion that we examine the percentage of money going into administration.

Several specific issues were briefly discussed:

* Scholarships: In some ways most of these are "funny money" since the university doesn't directly pay anything to students on scholarship -- it just waives fees. But fees waived don't generate income, and about 1/3 of the university's operating budget comes from these fees, so we need to be careful.

* Shifting Around Within Categories: Often money is designated for a budget category, and that money only increases incrementally, but there may be priority shifts within an area. Thus, according to Marvin Querry, the appointment of a technology director or Vice Chancellor would not increase the amount of money going into technology -- it would just alter the distribution of money within that sector.

* Designated Funds: Some new programs are paid for out of money that is specifically designated for the area -- as with endowed chairs and mission enhancement.

* High Tuition: One Senator suggested that if our tuition got too high we would lose our ability to attract good students. He thought that we were perilously close to that point now, and had crossed the line in some areas.

 

Absent: Nancy Weatherholt, Khosrow Sohraby, Charles Cobb, Curt Davis, Craig Kluever, Barbara Glesner-Fines, Don Thiebault, Steve Krantz.

Excused: Jerry Place, Valerie Johnson

 

Respectfully submitted,

Harris Mirkin

Faculty Secretary

 

 


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