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The U.M.K.C. Faculty Senate

Report

 

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

October 20, 1998

 

The Senate Meets With the Chancellor....

Toward Genuine Consultation?

Secretary's note: Most of you know that the College faculty met and discussed putting a vote of no confidence in the Chancellor, Vice Chancellors Doerr and French, and Executive Dean Querry, on a future College Agenda. No formal decision was made by the College faculty, but in the Senate meeting several Senators -- mostly from the College, though others were involved -- discussed many of the issues with the Chancellor. The Chancellor admitted that mistakes had been made in some areas and defended the actions that had been taken in others. She (and Marvin Querry) said that often there had been consultation about policies with faculty groups, including the Senate, the Ph.D. Executive Committee and the Graduate Council. Sometimes the consultation might have been inadequate, sometimes the faculty groups had not adequately informed the faculty of decisions and problems, and sometimes the administration (including deans) had clearly erred or implemented policies poorly. At times policies were misunderstood or badly articulated. Looking towards the future Schwartz said that she strongly believed that there had to be discussion of issues, had always believed in an open process, and agreed that the poisonous atmosphere that existed in some areas needed to be dispelled. Your Secretary thought that the meeting was simultaneously contentious, fruitful and promising.

 

[Want to contact the whole Senate? Write to senate@umkc.edu and your letter will go to all Senators. Individual e-mail addresses are on the attendance sheet.]

After the meeting with the Chancellor the Senate discussed several other issues, including the role of the Senate. There are several Senate Committees that need members -- if the faculty is to participate effectively in governance there needs to be a strong Committee structure. A brief description of the Standing Committees is at the end of this report. If you are willing to serve (you do not need to be in the Senate to serve on a committee) or wish to nominate someone for a position, please let your Senator or one of the Senate officers know.

The Chancellor's Hour

Deficits? Never! The first agenda item involved deficits, but UMKC is not allowed to run a deficit. The real question was whether money was shifted from some units and programs to cover expenses in others. Special targets of suspicion were the athletic program and the transfer of faculty to the Medical School from the School of Biological Sciences (SBS).

Athletic Program: The Chancellor had not expected to answer questions about this program (it wasn't on the agenda) and said she would supply fuller information soon. But she could talk about the area in a general way, and said she is now conducting a thorough review.

The deficit is being decreased through simultaneous attempts to reduce the budget and to increase revenue and gifts. She did not want to give specific figures until she was done with her review. The new athletic director will play a crucial role in building a constituency. There is hope for increased business support in several areas, and there have been some important meetings, but these could not be publicly discussed at this point.

Medical School/SBS Faculty Transfer: Because of the changes in medical education, and conflict over issues of control of the curriculum, several faculty members were transferred from the SBS to the Medical School. These transfers came after extensive consultations with the faculty and deans of these schools. The faculty were transferred with their rate money, and were people who taught primarily medical and dental students. No new expenses were incurred, and the SBS was not given money to replace the positions. The only new money going to the SBS had been previously budgeted based on an earlier Mission Enhancement Plan. While a transition phase exists, the transfer of faculty and moneys has been completed. [Senator Jakob Waterborg, from the SBS, later explained that the plan, which ends at the conclusion of the Winter 1999 semester, allows for some very limited accommodation of SBS and Medical School faculty teaching in each other's courses to facilitate the transition.]

Administrative Growth/Faculty Shrinkage: Several Senators thought there had been excessive administrative growth at a time when faculty was shrinking. There was not enough money to run the academic programs. Especially noticeable was the huge increase (between 50% and 125%) in administrative E&E budgets while money for faculty, academic E&E and student assistants had decreased.

This item was not on the agenda, and the Chancellor was not fully prepared to deal with it. She promised to examine the issue and get the figures for the next meeting. But she didn't think there had been a large increase in administrative costs and said different types of funds -- like Mission Enhancement and Program Improvement money -- are parked in administrative E&E funds until they are distributed. She also noted that from the time she became Chancellor until this year there had been no new program money. The only exception was from an early retirement plan (VERUP) that had been implemented several years ago.

Several Senators, at different points, argued that subtle fund transfers were going on. E&E budgets remained flat, but the cost of putting a new phone was astronomical and kept rising. Purchasing costs were high. Administrative units seemed to keep a disproportionate amount of new funds. Why, for example, is the School of Graduate Studies able to bring in lecturers? That money should be distributed. The Chancellor said she would look into these things. Querry said Mission Enhancement money was distributed to the various units and that there is, or should be, a great deal of faculty involvement in developing unit plans. If faculty is not involved it is an issue at the dean's level. $1,200,000 has already been transferred to the academic units.

Currently Mission Enhancement money is going into interdisciplinary and graduate programs. Querry claimed that there had been extensive consultation with the Graduate Council and the Ph.D. Executive Committee. Since the interdisciplinary Ph.D. is spread across the whole campus all units should benefit. It was pointed out that the decision making apparatus for these new interdisciplinary funds was almost totally disciplinary, and that the interdisciplinary programs were not adequately represented. Querry promised to change that.

Reduction in GTAs: Querry said that an apparent decrease in funds for GTAs was a result of tuition increases. Until recently the GTA fund was not indexed -- though the actual amount of money in the fund didn't decrease, it also didn't grow, and as tuition increased the fund could pay for fewer GTAs. Extra money is now being put into the fund to bring it in line with the increased tuition.

Continuing Education: At this point, the Chancellor said, the division between continuing education and rate money is an accounting problem -- what counts as continuing education? How long can a course be considered continuing education? Schwartz said that her objective is proper accounting -- she will not be taking money away from the units or departments, but will turn it into rate money. That was the spirit behind the new policy, and the Chancellor was willing to be quoted on it. Some were uncomfortable with unsigned, vague policies. The Chancellor said she would try to develop a document that she could sign in the very near future.

Residential Campus? Nyet! Changing recent rhetoric, the Chancellor said that we were not becoming a residential campus, but Twin Oaks would fill a need and has been sought by the university for 15 or 20 years. Many students wanted to live near the campus, and it opened opportunities for living/learning centers, etc. Various schools and programs (the Conservatory, The Medical and Pharmacy schools, the Honors Program, etc.) have sought a dormitory base. Still, the residential portion of the campus would be small.

The Chancellor agreed that the process -- with the faculty and with the neighborhood -- had been bad, and said that she would change many of the things that had happened if she could. Her inclination is to consult with people. Letters that should not have gone out were sent. She agreed that more discussion with the faculty would have been helpful and might have prevented some of the mistakes. In the future she would like to open up the dialogue.

After the Chancellor Left

The Senate will reserve time after the Chancellor leaves to discuss issues, develop policies and set agenda items. Some thought the meeting had been dominated by College concerns and had discussed primarily issues specific to the College, but others said there was a common message that centered on the lack of meaningful faculty participation. If the Chancellor wanted a dialogue that message wasn't trickling down to some Vice Chancellors and Deans.

Some Senators thought the College should have told the rest of the Senate about the discussion item on censure. That developed into a much broader consensus that all Senators should share information about their units with the entire Senate so faculty would know what was happening in various areas.

We agreed that the new committees on the budget (Profs. Belt and Manzo) and the neighborhood (Profs. Olson, Downs and Kobach) were Senate committees that were to report to the Senate and advise the Chancellor.

The Senate Report of Oct. 6th was approved. This Report has not yet been officially approved.

Committees

There are several standing committees that need members. You do not need to be a Senator to serve on a committee -- you may volunteer or suggest somebody else. Appointments are made by the Faculty Senate but are not normally hotly contested. :-)

 

Academic Issues: This committee always deals with Honorary degrees. It can deal with issues in the area of endowed chairs, the salary/merit pay system, faculty evaluation and faculty development efforts, academic uses of technology, strategic planning, curriculum issues (including general education, core curriculum, graduate studies and doctoral faculty concerns) and grading procedures. Current members: Profs. Valerie Johnson, Ashok Gumbhir, Bruce Wenner, Kris Kobach and Jakob Waterborg.

 

Administrative Issues: This committee is charged with looking at issues involving revisions of the Collected Rules and Regulations, deans' evaluations, budget review, the campus plan, construction & renovation, oversight of the athletic program, and officer elections for the Senate. Some other areas it might look at involve the endowed chairs program, the salary/merit system, technology budget issues, enrollment management, North Central initiatives, strategic planning, capital funds campaigns and use of campus facilities by outsiders. Current members: Barbara Glesner Fines (Chair), Kathleen Schweitzberger, Phillip Olson, William Fredrickson and Charles Cobb.

Faculty Welfare: This committee examines medical and retirement benefits issues, grievance procedures and campus-wide nominations. Other issues include tenure and post-tenure review problems, gender equity issues, the establishment of an alumni center or faculty club, putting a nursing center on-campus, the need for clerical support, and ADA procedures. Current members: C. Wayne Simpson and Robert Willson.

Faculty Welfare: This committee examines medical and retirement benefits issues, grievance procedures and campus-wide nominations. Other issues include tenure and post-tenure review problems, gender equity issues, the establishment of an alumni center or faculty club, putting a nursing center on-campus, the need for clerical support, and ADA procedures.

Current members: C. Wayne Simpson and Robert Willson.

 

All committees monitor legislation in their areas. They can set up special task forces to deal with particular issues of importance.

 

Absent: Lanny Solomon, Khosrow Sohraby, Charles Cobb, Anthony Manzo, Curt Davis, Craig Kluever, Don Thibeault.

Excused: Valerie Johnson, Barbara Glesner-Fines.

Respectfully submitted,

 

Harris Mirkin,

Faculty Secretary


UMKC Faculty Senate