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The U.M.K.C. Faculty Senate

Report

 

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

Meeting of January 12, 1999

The UMKC Administrative Style:

An Autocratic Culture?

Late Bulletins

The Senate is going to meet with President Pacheco. The President's purpose for meeting with us is "to provide reassurance that leadership issues will be addressed in a timely fashion, to solicit cooperation from faculty and administrative leadership, and to provide assurance that there will be a search process for a new chancellor that is inclusive of many UMKC constituencies." He is also going to meet with the Deans. At this writing the exact arrangements are uncertain.

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Budget: This will be a tight budget year. The President expects the state appropriation to be between -2% and +2%, with the most likely amount being 1%. That doesn't allow for large pay increases, and one question he raised is whether some money should be taken from the Enhancement pool. There may be other alternatives. The Senate has not yet discussed this issue.

 

Secretary's note: Most of this meeting was fairly routine, something your Secretary welcomed since it meant that it was simple to write up the Report. Around two thirds of the way through the meeting, however, a question was raised about the University's headlong rush into cyber-education, and the lack of controls on the quality of what was produced. That led to a general discussion of the administrative/faculty relationship in the academic area, both on the level of the Central Administration and in some units. Senators cited examples of administrators acting autocratically, and making high handed -- and poor -- academic decisions. It is an area the Senate intends to revisit. Many of you might want to pass on information or opinions via the Senate's e-mail address (senate@umkc.edu).

Safe Crossing, Drinking

Two Resolutions were proposed by Brian Belt (B&PA). The first addressed potential traffic dangers after Twin Oaks is renovated and turned into a dormitory:

 

MOTION: The UMKC Faculty Senate strongly recommends that the UMKC Campus Master Plan include as a very high priority, SAFE pedestrian control for crossings on Oak Street.

 

There was agreement that the University needed to act before there was an accident. Several other dangerous areas were pointed out by Senators, and these were included in the resolution as friendly amendments. The final resolution, which passed unanimously, read:

 

MOTION: The UMKC Faculty Senate strongly recommends that the UMKC Campus Master Plan include as a very high priority, SAFE pedestrian control at all crossings, in particular the crossings on Oak Street, Rockhill Road and at Holmes on the Hospital Hill campus.

 

There are other dangerous crossings on the campus, since a number of major roads run through it, and some intersections need stop signs. There have been accidents and close calls. We referred this resolution to the Campus Safety Committee, the Chancellor, those involved with the Master Plan, and Jerry Jensen.

 

The second resolution involved drinking and was more controversial.

 

MOTION: the UMKC Faculty Senate strongly recommends that its UMKC IFC representatives take forward the following motion for discussion and passage by IFC to be forwarded to the UM Curators:

"The UM system strongly discourages irresponsible use of alcohol. Any athlete convicted of driving under the influence (DUI or DWI) will be ineligible for intercollegiate athletic competition and will lose his or her scholarship. Any other UM student with academic or other scholarship will lose his or her scholarship if convicted of DUI or DWI. Further, the UM System and its various components will not accept advertising and/or sponsorship for any beer, wine, or liquor company."

Though we all agreed it was bad to drink and drive, there were questions about the legality of this resolution, and several objections to it:

* There were already legal penalties for drinking and driving. Were we making the penalties too draconian?

* Should we take a punitive approach to drinking and driving? What about support and counseling? (Some argued these wouldn't do any good.)

* What if a student did this during the summer? Or before they came to UMKC? At the other end, we had a quasi-contractual relationship with scholarship students, so this resolution could only take be put into effect when future scholarships were granted.

* Why are we singling out this crime, or this group of students?

* Wasn't the resolution hypocritical? We don't automatically fire faculty who have a DWI conviction.

 

We thought there probably University and NCAA policies in this area. The Senate voted to TABLE the resolution till we had more information.

 

Reports from Chair Loncar, the IFC & Others

Institutional Researcher: The search for an institutional researcher has been reopened. This person gathers information about UMKC, so that decisions can be more solidly grounded, and there was general support for hiring someone even though many are leery of administrative growth.

Senators thought the position should be changed from what it was previously. The Researcher should supply the faculty and Senate, as well as the Chancellor and administration, with information. For example, we should know how many courses are being offered via the web. Also, how many programs are currently based on adjunct rather than regular faculty? There is some information currently available, and the Researcher would partly be coordinating on-going research efforts.

Several Senators wondered why there was no internal advertising for the position. Some faculty might be interested, and several were thought to be highly qualified. The Chair said she would communicate these ideas to the Chancellor.

Athletic Director: There is a search. Some suggested that there was an available football coach.... A more serious suggestion that a woman be hired was also made.

Twin Oaks: Two committees have been created. One is Facilities Management. Richard Palm (Education) is a faculty member on the committee. Of more interest to faculty is the Twin Oaks Program Committee that hopes to develop some innovative educational programs for residents of the facility. Phil Olson and Linda Breytspraak (both Sociology), Tamera Murdock (Education), Mary Ann Wynkoop (American Studies) and Joan Cochran-Sommers (Conservatory) are on the committee and should be contacted with concerns and suggestions.

The Viagra and Sniffle Factors: The Faculty Welfare Committee is still looking at potential increases in medical costs. One problem is that prescription use has gone up. The University is looking at a tiered approach, in which 100% of cost would be paid for generic drugs, 80% for drugs in the formulary, and 60% for new drugs. The best price and discounts for Viagra and similar drugs would be looked for. The sniffle factor increase in costs is related to people going to the doctor more often, even when they don't need to.

IFC: The spring break has been moved from the 1st to the 3rd week of March. There didn't seem to be a major objection to this change.... The University is trying to develop guidelines for study abroad, and campuses need to take responsibility for student safety if they send them on programs in out of the way places.... The President said that tenure and promotion procedures should be decided on the individual campuses.... Expect a tight budget year with no inflationary increase.

 

Autocratic Administrative Styles

We have many computer based courses on the campus, but there has been little validation of their effectiveness. Some were developed by adjunct faculty with little ability to resist administrative directives. Other programs were instituted by various deans, with little faculty input or evaluation. Some of the new programs might be good but many seem inadequate. Faculty oversight is needed.

At this point Querry runs several academic programs without any faculty oversight, since individual units can't oversee programs done on a campus level, and there is no review committee, or curriculum committee, on a University level.

In several units faculty has been hired by Deans without adequate faculty involvement. Administrators have also created new programs on their own, and in response to outside funding. They have hired in areas that faculty felt were not central, or have hired people that advocated approaches faculty felt were unsound.

Several Senators from a number of different units expressed concern. In some units there seemed to be a pattern of disdain for the faculty. At the university level there was no structure for faculty oversight. There was also concern about the new articulation agreement, but since people were not sure of the details we asked the Academic Affairs committee to investigate and report back to the Senate.

 

Odds & Ends

According to Chair Loncar, and contrary to rumor, a search has not yet begun for someone to fill Doerr's position, nor have ads been placed.... The Self Study Report of the Ad Hoc Council on Undergraduate General Education was distributed to the Senate. This is an important document. It is available at http://www.umkc.edu/sites/nca/. Go to document III. D. 2. a. People should look at it and share their reactions with their Senators.... We approved an Honorary Degree (details need to remain secret at this point).... The question of whether regular faculty was on the search committee for the new Medical School dean was raised and will be asked of the Chancellor (apparently there is no regular faculty on the committee).... The Curators will be meeting in KC on May 27 & 28. Faculty can attend.... Announcements that the University is closed will be made on KCUR (probably after you have struggled in).... The Report of Dec. 15 was approved. This Report has not yet been officially approved.

 

Absent: Kemal Sagduyu, Phil Olson, Khosrow Sohraby, Barbara Glesner Fines, Kit Smith.

Excused: Valerie Johnson.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Harris Mirkin,

Faculty Secretary

 

A Note on the Attendance Sheet

Several Senators, including Profs. Ashok and Solomon, observed that they were counted as having unexcused absences when they had been gone because of scheduled meetings, both here and overseas. Other Senators have had teaching conflicts with the Senate schedule. If Senators contact me with a reason for their absence, I write "excused." Otherwise I simply count them as absent. It isn't a very good system, so if your Senator has many absences you should contact them and find out why they have been missing the meetings.

 

 


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