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The U.M.K.C. Faculty Senate

Report

 

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

Nominations Needed

We need nominations for the Chancellor Selection Committee. Suggest nominations to your Senators or submit them to Prof. Tony Manzo (Education School). Be sure to get the permission of the person you nominate. People may self-nominate if they want. The Senate will set up a nomination committee to make

Meetings of February 1 and February 2

What Next?

Oy, A Mistake...

On the last page of the Senate Report of Jan. 19th, the word "breadth" mysteriously transformed itself into the word "breath." The sentence should read: "The Faculty Senate urges that the Chancellor Search Committee represent the full breadth and diversity of the

Secretary's note: The Senate met on 2 consecutive days. On the first we met the Interim Chancellor, Gordon Lamb. Other faculty had also been invited by Chair Loncar. On the second day we had a regular Senate meeting and discussed the issues facing the University. We were especially concerned that the search process for a new permanent Chancellor include an adequate representation of faculty that were picked by faculty and so could be said to represent them. We also discussed the administrative problems plaguing the University, and hoped to resolve them before a new Chancellor was selected.

 

The Interim Chancellor seemed to be aware of at least some of these problems, and in his initial talk with the Senate indicated that he hoped to resolve many of them, and get started on others. Though there hadn't been a decent search process, it most of the people who met the Interim Chancellor seemed to be favorably impressed. He seemed open and anxious to talk with the various groups on campus, appeared to have a sense of personal integrity, claimed that he was willing to make some of the decisions that needed to be made and didn't merely want to be a caretaker, and was good humored even at the end of a grueling morning. He told stories well, liked Mozart, and still directed on occasion. He said he absolutely was not a candidate for the permanent position. Hopefully he will be so good that we will be sorry to see him go at the end of the 8 to 10 month stay that is envisioned.

 

Meeting with Interim Chancellor Gordon Lamb

The Interim Chancellor was briefly introduced by President Pacheco. He has a background in Music & Music Education, started teaching in high school, and was one of a group of faculty that helped start the University of Texas at San Antonio, hiring faculty, recruiting students, writing curriculum and developing a budget. He seemed to have really liked that experience. He has gone on to the various administrative duties you will have read about before this Report reaches you.

 

Lamb thought it was possible to do things that would move the University forward while waiting for the new Chancellor. Some of the problems we could get rid of, others we could get started on. He thought the faculty was excellent and the strategic plan was good, so there was a base on which to build. If some of the problems could be resolved the University would attract better candidates. Lamb's own management style involves talking with a variety of people, and (gasp) he likes to wander around the campus in order to meet students and faculty.

 

Faculty were afraid that Lamb had too rosy a view of the campus and the strategic plan, and they hastened to fill him in. He said he was aware of some of the problems, and seemed willing to examine the issues. He was open to an assessment of the University's management structure, but didn't want the process to take too long. Similarly he was interested in discussing specific flaws in the strategic plan, but was unwilling to totally abandon it. He seemed surprised that there wasn't a strategic planning committee or newsletter. He agreed with a Senator who said the use of computers to deliver courses had to be carefully examined and monitored by faculty. He thought he had to develop a relationship with community leaders in the city and on the UKC Board. He said he had a lot of experience in dealing with neighborhood problems, and wanted to open up lines of communication.

 

President Pacheco thought that the flash points revolved around the neighborhood, administrative reorganization, athletics and enrollment -- but said that his own style was to let the campuses deal with these issues in their own way. At its regular meeting the next day the Senate discussed some of these problems, but a two hour meeting was not nearly enough time.

 

Administrative Issues: The Regular Senate Meeting

Medical School Dean Search Committee: There aren't faculty representatives on the Search Committee, and the advertisement says the dean of the Medical School will report directly to the Chancellor. The Senate was appalled at both of these.

 

The issue of faculty representation on the search committee is more complicated than it seems, because there is only a small regular faculty, and most of the faculty are not tenure track. In that way the school was unique, both at UMKC and in the country. But other schools, including the Dental School and the Bloch school had dealt with similar problems of representation. The Senate asked the two Medical School Senators to develop a recommendation for our next meeting. They said that they would talk with the faculty and would do so.

 

The Dean of the Medical School reports directly to the Chancellor, in a recent agreement that was worked out between Chancellor Schwartz and Marjorie Sirridge, the current dean. The advertisement for applications to the Search Committee explicitly continues this arrangement. The reasons for this special structure aren't clear. The Senate thought that the special arrangement should be ended and unanimously passed the following resolution:

 

The Faculty Senate objects to any administrative structure that allows one dean to report directly to the Chancellor. All Deans should report to the chief academic officer.

 

Council of Faculty Chairs: A proposal was made that the Senate appoint a committee of faculty chairs that could share information, so we would know what was going on in the various units. After some discussion the Senate decided that we ought to be sharing the information with each other -- that it was unnecessary to create a new committee for this purpose, but it was imperative that information be shared since individual schools, dealing with apparently malevolent administrators and deans, sometimes felt isolated and powerless. We also decided that our own rules were far too vague, and that we should look at some of the suggested rules of the AAUP and the by-laws of other universities. It was argued that both on a university level and on the unit levels some administrators were making high handed -- and poor -- decisions, and were starting programs and hiring faculty without adequately consulting faculty. In the process of discussion a great deal of information about conditions at the various schools was exchanged, so the discussion was productive even though the Council of Chairs idea was defeated.

 

Structure of the Central Administration: For several meetings the Senate has argued that academics ought to be at the center of the campus decision making process, and we thought that the administrative structure needed to reflect this by placing the chief academic officer above the other Vice Chancellors and administrators. But administrative structures are complicated, and cannot be hammered out on the Senate floor, or by faculty working part time on Senate committees. So we finally gave up on explicitly spelling out a structure, but the overwhelming sense of the Senate was that there should be a chief academic officer for the UMKC campus who holds a rank above all other academic and administrative officers. Other administrators would report to him or her, and then the chief academic officer would work directly with the Chancellor. We believed it was important that non-academic officers should have ranks or titles that would make it clear that they were not logical candidates for the Chancellorship (e.g. they shouldn't be called "Vice Chancellors"). We also opposed the general proliferation of high administrative titles (e.g. "Associate" and "Assistant" Vice Chancellors) and salaries. We wanted the interim Chancellor to work with us on this issue, and felt it was important to resolve it before existing and prospective administrative vacancies were filled.

 

Chancellor Search Committee: At its last meeting the Senate passed a formal resolution, to be delivered to the President by the Chair, asking for a meeting. We didn't know if the Resolution had been delivered (Kathy was out of town) and had not yet had a response. We were frustrated about starting the process of appointing faculty to a search committee because we didn't know when the committee was going to be appointed, and we didn't know the size of the committee. On one issue we were clear: Faculty representatives had to be selected by faculty and not by the administration. Faculty that were selected by the administration could not be said to represent faculty. Since we didn't know the timetable or the size of the committee the Senate could not make recommendations at this point. We decided that the best procedure would be to have nominations that were sent to a nominating committee that would, in turn, make recommendations to the Senate which would submit a final list to the President or the person in charge of appointing the Search Committee. The first step was clearly to get nominations, and Senators felt that these should come directly from faculty as well as from Senators. Thus the text box at the beginning of this Report.

 

The Senate also passed a resolution expressing their frustration at the uncertainty of the procedures, and we felt it was important that we talk with the President before the search process was set in motion. The following resolution was passed and we directed the Chair to deliver it to the President of the University:

 

The U.M.K.C. Faculty Senate passed a resolution on January 19th asking you to meet with us to discuss concerns related to the administration of our campus. We feel it is imperative to hold this meeting before you begin constituting a search committee for the new Chancellor. At your earliest convenience the Senate expects that you will respond to our request.

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There were several agenda items that the Senate did not get to, since time ran out. The Report of January 19th was approved. This Report has not yet been officially approved.

 

Absent: Kemal Sagduyu, Khosrow Sohraby, Craig Kluever, Cynthia Churchwell.

Excused: Kathryn Loncar, Ed Mills, Jakob Waterborg, Valerie Johnson, Curt Davis, Kit Smith.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Harris Mirkin, Faculty Secretary


UMKC Faculty Senate