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The U.M.K.C. Faculty Senate



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

Alas, theProvost was Absent...

September 28, 1999

Note: The Senate was supposed to meet with the Interim Provost and had prepared an Agenda with questions for her. At the last minute she told Ed Mills, Acting Chair of the Senate, that she would not be able to attend. Presumably she will discuss these issues when she meets with the Senate on October 19th. In the meantime the questions seemed to provide a good summary of faculty issues, so we are distributing the unanswered questions via this Report. If you think of additional problems, you should contact your Senator or call the Chair.

News Bulletin

Kathy Loncar has resigned as Senate Chair. Ed Mills (Education) is currently Vice-Chair and will fill out the rest of the term.
At this time your Secretary does not know why Loncar resigned.

On a lighter note, when the Senate discussed the desirability of bring in a representative from the AAUP (American Association of University Professors), one of the Senators livened up the normally staid Senate with a spirited rendition of the first few bars of "Union Maid." (Oh you can't scare me, I'm sticking to the Union...'till the day I die.)

During the time when the Interim Provost was supposed to be at the Senate meeting there was a discussion of the tone of the questions. Some Senators thought the questions were too rhetorical and adversarial. Others thought the tone was about right, since they were meant to open a dialogue and it was important that the Interim Provost hear our concerns. One person argued that the administration was not diplomatic when they dealt with faculty in some of the schools, and that the Senate needed to get these issues out. It was argued that some of the questions were more appropriately directed towards the Interim Chancellor, or that answers to many of the questions were available through the deans. One item (on Foreign Language) was added to the original set of questions, and another item (on grievance procedures) was briefly discussed. Aside from tone, there seemed to be agreement that the questions reflected the concerns of Senators and faculty.

Discussion items for the meeting with the Interim Provost:

1-There is a lot of uncertainty in the University at this point, and some situations seem to be chaotic. We believe that this uncertainty is harming our ability to plan and to operate effectively.

 The policy of retaining lines when people leave or retire is under review, and budget lines may be reallocated. Are there any major unit to unit reallocations that are currently contemplated, or will the reassignment of budget lines be done only in rare circumstances? What are the guidelines?
 There seem to be incompatible missions: we are to decrease staff and scholarships while simultaneously increasing quality, teaching, research and enrollment. How is this all to be done? Is there a shift in priorities between graduate and undergraduate education, with one or the other being enhanced and/or reduced? If scholarships are reduced which type of scholarship aid will be cut?
 In some units consultants have been employed, but the communication all goes upwards (or downwards) to the administration. Can faculty be apprised of consultant's reports? In some cases (like education) where a unit's mission is being re-examined can the faculty be allowed to have an active and knowledgeable role in the process?
 What are the current guidelines for Continuing Education? Does it make sense to mandate holding continuing education courses off campus, and paying rent for facilities, when space is available on campus [on weekends, during the afternoon, early in the morning]?
 [This question was added during the meeting.] Does planning for reductions consider the long term implications for our Ph.D. Programs? For example, many programs require foreign languages, but the offerings of the Foreign Language Department are being reduced. If the University examines reductions in isolation other programs might be hurt indirectly.

2-We were told that there are reductions in the administrative budget, but it appears to us that the administration is growing.

 In some schools (like the Education school) we have heard that the University intends to go outside the unit to hire external chairs. Is this true? Are these considered administrative positions?
 Are there plans for specific reductions in administrative positions? Can these be shared?
 Faculty travel has been reduced -- have the same type of reductions been made in administrative travel and perks?
 Administrative Affairs seems to be making large cuts in its E&E budget. What are these cuts? Will they be balanced out by their traditional tactic of charging higher service fees to academic units?

3-There is the general problem of administrative-faculty communication.

 When deans are evaluated, if there appear to be serious problems, the Provost should probably meet with the faculty of the unit (or some faculty-designated representatives) as well as with the Dean involved. Does this sound reasonable?
 The Chancellor has indicated that he wants some faculty-administrative discussions of the Strategic Plan and its implicit values. What is contemplated? What is the purpose, direction and structure for these meetings? Isn't it too late for any meaningful input?
 There was an audit of the sports program, and the Provost has assured us that the sports program has not exceeded its budget. Can you share the audit with us, or at least let us know how much the sports program costs the university?
 We have been told that the Interim Chancellor has generally ignored recommendations of the Grievance Panel, even when a Panel has been unanimous. Is this true? How often has the Chancellor gone along with Panel recommendations and how often has he gone against them?*
 We were assured that there was no intention to appoint a permanent Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs before a new Chancellor was selected. Has Jenson been appointed? If so, why wasn't there an open search? We realize that you won't be able to cover all of these issues in a single meeting, but we would like to have a preliminary discussion, and later on we can have some follow up meetings.

AAUP, Chancellor search, and other issues.
Chancellor Search:
The Committee has interviewed 6 candidates in airport meetings, and is supposed to give an unranked list of 3 names, and two additional names, to Pacheco. 3 of the candidates will be invited to the campus for extensive interviews. The committee members said that they were pleased with the quality of the candidates, and despite the leaky pipes in the Chancellor’s residence, all seemed to want the job.

AAUP: The Senate unanimously agreed to invite a representative of the AAUP to speak with the Senate at the earliest opportunity.

The Report of September 14th was approved. One issue was clarified. The Report said that the Interim Provost had claimed that SBS had about twice as many faculty as they needed. Senators from the school said that she was comparing the SBS with the Biology Department at her old school, and that the comparison was unfair since that department had only a few M.A. students and did little research.

*There was a short discussion of them item. One Senator was concerned that the question gave too negative an impression, and said that Mendoza had said that the Chancellor had decided one case along the lines proposed by the grievance committee and had gone against a committee in another case. Another Senator said that the Interim Chancellor's attitude towards grievance committee recommendations was cavalier, and that he had ignored a unanimous decision that there was a serious violation of university policy involved in an issue.

Respectfully submitted,

Harris Mirkin,
Faculty Secretary

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