EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEETING
Present: Bryant, DiMagno, Fuller, Prochaska-Cue, Sawyer, Siekman, Spann, Whitt
Absent: King, Logan-Peters, Miller, Scheideler, Wolf
Date: Wednesday, January 30, 2002
1.0 Call to Order
Byrant called the meeting to order at 3:03 p.m.
2.1 Meeting on Budget Cuts
Bryant reminded the committee that they have been invited by Chancellor Perlman to attend the meeting on February 5th at 11:00 a.m. to hear the announcements regarding the budget cuts. He suggested that the committee members meet afterwards to discuss the implications of the cuts.
2.2 First Candidate for Dean of the College of Engineering
Bryant reported that the committee will be meeting on February 4th at 1:30 with the first candidate for the Dean of the College of Engineering. He encouraged committee members to attend the meeting stating the importance of discussing faculty governance with the candidates for Dean.
2.3 Meeting with Dean Giesecke, Libraries
Bryant reported that he and President-Elect Miller will be meeting with Dean Giesecke to discuss the impacts the budget cuts will have on the Libraries. Bryant stated that he will discuss coordination between the campus libraries with the Dean. VC Owens pointed out that the library is already making budget cuts, prior to the Universitys cuts, because of the increased cost of obtaining materials.
3.0 SVCAA Edwards/VC Owens
3.1 Quality Indicators
SVCAA Edwards stated that he hopes that there will be discussions at the department and college levels regarding the quality indicators and whether they are feasible. He stated that he hopes they will also discuss whether the information required for the indicators can be collected. He reported that the Academic Planning Committee has been given a copy of the indicators and that he hopes to receive comments from the committee. He pointed out that he hopes to have further discussions with the Senate Executive Committee and the full Senate regarding the indicators. Sawyer asked if there is an established time line for getting the information on the indicators. SVCAA Edwards stated that he would like to have information gathered by the end of the semester although he pointed out that this is not a set deadline.
VC Owens stated that he is conducting similar steps for IANR. He noted that the IANR Liaison Committee is working to help organize discussions on the indicators with the deans, unit heads, and chairs. Bryant stated that one of the concerns he has is the lack of input indicators. He stated that the number of faculty, the number of adjunct faculty, students access to courses and programs, and available resources are some of the things that need to be considered. Siekman stated that most faculty members have not had the opportunity to look at the indicators and that many could be waiting to see what data are required. SVCAA Edwards stated that he would like to get the report out this spring to help foster discussion on it. He pointed out that this is a work in progress and that adjustments can be made after an initial report is issued.
Fuller asked what the report means if just outputs are listed. She pointed out that inputs have a lot to do with measuring quality. SVCAA Edwards stated that outputs should reflect the quality of what we do. Fuller pointed out that the output indicators do not necessarily give an accurate picture because they do not take into account the quality of students who are enrolled here. As an example, she stated that if the university were getting the top 10% of students in the nation, one would expect much higher outputs than if we were getting students who receive mostly Cs. SVCAA Edwards agreed and stated that some people feel that we should be measuring value added, not the quality of the output. SVCAA Edwards pointed out that institutions are not ranked in this way and that the indicators are an attempt to make comparisons with ourselves over time. He pointed out institutions are measured on rank of output values rather than input values.
Sawyer suggested that quality should be defined in the beginning of the report. He noted that in measuring our own institution there should be improvements, but these could peak out over time because of such impacts as budget cuts. SVCAA Edwards stated that he is not opposed to having a definition of quality, although he thinks it would be difficult to write. He stated that the indicators that have been selected represent quality. DiMagno pointed out that some of the information being requested is not readily available to departments. SVCAA Edwards stated that this is why he wants to have discussions on the indicators to see if they are feasible. He noted that some of the information can be gathered but the task is quite burdensome while other information would be costly to obtain. He pointed out that some measures do not apply to all areas of the campus.
Bryant asked if the indicators would be used to measure more than just the campus or whether they would be used to compare colleges and departments. SVCAA Edwards stated that administration does not have any plans to compare colleges and departments. He stated that some colleges might want to compare how they are faring in regards to the same colleges at other institutions.
Bryant noted that some of the information required for some of the indicators pertaining to IANR would be difficult to determine. VC Owens noted that probably few of the indicators would work for the entire campus. He stated that while the narrative vignettes are not well defined, they are used by institutions across the country. He pointed out that determining some of the indicators for IANR have been frustrating because there are indicators that do not necessarily deal with numbers or scores yet are an integral part of the university. Bryant asked how the economic impact from direct faculty-private sector interactions can be determined. VC Owens stated that this can be measured in part by looking at economic activity that is tied to faculty discoveries, faculty patents, inventions, or might be tied to one of the technology centers. SVCAA Edwards stated that information on some of the indicators should be obtained not only because they are quality indicators but because they are accomplishments of people at the university. He noted that this would provide public relations with information that could help promote the university. Byrant pointed out that the value of agricultural research is often not recognized. He asked if the indicators help to address this. VC Owens stated that they will help in addressing this and he pointed out that we look fine in AAU accomplishments in comparison to other universities.
Spann asked if there are any documents that reflect inputs. He pointed out that there needs to be a document that indicates inputs such as the number of classes being offered, the faculty-student ratio, number of full-time versus part time faculty, and condition of the classrooms. Whitt stated that both inputs and outputs should be measured. SVCAA Edwards stated that administration is just trying to determine how well the university is doing and whether progress is being made. DiMagno pointed out that if the indicators are to be used as a basis for comparison, inputs need to be taken into account. SVCAA Edwards stated that administration hopes to use the quality indicators to offset rankings which do not provide much nuance. Bryant pointed out that a discussion on inputs is valuable and that it would be a good companion to the outputs.
3.2 Sample Letters for Tenure Track Positions
Bryant pointed out that the committee felt that the sample letter available on the web for hiring a tenure track faculty member is sterile and bureaucratic. SVCAA Edwards stated that he hopes chairs, directors, and unit heads personalize the letter before they send it out. He stated that he could include a suggestion that the writer of the letter should make it more personalized.
3.3 Issues on the Horizon
SVCAA Edwards reminded the committee that the budget cuts will be announced on February 5th. He noted that it is very difficult to cut $5.5 million from the budget. He stated that the Academic Planning Committee will be holding hearings during the month of February on the cuts. He pointed out that the APC will have a tremendous work load during the month of February and that they should be commended for the work they will be doing.
Byrant asked if the administration has gathered any information on peer institution salaries and whether we are at the mid-point of them yet. VC Owens stated that he believed Provost Jones was collecting information. SVCAA Edwards stated that he will check to see if John Benson, Director of Institutional Research & Planning, has any information collected and whether it can be available for Tuesdays meeting.
SVCAA Edwards stated that a five year review needs to be conducted on Vice Chancellor Griesen. He noted that a co-coordinator of the review needs to come from the Executive Committee since VC Griesen does not supervise any faculty. He stated that the co-coordinator would assist in reviewing the input gathered on VC Griesen and will assist in writing up the assessment summary. Bryant stated that the Executive Committee would discuss this at their meeting next week.
Bryant asked for clarification on the open positions recently announced by IANR. VC Owens stated that these positions are for the Rural Initiative. He pointed out that the Board of Regents approved investing in the Rural Initiative and that some of the funds used to support it will come from academic enhancement money. He pointed out that the positions would not be available until the beginning of the next fiscal year. Siekman asked if retirement enhancements were being used to encourage people to retire early. VC Owens stated that he is unaware of any. Bryant stated that there was some concern over the luncheon for IANR Senators before Senate meetings. VC Owens stated that the luncheons are a way for him to meet with extension people whom he normally does not get the opportunity to meet with very often. He stated that there are no agendas for the meetings and that discussions can be on any topic of interest to those people in attendance. Siekman pointed out that there was some concern that the luncheons might be a way of creating a political block in the Senate. He noted that this was not the case and that often there are considerable disagreements on various subjects.
4.0 Approval of 1/23/02 Minutes
Whitt moved and Prochaska Cue seconded approval of the minutes as amended. Motion approved.
5.0 Unfinished Business
DiMagno reported that the committee met last week with Dr. Hawkey, Director of Registration and Records, regarding the new grading system. He stated that he obtained additional information on GPA distribution by some departments. He distributed the information and pointed out that no filtering had been done on the grades. He noted that a concern from the student perspective is that it is more difficult to obtain higher GPAs in some departments and programs than others and that this can lead to hard feelings among students in different disciplines. The committee discussed whether faculty evaluations related to grade inflation. SVCAA Edwards pointed out that there is a standard GPA required for honors and also probation but it is based on the notion that everyone grades or evaluates on the same basis. He pointed out that informing faculty of grade distributions within departments or colleges would allow faculty to compare how they are grading in comparison to other professors but many people are opposed to releasing this information. Fuller asked whether grade distribution has any link to the quality indicators and the expectations of the university. SVCAA Edwards stated that assessment of student learning is currently based on the grading system but grades alone are often not viewed as a valid assessment. He stated that a grade should represent a certain standard of student. He pointed out that faculty need to keep in mind that one of their goals should be to help students improve and achieve a higher standard. Fuller suggested that a discussion should be held on teaching and standards. DiMagno stated that he would like to have some kind of normalization when it comes time to calculate GPA for honors and awards so that students who are taking more rigorously graded courses are rewarded, rather than punished. Siekman noted that the university has created an environment where everything hangs on the students GPA. Bryant stated that there may be further discussion on the topic.
6.0 New Business
No new business was discussed.
The meeting was adjourned at 5:07 p.m. The next meeting of the Executive Committee will be held on Wednesday, February 6th at 3:00 p.m., Academic Senate Office, 420 University Terrace. The minutes are respectfully submitted by Karen Griffin, Coordinator, and James King, Secretary.