Skip to Content

Jan 27, 1999 Minutes

Senators Present: Anderson, Bible, Conroy, Gillis, Gordon, Hays, Irvin, McGee,
Pascoe, Renick Sawey, Skerpan, Stimmel and Winek.

Liaison Present: Linda Thomas (HIM)

Guests: Beverly Penn (Art), Everett Swinney (History), Don Hazlewood (Math),
Gaye Krampitz (Faculty Contracts), Rebecca Bell-Metereau (English), Mimi Tangum
(ORSP), and Mike Moore.

MINUTES OF 1-20-99

Chair Bible called the meeting to order at 4:02 p.m.


The Senate has made clear its view that the present faculty grievance process
is untenable. Among other things, Pres. Supple has expressed his reluctance to
overturn administrators' decisions involving "professional judgment," a term
which conceivably embraces just about every aspect of the administrator-faculty
relationship, and administrators have demonstrated an increasing unwillingness
to mediate, and in some instances even discuss, complaints of faculty. The
Staff Council is reportedly also very dissatisfied with their grievance
process. In an effort to forge a workable solution, Chair Bible, Ombudsman
McGee, and Senator Renick met with Pres. Supple and VPAA Gratz to discuss a
proposal for a campus mediation center and a revised merit process that might
enable grievances arising from merit decisions to be resolved at the chair/dean

Chair Bible summarized the essence of the meeting. Although nothing has been
set in stone yet, the President and VPAA envision a merit process in which
chairs would make recommendations, advise the affected faculty, and pass them
on to the dean, who would conduct an across-the-school comparison and make
adjustments where deemed necessary. Merit money would be allocated to deans
rather than chairs, and deans could hold a certain amount in reserve to correct
inequities that surface during the comparison. Eventually all of the merit
money would be distributed. Through this process faculty would have the
opportunity to express concerns about their merit determination to the chair,
then the dean, and then the VPAA, before the merit determinations become final
and while money is still available to correct problems. At CAD, the deans and
VPAA are going to explore how this new process might take shape.

The Senate voiced several concerns in the discussion that followed -- how much
money could deans withhold, would faculty lose the right to grieve merit
decisions altogether, et. al. Although the revised process aims to take merit
out of the grievance process by resolving conflicts early in the process, it
fails to remedy the current problem of lack of any motivation for chairs and
deans to mediate grievances. Some Senators see the holdback of reserves by the
deans as attractive because it would provide flexibility to resolve complaints
before decisions become official, while others noted that when a similar system
was in place years ago, some deans were alleged to have used the "reserve" fund
for non-merit purposes.


The discussion of the grievance process spilled over into the next item,
consideration of a new draft of PPS 7.10 on merit and performance that was
distributed to the senate last week. Chair Bible asked Ev Swinney to take a
look at it and share his thoughts with the Senate. He spent a great deal of
time with it and discovered several problems.

In discussing the "Performance Evaluation of Faculty," a memo dated 7/25/97
from VPAA Gratz to the deans and chairs advises that the work product of the
Post Tenure Review Committee has been adopted as SWT policy, "will become the
basis of faculty evaluation in the future," and "will be included in the next
edition of the Faculty Handbook." Although PPS 7.10 contains procedures for
implementing this policy, it is the Senate's understanding that the PTRC work
product was supposed to supplant that PPS in terms of substance.

In terms of both wording and substance, moreover, it appears that the PPS 7.10
draft, the PTRC work product, and portions of the Handbook differ; even the new
draft of the handbook does not correct this problem. See specifically pages
26-27 and 31-33. Also, a number of questions were raised about the meaning of
certain words and phrases in the PPS 7.10 draft.

Since approval of the last version of PPS 7.10 in 1992 took place at a joint
meeting of CAD and the Senate, presided over by the President, Prof. Swinney
urged the Senate to ask for this same level of united effort and consent with
the new version.

The Senate has questions about the exact meaning of the draft itself and about
its relationship with the Handbook and the PTRC work product. If the university
adopts a new substantive version of PPS 7.10 which does not mirror the language
of other documents, we will create a great deal of confusion. In light of Dr.
Gratz's memo of 7/25/97, it would appear that the best course might be to devote
PPS 7.10 solely to the issue of implementing the provisions of the PTRC work
product and then ensure that both are put verbatim into the new Handbook.

This item will be placed on the PAAG agenda for 2/3 and Prof. Swinney will
attend to present his views.


On behalf of the Faculty Research Committee, Prof. Penn, outgoing Chair,
presented several proposed changes to the Research Enhancement Program
guidelines. The requested revisions seek to insure consistency and clarity in
the evaluation of grant proposals, but are not substantive changes to the
application process. After discussion of the wording of several items in the
guidelines, Senators Conroy and McGee volunteered to work with Prof. Penn and
the newly appointed Chair of the FRC, Prof. Cecilia Temponi (Management and
Marketing), on revised wording to bring back to the Senate for consideration.
Since the guidelines have already been distributed in their present form for
the beginning of the 1999 granting cycle, no substantive changes can take
effect until next spring when a new cycle will begin.


The Academic Standards Committee, chaired by Prof. Robert Mooney, will explore
and report to the Senate on the pros and cons of a plus/minus grading system.

Appointments to the University Club Committee were finalized. Profs. Russ
Hodges and Larry Patterson will replace Profs. Walt Johnston and Bill Kurtz.
The Senate has asked Dr. Patterson to replace Dr. Kurtz as chair.

Chair Bible reported that he met with VPAA Gratz and Gaye Krampitz to review
changes to the Faculty Handbook draft that have been urged by University
Attorney Fly.

The following items were suggested for the PAAG agenda next week:
Evaluation of Chairs and Deans update
Draft PPS 7.10
VPIT hiring update
Draft PPS on Research Enhancement status

MINUTES OF 1-20-99

The Minutes of 1-20-99 were approved.

The Senate adjourned at 6:13 p.m.