Skip to Content

Oct 7, 1998 Minutes

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

Absent: None

Liaisons: Gary Aron (Boil), Vicki Brittian (PolSci), Pierre Cagniart (Hist),
Miriam Echeverria (ModLang), Elaine Eikner (Acctg), James Kimmel (Geo), Roseann
Mandziuk (Speech), Audrey McKinney (Phil), George Morgan (CIS), Ruth Taylor
(Mgt/Mkt), Linda Thomas (HIM), and Margaret Vaverek (Lib).

Guests: Lauri Celli (Soc Intern) and Mike Anderson (Star).



The meeting was called to order at 4:01 p.m.. Chair Bible welcomed the
Liaisons and provided a brief overview of Senate concerns and actions
in the areas listed below. The floor was open to introductions of
Senators and Liaisons who provided the assemblage with their concerns,
opinions and complaints most of which are listed below with summaries of
the discussion.

Faculty Senate Concerns from the list circulated by Chair Bible prior to
the meeting:

Academic Program Review - Academic program review is mandated for all
departments under a new PPS (number to be assigned). Concerns were raised
about the potential duplication of current departmental external reviews
and the loss of departmental discretion in the procedures followed in
the review.

Computing Fees - Chair Bible pointed out that Senate has charged the
Academic Computing Committee to revise and improve the policies and
procedures for the next round of grants. A concern was raised by Sen.
Winek about the allocation of the funds almost exclusively for new
hardware and the purchase of equipment for departmental labs which are
not general in nature. He suggested that grants for computers in
departmental labs whose primary function is to serve majors require some
matching funds from the department and that funds be made available for
upgrading software.

Developmental Leave Changes - Chair Bible announced that a newly amended
leave policy, PPS 8.02, is now in place and prospective applicants should
read it carefully before applying. Among other things, this policy alerts
faculty to the intellectual property rights implications of work produced
on leave.

Evaluation of Chairs and Deans - It appears that the Senate/Dean/Chair
committee charged to write PPSs on Chair and Dean evaluation is finally
getting off the dime. Results are expected sometime next semester. A
number of liaisons raised concerns about the lack of chair evaluations
in their departments; others report that such evaluations have been
ongoing. So much for a consist approach to governance at SWT but what
can be expected given the hodgepodge of departmental governance
mechanisms with which we are currently inflicted (or is it infected?).

Faculty Awards Program - The natives are restless! This topic, along
with the following one on the grievance process, generated the greatest
number of complaints and comments. Charges of unfair, inconsistent
awards being made under nebulous or unknown criteria which may not be
followed came from all sides. It was reported that some schools did not
publish a list of bonus recipients or did so in some poorly lit corner.
Sen. McGee suggested that since assessment is so vital to the administration
and this program awards approximately $320,000 every year a rigorous assessment
of this program be undertaken to determine if it is accomplishing its goals
and being administrated in a fair and equitable manner. Chair Bible noted
that the awards program is due for comprehensive review after its third year.

Faculty Grievance Process - This topic produced the longest discussions
and probably the most concern among the Senators and Liaisons present.
Chair Bible summarized Senate concerns about the President's rulings in
two grievances last spring and the president's response to the concerns
presented at last week's PAAG meeting. (For complete details please see
the 9/30/98 Faculty Senate Minutes.) One of the Senate's concerns is that
the rulings indicate that the Grievance Committee could never review a
merit grievance without examining the files of all faculty in the department,
although the nature of a grievance hearing is that only the file of the
grievant is before the Committee; the result appears to be a Catch-22 in
which no grievance involving merit could ever succeed.

Another concern relates to a grievance in which the Committee found that
the faculty member received less merit than she otherwise would have
received because she had been promoted that year. Pres. Supple's response
at PAAG was that he isn't sure that the grievance process is the best
way to deal with controversies over merit for a variety of reasons, yet
he went on to say that salary increases are grievable but that a grievance
committee can't overrule the best professional judgment of the chairs and deans.
He considers the following circumstances grievable: (1) violations of policy,
(2) demonstrated bias, and (3) poor professional judgment by chairs and deans.
Of course, he must agree that such conditions exist in order to rule in favor of
the faculty.

A great deal of discussion of this topic followed with many expressing
the opinion that the grievance process was in effect moribund. Sen. Irvin
pointed out that the president's position is the same for grievances as for
tenure and promotion, his professional judgment will prevail as he said about
promotion -- "I know [a problem] when I see it." In the case of grievances it
almost appears that the attitude is "my chairs right or wrong."

It was also announced by Sen. Skerpan that a number of grievances concerning
merit awards were in the process of being filed in her school.

Faculty Handbook - After many years the new edition is in the VPAA's office
where it hopefully will emerge prior to the SACS self study review team visit.
Chair Bible noted that he had met with VPAA Gratz and Gaye Krampitz to review
the draft and that following some minor cosmetic changes it should appear.

Library Career Ladder - Library liaison Vaverick thanked the Senate for
its efforts to achieve this very important step forward for the librarians.

Parking - Still not perfect: the new parking garage next to GCB/Centennial
Hall is always full. Faculty observe very young drivers with restricted
permits parking in the garage and wonder about enforcement though it was
noted that cars are being towed and booted for multiple offenses. Problems
exist but Traffic Control and the UPD are appear to be making a good effort
to catch offenders.

New Concerns presented by the liaisons:

Classroom conditions - The first report from Sen. Stimmel was that
the walls were dropping chunks of goo on students feet in the Psychology
building. This was followed by reports of excessive heat in Derrick Hall
and no response upon repeated requests for relief by Liaison Morgan,
CIS; leaking roof in New Science Building by Liaison Aron, Biology and
another leaky roof on Jowers by Senator Hays. Somebody HELP!

Spring Graduation - Faculty and students are concerned about plans for
the great, spectacular production being planned for Spring graduation.
The students want to walk to receive their diplomas, the faculty don't
want to be roasted for 5 or 6 hours, the faculty handbook only requires
attendance at one graduation a year and faculty shouldn't be required to
attend this extra one which may well be a nightmare for the participants.
Perhaps we should pray for rain.

Facilities Committee - Concerns were expressed about the process of
selecting new buildings and renovation of our hot/leaky ones. Faculty do
not seem involved in the process or informed of decisions.

Voice Mail Availability - It was reported that some faculty have been
waiting two years and have yet to be hooked up to voice mail.

Travel Reimbursements - Faculty report that reimbursements are slow and
applications are returned for minor corrections.

Trained Mediators - The university ombudsman, John McGee, has raised a
concern about the availability of trained mediators for the grievance
process. Anyone interested in becoming a mediator should contact Prof.
McGee. (Note this is not Sen. Jon McGee, Anthropology but Prof. John McGee,
Finance & Economics.

Closing Comments - The Liaisons were strongly encouraged to attend at
least one Faculty Senate meeting every semester. Attendance at the
monthly meeting, the PAAG meeting, with the president and VPAA is even
more strongly encouraged. Here's a chance to see and hear the "big dogs"
and even ask them about your concerns. Sen. Stimmel stated that the
faculty must focus their discontent in order to force changes. As any
reader can see grievance procedure, merit and bonus all can be listed as
growing areas of discontent among the faculty.

Committee appointments:

Grievance Committee - Susan Day, Department Chair; Michael Willoughby, Dean

Faculty Research Committee - Sylvia Crixell, ATT 1999 - 2001 term; Linda
Thomas, FAC through 1998

Parking and Safety Committee - Todd Amon, Computer Science, temporary
replacement for Professor Davis who is on leave.

The meeting adjourned at 5:50 p.m.