Development & Alumni Relations
Faculty & Staff Benefits
In January our committee received the following charge from the administration: serve as the subcommittee in charge of authoring the Gender, Minority, and Student Welfare section of the University's ten-year NCAA certification. This section of the report requires considerable data gathering, and roughly 50 pages of text (in other words, we have our work cut out for us, and this will occupy all of our time through May). When finished, the Senate will possess a detailed report not only on our [Gender, Minority, Student Welfare] issues, but on Compliance and Academic Integrity as well. We will possess, in short, the kind of instrument that will foster informed discussion on athletic matters at the University of Tennessee. In September the entire report will be available for perusal by faculty and staff, with the final draft to be sent to the NCAA by January 2005. An on-campus peer review (with participants chosen by the NCAA) will close the certification process. Professors Peggy Pierce and Ann Fairhurst will author the section on gender in the report. Professors Don Hodges and David Anderson are responsible for the section on minority issues, and I, Harold Denton, and Jason Respert (student athlete) will tackle the report of student welfare. Thorton Center staff and the staff of the athletic departments are providing data, as is Institutional Resources.
Below follows a description of activities related to charges to the Committee initiated at the start of the year through conversations with Senate President Lyons: Budget hearing process: The Committee devoted considerable effort in working with Denise Barlow and her staff to develop a standard template of information for all academic units to be available at the UTK campus budget hearings. The information in this template was provided centrally for each unit, in order to ensure consistency, but units were provided an opportunity to challenge the interpretation of this information if they wished. A budget hearing was held with the Men's and Women's Athletic Department to provide an overview of current year budgets, and faculty members of the Athletic Board and the Senate Athletic Committee were invited to participate as well. For the first time we are aware of, the Senate Budget Committee was invited to attend a few of the budget hearings of Systems-level units, and reports were provided on these to Faculty Senates on other UT campuses. Although much progress was made, we still did not meet the goal of having budget hearing materials available on the web, although for the first time these materials were made available in the UT Library. The Committee provided much input on establishing standard policy for the structure of campus hearings and the information to be provided, but believe this will take effort from next years committee.
The Annual Faculty Salary Survey was again conducted and made available to all through the Senate web site. The format was revised slightly from past years, but a few problems still exist. Notably the Library faculty are not included and the manner in which 9-month salaries are calculated for 12-month appointments (by taking 9/11 of annual salary rather than 9/12) creates confusion. The Chancellor's Campus Budget Committee included a representative from our committee, thus providing input on budgeting processes outside the formal hearing process. It seems appropriate to institutionalize this practice. Volunteer Athletic Scholarship Fund: The Committee had extensive discussions regarding the allocation of income donated to this to activities not related to scholarship. This issue was discussed on several occasions with Athletic Department staff and the Chancellor, expressing the Committee's concern that the naming of this fund should be changed - the Committee offered a variety of suggestions for new names. As far as we can tell, no action has been taken by Men's Athletics to change this. Below are listed several other areas that were at least briefly discussed by the Committee this year, but on which no major actions were taken. We suggest that next year's Committee may wish to focus on some of these matters:
- Explore the option of an administrative salary survey.
- Follow-up on Living Wage Resolution passed by Senate previously.
- Summer School budget/process by which departments may schedule courses/instructors and the flow of revenue from this.
- Establish the policy for faculty input to budgeting and revenue flowing through the UT Foundation.
- Establish policy for budgeting issues related to the UT Research Foundation.
- Auxiliary Enterprise budget process and allocation of actual costs (F&A) to these, including Athletics.
- Budgeting for post-tenure review/merit raises once the current round of reviews is completed this year.
- Policies regarding potential redistribution of salary funds to units based on a rule other than as a percentage of current pool. Potential redistribution of funds to vulnerable units in order to enhance the opportunity for them to succeed.
The committee addressed the following goals this year:
As a member of this committee last year and chair this year, I concur that the perception of the By-laws Committee is accurate--our meetings centered around an attempt to justify a reason for being. The subsequent vote of the Senate to eliminate Development and Alumni Relations as a standing committee confirmed that this committee was not relevant to the policy activities of the Senate.
- Identify policy issues related to the Development Office: The committee worked to identify at what points in the UT campaign process faculty input is possible. We worked to identify multiple academic interests to reach wide variety of donor demographics. We worked to understand differences between campaign and annual giving, and attended a UT Campaign training session
- Monitor the UT Development Foundation: This activity was on hold for the most part. I did write a letter to Eli Fly regarding web site updates. There is a need to invite current UT Development Foundation Executive Director and possibly UT Research Foundation Executive Director to speak to a joint meeting of related Senate committees and to review minutes and bylaws of the Foundation.
- Conduct a communications audit of UT publications for editorial content: This project is yet to be done, but might involve working with Candace White regarding how a communications class may assist in this goal
- Develop a checklist for development officers to communicate with potential donors. This work would involve identifying potential topic areas (e.g. sabbaticals, graduate student research, faculty research seed funds), identifying potential types of donor audiences, including retired UT faculty and UT graduates on other university faculties
- Encourage higher percentage of faculty participation as UT donors: This initiative was to involve Linda Davidson. Included would be a determination of what the current level percentage of UT faculty donate to UT, determine if there is any breakdown on the percentage of UT donors to athletic versus academic programs, and continue to emphasize the importance of percentage participation, and partnership opportunities between academics and athletics.
Knowing at the beginning of the academic year that the committee may not continue to exist, we did still meet to discuss the stated goals. Many of these goals were rendered moot, however, by the issues facing the university (the departure of the president, the uncertainty of the next fundraising campaign and the inactivity of the Development Foundation). We identified action plans related to the state goals: It was decided that of the 5 goals, the priority items should be goals 1, 3 and 5. A fourth action plan was added to goal 5 to explore partnership opportunities between academics and athletics.
The UT Development Foundation was discussed, in particular the lack of current information available on its web site. Perhaps the Senate should bring this the attention of the Foundation's executive director so that a full record of minutes and policies are made available on the web site as the foundation becomes more active. Linda Davidson said campaign priorities are derived from the original needs list developed for college budgets and will be updated as a campaign launch date is near. Generally, these fall under scholarships, graduate fellowships, endowed chairs, equipment and facilities categories. She also emphasized that the university should strive to better acknowledge faculty and staff who donate to UT. We discussed in one meeting whether most faculty members know who their development contact is in their college/department. Linda Davidson provided a list of all contacts (listed at end of this report). She underscored the importance of faculty involvement in the development process, saying that although it can sometimes be time consuming for faculty, they present the passion of the need to potential donors.
As chair, I attended a training session she attended for the upcoming UT campaign. This session was presented by Dr. Art Criscillis, senior associate with Alexander Haas Martin and Partners to help educate UT administrators and others of key concepts in fundraising. Highlights:
Below is a list of development officers organized by college:
- Development is an exchange of values between the institution and the donor.
- Donors must understand how what the university is doing affects lives and communities.
- The role of academic leaders in fundraising includes planning, articulating vision and engaging faculty in the process.
- A department head, faculty member, dean can convey the importance of a potential donation to the donor and provide credibility.
- If a development officer asks deans, department heads or faculty to make a call to a potential donor, they should do so personally (not through an administrative assistant).
- Faculty may be very helpful in identifying possible donors, who are sometimes former students.
- Faculty may also assist in the process by helping to create opportunities to involve potential donors in the college/department (example: lectures, meetings, events, strategic planning activities).
Business: Kay Whitman & Howie Avery Communications: Susan Barnes Education, Health & Human Services: Donna Bletner & Angela Mills Nursing: Joe Brandenburg Architecture & Design: Ashley Brown Law: Keith Carver Libraries & McClung Museum: Erica Clark Engineering: Cathy Dodge & Patty Shea Social Work: Andy Dunsmore Veterinary Med: Claire Eldrige Arts & Sciences: Polly Laffitte & Jen O'Brien Institute of Agriculture: Sharon Littlepage & Rhodes Logan
In summary, although no one discounts the need for faculty to remain engaged in development and alumni relations, perhaps one of the best ways is for individual faculty to take this initiative on within their academic units. There may be some justification, however, to establish a task force or ad hoc committee of the senate when the university begins it next major campaign. I would like to thank the members of this committee, particularly the efforts of Linda Davidson and Barbara Dewey.
Many of the initial goals of the Education Policy Committee were reprioritized due to two major education policy issues considered by the committee: SACs accreditation and Program Review and Redirection. Dr. Bob Levy attended the November 19 meeting to explain the role of academic units in SACs accreditation. Each academic unit is required to formulate a set of faculty-approved goals for improvement. The date that faculty approval was obtained is reported as a mechanism to insure faculty input. The Committee reviewed the process for Review and Redirection. Members of the committee were present for the hearings for Urban and Regional Planning and Educational Administration and Policy Studies. On February 12, the Review and Redirection Task Force suspended further review and deliberation until May 1. At present affected colleges are reorganizing to accommodate the recommendations of the Task Force, which include:
In addition to these two recommendations, the Health and Safety programs are formulating a tentative plan for consolidation of degree programs in order to strengthen the program. Additional information about Review and Redirection can be found at http://web.utk.edu/~senate/RRTFResources.html The chair of the committee also participated on an instructional services task force to consolidate and strengthen instruction-related information services on campus.
- close the department of Urban and Regional Planning and recast training in planning as an interdisciplinary certificate program.
- abolish the department of Educational and Policy Studies and preserve this training within other programs within the college.
The Executive Committee met five times during the fall term and four times during the Spring term. The first meeting in August concerned a resolution to Governor Bredesen to reform the presidential search process. At a subsequent meeting, the committee selected faculty to represent the Knoxville campus in the search process. Much of the year involved reviewing drafts of the new Faculty Handbook, with the meeting on January 12th being devoted to this purpose. The committee vetted different resolutions that were brought to the Faculty Senate, including extending the non-discrimination policy to include "sexual orientation," a proposal to discontinue tobacco sales on campus, faculty participation in the Academic Review and Redirection process, and a proposal to give the Knoxville Chancellor more authority over the operations of the campus. The committee also worked on the new General Education Curriculum. The committee also worked on an extensive set of changes to the committee structure of the Faculty Senate. Regular reports were given by the Chancellor, and periodic reports from the Faculty Trustee, committee chairs and others. A complete set of the minutes for the year are posted at: web.utk.edu/~senate/MinutesEC03-04.html.
The Government Relations Committee consists of seven faculty members. Ex-officio members include at one administrator, Tom Ballard, with responsibility for communicating with the State Legislature. The committee concerns itself with presenting information and assessments of campus needs from a faculty viewpoint to government entities at the local, state, and national levels. The 2003-04 goals were: (1) to work with Tom Ballard to improve relations with state representatives and other elected officials, and (2) work to foster positive relationships with print and electronic media to improve the public perception of UT. Toward these ends, the following activities took place in 2003-04:
Faculty Senate reorganization will eliminate the committee, and the Executive Committee will absorb the duties. The committee recommends specifically that the work of "shadow days" (state legislators shadowing individual faculty members, staff, and/or students) continue and expand under the new arrangement.
- The committee chair prepared a list of media contacts, including TV news assignment editors and producers, to share with the Baker Center and its programs
- The committee chair and SGA representative met with Knox County officials to push for an early voting site on campus. This remains under active consideration for Fall '04 election.
- The committee met with Tom Ballard to share ideas regarding legislative priorities for the spring session.
- Ballard regularly made available to the committee chair, and through him to the members, the Tennessee Journal newsletter on the activities of the state legislature.
Several issues were addressed by the committee this year as outlined below:
Bylaws - Bylaws of the FSB Committee were changed by Faculty Senate to allow more flexibility with regard to chair appointment.
Faculty Development Leave - The FSB Committee investigated benefits issues related to Faculty Development Leave. This opportunity for professional development was made available to faculty members in Fall 2003. Fringe benefits, including retirement, group hospitalization insurance, unemployment insurance, and social security and withholding taxes, will remain intact as long as faculty members follow the guidelines and provide the documentation required for Educational Leave of Absence. The FSB Committee worked with Connie Baskette (Executive Director, Office of Retirement Services) and Bob Levy (Vice-President for Academic Affairs) to ensure that appropriate information, including a timeline and checklist, and updated application forms were provided on the Faculty Development Leave website (http://chancellor.tennessee.edu/facultyleave.shtml). The Chancellor's office will work with faculty members to ensure that they are not penalized in regard to campus parking issues while they are on educational leave. Currently, faculty members are allowed a maximum of two years of "educational leave" during their career. Extending this time period is an issue for future consideration.
Cashability of retirement funds -- The change from 10% to 50% cashability of retirement funds had only been in effect for about one year when the committee began deliberations. This is overseen by the Pension and Insurance Committee in Nashville. The UT Office of Retirement Services provided information that the majority of persons taking advantage of the 50% cashability option had left UT prior to retirement. Only about 25% of retirees were choosing this option. It was decided that a longer time period was needed to determine if there was sufficient interest among employees to pursue 100% cashability of retirement funds.
Mental health coverage benefits -- Committee members contacted UT employees who had raised the issue initially and worked on gathering benchmark information from the Commissioner for Mental Health and Disabilities for TN (Virginia Trotter-Betts). In effect, our benefits are limited, but are consistent with those of other institutions. This committee charge should continue for 2004-2005 with the long-term goal of improving benefits.
Health and retirement benefits for gay and lesbian employees -- Committee members discussed the complexities of this issue and decided to focus on including nondiscrimination language, specifically "sexual orientation" in the current AA/EEO statement for UT. Several peer land-grant universities and other public institutions, as well as other universities in Tennessee (University of Memphis and East Tennessee State University) were identified that do include sexual orientation in their EEO Statement. At the October 20, 2003 Faculty Senate meeting Elizabeth Sutherland brought forward a resolution, co-sponsored by Bonnie Ownley, to amend the AA/EEO statement by including sexual orientation. The resolution was passed by Faculty Senate.
Maternity leave -- The committee held several discussions on this issue and concluded that it was important to consider equity for men and women. This meant that other forms of leave, such as paternity leave and leave for adoption should included in any new policies. This committee charge should continue for 2004-05.
Monitor the graduate student health benefits plan -- The FSB Committee identified potential problems with the mandatory graduate student health benefit plan. Many students were unaware that they must be enrolled for 9 credit hours in order to qualify for the health insurance benefit. It is incumbent on each department or responsible unit to discuss this during orientation of new graduate students. For students supported by external funding, the health benefit fee must be paid on an annual basis, even if the student is retained for one semester. In addition, some students have requested to opt out of the program. These requests will be evaluated by Jim Broyle who administers the program, on a case by case basis.
Chapter 6, Benefits, Faculty Handbook -- In addition to the committee charges, members also provided input on Chapter 6 of the Faculty Handbook, which is focused on Benefits.
Graduate Council met 5 times (Oct. 9, 2003, November 20, 2003, January 29, 2004, March 4, 2004, and April 22, 2004) during the 2003-04 academic year. The majority of council business is handled in the following standing committees: Graduate deans group, academic policy committee, credentials committee, curriculum committee, and faculty development committee. These committees, and the Graduate student senate, report to council and their reports are part of the council minutes regularly sent the faculty senate for review and available at the graduate council website (web.utk.edu/%7Egsinfo/temp-gcouncil.htm). The chair expresses his gratitude to all committee members for their dedicated service.
2002-04 was the first 2 year term where graduate council was led by an elected faculty chair consistent with the move to shared governance at UTK. It became apparent during this time that council needed to better define itself in this new mode of operation. Committee bylaws for the academic policy and credentials committee were reviewed and revised during this past year. Bylaws pertaining to the office of the chair have been drafted and will be considered at the April 22 meeting. These bylaws establish a framework for future council actions.
Graduate council also acted on some key matters in 2003-04. Curricular changes were reviewed and voted on in time for inclusion in the 2004-05 catalog. The policy on approval to direct doctoral research was reviewed and revised in light of the elimination of automatic post tenure cumulative review. Extensions of this authority had previously been linked to that review. The new policy grants automatic 10 year extensions of authority when a faculty member is promoted to associate or full professor (see web.utk.edu/~gsinfo/credbylawsapp0304.pdf for details). The policy for continuous registration for doctoral research (600) was also reviewed and revised. Ph.D. students are still required to register continuously for 600 research once they begin doctoral research. What has been clarified is that each departmental unit should establish when such registration should begin consistent with their program and discipline. Election of the new chair for 2004-06 will be held at the April 22, 2004 meeting.
The Handbook Task Force met regularly throughout the year. The task force coordinated the Faculty Senate Retreat a the UT Conference Center for two days in September, which allowed members of the senate, key administrators and staff from the General Counsel's Office to give input to the early drafts. Following the retreat, members of the task force served as moderators for a Blackboard web site that was available to all faculty. Members of the committee reviewed drafts of the handbook at regular intervals with the Council of Deans, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, and the Faculty Senate. Handbook drafts were approved at Senate meetings in November (1-2), January, (3), February (4-5-6), and April (7-8). Having completed its assignment, the Task Force cheerfully goes out of business. Future revisions to the handbook will be the charge of the Faculty Affairs Committee in concert with the Faculty Senate.
During our first year, we focused on determining directions and missions:
First Priority: Our first priority was educational for the Committee itself, and we have received presentations from various components of the Office of Information Technology, the Office of Disability Services, and the University Libraries regarding current initiatives and concerns.
Second Priority: Our second priority was to be responsive to the IT concerns of the Knoxville campus and Faculty Senate. We have received documents from the system IT office and have reviewed them. We routinely receive reports on IT security issues and movement away from use of the Social Security Number as an identification number on campus. We observe good progress in both areas. Our specific projects this year have been: (1) to pursue the development of a document that addresses privacy issues within the concept of our current Acceptable Use Policy (this is currently stalled in the General Counsel's office), (2) to work with the Innovative Technologies Center to identify Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) meeting, teaching, and learning solutions for the campus (this has been delayed until Fall because of an unexpected broader needs statement for the campus and the System), (3) to work with the Research Council to resolve issues regarding the Faculty Refresh Program (these issues appear to be resolved for the time being, however better annual communications mechanisms are needed), (4) to consider the development of various IT benchmarks that might enable us to assess progress in a variety of IT arenas ( on hold pending a better definition of these issues).
Third Priority: Our third priority has been to develop relationships between faculty concerned with IT at the various UT campuses. While links have been established with the Memphis campus and cooperative ventures undertaken (such as the review of the AUP), other links are to be established. We also have been working with the Knoxville Area Information Technology Steering Committee, which works toward broad issues regarding IT on the Knoxville campus and its relationships to other campuses. In the coming year, the following issues merit consideration:
- Continuation of work on the AUP and the VoIP environment
- Examination of opportunities beyond VoIP for meeting, teaching and learning, such as video technologies
- Examination of cross-campus DE opportunities to enable students to participate in classes for courses within the UT system, rather than just at their local campus
- Examination of regional (Southeast and beyond) high-speed and high capacity Internet access opportunities
- Examination of what a Center for Research on Teaching and Learning might look like, to support research in and implementation of, IT opportunities and solutions in the teaching process
- Examination of the Instructional Services Task Force Report (March 2004) to see what contributions can be made by the FS ITAC
- Development of the ITAC web site, with links to significant IT-related documents
Our committee members assisted the Center for International Education Programs Abroad Office during October 2003 with the interviewing of student applicants for 2004-2005 Fulbright, Rhodes and Marshall scholarships. In fall semester, two faculty members from other countries were at UT on Fulbrights, while four faculty and five students were abroad last year on Fulbrights. This program continues to be an excellent opportunity for students and faculty interested in international education and research. The committee explored how students are made aware of opportunities to study abroad. Academic advisors and the International House staff are providing the information students need for success.
Members of the committee participated in meetings with the Peace Corps. The Peace Corps was seeking to develop a "strategy contact" at UT. Plans were discussed on how to enlarge and possibly double the number of UT students participating. The focus will be on recruiting students in scarce skill areas such as: agriculture, health sciences, hard sciences (math teachers), business degrees, and environmental programs. Students who participate in the Peace Corps make excellent returning students for graduate studies. Therefore, strengthening the cooperation between UT and the Peace Corps would enhance graduate teaching and research. The Educational Policy Committee may want to follow up on this next year.
The committee developed a survey instrument designed to obtain information on the status of international activities taking place at UT. The instrument included questions on the student, faculty, and exchange activities, curriculum and other issues concerning International Education. This instrument is currently being merged with one developed by the Faculty Internationalization Discussion Group and will be presented to the administration as a more comprehensive survey to determine current activities and future plans for international education at UT. Faculty development aspects of this should be taken up by the Professional Development Committee next year.
During our initial meeting the committee expressed a clear desire to set its own objectives. Doug Raber, an invited guest, discussed the various provisions of the Patriot Act in relation to Libraries. It may well be possible to gather internet, email, IP and URL information off-site. The possibility of data mining in this manner might well be allowed under the Act. We recommend setting up a joint meeting with the OIT Committee at some future date as a University policy, not just a Library policy seems needed.
There have been a number of concerns expressed concerning the use of food and drinks in the library, noise from cell-phones and conversation, viewing sexually explicit internet sites on library computers and the use of the facilities by non-affiliated individuals. Policy is being developed to deal with these concerns while balancing the rights of individual users. It is anticipated that signs may be posted in the library that will require registration or UTID to use some of the library's resources or facilities.
David Atkins presented material concerning proposed revisions of Library Fines Policies. These will eventually be revisions to the Administrative Procedures Act. The committee endorsed these changes and agreed that the proposals seem to be reasonable and should help to eliminate the perception of the "Big Orange Screw."
A collection of resolutions addressing campus response to the Patriot Act compiled by the AAUP was circulated.
Problems in attendance at meetings were discussed. Perhaps this is something that the whole Senate can address. It is recommended that each semester's meetings have a particular focus next year.
The Nominations Committee recruited Deseriee Kennedy and Fred Weber to stand for election as Faculty Senate President. Statements and ballots were sent through campus mail in late March, the candidates gave presentations at the April 2nd Faculty Senate meeting and elections were concluded by April 8th. Deseriee Kennedy was elected to serve as president during the 2005-06 year.
Our committee accomplished several of the objectives established at the beginning of the year. These are summarized below. Last year, the committee presented a Report on Faculty Mentoring to the Faculty Senate. A formal survey was conducted in collaboration with the Office of Institutional Research in Spring 2002. The committee had three recommendations to improve upon the faculty mentoring process:
In 2004, we completed a list of Professional Development Opportunities available to UT Faculty members. This list will assist faculty members as they seek out ways to improve their teaching and research. It includes links to relevant websites that provide more information. We decided to list only opportunities that were available at the university level, and to omit those that were specific to colleges and departments. We also did not list opportunities that exist outside of the university for faculty development. The list of Professional Development Opportunities has been submitted to Bob Glenn (the Senate Information Officer) and it will be posted on the Faculty Senate's website. We also submitted a report on the status of the Faculty Development Leave program. General information on this program is available at chancellor.tennessee.edu/facultyleave.shtml. The web page gives the deadlines for applications and links to the program policy, application and contract, and application for retirement credit. The Chancellor's office publicizes the Faculty Development program in the UT Daily on-line newsletter, and in the above referenced website. Currently, there is no funding from the Chancellor's office for the Faculty Development Leave Program. Funding must come from the college, department, or other responsible unit, or from principal investigators.
- New hires meet with the unit leader to assess mentoring needs. The new hire has the first semester to choose the mentor(s).
- The faculty member, mentor(s), and unit leader meet or exchange memos to clarify roles, responsibilities, and how these will be carried out
- The unit leader is responsible for monitoring existing arrangements, reassessing needs, and facilitating changes. Monitoring mentoring relationships should be done annually. To ensure that these recommendations are followed, this year the committee requested changes in the wording of the Faculty Handbook (and an annual evaluation form).
In the first semester, 19 Faculty Development Leave requests were funded and 1-2 were not. A list of faculty members whose requests were funded, their departments, and the semester(s) they will be on leave was compiled and submitted to B. Lyons. The committee questioned why so few tenured faculty applied for leaves, and concluded that it might be because: (1) not all faculty were informed about the process, (2) not all faculty had enough time to plan in advance for taking a leave, and (3) some departments might be choosing to fund informal leaves through indirect cost recovery money, development funds, and other sources. We were also told that proposals were vetted at the department and college level and only those proposals found to have merit and for which funds were available were forwarded to the Chancellor's office.
Finally, the committee chair (D. Bassett) communicated to the Vice Chancellor for Research concerns about the role of the Office of Research in helping faculty with grant proposals. We perceive that other universities' research offices are more engaged in helping faculty members find funding sources, prepare grants, and sponsor workshops for new faculty. Several committee members felt that over the last several years there had been a shift in the role of the Office of Research to simply processing proposals. Several suggestions were to: (1) hold more workshops for new faculty members, (2) hire a person who could specifically work with faculty to identify funding sources in their areas of interest, and (3) hire a couple of highly trained grant-writers who could provide feedback and advice on proposals (especially in-house critiques).
This year the Research Council was engaged in the following charges:
Operations of the Office of Research: The OR and its functioning was our discussion topic at the meeting on 3/29; it came up less formally at a number of other meetings, in particular during a meeting report on 1/26 and during Chris Cox's report on 11/10. Various members of the Council feel that the OR needs to be doing more to help faculty prepare grants, and that more and better-trained staff are required. Clif Woods was present at the meeting on 3/29, as was Billie Collier, so member concerns (if sometimes expressed with excessive rhetoric) have been conveyed to the appropriate administrators. Humanities Specialist in the Office of Research: The OR does not, as it turns out, have subject-area specialists. This semester, however, the OR did support the Funding in the Humanities initiative, this semester which included an external panel of representatives from various sponsors and an internal panel of funded faculty. As a part of that initiative, Arts & Sciences retained the part-time services of Alan Rutenberg to help faculty identify funding sources and prepare proposals.
UT compliance with OMB: This was the single most common topic of discussion in the Council this year. OMB compliance is a snarly, difficult issue that provokes a great deal of passion and distress among discussants. The topic was first introduced in a presentation by Loren Crabtree at the meeting on 11/10/03, after which discussion followed. A-21 became particularly relevant when the Faculty Refresh program was suspended, since compliance means that researchers could not use federal monies for machines that were not dedicated to a particular research project. No easy answers had presented themselves by the end of the semester. The OR will help on a case-by-case basis with problems that arise when items are not covered by direct costs. Improvement of IRIS's service to Principal Investigators: Like compliance with OMB, the problem of IRIS continues to raise emotions high. Neal Wormsley reported to the Council at the meeting on 10/13. Lengthy discussion ensued during this same meetings about the difficulties of using IRIS. This discussion resulted in the appointment of a small ad hoc committee (Musfeldt, Hines, and Hall) that was to make suggestions concerning the improvement of ledger statements. Musfeldt and Lou Gross (Budget Committee) eventually spoke with members of the Treasurer's Office regarding the formatting of ledgers and reported back at the meeting of 1/26/04. There are some changes that can be made; for the most part, though, the Treasurer's Office is reluctant to make significant changes until they have moved on to the new version of IRIS. Eligibility of Research and Non-Tenure Track Faculty for EPPE-SARIF Funds: This topic was on the agenda for the meeting on 10/13/03. Council was reminded that it had previously discussed the issue during 02-03 and had voted for research faculty to have access to EPPE funds and travel funds. At the end of discussion on 10/13/03, the Council felt that, since research faculty typically have access to significant research funds through collaboration with tenure-stream faculty, it would be inappropriate for them to have the further advantage of SARIF funds.
Reports from Fred Tompkins regarding the UT Research Foundation: Fred Tompkins spoke to the RC at the meeting on 10/13/03 and gave a full report on changes in the UTRF since its inception. We hope to have another representative from the UTRF with us at the final meeting this year, on 4/26/04, to serve as a resource person on issues of intellectual property. Questions have arisen in the EPPE committee regarding the appropriateness of funding faculty who are likely to get royalties from, e.g., book projects.
Reports from Gretchen Whitney on the IT Advisory Committee: Whitney spoke to the Research Council on 1/26/04. Her group continues to evolve rapidly, so the minutes for January's meeting reflect some subsequent input that she was kind enough to give, rather than strictly reflecting her remarks in January. Strengthen the sub-committee addressing the evaluation of Research Centers: This committee has functioned well during 03-04, though there has been significant dropoff in participation as the year goes on. We are just finishing up the spring's batch of evaluations. Probably this committee should be allotted a slightly larger number of members in coming years, as the work is difficult and time-consuming.
Review criteria for SARIF funds: No changes have been made here. Reorganization of SARIF and EPPE webpages: The webpages have been updated to reflect current practice.
Other Activities: We had a long and fruitful discussion at the meeting on 1/26/04 about the suspension of the Faculty Desktop Refresh program. Sutherland collated feedback from this discussion, along with a few responses to a notice in Online@utk, and combined it with reports from OIT's Dessa Beswick into documents that were submitted to Clif Woods. Sutherland, Ownley, and Whitney met with Woods on 2/17. We were told that there was no possibility of reinstating Refresh for this academic year, but that the OR was prepared to deal with emergencies on a case-by-case basis. Apparently this had always been true, but failures in communication had prevented this information from reaching affected faculty members. Woods seemed quite surprised at the amount of distress that the suspension had produced. It is highly unlikely that Refresh will ever be given recurring funds, but the Vice Chancellor's office seems at least committed to finding soft money for the program on an annual basis.
The Teaching Council is pleased to report that a record number of nominations was submitted for consideration of the Chancellor's Excellence in Teaching and Advising Awards. This is attributed in part to the generosity of the Chancellor's office in the form of sponsorship of advertising in the Daily Beacon. It is the hope of the Teaching Council that this becomes an ongoing procedure.
The Council met twice this semester to discuss the impending conversion from the current teaching evaluation system, which is paper-based, to an on-line electronically-based system. The issues the committee discussed centered about two major topics. First we explored the process, and its attendant consequences of the conversion of SAIS from paper to on-line.
Sustaining the statistical validity of the evaluations will be a major challenge. Prior studies have shown that when the means of conducting evaluations is on-line, the percentage of participation drops precipitously. The committee discussed a range of possible solutions to this participation problem. Solutions seemed to divide themselves into two categories: incentive-based or penalty-based.
A meeting with several student leaders from the SGA provided some insight into this matter. It was proposed that a "carrot" that would encourage voluntary student participation would be based upon providing a sense of empowerment to students. A proposal was made to allow for students to provide an instructor input at some point during the course as well as having the overall evaluation occurring at the end of the semester. If this student input were to occur at mid-semester, students would have the sense that the observations they conveyed to their instructors gave them a voice that could make their class experience more significant.
It is clear that a continuation of this discussion will be of paramount significance in the agenda for the Teaching Council of 2004-05.
The Undergraduate Council is charged by the Faculty Senate to concern itself with standards for admission, retention, and graduation; with curricular matters in the undergraduate programs; with the development of interdisciplinary programs; with the approval of new programs and any other matters of educational policy pertaining to undergraduate programs. This year, the Undergraduate Council focused on two key objectives:
A revision of the General Education requirements was approved by the Undergraduate Council in a special called meeting on September 9, 2003 and approved by the Faculty Senate on October 20, 2003. The new General Education requirements will appear in the 2004-05 Undergraduate Catalog. The proposal allows for a more dynamic approach to monitoring and sustaining the General Education curriculum via faculty subcommittees working to review and recommend the addition of courses appropriate for the General Education curriculum. In addition, this proposal increases the requirements for communication with the addition of oral communication and an increase in the requirement for communicating through writing. Faculty across the University revised curricula to prepare for implementation of the new General Education guidelines. Additionally, courses were reviewed and approved by faculty subcommittees of the General Education committee for Basic Skills or Broadened Perspectives. In addition to the work on the General Education proposal the UG Council approved curriculum and course change proposals and approved a change to the undergraduate advising process.
- Bring General Education Standards and Implementation Process to the Faculty Senate
- Work with departments to identify courses that meet GE standards