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Faculty Senate Executive Committee
February 17, 2003

Members present: F. Michael Combs, Beauvais Lyons, Sam Jordan, Glenn Graber, Jon Coddington, Olga Welch, Loren Crabtree, Sylvia Davis, Douglas Birdwell, Salvatore DiMaria, Jim Gehlhar, Louis Gross, Laura Jolly, David Patterson, Peggy Pierce, Richard Strange, Fred Weber, Candace White, Sara Williams

Guests: Anne Mayhew, Alan Chesney, Kay Reed, Don Scroggins, Jo Lynch

Combs called the meeting to order at 3:30 p.m.

President’s Report (M. Combs)
Combs introduced T.-W. Wang who is acting parliamentarian. He then reviewed the documents in a package he distributed at the meeting; these include the Statement of Vision for the 2002-2003 Faculty Senate, minutes of the February 3, 2003, Faculty Senate meeting, results of the election of the members to the Committee on Committees, the budget hearing schedule, projected adjustments to the UT budget based on proposed reductions in state appropriations, a letter about the Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholars Program, proposed changes in bylaws to be voted on at the next Faculty Senate meeting, a list of members of the Executive Committee, UT Fiscal Policy 135, principles for emerging systems of scholarly publishing, and a senate resolution on review of administrators.

Combs then reminded everyone of the open meeting with the president tomorrow at 3:30, the Faculty Senate Advisory Council meeting with the president to discuss the transition to the chancellor position, and the lunch with the provost. The latter two events occur Wednesday and Friday of this week, respectively. He also noted that the first candidate for Dean of Arts and Sciences will be on campus February 20 and 21.

Combs next reported that the Council of Past Presidents is active and will meet next in early March. He also reported that he had contacted each senator who missed the last meeting; almost everyone of them responded with a good explanation for his or her absence. He also noted that he had brought a few compact disks produced by the Student Activities Office and to be distributed to students during summer orientation. He then asked for and received approval to appoint G. Whitney as chair of the Special Advisory IT Task Force.

Combs then said that The Color of Water is the book to be read by new students next summer. He encouraged committee members to volunteer to conduct discussion sessions. He said he is volunteering.

Combs next expressed interest in having more direct faculty involvement with the first-year studies program. He also encouraged members to respond promptly to his e-mail asking about proposed dates for a special called meeting of the Executive Committee. He then called attention to a resolution of the Faculty Senate not to suspend the evaluation of administrators. He wants to push on this matter, but needs help. Combs concluded by asking for special support during the last three Faculty Senate meetings and by describing the kinds of help he needs.

Provost’s Report (L. Crabtree)
Crabtree reported he is busy with budget planning and hearings, searches for deans and a director of athletics, signing offer letters, and many other things. He then said that he anticipated budget reduction ($14.7 million) for next year which is a permanent reduction in the base. He believes it can be covered without damaging the academic programs. A tuition increase of about 3% will be needed to avoid draconian cuts and a further increase will be needed to deal with inflation and other matters.

Crabtree also reported that applications are about 2% below last year’s level at this time, but the number of applicants with higher ACT scores is up. He then encouraged everyone to attend tomorrow’s discussion of the Research Foundation; he said he believes faculty comments have been heard and that faculty should be pleased with what they hear tomorrow. He then said there will be a massive effort to revamp the UT web page.

L. Gross asked about the sources of the $11 million of the $14.7 million not coming from tuition increases. Crabtree said that $5 million will come from funds he reserved this year, cuts in S. Davis’s unit, fee increases, deferring some expenses, fewer classroom renovations, etc. In response to a question from D. Birdwell, Crabtree said that Vice President Leonard is in charge of IT at the systems level and that it is not clear what will happen at the campus level. In response to a question from J. Coddington about what will happen year after next when the $5 million held in reserve this year is not available, Crabtree said that with the unsettled economy it is difficult to predict anything.

Report from the Committee on Non-Tenure-Track Faculty (A. Chesney)
Chesney distributed a report and asked for feedback when committee members have an opportunity to read it.

Educational Policy Committee (F. Weber)
Weber reported that the minutes of the Undergraduate Council meeting of January 28, 2003, have been approved. He then moved that the Executive Committee approve the minutes of the Graduate Council meeting of January 30, 2003, on behalf of the Educational Policy Committee. A. Mayhew reported that the proposed changes have been reviewed twice and that much of the material is associated with the merging of two colleges and with reorganizations in the College of Agriculture; there was nothing of great controversy, according to Mayhew. After a short discussion the Executive Committee approved the minutes with one abstention and one negative vote.

Weber then distributed copies of proposed changes in the bylaws. They call for removing the Educational Policy Committee from the curriculum-approval chain and for changes necessary to reflect that removal. R. Strange expressed concern about loss of faculty involvement in curricular changes. Gross agreed. C. White then noted that approving minutes in the Faculty Senate meetings is not the same as approving policy changes that might be referenced in those minutes. L. Jolly then described the review process through the council level. She believes that there is a more open and effective process than that used in the past when the Faculty Senate discussed the material approved by the councils. J. Coddington said he does not see the proposed changes reducing faculty oversight, since the councils are faculty organizations. B. Lyons suggested some changes in the proposal in order to make the review process more transparent. G. Graber also made suggestions. It then was decided that Weber should make wording changes, inform the members of the Executive Committee and, if they are in agreement, present the proposals at the next Faculty Senate meeting. If they do not agree, then he should report again at this committee’s next meeting.

Weber next distributed a draft of changes proposed by the Instruction with Technology subcommittee; these changes would add material to the Manual for Faculty Evaluation. There were several comments about the wording “Special consideration for faculty teaching through innovative instructional technologies…” and about the appearance that using such technologies will be mandatory for good ratings.

Weber then distributed recommendations for changes in the policy on Information Technology Resources at the University of Tennessee (Policy 135). B. Lyons moved that Weber make this report as a first reading at the next Faculty Senate meeting and that the Faculty Affairs Committee report on its concerns, also as a first reading. Coddington suggested presenting the report, but noting that there are reservations. Birdwell suggested presenting the report only as a working draft. Weber agreed.

Gross moved that the Executive Committee recommend to the Faculty Senate that a resolution be approved to send a letter to the president requesting removal of “personal gain or” in item 3 under “General Policies” in UT Fiscal Policy 135. Patterson suggested telling the president that the policy needs a thorough review. Birdwell seconded the motion by Gross and the motion was approved unanimously. Coddington then moved that the Executive Committee recommend that the Faculty Senate approve a resolution proposing that the Faculty Senate and the administration work in concert to review and revise Policy 135 to the mutual satisfaction of both the faculty and the administration. Birdwell seconded the motion which was approved unanimously.

Report from the Teaching Council (R. Strange)
Strange reported that various concerns about moving the student evaluation of instruction surveys entirely to the web will be addressed next year. Patterson asked whether grades might be withheld until one does the student evaluations. White noted that the present system elicits comments only from the very positive and the very negative students. Graber noted that students who owe fines are blocked from seeing their grades on-line. Gross commented that the lack of consistency in the evaluation program makes it useless and it should be dropped. In response to a question from S. DiMaria, D. Scroggins said that the move to on-line is motivated by a desire to save money and to save class time.


Lyons asked for suggestions of topics to be covered in the “Faculty Senate Newsletter.” He also asked for comments on future Faculty Senate leadership.

The meeting adjourned at 5:30 p.m.


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