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Faculty Senate Executive Committee
March 24, 2003

Members present: F. Michael Combs, Beauvais Lyons, Sam Jordan, Otis Stephens, Glenn Graber, Peggy Pierce, Louis Gross, Ann Fairhurst, Fred Weber, Salvatore DiMaria, Jim Gehlhar, Wesley Morgan, Carolyn Hodges, Sara Williams, Doug Birdwell, Candace White, Loren Crabtree, Jon Coddington, Olga Welch, Barbara Dewey, Katherine Greenberg

Combs called the meeting to order at 3:32 p.m.

President’s Report (M. Combs)
Combs noted that the meeting with the chancellor transition committee has been postponed from today. He then reminded everyone that there is a lunch meeting with Provost Crabtree tomorrow and reported that the minutes of the last meeting now are officially approved and are on file.

Combs then reported that there seems to be general approval of his increased use of electronic communication and that there is support among Executive Committee members for an electronic Faculty Senate Newsletter. He expressed his hope that faculty participation and involvement with the Faculty Senate and its activities will continue in an effective way. He next asked for and received approval to have the last two Faculty Senate meetings web cast.

Recommendations concerning Faculty Senate structure and effectiveness will be presented to the full Senate along with the necessary bylaws changes. Combs also announced that F. Weber will work directly with the people developing the student information system.

Combs turned next to the policy on information technology. L. Gross and D. Birdwell raised questions about the encryption aspect of the policy. That matter is being returned to the committee. Birdwell also asked about having control of wireless activities in the Office of Information Technology. He is concerned that, since wireless technology is still evolving, we may be tying our hands. This topic, too, will be pursued outside the Executive Committee.

Combs next asked whether the announced modification of Fiscal Policy 135 was satisfactory. No one objected. Weber said the change is the first example of genuine shared governance he has witnessed.

Combs then asked F. Weber to report for the Educational Policy Committee. Weber said the committee has approved Undergraduate Council minutes of March 11, 2003, and Graduate Council minutes of March 6, 2003.


Information Technology Advisory Committee (M. Combs for G. Whitney)
Combs read a statement from Whitney that indicates the committee is being constituted carefully and a report should be available by the end of April.

Teaching Council (M. Combs for R. Strange)
Combs said that the Council has some concerns about the plan to halt the paper version of student evaluations by fall term 2004. Several speakers expressed concern about getting balanced student responses. P. Pierce expressed concern about special team-taught courses.

Nominating Committee (C. Hodges)
Hodges reported that the two candidates for president-elect or vice president are C. White and F. Weber, both of whom will be available at the next Faculty Senate meeting.

Parking and Campus Security (L. Gross)
Gross reported on a meeting of P. Scheurer, J. Maples, M. Combs, Gross and S. Jordan. There will be parking on the hill only for handicapped individuals and for temporary loading and unloading. Dealing with congestion around the new parking garage is still a work in progress.

Departmental Leadership Task Force (M. Combs)
Combs briefly described the recent special meeting on departmental leadership. The task force’s report raises some matters, which need to be considered by the Faculty Handbook Committee. B. Lyons suggested that the Executive Committee needs to study documents from both groups and then discuss them. The report will be presented to the Faculty Senate with an explanation of how it will be used by other groups.

Summer School Task Force (K. Greenberg)
Greenberg reported that data has been gathered and a report will be created and provided before the end of April.

Combs next encouraged committee chairs to provide written reports for distribution with the Faculty Senate meeting agenda packet. He then received approval for the following Senate Executive Council for summer: B. Lyons, K. Greenberg, G. Graber, S. Jordan, M. Anderson, S. DiMaria, C. Hodges, P. Phillips, and the newly elected president-elect or vice president.

Provost’s Report (L. Crabtree)
Crabtree said it appears the university is on track to enroll 3,800 new freshmen next fall; the average ACT may be 24.3, up 0.1. He then discussed a recent Knoxville News-Sentinel article, which identified some programs to be eliminated as part of the 9% budget reduction for next year. The article’s claims were incorrect, as was its attribution of the information to M. Combs.

Crabtree next reported that cuts for next year will not be across-the-board; they range from 0% to 30%. Administrative cuts average 4%. Academic programs are being protected. Tuition increases have not been discussed yet, but Crabtree believes a 7% to 9% increase is needed. Salary increases are not anticipated. There may be “cosmetic” program reductions unrelated to the 9% reduction; such eliminations are made on a regular basis.

An offer for the deanship in Arts and Sciences is being worked out. The search for a new dean in the College of Engineering is progressing.

In response to a question from Gross, Crabtree said he does not know whether there will be more budget hearings. There were budget-reduction hearings during spring break, but faculty were told not to attend. Crabtree said that they were system-level hearings, but they have a significant impact on this campus. J. Coddington asked whether THEC will reconsider program redundancy across the state. Crabtree did not know, but said the funding formula is being reviewed.

Combs next asked that Gross be available at the next Faculty Senate meeting to answer questions about the recently distributed salary report. Gross agreed.

The meeting adjourned at 4:47 p.m.


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