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UNOFFICIAL - Yet to be approved

Faculty Senate Executive Committee
April 14, 2003

Members present: F. Michael Combs, Beauvais Lyons, Sam Jordan, Tse-Wei Wang for Otis Stephens, Glenn Graber, Peggy Pierce, Ann Fairhurst, Fred Weber, David Patterson, Salvatore DiMaria, Jim Gehlhar, Wesley Morgan, Carolyn Hodges, Sara Williams, Doug Birdwell, Candace White, Laura Jolly, Loren Crabtree, Misty Anderson, Barbara Dewey, Katherine Greenberg

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

President’s Report (M. Combs)
Combs thanked T.-W. Wang for serving as acting parliamentarian today. He then reminded everyone that the Provost’s State of the Campus discussion will occur this Wednesday at 4:00 p.m. in the UC Auditorium. Combs next congratulated faculty, staff and students honored at the Provost’s Honors Banquet last Wednesday. He also invited everyone to join him after the meeting to honor L. Crabtree and to recognize the committee’s very hard work this year.

Combs then noted that the Advisory Committee will meet with the Chancellor Transition Committee Wednesday, April 23, at 9:00 a.m. He reminded everyone that he and Wang serve on the Enrollment Management Committee and reported that its plans include printing far fewer timetables, relying more on on-line sources, and using students’ U.T. e-mail accounts as a way for academic and administrative units to communicate with students.

Combs next voiced some concerns about aspects of the view book that UT provides to all applicants and asked that others review the book. He also noted that the agenda packet contains information regarding the establishment of a School of Public Health.

Next, Combs reported that the minutes of the committee’s last meeting have been adjusted by the elimination of a sentence to which an objection was raised (and a slight rewording of the following sentence, so that it would be understandable without the eliminated sentence). He apologized for any lack of clarity and provided the following report which includes additional details:

Two special meetings of the senate executive committee were called at a time and location approved by the majority to review the recommendation on senate structure. Careful records of those meetings were kept, which were reviewed and edited by senators and then provided to all members of the committee. An honest and thoughtful assessment of those meetings was based on a combination of the results of those meetings in addition to e-mails and conversations from those members who were unable to attend. Records show that only 4 or 5 members of the executive committee did not attend or provide some type of input. Considering all information that was gathered, it appears that the executive committee clearly supported the 8 recommendations as presented to the senate.

Combs turned next to the meeting of campus faculty senate presidents with President Shumaker in Nashville last week. He reported that Shumaker promised to provide budget and financial reports for the UT athletic program and the UT system administration, as well as a copy of the complete report from the Educational Marketing Group. Also, Shumaker reported that S. Leonard now is in charge of IT, administration of research on this campus will be dealt with in the transition to chancellor, and the UT Research Foundation is virtually in place. Shumaker also was positive about following the AAUP “red book” guidelines concerning any reductions in faculty positions (and assured the group that there are no tenured faculty at risk), and said he is concerned about faculty salaries and salaries of lower paid staff on all campuses, sees UT smaller, more focused and more expensive in the future, expects that the chancellor transition “dominoes will drop in the next six weeks,” and is disappointed with the level of public understanding of the importance of public education in Tennessee.


Combs noted that the committee needs to nominate someone to serve as secretary next year. B. Lyons nominated S. Jordan who agreed to serve. There was no other nomination. The nomination will be taken to the Faculty Senate.

Combs also asked for and received approval of the proposed Senate Executive Council for summer 2003. He also asked for approval of the proposed membership of the new Advisory Task Force on IT. In response to a question from F. Weber, Combs said he thinks each person listed would have a vote. Weber then said that he believes someone from the School of Law should be on the task force. The suggestion was accepted as a friendly amendment. D. Birdwell suggested adding R. L. Ridenour as an ex-officio member.

Combs then asked Lyons to discuss the proposed Faculty Senate budget for next year. It is a bare-bones budget and has been approved by Crabtree. K. Greenberg pointed out that there was no budget until the last few years.

Combs then proceeded to the other action items for the next Faculty Senate meeting. First, Weber distributed copies of the revised Applicable Use Policy and indicated that the revisions reflected the discussion at the last Faculty Senate meeting. He noted that he expects the IT committee to take up the question of privacy at its first meeting.

The second item was the revised Cumulative Performance Review document. D. Patterson distributed a flow chart for the new process and quickly described it. The intent is to protect faculty, insure due-process, and include peer-review. Birdwell recommended deleting an option allowing a dean to ignore a faculty CPR committee’s finding that a faculty member’s performance is “Satisfies Expectation for Rank” and recommend to the Chancellor that he/she initiate proceedings to terminate the faculty member. There was considerable discussion, including the observation that the Chancellor could not terminate the faculty member, but only “trigger” a termination process described in the Faculty Handbook. Lyons then noted that the design of the flow chart could and should be improved; he also suggested rewording the document to indicate that various administrators would follow procedures specified in the Faculty Handbook. The former suggestion was agreed to and the latter one was accepted as a friendly amendment to the document. Crabtree noted that the current five-year review cycle will be completed and reminded everyone that cumulative reviews are a response to attacks on tenure. Birdwell then suggested that the Chancellor should be required to consult the Faculty Affairs Committee, not the Faculty Senate President and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. After a brief discussion, it was agreed that the parenthetical statement at the end of paragraph c. (iii) on page 7 of the document should be changed to read “… to the appropriate Faculty Senate committee,” such as a Faculty Affairs Committee. Weber then observed that if the CPR Committee recommends that an improvement plan be developed for a faculty member, then that person has only one year to correct the situation, but if the dean makes such a recommendation, then the person has two years to correct the situation. This arrangement did not raise broad concern. Patterson then noted that B. Levy should be thanked for his extensive assistance with the document.

Combs next reviewed the proposed bylaws changes. C. White suggested moving consideration of the changes to the beginning of the next Faculty Senate meeting. Combs said he would move all action items to the beginning and include the bylaws in the agenda packet. He then asked certain committee members to try to get reports from selected active committees. Weber suggested providing reports only electronically; there was general agreement.

Combs then noted that the agenda packet contains a copy of the Guidelines for Reduction of Force, information on “low-producing” academic program, and a copy of an e-mail from S. Riggsby on the quality of undergraduate education. Lyons then suggested that Crabtree be very clear in his discussions at Wednesday’s forum that decisions about eliminating programs will not be made during the summer and that faculty will be involved in the process next year.

Finally, Combs raised the matter of his being asked by an alumni group to inform the faculty that they can contribute to the alumni campaign. There was strong objection to his doing so, because of other campaigns. In response to a question from Birdwell, Crabtree said that the dean search in Arts and Sciences should be concluded about April 25 and he hopes the search for the new dean in the College of Engineering will be concluded by May 1.

Combs next thanked Provost Crabtree for his participating in the committee’s meetings.

The meeting adjourned at 4:55 p.m.


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