August 27, 1999

Chancellor William T. Snyder
527 Andy Holt Tower
The University of Tennessee

Dear Chancellor Snyder:

The Faculty Senate Executive Committee appreciates the opportunity to review the draft of the UTK Five-Year Plan revision and to offer a few comments on its articulation of UTK's mission and objectives. We commend the substantial effort that has been made to produce a comprehensive plan that seeks to address the wide variety of concerns we have as a university community. Like you, we want to enhance the quality and reputation of UTK nationally and globally. To that effect, I write on behalf of the Executive Committee to share with you some of the points of discussion that came up at the special meeting held solely to review the Five-Year Plan.

In our discussion of 16 August, members of the committee agreed that the present draft document would profit from three substantive revisions. First, the articulation of the means of shared governance (1.1.1) does not reflect the detailed elaboration of shared governance set out in the Faculty Handbook. We suggest, then, that 1.1.1 be revised to read as follows so as to represent better the collaborative nature of shared governance:
1.1.1. Create the means for shared governance. Members of the governing board, administrators, and faculty should consult regularly for purposes of strategic planning, decision making, and problem solving.
Second, 5.1.1 as it is now worded stipulates the use of the CTEP program. The Faculty Senate is currently reviewing that particular program, as the second part of 5.1.1's objective mandates. The main objective, then, should avoid specific mention of CTEP and could be phrased as follows:
5.1.1. Maintain a program of student evaluations of instruction. Periodically review the evaluation process to ensure it employs the best instruments available for faculty evaluation and development.
Third, the document would profit from more emphasis on graduate programs and their central importance to the research mission of UTK, perhaps through a section devoted exclusively to graduate education goals and objectives.

Various members of the committee also offered the following editorial suggestions, the intent of which is to enhance the clarity and readability of the document:
1) In the opening sentence, the awkward term "the human resource" should be replaced with "individuals and society as a whole" or "the human capacity";

2) Similarly, we suggest a clarification of language in 3.1.1--the deletion of the term "rationalization";

3) Goal 3.2 lists three areas of expected excellence; the objectives (3.2.1-3.2.2) need, then, to be expanded to include service, the third area mentioned in the goal statement;

4) Goal 6.6 should cite both research and creative achievements since the objectives note both categories of activities;

5) Goal 6.7 refers to the thematic areas identified in the Deans' Report to APEC; the objectives should be expanded to reflect the most recent discussions of the Deans at their retreat. At the same time, objective 6.7.3 should be reconsidered in light of recent business developments.
The review of the document by our committee afforded the opportunity for a rich and provocative discussion of faculty concerns and how these concerns can be best represented in such an institutional statement. 'We agreed that if the faculty were writing such a document of their own, they would no doubt include or foreground other issues, such as these:
*Developing library resources commensurate with research university status; the campus should set goals based on comparisons with our peer institutions, as we do with graduate stipends (2.7.2) and faculty salaries (3.1.1, 3.1.2);

*Decreasing reliance on part-time and non-tenure-track faculty as a means of maintaining a faculty of distinction (Goal 3.1); at the same time the campus should provide equitable pay and benefits to part-time and non-tenure-track faculty and involve them in governance;

*Emphasizing instructional themes such as interdisciplinary programs, the role of the arts, and training for citizenship;

*Considering the relationship of campus and system levels of administration and the impact of decisions at the system level on campus goals concerning matters such as amenity space and academic performance of student athletes;

*Discussing budget priorities, on the assumption that some goals and objectives will receive more attention than others in a period of constrained funding.
The UTK Five-Year Plan revision does address some of these concerns and, of course, reflects the needs of not only faculty but students and staff as well. Again, we are grateful for the opportunity to be part of the drafting of this plan and of its final articulation.


Mary Papke
President, UTK Faculty Senate

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