Statement to University of Tennessee Faculty Senate
Marla P. Peterson, Chairperson
Ad Hoc Committee on Technologically-Enhanced Instruction
September 18, 2000
What is reported to you today is a summary of information that has come from a series of meetings related to the formation of the University of Tennessee New College and the naming of a Chancellor for this entity. However, the information we are presenting is sketchy at best. At the present time the only printed information provided to your Senate leaders is the one-page statement which you received when you came into this room. Therefore, we have to report to you what we think we have heard. If any of our perceptions are incorrect, we welcome any information that would help change our perceptions. If any of the information is simply inaccurate or incomplete, we welcome information that will further clarify this report.
There have been a series of meeting related to New College that have been attended by your Senate Leaders:
- September 5. Bob Glenn, President of the Faculty Senate; Mary Papke, Immediate Past President of the Senate; Fred Weber, Chair of the Faculty Senate Educational Policy Committee; and I met with President Gilley and Vice President High in President Gilley's office.
- September 11. Bob Glenn, Fred Weber, and I met with the Associate Vice President and Dean of Continuing Education and Outreach at The University of Tennessee, Dr. Robert Leiter, and two of his Assistant Deans, Dr. Kathleen Warden and Mr. Robert Jackson, in 420 Communications Building.
- September 12. Bob Glenn and I met with the Chancellor of New College, Ms. Sammie Lynn Puett, and Vice Chancellor of New College, Dr. Gayle Cooper, in Chancellor Puett's office.
What We Know About New College
- New College (NC) is an unaccredited entity that has been approved by the Board of Trustees and enjoys the support of the President of The University of Tennessee and the Governor of Tennessee. Evidently, there were some discussions relative to making NC an accredited entity but this consideration was abandoned (at least at the creation stage) when it was learned that it would take several years to achieve accreditation and that considerable costs would be involved.
- A 20-member Advisory Committee for New College has been formed. There are four faculty members on the Committee--one each from Martin, Chattanooga, Memphis, and Knoxville. The Knoxville member is Dr. Rupy Sawhney, Industrial Engineering.
- The mission of NC is to make academic programs available to working adults at times and places convenient to them. It will be a "one-stop-shop" for adult learners to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees, professional certification and re-certification, continuing education programs, and the General Education Degree (GED).
- In the meeting with President Gilley he stated that NC will neither develop nor offer courses or degrees. He repeatedly stated that the responsibility for the development of courses, materials for the courses, and degrees rests with academic departments and colleges. Yet, Goal #6 of New College is to, "Work with business and industry to develop degree and non-degree programs that support Tennessee's Workforce Initiative." This goal needs clarification.
- NC will contract with Eduprise to develop e-learning services for online education. It is unclear what will be contained in this contract and whether Eduprise will offer staff development for faculty, a function being performed admirably on this campus in the Innovative Technology Collaborative, a group that reports to Vice President for Research and Information Technology, Dr. Dwayne McKay.
- It is unknown as to what other models were considered. Was consideration given to placing the responsibilities in the New College mission statement within the Continuing Education and Outreach organization that already exists at the State's land grant campus, the campus that is not only a "place" but operates within the framework of the "land grant idea"? (See WWW site referenced at end of this statement for excellent article, "The Land Grant Idea and the Evolving Outreach University.")
- Media appearances, news releases, and even the choice of the name, "New College," have led some opinion leaders and the general public to believe that very little or nothing was happening in the way of online learning at The University of Tennessee. We do not know how the online learning activities and offices that were already in place on this campus were portrayed (or if they were portrayed) to the Board of Trustees and the Governor.
- There is evidence that the administration of NC recognizes that some important online activities are taking place on this campus. NC has made a job offer to an online learning and instruction expert on this campus at a salary level above what the campus can pay. Perhaps, the offer entails additional or different responsibilities.
- Two news releases contained information that a grant in excess of $1.0 million had been received to develop two- and four-year degrees in Information Technology. The first mention of this grant was in the August 29 news release, "Governor Launches UT New College." In that release President Gilley was quoted as follows, "Puett's continuing education division had recently won a $1.3 federal contract to assist Tennessee two- and four-year colleges develop online associate and bachelor degrees in information technology." A second news release, "UT, Board of Regents Receive $1.17 Million Grant," issued on August 31, indicated that the grant was being administered by the Continuing Education and Outreach office which reports to the University of Tennessee Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost. Your faculty representatives asked, "Which release is correct?" The response from President Gilley was, "A lot of people would like to claim credit for that one." [We have since learned from checking with sources on and off the campus that this is a grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education. The Principal Investigator is Dr. Robert Leiter on our campus. A representative from Chancellor's Puett's office, Dr. Gayle Cooper, along with representatives from a number of entities, including Board of Regents schools, were involved in development of the grant proposal.]
There are several purposes for pointing out the various claims for taking credit for this grant award. Both heads of the two entities that are now dealing with distance education, online learning and outreach, Dr. Leiter and Chancellor Puett, have both stated that their intent is to cooperate on this grant. Does the handling of this FIPSE grant portend what Colleges and Departments on this campus can expect when they compete for awards that involve the creation or improvement of courses and curriculum? Will New College be competing against departments and colleges on this campus and others in the system for grant and contract awards? Is this just one example of other issues that may arise when two entities are charged with responsibilities for outreach to adult learners?
- NC has a great deal of political clout. We need to accept the fact that it has been created and that a Chancellor has been appointed to lead it. We need to figure out ways that we can collaborate with New College and determine those times when it may be inappropriate to do so.
- Nevertheless, it is unfortunate that the President and the Board of Trustees missed an opportunity to raise the state and national profile of its land grant campus. Streamlining was promised and it would have been quite reasonable to charge this accredited institution with responsibilities that have been given to New College. The argument that New College was needed so that it could work with other campuses in the UT System and Board of Regents campuses does not hold up well under close scrutiny. Technology has changed the way university outreach can be managed. We have been told that faculty must "think outside the box". Is setting up a second entity to handle outreach "thinking outside the box"? Wouldn't seizing upon the ability to electronically link institutions through existing structures be more in keeping with creative thinking?
- We should be proud of what we have done on this campus in online education given the meager resources we have been given to develop courseware and the infrastructure for online education. The 30 faculty members on our campus who will be showcasing their online courses at the University Center on September 20 are evidence of what has been done. Those enrollees and graduates of the online MBA Degree for Physicians and the M.S. Degree in Information Sciences are additional evidence that faculty and administration on this campus have performed admirably in light of resources given to develop these degrees.
- It appears as though we may have what one person on campus has called the "Procter and Gamble competing brands model" for delivering online instruction. When the same corporation markets competing brands like Tide and Cheer, the theory is that each brand group has to work harder. It would be very hard for the Cheer group to compete with the Tide group if more resources are directed to the Tide group. But then, Cheer might compete well if its chemical composition was so well researched that it produced a superior product. Let us be the Cheer group even though resources may be rolled toward and controlled by the Tide group.
- The lack of consultation with the Faculty Senate of this campus on something that involves academic matters is troublesome. When your Senate leaders asked President Gilley and Vice President High why there was no consultation, your leaders were told, "Who would we have consulted with? All the campuses are involved."
Recommendations to Senate Committees and Senators
Regarding Discussions That Should Take Place Regarding New College
This represents thought starters only. Each Committee and each Senator should add to the following list of recommendations:
Executive Committee and Bylaws Committee
- Meet as soon as possible with Faculty Senate leaders of the Health Science Center and other entities of The University of Tennessee to work out any bylaw changes that might be necessary so there are fewer ambiguities about expectations related to consultation by the President of The University of Tennessee with the Faculty Senate(s) of The University of Tennessee. The University has reorganized and the Senates may need to reorganize.
- Establish procedures that call for the President to consult with the Faculty Senate(s) when system-wide efforts related to academic matters are initiated.
- Obtain the budget for NC, including the salaries of all staff. Monitor the budget of NC on a continuing basis to ensure that salaries are not out of line with those of comparable positions on the campuses.
- Obtain details on the cost and content of the Eduprise contract and whether competitive bid procedures are needed or are being used.
- If you are told that you are stepping outside your role because you are representing the Faculty Senate of this campus, just remember you are citizen of Tennessee.
Undergraduate Council, Graduate Council, and Educational Policy Committees
- Place a high priority on establishing procedures for approval of distance education/online courses and degrees.
- Examine the final report of the Committee headed by Dr. Linda Painter to determine if there are implications for (1) above.
- Address the matter of online Interdisciplinary Degrees and where they are to be housed.
- Is it the intent of NC to administer and house any contracts and grants?
- If the answer to (1) is "yes," work with the Vice President for Research and Information Technology to determine how contract and grant proposals submitted by NC are to be processed and approved. Whose F and A (indirect cost) rates are being used? Doesn't each campus have its own negotiated rates? Under what university name will a contract or grant be submitted? If this unaccredited entity headed by a Chancellor sits outside UT, then are contracts and grants being submitted under the names of UT Chattanooga? UT Martin? UT? If so, are we accurately portraying to potential funders exactly what entity will be administering and performing the work in a contract or grant?
- Who approves and has the authority to sign proprietary agreements and non-disclosure statements? In one meeting we though t we heard that a NC staff member has already signed one of these agreements/statements in regard to a proposal that is currently being prepared.
Finally, the Ad Hoc Committee on Technologically-Enhanced Instruction is most willing to serve as a resource to you as you discuss how this campus can best serve the citizens of this state with quality instruction.
- Keep growing in your knowledge of delivering instruction by electronic means and on trends in distance education.
Look at this WWW site to see what this campus has in place for distance education and online learning:
Since the University of Maryland is often referred to as a model that NC is trying to emulate, look at this site:
Since NC plans to contract with Eduprise, look at this site:
For a very interesting article, read "The Land Grant Idea and the Evolving Outreach University" at:
- Your Deans may already be planning to set up meetings to discuss New College and Distance Education. Go to your Deans and make sure that all Department Heads and the faculty of your College are involved in learning about matters related to New College and Distance Education.
The mission of New College is to make academic programs available to working adults at times and places convenient to them. It will be a "one-stop-shop" for adult learners to pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees, professional certification and re-certification, continuing education programs, and the General Education Degree (GED).
New College will have eleven goals:
- Develop a "culture" that emphasizes a commitment to excellence, a service to students, an excitement for learning, and an entrepreneurial spirit that constantly seeks new and more effective ways to engage both students and faculty in the teaching-learning process.
- Help expand economic development in Tennessee by having a well-educated workforce.
- Enable the more than 500,000 working Tennesseans who have high school diplomas or some higher education to gain access to a baccalaureate degree without leaving their families, communities, or careers.
- Work cooperatively with the Tennessee Board of Regents schools to create pathways to educational programs that take advantage of the University's academic strengths and eliminate duplication where possible.
- See partnership opportunities with for-profit companies, corporate universities, virtual universities, and other organizations that will contribute significantly to the mission of New College.
- Work with business and industry to develop degree and non-degree programs that support Tennessee's Workforce Initiative.
- Provide educational pathways to new careers for Tennesseans seeking career changes.
- Improve public school education in Tennessee by providing increased access to degree programs and professional development opportunities for teachers.
- Enable adults who have dropped out of high school to obtain the GED without leaving home.
- Provide access to higher education credits for aspiring high school students through advanced placement or dual placement courses.
- Provide access to quality higher education programs for Tennesseans in rural and traditionally underserved areas and those who are homebound.
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