Research Council


April 5, 1999

Attendees: Bill Blass (chair), Gayle Baker (co-chair), Valerie Bales, Benjamin Bates, Alden Coleman (guest), Mike Devine, Kim Jensen (co-chair), Madhu Madhukar, Lillian Mashburn (guest), Faye Muly (guest), Otto Schwarz, Surya Singh (SGA-Undergraduate), Mike Singletary, Phyllis Turner, Ken Walker, Pete Wicks

Opening Remarks (Blass)

Blass opened meeting discussing the Tenure Policy Implementation Document and the revised resolution. Five members of RC did meet last week (March 29, 1999) after the regularly scheduled meeting was canceled due to a power outage. These five members voted to endorse the resolution and forward to the Faculty Senate. The only major change was the statement, "If teaching is inadequate, then the research record is of no consequence." This statement was taken out after an intense discussion at the Faculty Senate - Executive Committee meeting. The Senate will be voting on the resolution this afternoon and hopefully endorsing it. One of the agenda topics is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The Faculty Senate took our FOIA resolution and decided to change the resolving clause and then sent it to the TN delegation. A copy of the revised resolution was distributed.

Graduate School ó Admission Procedures (Blass, Singletary)

Doug Birdwell has raised an issue concerning the Graduate Admission Policies. Birdwell, like most faculty are concerned about the procedural rules and regulations dealing with applications for admission to the Graduate School. These concerns deal mostly with international students. For example, one current procedure appears that the Graduate School applies some sort of cut-off rule for international applicants in which the individual departments never to get review those applicants. Dr. Singletary responded by stating that the Graduate School guidelines were set in 1982 and reviewed again in 1991. These guidelines outline the percentages that the Graduate School relies on. The intent of the Graduate School is to distribute international students across a variety of programs and only the applicants meeting the existing standards are accepted. However, if the department ask, exceptions can be made. Then the question was raised on how can a department ask for an exception when they have not been given the opportunity to see all the applicants ó these are the types of concerns that departments/faculty have regarding graduate admissions.

According to Singletary, the Chronicle of Higher Education is currently looking at various universities (including UTK) to do a comparison study on international graduate student enrollments. Dr. Singletary believes this is a nationwide problem.

Blass called for a RC ad hoc committee to be appointed to review the procedures on international graduate students and then engage the Graduate School and Graduate Council in a discussion on some of the policy issues. Please send email to Gayle Baker if you would like to participate on this ad hoc committee.

Infrastructure Report on Desktop Computing Needs ó Baker, Muly (guest), Coleman (guest)

Blass stated this will be a long-term project, 18-24 months, due to resource requirements and administration. Doug Birdwell prepared a prototype for a basic PC computer that Alden Coleman, from DII, used to generate cost figures. Faye Muly and Alden Coleman from DII were invited to discuss where DII is on this issue. Then the Infrastructure Committee will use the summer to work out details and have a proposed report to present to RC next fall.

Muly discussed that DII has contacted various peer institutions to see how they have approach such issues. Basically, most institutions have contracts in place that allows faculty to pick and choose from the contracted vendors. DII supports the idea of dealing with nationally known vendors. Another issue to consider is the total cost of ownership per machine. This isnít just the up front cost of the machine, but includes the support for the machine ó installation (adding to the network = $70), recurring port charges ($10/month), and recurring support (support help-line, access to training-CBTs, and support of the network). Muly estimates that over a three-year period this type support for each machine costs $1200.

Coleman reviewed different vendors and their processes. DII has six major vendors on contract (DELL, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq, IBM and Apple). Using the basic configuration of a 350 MHz computer with some memory, the price range varied between $1090 to $1200 including shipping.

Reasons for using the UTK vendor contracts:

According to Coleman vendors are required to submit new quotes to DII every 90 days. Vendor contracts offer machines from the basic to the power units, which allows the departments to choose models based on their budget.

Blass asked that the information and breakdown of recurring costs be given to the Infrastructure Committee to use in preparing their proposal.

Freedom of Information Act (Devine, Mashburn-guest)

Three handouts were distributed as background information regarding the FOIA, a statement from the National Science Board, a memo to CRPGE Members, and a letter to OMB from NASULGC. Basically, there are two things you can do 1) write to OMB and 2) write to Congress.

Mashburn discussed that OMB wants comments with specific examples/explanations from faculty and researchers by COB April 5th. She noted that Dr. Frank Harris had written and copied all TN Delegation via email his comments on the FOIA. Other groups such as the Engineering Deans from across state ó Vanderbilt, UTK, Chattanooga, UT-Space Institute, and Memphis have also sent letters.

US Chamber of Commerce posted an action alert on WWW urging members to send letters to OMB supporting the A-110. Mashburn noted all TN Delegation offices support this regulation. The Science Committee has introduced HB-88 into legislation repealing the FOIA. Mashburn will send email to Blass and Devine with OMBís decision.


Note: Send RC Chair nominations to Blass, Baker, or Jensen via email.