[The following letter and report were presented to the Senate Executive Committee on February 1, 1988.]

April 26, 1988

Mr. Lamar Alexander
President-elect of The University of Tennessee
Nashville, Tennessee

Dear Mr. Alexander:

The Executive Committee1 of the UTK Faculty Senate is pleased to forward the attached report of the Senate Committee on Presidential Transition Issues to you for your consideration. It contains the very carefully considered opinions of a respected group of faculty leaders and reflects the issues of highest concern to us and to many of our colleagues at UTK.

We hope you and your staff will continue to consider the Faculty Senate as a valuable source of information about faculty concerns and as a conduit to the substantial expertise available from other faculty sources on many matters pertaining to the operation and welfare of the UT system. This report exemplifies the willingness and ability of faculty members with diverse interests and perspectives to focus productively on issues of general concern.

If you wish to meet with the Senate Executive Committee and/or the members of the committee who wrote this report to discuss the problems in more detail we would be very happy to arrange for the meeting. We are looking forward to working with you to keep UTK and the entire UT system moving towards higher accomplishments.


Henry Frandsen, President


Submitted by the Senate Committee on
Presidential Transition Issues2

An established partnership between the faculty and the administration is one of the most significant characteristics of a great university. Such a partnership is manifested by regular consultation between the parties and mutual understanding of the advantages of joint planning and decision making in those endeavors for which there is shared responsibility. This partnership reflects the recognition of the interdependence between the two groups and the vital contributions each makes to the attainment of institutional objectives. The purposes of this document are to share with you faculty concerns about a number of significant issues regarding the welfare of our university and to initiate a dialogue. It is also a pledge that faculty are willing to share their expertise in partnership with the administration in the identification and implementation of appropriate approaches for dealing with these issues.

UT and UTK have at least three needs if they are to maintain progress toward excellence;
I. A vision of what a large multifaceted, multipurpose research university can and should be.
II. The wise allocation and use of resources to achieve that vision.
III. A process of governance that facilitates movement toward that vision.


A vision of what the University of Tennessee can and should be requires recognition that:

The steering of a large, multipurpose land grant university toward greatness presents very special problem and challenges, especially in view of the fact that resources may never be sufficient for achieving the goals and aspirations of all its constituencies. Strong and informed leadership is necessary for maintenance of academic program that are both excellent and diverse and for decisions about allocation of resources among campuses and among programs. There must be recognition that we cannot do all things and do all of them well. At the same time there must be understanding that a superior university system is one guided by goals of academic excellence and service to the future rather than expediency or preservation of the status quo.

Wise programmatic decision making, allocation of resources, and long-range planning must include recognition of the special mission of UTK as a comprehensive land grant university and as the flagship campus of the UT System. Particular attention should be paid to UTK's special role as a center for graduate studies and research, and its aspiration to excel as one of the nation's top 70 comprehensive research institutions.

The teaching mission of the University must continue to be given great importance. As University participation expands in research and service, there must be continued support for, and recognition of, excellent teaching.

Service to the State of Tennessee, the nation, and the world must include contributions to all aspects of a modern civilized society, whether it be the arts, humanities, economic development, or basic or applied science. The University of Tennessee is both conservator of and contributor to our cultural heritage. In service of these roles the University should promote cultural literacy.

A great University must provide an environment in which unfettered intellectual thought is encouraged, even if it does not result in immediate practical application.


Increased funding is essential. Efforts to raise both public and private funds should be consistent with the vision of the University. Recognition of and support for academic excellence should be the major goal.

Wise allocation of resources is equally important. Care must be taken to insure that allocation and reallocation within the system and its components are consistent with the shared visions of the University.

The problems created by limited state funds are widely recognized. Some examples of needs for additional funding at UTK follow.
a. Teaching effectiveness is restricted in many areas by both inadequate departmental operating budgets and also by underequipped and outdated instructional facilities. Capital outlays are required for modernizing instructional facilities throughout the university.

b. Research effectiveness is restricted by this same lack of adequate space and modern instruments and equipment. Capital outlays are required to equip and expand facilities for research and creative achievement.

c. A more comprehensive and better funded professional development program is needed. The severely limited opportunity for such a program reduces faculty effectiveness. It also puts UTK at a disadvantage in recruitment of new faculty because most major research universities have sabbatical programs.

d. UTK needs a major infusion of funds for scholarships, loans, graduate assistantships, and other forms of financial aid. Our quality as a university is in large part determined by the quality of our students. As a land grant university, we must strive to see that all well-qualified students will be able to attend UTK. In light of our history as a racially-segregated institution, we are specially committed to taking affirmative steps to increase the number of well-qualified black students enrolled at UTK. More generally, we must be committed to improving the overall academic quality of the student body at UTK and to increasing the number of academically superior students enrolled in UTK's undergraduate and graduate programs. Because of the role they play in the classroom, attracting high-quality graduate students is particularly important. Notwithstanding program excellence and relatively low tuition, we will remain competitively disadvantaged in our efforts to attract academically superior students of all races to UTK until such time as we can offer larger scholarships, stipends and awards to a greater number of students.

e. Increases in faculty salaries are imperative. Average salaries in many areas at UTK remain low in comparison with peer institutions. As starting salaries are raised, allowing us to compete more effectively for faculty, serious inequities result--both within disciplines and by disciplines. Some differentiation by discipline is inevitable, and differentiation within disciplines is desirable. However, great inequity can threaten the cohesiveness that is required to make a highly diverse faculty a working whole.

f. The completion of the Hodges Library at UTK has had a positive effect on the entire campus. However, further improvement in academic programs at UTK will depend upon increased funding for the library. The library must be able to build a core collection of the materials that are essential in a research university. Rising book and journal prices make it difficult to realize this goal. The ability of faculty members at UTK and throughout the state to conduct their work will inescapably be affected unless the problem of library funding is addressed. The planned capital campaign for the UTK Library, as important as it is, will not solve our total acquisitions problems.

g. Effectiveness of faculty in both teaching and research is enhanced by competent technical, office and other support personnel. Employees with good qualifications should be rewarded with suitable job classifications and salaries.
There are two issues of concern to faculty that should be addressed by UT and State officials:
a. The introduction of an optional system of phased retirement.

b. Some benefits, such as retirement payments and certain aspects of health insurance coverage, have improved over time. However, there have been some considerable decreases in health insurance coverage such as the inclusion of substantial restrictions and the absence of meaningful coverage for some catastrophic illnesses including mental illnesses and substance abuse.


The University of Tennessee administration should continue to recognize the authority of the campus administrations for the governance of each campus. This decentralization of governance by campus preserves the separate identity and mission of each campus. The faculty has, in general, approved of the allocation of authority between the UT and UTK administrations. There is, however, continuing concern about system authority over the highly visible men's intercollegiate athletic program.

The role and function of the UT administration should be reviewed in light of the current mission of the University (and that of the UTK campus, in particular).

Stipulation of the process for selecting campus and system administrators, including a description of the composition of search committees, should be contained in all Faculty Handbooks. Faculty should be represented on search committees, and should have full authority to examine and evaluate candidate credentials. Faculty representatives should have the confidence of their peers and should be nominated and selected by their peers for service on these search committees.

Faculty should be considered a resource in the evaluation of administrators' performance. The procedure, periodicity, and scope of reviews involving faculty may vary, depending upon the organizational level of the administrator.


With the beginning of a new presidential administration, we anticipate a new era of partnership between the faculty and the university leadership. We trust that the concerns which we have expressed in this document will be given due consideration and that you will consult with the Faculty Senate and other representatives from this campus and other UT campuses in learning more about the issues outlined here.

We appreciate this opportunity to communicate directly with you on matters of importance to us. We look forward to continuing communication about challenges, problem , and opportunities here at UTK and throughout the university system.

1Michael Davidson, Associate Professor of Food Technology and Science; Henry Frandsen (Chair), Professor of Mathematics; Ted Hipple, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction; Roger Jenkins, Professor of Business Administration; Kwang Jeon, Professor of Zoology; Jeff Kovac, Associate Professor of Chemistry; Barbara Mead, Associate Professor of Physical Education; Carl Pierce, Associate Professor of Law; Theresa Sharp, Associate Professor of Nursing; Bernard Silverstein, Professor of Audiology and Speech Pathology, Alex Van Hook, Professor of Chemistry; Wayne Waller, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering; Bruce Wheeler, Associate Professor of History; George Wheeler, Provost.

2Clint Allison, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction; Paul Bergeron, Professor of History and Director, Andrew Johnson Papers; George Frazier, Professor of Chemical Engineering; Henry Fribourg, Professor of Plant and Soil Science; Dolly Hough, Associate Professor of Music; Michael Gordon, Professor of Management; Anne Mayhew (Chair), Professor of Economics; Carl Pierce, Associate Professor of Law; Gregory Reed, Professor of' Civil Engineering.

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