August 11, 2003
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November 10, 2003
November 17, 2003
January 9, 2004
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March 1, 2004
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July 15, 2004
DEAR COLLEAGUES: Each August new terms for the Faculty Senate begin. We have all experienced the renewed spirit that accompanies the beginning of each academic year. With the recent changes in leadership at UT, it is hard for many of us to start the year without a some degree of cynicism. As faculty, we have seen our good work in teaching, research, creative activity, outreach and service undermined by the trust we have placed in the University President and the UT Board of Trustees.
The Faculty Senate has expressed concerns about the Board of Trustees bylaws for over three decades. On October 19, 1998, we approved a resolution concerning procedures and criteria for selection of the President of UT. When the Faculty Senate adopted this statement, a search process had already been established by the Board of Trustees which involved both a search committee comprising only Board members and a public advisory committee that included faculty members. The Senate statement acknowledged but was not intended to endorse that two-part process. The complete resolution is posted at:web.utk.edu/~senate/PresSearch_10-19-98.htmlOne task before the Faculty Senate is to look at the process used by the UT Board of Trustees to elect the President of the University. I hope we can insist on a process that is more transparent, more democratic, and involves faculty representation at every stage. This is one lesson that we can draw from recent events in our university family.
Much has been made of fostering shared governance by both the administration and the Faculty Senate. Some initiatives such as instituting a new Professional Leave Policy and the recommendations of the Departmental Leadership Task Force have received the support of the Chancellor and have been approved by the Faculty Senate, but their implementation has stalled. We need to bring these initiatives to fruition.
This year there are several other critical issues facing the university, including the prospect of academic program elimination. Ensuring that the process is transparent, and that students, staff and faculty have input into the outcomes is something the Faculty Senate can foster. Two other matters which will be on our agenda are revisions to the Faculty Handbook and the completion of the initiative begun last year to look at restructuring the senate. As always, the work of our committees are the heart of Senate business, and we are working with committee chairs to set goals for upcoming year. Likewise, it is my hope that we can follow through on resolutions that have already been adopted by the Faculty Senate, including our commitment to supporting a Living Wage for all full-time UT employees.
This web site offers a tangible record of the work of the Faculty Senate, not only this year, but in previous years. Each year we stand on the shoulders of prior faculty leaders. The search engine on this web site offers a convenient way to investigate previous work of the Faculty Senate. In this way the web site serves as archive of not only the Senate and the Executive Committee, but the various Senate committees.
I am grateful for the privilege to serve as Faculty Senate President this year. I hope to put this trust to good use. If you wish to contact me for any reason, please send me an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call at 974-3202.
I appreciate the opportunity to address you this morning. This year marks my 19th year at UT teaching printmaking in the School of Art. When I began my tenure here, I never had any expectation that I would be standing before the Board of Trustees someday in my current capacity as Faculty Senate President. As my time is relatively brief today, I hope you will invite me back in the future to offer my perspective as an artist and faculty member about the university.
During my first year at UT I received the following advice from a Professor of English: "Be loyal to your profession rather than the university, for in making an impact in the profession, you will be of value to the university." This philosophy seemed to make good sense to me, and so I devoted my time to building the printmaking program here, exhibiting my work internationally, organizing three national conferences and spending four years editing the major newsletter in my profession. Last fall at this time I was teaching on a Fulbright Fellowship in Poland. This month you can see one of my lithographs at the "Art of Tennessee" exhibition at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville. Today our graduate program in printmaking is ranking third in the nation by US News and World Report. I would like to think that this small program, comprised of only two tenured faculty, is a precious little jewel in the UT crown.
My involvement in the Faculty Senate began four years ago, and took shape through my work on the Senate Budget Committee. This experience has helped me to see some of the broader issues that face UT. One of the reasons I decided to run for Faculty Senate President was to try to follow through on some of the previous Senate initiatives.
The September issue of the Faculty Senate Newsletter has been distributed today, and I hope you will take a few minutes to review it. This year the newsletter is no longer printed and mailed, but is distributed electronically, saving UT about $6,000 annually. The newsletter presents the Faculty Senate Scorecard for the year, which includes six goals. Please let me call attention to a couple of these.
Our first goal on the scorecard is the Reform of the Presidential Search Process. For over 33 years the Faculty Senate has expressed concern about the need to actively involve faculty in this process. We are grateful to Governor Bredesen and the members of the board for recognizing that your bylaws needed reform. We look forward to working with you this year to give the process integrity. Frankly, there are still faculty who do not trust the new process. I sincerely hope the Board of Trustees can renew that trust.
I hope the next UT President will have the physical stamina, the intellectual breadth, the managerial skills and the ethics to lead this complex system. I also hope that you will give her or him a good budget to hold social events at the presidential residence to bring the poets, historians and scientists together with members of the business community to incubate the research and creative activity that make a good university great. I also hope we will have a new President who will give the Chancellor of the UTK campus budgetary autonomy for research, IT and operations. Most of us hold Loren Crabtree in high regard, and want him to have the have the authority to oversee this campus.
The sixth item on our Senate scorecard is the issue of a Living Wage for all full-time UT workers. In 2001 the Faculty Senate approved a resolution brought by the Budget Committee to pay all UTK Workers a Living Wage of $9.50/hour plus benefits. At the time UTK's Office of Human Resources estimated that the wages of over 400 full-time UT employees fell below the Federal poverty guideline. They also estimated that about 2/3 of the employees making poverty wages are women. Thus the University pays over 20% of its hourly employees so poorly that they qualify for various forms of public assistance. Does the university have a moral obligation consistent with its mission as a land-grant institution not to balance its books off the backs of the working poor? The problem is so bad that some previous cost of living raises for the lowest paid workers barely covered increases in employee?s contributions to health care benefits. In January of this year the university gave all UTK workers a minimum raise of $750 a year. For this the university should be commended, but we still have a long way to go.
Likewise, during a tight budget year in the early 1990?s we out-sourced our custodial services to private vendors. While this may have balanced the books in the short-term for the university, the low-wage workers who do these jobs do not have health insurance, and swell the rolls of an already over-burdened Tenn. Care system. We also know that the poor quality of custodial services under this system has contributed to low morale of staff and faculty and has fostered diminished student enrollments. Many of you on the Board have extensive experience in business. I hope you will agree that in this case, privatization of services has not been an effective business decision for UT or the state of Tennessee.
These and other items on the UT Scorecard are there because they reflect the resolve of the UTK Faculty Senate. It is a privilege to serve my colleagues and the university by working to follow through on these initiatives. I am also grateful for the opportunity to share these concerns with you today.
As a university community, this month we have a couple important ways to contribute to the relationship between the university and our local community. One of these is though our annual Campus Chest fund. Recent reports show that we are well below our goals. I hope each and every faculty member will complete their campus chest pledge card, and renew and even increase their contribution to this effort. As you consider your workplace giving, I encourage you to consider Community Shares among the organizations you designate for support. In addition, this month WUOT will conduct its annual fundraiser. I also hope you will help join many of our colleagues to support public radio in East Tennessee.
This past week I was pleased to see the Faculty Senate Scorecard briefly replaced the 2010 Scorecard on the front of the UT web site. I am grateful to the sympathetic person or persons who manage the university web site who made this posting possible. Keep it up. A month has passed since The faculty Senate Scorecard was unveiled. Let's see how we are doing:THE PRESIDENTIAL SEARCH: 3+1=4 TORCHES The search process approved by the Board of Trustees is taking shape, reflecting a commitment to openness and input from faculty, students staff, alumni and others. The Senate Executive Committee has made recommendations to the Governor, and I am pleased to announce that Peter Hoeyng, Associate Professor of German will serve on the Presidential Search Advisory Council. Gary Sayler, Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and Director of the Waste Management Research and Education Institute will serve on the Presidential Search Committee. The first joint meeting of the council and the committee will take place tomorrow in Nashville. We have made arrangements for Professor Hoeyng and Sayler to join us during the open forum prior to our November 17th Faculty Senate meeting. I hope we can do every possible to inform these two distinguished faculty as they strive to represent us in the search. Their input into the search merits an additional torch.In addition to these scorecard items, this year we will have an additional item on our collective plate; the Review and Redirection of academic programs on campus. Since a process of reviewing and possibly eliminating some academic programs was unveiled last spring, this initiative has remained mostly dormant. One concern some of us have expressed is that the process needs to conform to our Faculty Handbook, specifically the authority faculty have over the educational mission of the university. Today Anne Mayhew will discuss the new process that will be employed today. I am pleased to report that this new process is much improved, with greater faculty representation on the Task Force, including the involvement of our Education Policy Committee. The Task Force recommendations will be forwarded to the Undergraduate and Graduate Councils for consideration before being voted on by this body at our May 2004 meeting. This process puts the ultimate review and redirection of our academic mission in the hands of the faculty, where it should be.
PROFESSIONAL LEAVE: 2+1=3 TORCHES The Professional Leave Policy we have worked on for two years will be announced soon. Anne Mayhew will briefly report on this next. Knowing this, I will take the liberty of awarding one torch to this effort.
GENERAL EDUCATION PROPOSAL: 2+1=3 TORCHES Today we have an opportunity to ratify a new General Education proposal. This proposal reflects input from faculty across campus, and seeks to give students, regardless of their major a common intellectual tool set. At the same time, we need to remember that what we are voting on today is the basic template for General Education, which includes a process for departments to submit courses to the Undergraduate Council for appropriate GE designations. I hope we can endorse this proposal today. One torch should be awarded for the progress that has been made to bring this proposal to you today.
THE FACULTY HANDBOOK: 3+1=4 TORCHES Today we will have an opportunity to discuss proposed changes to the second draft of Chapters 1 and 2. We will vote on these Chapters at our November 17th Senate meeting. The Handbook Task Force has made an effort to reconcile many perspectives, not all of which are in harmony. As a result, the process of re-writing this handbook will take longer than originally projected. However, the result will be a handbook that will go a long way to serve the interests of the faculty and the university, and will be one which more faculty and administrators will comprehend An additional torch should be awarded for this effort.
EFFECTIVE COMMITTEE WORK: 1+1=2 TORCHES I am pleased to see that most of the Senate Committees are meeting, and that their schedules and minutes are being posted to the web. As the work of our committees is the heart of the Faculty Senate, an additional torch is certainly in order.
THE LIVING WAGE: 1 TORCH A week and a half ago I had an opportunity to address the Board of Trustees. The issue of the Living Wage for all UT workers was one of the topics I discussed during my very brief talk. I wish I could report that their response was enthusiastic. However, two trustees later indicated they shared the position of our Senate, and I am pleased that Governor Bredesen was present to hear our concerns. Joe Johnson thanked me for an address that "informed and challenged." However, until the Living Wage becomes a budgetary priority, this scorecard item will have to remain the same.
An ongoing project this year is our preparations for the SACS accreditation next year. About three weeks ago Jim Moran made a report to the Council of Deans unveiling the SACS web site and the process that departments should file for submitting six goals. To comply with the SACS review process, these goals need to be determined through a vote of the faculty. Jim Moran instructed the Deans that the results for each unit should be posted by November 1st. The Department Heads in my college will not learn about this until they meet this week. From my perspective, a process that involves the faculty in meaningful ways not been honored. For our accreditation review to have any integrity, this timeline needs to be extended and the process better communicated to the faculty by the Deans.
Finally, today we will have an opportunity to vote on a resolution to expand our non-discrimination policy to include "sexual orientation." I encourage you to support this initiative for our campus.
At the October Board of Trustees meeting I had an opportunity to address the Trustees. During my brief commentary, I commended Governor Bredesen for his efforts to reform of the Presidential Search Process. The Faculty Senate at UTK has called for the reform of the search process for several decades, and it is good to see greater participation by students, faculty, staff and alumni in the process.
However, there is still a good deal of skepticism on the part of many faculty members regarding this process. Many fear their will be lip service given to conducting an open, inclusive search. This concern may be justified, as to date neither I nor any of my colleagues who have emailed Margaret Perry have received either a confirmation of, or response to our communications. This needs to change. To uphold the new open standard of this search, you need to do a better job of responding to, and archiving input from the stakeholders in the search process.
I am here today to offer my thoughts on the portion of the job description calling for the new president to demonstrate a "commitment to faculty." Like some of my colleagues, I believe the next president of the university should have achieved a national reputation as a scholar and teacher. Your position criteria also calls for the next president to have demonstrated a commitment to shared governance. When screening prospective candidates, make sure they understand that shared governance does not mean just consulting the faculty, staff and students before making decisions. True shared governance means sharing responsibility with the appropriate representative members of these constituency groups for major decision-making relating to institutional teaching, research, facilities, mission, and budget. This form of shared governance will improve the morale and productivity of faculty and staff, and through participation and collaboration with the administration will ensure that those impacted by policy decisions will work to implement them.
Finally, I encourage you to seek a president with a love of learning, a person who is not just tolerant of diverse ideas, but celebrates them. This appreciation for intellectual and creative breadth is necessary to ensuring academic and artistic freedom at the University of Tennessee.
I am providing a copy of this statement for the Search Advisory Council and have emailed it to Margaret Perry.
I greatly appreciate the fine work that is being done by many of you to further our agenda this year. I have assigned additional flaming torches on our score card for the (1) Presidential Search, (2) the Professional Leave Policy, (2) the New General Education Policy, (1) The Faculty Handbook and (1) Senate Committees. Unfortunately we have made on progress on the Living Wage scorecard item.
Last month Magid Keyhani resigned as chair of the Graduate Council. An election has been held by paper ballots, and Charles Feigerle has been selected by the committee to serve for the remainder of the academic year. I am grateful to Mary Rogge being the other candidate in this election.
I am pleased to report that Chancellor Crabtree is a strong supporter of our resolution to extend the non-discrimination policy to include "sexual orientation." At our November 3rd Executive Committee meeting he stated that President Johnson is now behind the effort, and it is currently being reviewed by the General Counsel?s office. As other universities in the state already have such a policy, let?s hope for its prompt implementation.
To complete our charge to review the new Faculty Handbook, I am calling for two additional meetings on our schedule. These meetings will allow us to focus our efforts on this important task. In your packet is a timeline that lists an additional Executive Committee meeting on the morning of December 15 and an additional Senate meeting beginning at 2pm on Friday January 9th. Please help us achieve a quorum for the January 9th meeting.
Enforcing our "no food and beverage policy" in lecture halls has been identified as a concern by the administration. Many faculty members find it difficult to enforce this policy for reasons that are understandable. As I do my own creative work in the same studio that I teach in, I have no problem being enforcing standards of cleanliness on students. Upholding our food and beverage policy in classrooms can be done, and I encourage faculty to play a role in the stewardship of our facilities. At the same time, I am also pushing for the university discontinue outsourcing custodial services, so that we can have greater continuity and commitment to the daily cleaning of our classrooms, laboratories and studios. A campaign to increase awareness of the role of students and faculty in respecting the facilities is currently being developed by Faye Julian in the College of Communications and Information Science. If you have thoughts on how to assist in this effort, please let her know.
Today we will hopefully approve Chapter 1 and 2. These drafts reflect the hard work and valuable input from many of you, at our retreat, on the Blackboard site and including discussions at our last meeting. A friendly amendment from Nancy Howell has also been accepted by the Handbook Task Force, and is among the supplementary handouts for our meeting today. I hope we will also devote much of our time this afternoon to discussing Chapter 3.
Today we will also consider a resolution to ban the sale of tobacco products on campus. This comes to you following a negative vote on this resolution by the Senate Executive Committee. Our bylaws protect the right of any Senator to bring forward a resolution for your consideration, and Senator Harmon has taken this initiative. I appreciate the thoughtful debate regarding this issue on the senate list-server the past few weeks. I hope you will vote on this from a position of principles. From prior communications on the Senate listserver these may be summarized as follows:
- You regard tobacco as a health hazard to students, faculty and staff. Maybe you have a friend or relative who has died from tobacco use. You fear the future rate of gum and mouth cancer among the male undergraduates who put a pinch of tobacco between their cheek and gum. You regard cigarettes as a unique consumer product in that it is dangerous/harmful in its intended use. While you understand the inclination to let consumers be responsible for their own behavior, you believe the university should be responsible for its behavior and not sell this uniquely dangerous product. Today you will vote from your conviction that in the long-run, the university does the state an economic and social disservice by facilitating tobacco consumption.
- Another principle involved is that the university already has too many social controls, and should be open and tolerant of personal choice, even even unhealthy ones. You may be a non-smoker, however you regard this attempt to ban the sale of tobacco as a form of censorship and paternalistic policing. If this is enacted, you fear that others will pressure the bookstore to discontinue selling condoms or specific magazines on "moral" grounds, or snack foods with trans-fatty acids. You imagine a day when art and architecture students will not permitted to buy utility knives on campus in compliance with an order from the Department of Homeland Security. You feel the university should not be engaged in trying to legislate human behavior, especially with regard to a legal product that is grown in our state.
I hope you will not vote against this resolution because, if passed, the administration will just ignore it. Our Faculty Handbook does charge the Senate with the responsibility for not only the academic mission of the university, but may "consider, advise, and recommend to the administration policies about a wide range of concerns affecting the welfare of the campus.... (including) policies regarding student life, rights, and responsibilities." Regardless of your position, I hope you have come today prepared to vote on this matter in an expedient manner.
The final item on our agenda today is a resolution authored by Senator Morgan and which has come to us through the AAUP Executive Committee on campus. This resolution has already served to guide a conversation between an ad-hoc committee of faculty and administrators regarding the Faculty Handbook and the location of tenure. It has also lead to an alternate resolution approved by the Review and Redirection Task Force last week that will result in greater integrity to the process. It includes the requirement of drafting an impact statement for each program being considered for elimination or reorganization, as well as a clearly articulated process for tenured or tenure-track faculty from a program being eliminated to apply for tenure an another academic unit.
I am pleased to report that Chancellor Crabtree supports this resolution. Unfortunately he, as well as the Vice-Chancellor?s are all out of town today. In lieu of this, I have asked him to write a statement to bring you up to date on some of his activities, including his commitment to support the alternate resolution that has been approved by the Review and Redirection Task Force. A copy of his letter as well as the resolution approved last Thursday is available on a green sheet with the meeting materials distributed today.
I thank Senator Morgan for initiating his resolution that is before us today, as it has already played a positive role in influencing the review and redirection process. I have already stated my position on Senator Morgan?s resolution in a previous email to the Faculty Senate, and will honor the expectation placed on a presiding officer by Roberts Rules of Order that someone in my position should generally refrain from taking a position on matters during a meeting of this body. Regardless of how you vote, I will work to implement any resolution you adopt.
In the end, we all agree that we need to uphold our Faculty Handbook. It is my hope that all parties - the Senate and the Chancellor will strive to trust each other. The Chancellor and the Deans have been entrusted with drafting the initial list of programs for consideration by the Task Force. The Task Force is being entrusted to ask tough questions of the administration regarding this list of programs, and I can assure you this is taking place. The Senate and its committees need to be trusted to fairly assess the recommendations of the Task Force and vote (separately) on each of the recommendations. The Chancellor needs to be trusted to honor the will of the Faculty Senate. Upholding the Faculty Handbook means doing so.
As Stephen Blackwell noted in an email to me "Of course, it would be damaging to go through this ordeal with no results; we (meaning faculty senators and other leaders and advocates for shared governance) must constantly ensure the faculty's vigorous, critical and good-faith engagement in the review; and we should also charge and encourage the faculty to make the difficult decisions necessary. Otherwise, 'shared governance' becomes meaningless." I could not agree more.
Our agenda for the meeting today does not include a period for announcements by myself or Chancellor Crabtree. We have done this allow us to devote as much time as possible to the important agenda at hand.
If there was an announcement period, I would certainly thank all of you for braving the weather today and coming to this extra Faculty Senate meeting. As some of you have children who are out of school today, I know it took some extra planning by many of you.
An announcement period would have allowed me to note that our Scorecard includes an additional flame for our progress on the Faculty Handbook. I might also announce that members of the Senate are invited to a brown-bag lunch with Chancellor Crabtree at Arena Dining next Friday.
One way to provide a commentary, but to not take any time from the meeting would be to direct your attention to my comments in the minutes of the December 15th Senate Executive Committee which is an information item in your packet. If there was an announcement period, I could certainly do so.
Finally, if I had an announcement period on the agenda I would observe that Sam Jordan, our able Secretary could not attend this meeting as he s out of town for an academic conference. His replacement Bruce Wheeler, who resides on top of a mountain in Sevier County could not be here as well. As such, I have asked Candace White to serve us in this capacity today.
As we have no announcements or commentaries to begin our meeting today, let's proceed to the approval of the Minutes for November 17th.
With our full agenda today, I am providing my comments in a written form to save time. I have assigned additional flaming torches on our score card for the (2) the Professional Leave Policy, (2) the New General Education Policy, (1) Faculty Handbook and (2) Committee Work. While the Presidential Search Process is progressing, we need to see the process through before assessing the outcome. The university is still far from paying a living wage to all of its employees, and I am concerned that cost of living raises will not cover increases in insurance premiums for our lowest paid staff. I hope the administration will work to address this concern.
I am continuing to press for adoption of our October 20th, 2003 resolution to extend the campus non-discrimination policy to include "sexual orientation." This matter still rests in the General Counsel's Office.
The commitment many of you have shown this year to revising the Faculty Handbook is greatly appreciated. Our January 9th meeting allowed us to make great progress in reviewing Chapters 4, 5 and 6. The final approval of these chapters today will mark a significant event in our work this year.
One of the important changes in the new handbook is the five-year renewable terms for department heads. This change will make it nessesary to have an effective evaluation form that (1) insures broad participation by faculty, staff and students; (2) provides confidentiality of responses; and (3) allow for some open-ended comments. To work on this, I have appointed an ad-hoc committee comprised of Clif Woods, Bob Glenn, Susan Martin, Norma Cook, Al Womac and myself. We hope to compile a report for the Council of Deans and the Senate Executive Committee in March.
This month Caucus Chairs are issuing a call for nominations for open seats on the Faculty Senate. I hope you will encourage your best and brightest colleagues to run for the Faculty Senate. Our new bylaws also permit you to run for a second term in office. We hope to have all elections completed by the time we return from Spring Break in mid-March. There is much to do next year, including improvements in the Manual for Faculty Evaluation and working to bring department and college bylaws in line with our new handbook. We will be in good shape under the leadership of Candace White.
At our March 1st and April 5th meetings we hope to present a set of bylaw changes (for first-reading and then action) to stream-line the number of Faculty Senate committees. Reorganization is desirable with the need to create new standing committees such as the Appeals Committee and the Information Technology Advisory Committee, while also striving to keep most senators to down to only one committee assignment.
Finally, today we will have an opportunity to approve the creation of the Faculty Senate Shared Governance Fund. This fund will give future senates greater financial autonomy. I hope you will join me in not only supporting this initiative, but make a financial pledge to see the support the fund.
I have assigned additional flaming torches on our score card for (1) the Presidential Search; (1) Professional Leave, which is now being implemented; (1) General Education, also moving forward; (1) Faculty Handbook, with the blessing of the General Counsel?s office to be implemented; and (1) Effective Committee Work. The university is still far from paying a living wage to all of its employees, and I encourage you to attend the United Campus Workers Rally tomorrow at 5:15pm in front of the Taylor Law Buidling.
The Presidential Search continues with applications being received until April 3rd. A brochure has been prepared by the Search Committee describing the process, which I hope you were able to pick up on your way in today. We must affirm the new search process, one that requires all candidates to be screened by the Search Advisory Council and the Search Committee before a final selection is made by the Trustees. We all have a stake in making sure this process involves our input and participation. I am confident in our faculty representatives Peter Hoeyng, Gary Sayler and our new Faculty Trustee Kathy Greenberg in making sure the search is thorough and fair to all candidates.
Working with student leaders, I am continuing to press for adoption of our October 20th resolution to extend the non-discrimination policy to include "sexual orientation." I appreciate the support of our Chancellor as we work together to implement this policy at the campus level.
At our retreat in September we did not have an opportunity to review Chapter 7 on Compensated Outside Activities and Chapter 8, on Revising the Faculty Handbook. Concern about Chapter 7 has resulted in our decision to postpone action on this Chapter until our April 5th meeting. Faculty have an opportunity for further input into the chapter on the Blackboard site (online.utk.edu) and at our forum preceding the meeting today. Chapter 8 which we will discuss today is an important part of the Handbook, because it empowers the Faculty Senate with custodial responsibilities.
This semester I formed an ad-hoc committee to develop a better annual evaluation form for department heads. Presently there is a great deal of variation in the form and its implementation across all of the colleges. A better evaluation form is critical with the implementation of our new five-year term for department heads. Members of the committee included Bob Glenn, Clif Woods, Al Womac, Norma Cook, Susan Martin and myself. A preliminary draft of the evaluation has been posted on the web site. After further input, it will be used later this semester in a pilot run, with the hope of broader use next year.
Caucus Chairs have been busy facilitating elections of new faculty senators. I appreciate the work you are doing to encourage your best colleagues to run for open seats on the Faculty Senate. We hope to have all elections completed by the time we return from Spring Break in mid-March. This will allow us to effectively place newly elected senators in committees for next year.
Speaking of committees for next year, today we will discuss significant restructuring of the number and charge to Senate Committees. This reorganization is desirable with the need to create new standing committees such as the Appeals Committee and the Information Technology Advisory Committee, while striving to streamline the number of committees to more effectively address academic policies before the university. I appreciate the work of Candace White in helping to facilitate this restructuring process. Discussion of these proposed changes will the major item on the agenda today.
I am pleased to report that our Shared Governance Fund now exceeds $3,000. I wish to thank the following people for their support of this initiative; Chancellor Loren Crabtree; Academic Deans Stuart Riggsby, Joan Creasia, Barbara Dewey; Former Senate Presidents Kathy Greenberg, Marla Peterson, Glenn Graber, Tom Hood, Bill Blass, Marian Moffett, and Mike Combs; and Faculty Senators Candace White, Chris Craig, David Bassett and Nancy Howell. A payroll deduction form is being developed and will be posted shortly on the Senate web site. Please join me in applauding the generosity of these colleagues.
Last week I sent a copy of the annual faculty salary study organized by our budget committee to the senate listserver. This report is now posted on our web site. As we have seen previously, it continues to show that we have salaries in some disciplines that lag far behind their colleagues in the same discipline at our peer institutions, while we relatively competitive in other disciplines. We also have some disciplines in which there are significant differences between median and mean salaries. These are problems that we fail to address by distributing salary pools to units as a percentage of their base budget or to individuals as across the board raises. With the raises proposed for next year, we will not be able to address this problem. A 2% cost of living raise for a professor of Engineering making 100,000 will result in an additional salary of $2,000. A 2% raise for a an employee in housekeeping making $15,000 will result in a raise of $300. This is a sum that will not cover projected increases in employee contributions to healthcare premiums scheduled for the end of this year. Simply put, this is not right. Equally troubling is that the state is forcing cuts and tuition increases on higher education by failing to fund the proposed 2% raises. The solutions are not simple, but I sincerely hope UT will make the needs of our lowest paid workers a priority as we prepare our budget for next year.
Finally, I wish to acknowledge the hard work of our Budget Committee this year. Over the last few days this committee has been active in our campus budget hearings. As these are taking place concurrent with our meeting today, we will not have a report from Chancellor Crabtree. In lieu of his presence, I encourage you to review the minutes of our February 16th Executive Committee meeting, which include his comments on a variety of current issues of concern to the senate. We are also planning to hold a brown-bag lunch with the Chancellor on Friday April 2nd. More information will follow.
Today marks a significant point in our work this year; the completion of our review of the new Faculty Handbook. To mark this occasion, I have assigned an additional flaming torch on our score card for or work to date on the Faculty Handbook.
Today many of us have been following the work of the Presidential Search Advisory Council. I am pleased that the process has resulted in a strong pool of candidates, and I am confident in the role of our faculty representatives Peter Hoeyng, Gary Sayler and Kathy Greenberg in screening the candidates. We should be pleased with the process to date, and I have assigned an additional torch to this effort. It is imperative that when the first stage of campus interviews take place in the Hermitage Room upstairs in this building on April 13, 14 and 15th that a large and engaged contingent of faculty attend. We have demanded to be part of the process. It is our responsibility to live up to this demand. These meetings will include a set of questions prepared by the Search Advisory Council, and 2-3 questions from campus representatives. Your assessment of the candidates will be a crucial tool for the faculty representatives in the search process. I also encourage each of you to contact colleagues from other institutions who have worked with the candidates and can give us some insights into their strengths and weaknesses.
Initiated this past year, the "Life of the Mind" program serves as an important way to have freshmen begin their year in an intellectually stimulating way by interacting with faculty from all disciplines and perspectives represented on campus. For the program to work, we need to get 150 faculty volunteers to lead two one-hour discussions (August 15-17) of Alexander McCall Smith's The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, a novel about a woman who wants to "help people with problems in their lives." Prior to the discussion meetings, the Committee will hold sessions for discussion leaders where suggestions for effective engagement of the freshmen will be offered. I encourage each of you to participate this year. A sign-up sheet is being passed around today. At the conclusion of our meeting a drawing will be held for a framed limited edition intaglio by Coach Pat Summitt from the names of those who volunteer today. You must be present to win.
Working with student leaders, I am continuing to press for adoption of our October 20th resolution to extend the non-discrimination policy to include "sexual orientation." I appreciate the support of our Chancellor as we work together to implement this policy at the campus level.
Caucus Chairs completed elections of new Faculty Senators for most colleges. A letter will be sent this week to all senators asking their preference for committee assignments for next year. Over the course of the next month the Caucus Chairs will be meeting to effectively place newly elected senators in committees for next year.
Today we will act on a set of bylaw changes to restructuring of the number and charge to Senate Committees. The suggestions made during our March meetings of this body, as well as of the Executive Committee have resulted in notable refinements of the proposed changes. Action on these proposed changes will be a major item on the agenda today.
Also on our agenda is a resolution regarding the administrative autonomy our campus in relation to the next UT President. Since this resolution was printed in the meeting packet, there has been additional email discussion by members of the Executive Committee whether the proposal to relocate the office of the president is fiscally justified. Despite this, I expect most of us agree that the UTK Chancellor should have the same budgetary autonomy as other Chancellors in the system. If this resolution passes I will communicate the position of the Senate to Governor Bredesen and the UT Board of Trustees.
I regret that Chancellor Crabtree will not be able to attend our meeting to give a report today. Few of us could blame him; listening to jazz in Preservation Hall, eating seafood gumbo and cheering on the Lady Vols in New Orleans. In his absence he has prepared a written statement that I hope you picked up on your way into the meeting.
At the close of our last meeting Senator Misty Anderson received the Life of the Mind print drawing. She is now a proud owner of a limited edition etching by Coach Pat Summit. I appreciate that so many of you signed up to lead two discussion sessions in mid-August. If more of you are interested, please contact Mary Papke.
Today marks the end of our Senate year. We have much to be proud of. Our accomplishments have included:
- Working to reform the Presidential Search Process: We should all be pleased with the outcome of the presidential search process. We have been advocating reform of the process for over three decades. The open search process has given faculty, students, staff, alumni AND trustees a deeper appreciation and understanding of the mission of the university and the role of the system president. We all hope this process will be retained in ten years when we conduct our next search for our next UT President. Let?s add two additional torches to this scorecard goal (10 total).
- Last week I received a letter from Governor Bredesen acknowledging our April 5th resolution on campus/system relations. He also thanked us for our involvement in the search process. It is clear the resolution we drafted informed the presidential search process in meaningful ways. President-elect John Petersen will come to UT knowing our concerns, and that we have a strong and vital system of faculty governance.
- This year we saw the Professional Leave Policy come to fruition. Next year 17 faculty will be able to advance their research/scholarship and creative activity as a result of this program. I am adding two additional torches for this effort. (10 total)
- Implementing a new General Education Policy. Laura Jolly and the Undergraduate Council deserve your praise for their efforts this year. Let?s add two additional torches for this work. (10 total)
- Completing the revision of the Faculty Handbook: This has been a significant undertaking this year. Our Executive Committee and our full Senate held two extra meetings devoted to this task. I am also greatly pleased that Marian Moffett was recognized at the Chancellor?s Honors Banquet last month for her leadership in this effort. I will award a final torch with the expectation that final approval by the UT Board of Trustees will take place at their June meeting. (10 total)
- Our October 20th resolution to extend the non-discrimination policy to include "sexual orientation" was a principled and progressive statement by this body. In November we were joined by the Student Government Association and the Graduate Student Senate. UT is one of only three SEC schools that does not have such a policy. It is now up to the university to honor our position on this issue and catch up with our sister institutions in our conference.
- This year we created the Shared Governance Fund. Thanks to the many faculty and administrators who gave their own money to support this fund. It now has well over $3,000 to support future senate activities. I also hope many will support the fund in the future through payroll deductions.
- We have worked to ensure faculty involvement with the review and redirection of academic programs. On Thursday the task force will meet again to hear proposals from several ad-hoc committees, all of which include significant faculty participation. This is an ongoing process, but it is clear that the principles in our own handbook will be honored and that the Undergraduate and Graduate Councils will need to approve any final curriculum changes.
- The committees of the Faculty Senate have been on task this year. A summary of their activities is included with the packet for this meeting, and has been posted on our web site. The committee reports offer a useful archive for future committees to build on. I am adding two additional torches for this effort. (8 total)
- Between the work we did last year in forming Senate Caucuses, and the work we did this year in reorganizing our committee structure, the Faculty Senate has taken a new form to better serve our mission. As a reminder to Senate Caucuses, a new Caucus Chair should be elected this month.
Of course, our work is never done. I am especially concerned about faculty involvement in the SACS accreditation process. In many departments not enough faculty have been proactively engaged in approving unit goals and the student learning outcomes for each major. The fault lies with administrators and faculty; administrators for sometimes poor communications or not always including faculty, and faculty for not being active when asked to. I hope each of you will push for a high level of participation before our colleagues shift their energies to summer research and teaching activities. If you have comments or concerns about SACS in your department or college, please contact Jim Moran. As this is my last report of the year, I would like to exercise my privilege in taking the bully pulpit. The Living Wage Resolution we passed in March 2001 raised a set of concerns that continues to haunt this institution. Many of would agree that no full-time employee of the university should make a salary that is so low that it qualifies her for public assistance. Unfortunately, this is a reality for hundreds of UT employees. One approach to addressing this would be to implement an equal dollar amount cost of living raise until all low-wage UT employees achieve a living wage. In 2001, in an email response to such a proposal, one Senator quoted an old Armenian/Turkish proverb which states: "Every finger on a hand is not the same size (for a reason)" and advocated that we keep distributing cost of living raises as percentage of base salaries. For me, "across the board" pay increases such as this are inherently flawed. Consider that a 1% raise for an employee making $100,000 results in an additional $1,000. In contrast, a secretary making $15,000 receives a raise of only $150.
To visualize this problem I have made two hands, one of which shows the normal human hand, and the second which shows the hand of UT.
On the normal hand we can see that all digits are of different sizes reasons that make sense. On the hand of UT, we see that there are highly disproportionate differences between (1) a groundskeeper, (2) a secretary, (3) a system administrator, (4) a faculty member, and (5) a UT police officer.
Decades of distributing salary increases using "across the board raises" has resulted in gross income disparities. Ray Hamilton, Executive Director of Budget and Finance estimated in 2001 that if a 2.5% equal raise proposal were implemented each employee at UT would receive $810. I realize that the State Legislature dictates how raises are distributed, but until all full-time employees at UT are making a "living wage", UT should consider an equal dollar amount raise when implementing future cost of living raises. After all, loaf of bread and a gallon of gasoline costs the same for each employee. Despite this one shortcoming on our Senate Scorecard, I appreciate the good work so many of you have done this year. Our accomplishments built on the work of the Faculty Senates that came before us. Likewise, I hope our efforts this year will help to advance the university and the cause of shared governance in the future.
Of course we still have work ahead of us. Two weeks ago UT unveiled a new environmental policy. We need to help shape this policy so that informs our institutional practices. As a land-grant university we have a responsibility to be a good steward of the environment.
This summer the Executive Council of the Faculty will be involved in helping to craft a Diversity Plan for the university. We hope this plan can encompass all aspects of diversity, including race, gender, religion, national origin, veteran, disability status and sexual orientation. I am especially concerned that we look at ways the university can create a family friendly work environment for male and female faculty, staff and students who are parents.
The Faculty Senate has good leadership for the near future. I am sure that Candace White will do an excellent job as our next President. I have worked to involve her in all of my meetings with Chancellor Crabtree since April. I am also pleased that you have elected Deseriee Kennedy to serve as Faculty Senate President in 2005-2006. I look forward to serving as a Senator from the Humanities Caucus during the next three years. On August 1st, I will join your ranks again as a Faculty Senator.
In closing, I would like to express my gratitude to Chancellor Crabtree for the leadership he has provided our campus over the past three years. He has been both pragmatic and principled. Among these principles is his respect for the contributions of faculty to not only to teaching, research and service, but to involving us in guiding the operations of the institution. I speak for many of us who are grateful that he will continue to be our Chancellor beyond this year.
On behalf of the Faculty Senate in Knoxville, I appreciate the opportunity to welcome you this morning. We hope your meetings yesterday and today are productive.
The past year has certainly been memorable for all members of the UT community. Much has happened since August when our former president resigned. As an educator, I suggest we look to the past year as an opportunity for learning. Some might claim they have learned about self-interest, deception and greed. I would prefer to draw positive lessons from our experiences. We have been reminded that Joe Johnson is truly devoted to this university. We have learned that an open presidential search can attract qualified candidates. We have affirmed the value of involving faculty, administrators, staff, alumni and students in the presidential search process. We have been reminded that faculty can be a vital source of information on the candidates through our colleagues at other institutions. Each of us has a deeper appreciation of the role of the university president as a result of our open search process. Likewise, as a result of the search process, President-Elect Petersen would tell you he has a deeper appreciation of the strengths and challenges that face the University of Tennessee. We have also been reminded of the value of working together towards a common goal. I commend you for including all of the members of the UT family in this journey. May this be a model for us when we conduct our next presidential search a decade or more from now.
This year we also came close to losing Chancellor Loren Crabtree to another institution. We are all grateful that his position against firearms on university campuses is firm. He has been a stabilizing force here the past three years, and we know his continued presence in Knoxville will be an asset for President Petersen.
My experience as Faculty Senate President this year has been rewarding. Our major task has been updating the Faculty Handbook, part of which awaits your approval today. When completed, this handbook will replace existing handbooks from UT Knoxville, the UT Institute of Agriculture, and the UT Space Institute. The drafting of this handbook took almost three years and involved faculty and administrators. It has been a model of shared governance.
Our other accomplishments this year included the implementation of a new Professional Leave Policy, approving a new General Education Policy, and working to ensure faculty involvement with the review and redirection of academic programs. This year we also created a Shared Governance Fund to give the Faculty Senate greater financial autonomy. Should any of you wish to donate to this fund, please talk to Vice-Chancellor Linda Davidson or me.
We also joined the Student Government Association and the Graduate Student Senate in approving a resolution to expand our non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation. Today 9 of the 12 SEC schools have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation, as well as four universities in the Tennessee Regents System. We are hopeful that this change can take place at the campus level throughout the UT system.
We have also reduced the total number of committees of the Faculty Senate while creating two new committees. One of these is our new Information Technology Committee. As UT‚s Information Technology budget has grown to better serve our research, teaching and administrative needs, it is imperative that we have input into our IT policies and operations. Our recent problems with Novell‚s GroupWise have been a source of frustration for many of us. There are important policy challenges ahead, including our need to balance the privacy needs of faculty, especially in fields such as law and medicine, with the need for system security. We are grateful to Brice Bible in striving to involve faculty in setting IT policy and budgetary priorities.
Last October when I addressed you I expressed concern that hundreds of our lowest paid full-time UT staff fall below Federal Poverty guidelines making them eligible for public assistance. While we still have progress to make, I am grateful to the Chancellors for their proposal that all employees with salaries of $25,000 and less will receive a cost of living raise of $750. I hope we will continue to endeavor to lift the wages of the lowest paid members of the UT family.
Today you will consider a budget that includes a sizeable reduction in research funding. This follows research cuts of a similar magnitude from last year. Despite the lack of promised state support, UTK, the Institute of Agriculture and The UT Health Sciences are all working to maintain the Research Centers of Excellence. With years of diminished support for instruction, facilities and operations, we have no place to cut but research. Research funding is our seed corn. Those of you in business know one needs to spend money to make money. In cutting research, we risk our ability to generate new sponsored research, maintain a high-quality faculty, limit opportunities for graduate students and limit the university‚s capacity as an economic engine. I encourage President-Elect Petersen to work to strengthen research support in the budget you consider next summer.
The progress of the Faculty Senate this year was built on the work of my predecessors, including Mike Combs and Katherine Greenberg and will continue in the future through the efforts of colleagues such as Candace White. Beginning on August 1, Candace White, Associate Professor of Advertising and Public Relations will be the President of the UTK Faculty Senate. Please join me in congratulating her.
In a few weeks you will all receive an invitation from Professor White to attend the Faculty Senate Retreat here in Knoxville, Friday September 24th. This will be Homecoming Weekend, so we hope many of you will be in town. We are devoting our last session at the retreat to a "Dialogue with the Trustees." I am confident that Professor White will be an effective advocate for the academic mission of our university. I hope you will get a chance to meet with her, as she will be here throughout the day.
Thank you again for giving me an opportunity to address you this morning.
This will be my last meeting with you as Faculty Senate President. I have asked Chancellor Crabtree for a few minutes to thank you for generously including me in your work this year, and to offer a few thoughts as you look forward.
Some have asked me if I have enjoyed the past year. Certainly my attire has changed, as I am usually to be found wearing an ink-soiled apron and sporting a pencil tucked behind my ear. I told one colleague that sometimes I have felt like faculty member who has been imbedded in an administrative setting -- but then I hope most of you feel this way as well. While it has been both a pleasure and an honor to facilitate the work of the Faculty Senate this year, I have had limited time for studio work, scholarship and teaching. With an excellent group of new graduate students in printmaking coming into the School of Art this fall, I am looking forward to devoting more time to these activities in the upcoming year. I know the Senate will be in good hands with incoming President Candace White, and I am sure you will make her feel a valued member of this council.
I am grateful for the input you have given to the new Faculty Handbook this year. It has been reassuring that on most issues, you share many of the same values as the faculty; a commitment to academic freedom, the importance of faculty in overseeing the curriculum, empowering department bylaws, and rights to due process when grievances arise. Chapter Four of the handbook was approved by the Trustees last month and I'm told that Chapter 7 on Compensated Outside Activities will go to the Trustees soon. The rest of the document will not require approval from the Trustees and is currently receiving final review by the Chancellor and the General Counsel's office. We are very close to the finish line.
I hope you agree that an efficient, hard-working Faculty Senate serves our institutional goals. I encourage you to make a point of letting Faculty Senators from your colleges know that you value their efforts. This year we implemented a new Professional Leave Policy, approved a new General Education Policy, and worked to ensure faculty involvement with the review and redirection of academic programs.
Our Review and Redirection effort has been a work in progress. The fundamental criteria for judging programs is sound, but quality and centrality of research, teaching and service are difficult to measure. As a member of this task force, I thought about an article UTK Chemistry Professor Jeff Kovac wrote in the Fall/Winter 2002 issue of Soundings: An Interdiscipinary Journal titled "Gifts and Commodities in Science." Kovac's article is based on Lewis Hyde's seminal 1983 book The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property in which he positions the work of art as part of two economies; a gift economy and a market economy. The two economies may be understood as the difference between "worth" (in a gift economy) and "value" (in a market economy). Hyde asserts that only the gift economy is essential, claiming that a work of art can survive without the market, but where there is no gift, there is no art.
Kovac addresses some of the ethical questions that stem from our increasing commodification of scientific knowledge. He makes the argument that science is increasingly motivated by a market economy, and seldom contributes in meaningful ways to fundamental scientific knowledge. He asserts that funded scientific research today is being dominated by the science of application rather than the science of discovery. We see this in the kinds of research private corporations fund, resulting in pressure on university scientists to patent and commercialize the results of their research. As this is happening, the work of science shifts from an open culture, with the free exchange of ideas to a culture of secretive independent research. Kovac argues the quest for fundamental understanding in science suffers as a result.
I raise this issue not to undermine our efforts at review and redirection, but to call our attention to the risks inherent in the enterprise. While Ray Hamilton and Denise Barlow have been valuable members of the task force, quantitative assessment of value can not substitute for academic assessment of worth, which are at the heart of this task.
This year we also initiated Shared Governance Fund. I appreciate the donations several of you have made to this fund.
As an interloper to the council this year, I hope you will allow me to offer a few observations. You have a healthy dynamic as a group, and I am impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment that many of you have for the activities of your faculty, staff and students. I encourage you to cultivate a stronger spirit of collaboration between your colleges and to demonstrate a commitment to broad university initiatives. Several of you are involved in the Life of the Mind Program, and I encourage more of you to do so. By leading a book discussion you will gain an understanding of our incoming freshman class, and you will set a positive example for faculty members in your college.
1. COMMUNICATIONCommunication, is, and will continue to be a significant challenge for us. Over 400 faculty completed the Faculty Senate Communication Survey last fall. It shows that too often faculty are not getting the information they need to foster trust in the administration or to be effectively engaged in governance. This year I have encouraged Chancellor Crabtree to play a more active role in campus communications by issuing periodic letters to our campus community. While he seems to prefer leading from the back of the room, faculty need to hear more about the initiatives and issues that face us as a campus. Too often, an assumption has been made that announcements at meetings of this council or to the Faculty Senate, posted through the DDH list, or listed on @Tennessee are getting through. While college and division list-servers are one tool to involve faculty in Senate related matters, the communication survey shows that we need do a better job of campus communications on all levels. When we have had problems with our review and redirection process, it can be attributed to poor communication.2. THE BUDGET PROCESS
We should also be aware that communication takes many forms. A female faculty member told me this year that male administrators she has encountered tend not to shake her hand, while not hesitating to shake hands with her male colleagues. At a time when so many of our interactions take place in the virtual realm of email, when we are in each others presence we need to pay particular attention to making connections that communicate mutual respect and our common human connection.Our campus budget hearing process has improved, although it suffers from systemic uncertainty that results from a dysfunctional legislative and THEC budgeting process. It is absurd that it is not until June when we set our budget for the next fiscal year. The campus process also suffers from a level of fragmentation that results from colleges that function as fiscal islands. Each of you needs to make an effort to attend all of the hearings next spring, and I encourage the Chancellor to build a retreat for the deans into the budget planning process. Greater sharing of budgetary information has the potential to foster greater collaborative research, teaching and service between the colleges. A well-designed budget process could help to achieve this.3. SPOUSAL-PARTNER HIRING GUIDELINES
At a previous Faculty Senate Retreat a majority of the faculty said they would forego a raise to preserve faculty lines and operating budgets. Faced with annual budget reductions, departments have consistently cut into already small operating budgets. I hope you will work to address this situation in the budget planning process next year.This summer I drafted a short position paper on our need for spousal/partner hiring guidelines. Yesterday I emailed a draft of this paper along with some comments from John Zomchick, Head of the English Department. In several cases we are engaged in the practice of spousal hiring, but guidelines are needed to help faculty and administrators in recognizing the advantages and perils of this practice. As the Chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee next year, I hope we can work with the Office of Equity and Diversity and the Office of Human Resources to develop a policy all of us can endorse. Just having the conversation about this issue will help both administrators and faculty.4. DEPARTMENT HEAD EVALUATIONSAs most of you know, last year I worked with Clif Woods to form an ad hoc committee to develop an improved evaluation form for department heads. As our new handbook calls for increased faculty involvement in the evaluation and reappointment of department heads, a better form of annual evaluation is needed. We have tried to develop a form that helps faculty feel invested in the success of their department head. This form was used in a pilot study with six heads in the College of Arts and Sciences this spring. We will hold a meeting next month with those heads to get additional feedback from them. I hope a new form can be endorsed by the Faculty Senate and this council for use next spring.5. SEXUAL ORIENTATIONDuring the past year I had the opportunity to meet with Chancellor Crabtree every 2-3 weeks to discuss issues of concern. At our first meeting last August, I raised the issue of sexual orientation and our non-discrimination policy. The topic has been on the agenda of every meeting we have held since then.Thank you.
Chancellor Crabtree encouraged me not to preach to you on this subject, asserting that we are all of one mind on this issue. However, preaching is a good thing if it motivates use our positions of authority to create a world that is more just.
I am pleased that the College of Law and College of Social Work have mission statements that include a policy of non-discrimination regarding sexual orientation. Last fall the Faculty Senate, the Student Government Association and the Graduate Student Senate all passed resolutions in support of the inclusion of sexual orientation in the University's non-discrimination policy. Chancellor Crabtree patiently worked with President Johnson and the General Counsel's Office to implement such a change under the good faith belief that they supported the initiative. While it appears that state law prevents us from offering partner benefits at this time, we can at least take the first step by affirming that we value gay and lesbian members of the university community. The Chancellors on the other UT campuses also expressed support for such a policy change. In the end, the system, and I mean the "System" failed us.
I would like to recognize two distinguished colleagues so each may briefly speak to this issue. Ken Walker is a retired Professor of Geology, a former Director of our campus Research Office and was Faculty Senate President in 1982-83. Elizabeth Sutherland is an Associate Professor of Classics and was the Chair of the Research Council last year.
(Ken and Elizabeth made brief statements in support of a policy change)
I have also received a written statement from R.J. Hinde, an Associate Professor of Chemistry. He could not be with us today as he is attending a national conference.
"The University of Tennessee, like all modern universities, plays several roles in society. Among these roles, however, two stand out as central to the mission and identity of a university. All universities aspire to serve both as museums for the preservation and transmission of existing knowledge, and as factories for the creation of new knowledge.
How do we decide what new ideas deserve to be preserved and transmitted to future generations? We test ideas on their merits. Those ideas that survive this test gradually become incorporated into the body of knowledge that we pass on to students and use to explain and understand the world in which we live.
Universities only work when we agree -- as a community of teachers, learners, and scholars -- to judge ideas solely on their merits. This in turn demands that we evaluate our performance as teachers, learners, and scholars based solely on our own merit and not on extraneous factors that have no impact on our performance. By adopting a policy that protects lesbian and gay members of the University community from discrimination based on their sexual orientation, we can move one step closer to this ideal.
Adopting such a policy would also send a strong message to others that the University of Tennessee is an institution where not only people, but also ideas, are judged on their merits. As more and more public and private universities adopt nondiscrimination policies that protect lesbian and gay students, staff, and faculty, those universities who fail or refuse to adopt such policies will become ever more conspicuous as institutions where people are evaluated based on factors other than merit. We might then wonder, if these institutions do not judge even their own community members based on merit, just what criteria they use to evaluate new ideas?
Adopting a nondiscrimination policy that protects lesbian and gay members of the University community is the right thing to do, not only because it protects individuals, but also because it protects the identity of the University as a university -- an institution where the creation and preservation of knowledge is cherished and people are valued based on their contributions to this effort."
A lesbian colleague and member of the Faculty Senate whom I asked to speak today to this issue declined to do so. She fears being judged as a person if she speaks out on this issue, not based on the worth of her scholarship. Her response offers further justification for the need for a policy change.
Regardless of where President Petersen stands on this issue, Loren, I encourage you to implement this policy change for our campus. We are grateful for your renewed commitment to UTK, and as I remarked during my address to the Trustees last month, we are also grateful your commitment against firearms on university campuses. I wish you success in advancing this institution. We have worked together to assert campus autonomy. Tour non-discrimination policy is one example of where you can to exercise it.