MINUTES OF SPECIAL MEETING OF THE SENATE
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE
May 18, 1970
A special meeting of the Senate of the University of Tennessee was held in the Shiloh Room of the University Center on May 18, 1970, at 3:15 p.m. The meeting was called to discuss the subject of University governance. Mr. Silverman, Chairman, called the meeting to order and introduced Mr. Hardy Liston, Jr., who will come to the University of Tennessee as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs on July 1.
Mr. Silverman then announced that several members of the University community had been asked to make brief statements to set the stage for a discussion of the general questions of governance at all levels of the University, and he introduced the first speaker, Mr. Allen Keally, former Secretary of the Senate, and Head of Industrial Management department.
Mr. Keally began his statement with quotations from Chancellor Weaver's inaugural address before the Senate two years ago, as follows: (1) "This administration intends to furnish all members of the University community every possible opportunity to help formulate and criticize plans for the future." (2) "The faculty is the University, and the students are the reason for its existence." (3) "The administration exists to provide the best possible environment, both material and intellectual, for the individual faculty member." (4) "1 want to make it perfectly clear that the administration must have final word on completely administrative matters; the faculty should have final say in matters pertaining to their involvement in the University." Mr. Keally said these statements raise the question of what are completely administrative matters and who decides them; what are matters in which the faculty should have the final say and who decides this; are there decisions made of a kind which can best be made jointly, and who decides this. He expressed the opinion that the University is really an assemblage of persons--administrators, faculty, students, and all employees--and that the problem is essentially one of the division of authority and responsibilities. He suggested that decisions to be made might be placed in five categories: (1) completely administrative matters such as receiving and disbursing of funds, purchasing, and salary determinations for non-faculty personnel; (2) co-determined matters, such as selection of administrative officers; (3) matters decided by the administration only after faculty consultation and recommendation, which might include priorities for the University budget and response to threatened campus violence; (4) matters decided by the Senate, such as general educational policy of the University, criteria for faculty appointments and promotions, admission, retention, and graduation; (5) matters for individual faculty determination such as the right to choose the kind of research they want to do, course design, and scheduling examinations. In case of disagreement on where authority for decision rested, a panel of experts might be used to make a recommendation. Mr. Keally suggested strengthening the right of appeal of disputed administrative decisions all the way to the Board of Trustees.
Mr. Homer Johnson was the next speaker. His discussion dealt primarily with faculty governance at the departmental level, and he stressed the importance of keeping open the lines of communication between all faculty members.
After identifying himself as a "lame duck," Mr. Gary Crawford discussed student participation in University governance. He expressed the hope that his views reflected the ideas of both the outgoing and incoming Student Government Association officers. He stated that students who are concerned about the governance of the University have been pleased to see growing concern on the part of the faculty with how the University is governed and have been interested in proposals for reorganization of the Senate. In Mr. Crawford's opinion, the body either has to be a Faculty Senate composed of those who teach and do research or a University Senate with student representatives as well as administrators. He further stated that if the faculty wants to be involved in the area of student affairs, students will want to become involved in academic affairs. With reference to Dr. Weaver's speech as quoted by Mr. Keally, Mr. Crawford said he felt it should have included a statement to the effect that students should have final say on purely student affairs such as dorm curfews. He then pointed out the difficulty of determining what particular areas are the particular concern of a certain element in the University since all segments of the University community have an interdependence, and governance should be a community.
Mr. Hilton Smith's remarks were entitled "An Administrator Looks at Governance." He said he appeared with some concern, representing the unpopular segment of the University. Mr. Smith suggested that the University might be divided into five groups--students, faculty, administration, trustees, and the public--and that all of these groups have a great stake in the institution and have definite reasons for existence. He said the University exists primarily for the students; the faculty exists for the purpose of educating the students, and the administration exists as servants to allow the faculty to provide an ample education for the students. The public is the prime mover of the University, because it demands that there be a university. The Board of Trustees represents the public to assure that the University is that which the public demands and that to which the public has a right. Mr. Smith stated he would rather talk about responsibility than about power and governance because he thinks each segment of the University has a search for responsibility rather than a search for power. Since the Senate is primarily a faculty body, Mr. Smith said he would speak primarily about faculty responsibility. The faculty has responsibility for all academic matters--policies on programs, courses to be offered, and grading. The administration administers the policies set by those to whom it is responsible. He said that if the faculty gets into the place of administration, it no longer fulfills its function as a faculty. Mr. Smith stated there is overlapping, of course, in the five groups listed; and because of this overlapping, it is difficult to draw lines between the areas of responsibility, and there is need for understanding between the groups so they can all be responsible in their tasks. As a state university and Land Grant institution, the University of Tennessee has the additional responsibilities of research and public service. Mr. Smith said that instruction, research, and public service are not mutually exclusive, but the prime responsibility of faculty lies in academic affairs.
Mr. LeRoy Graf discussed the history of the University Senate. Prior to the organization of the Senate twenty years ago, the University had an annual faculty meeting at which action previously taken by individual faculties was ratified with virtually no opportunity for raising questions. He said the Senate did not come easily, and its organization was considered a great step forward. At the beginning, the Senate considered the usual topics that concerned the faculty; but it soon moved into new areas such as faculty fringe benefits. Originally, the membership of the Senate included both faculty and administration; and this provided an opportunity to get information from the administration. The President or his representative was the presiding officer of the Senate at that time, and the Secretary of the Senate was regarded as the protector of faculty interests. In the past five years, there have been additions of unrepresented groups and redistribution of seats to rectify under-representation of Liberal Arts, Education, and Business Administration. There have also been revisions in the committee structure during recent years. Mr. Graf stated that the Senate has been as effective or ineffective as the members and that is only as good as its committees, and he expressed the opinion that impartiality on the part of the presiding officer is more important than his being a faculty member. Since the administration also has a stake in the working and well-being of the University community, the faculty should not try to polarize the faculty; and the Senate must be concerned with the total welfare of the University--faculty, students, and administrators. Mr. Graf expressed the opinion that the ideal Senate member combines conviction with reasonableness and has the ability to speak, and willingness to listen, a concern for his own college and program, and a sincere devotion to the University as a whole.
Mr. Ohmer Milton spoke on alternative models of faculty organization. According to a report by the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges which was issued in November, 1969, there are three emerging models for academic governance, as follows: (1) the academic community, (2) independent constituency, and (3) city council. The report states that several schools are trying these models, but Mr. Milton said he was unable to find supporting evidence on this. The academic community, or town hall, means participation by all interested groups in the decision-making process. This model is a very unwieldy one in an institution the size of U.T. It assumes that the various groups that wish to participate are informed about the many complex issues. An especially good analysis of this model has been made by Professor Ross Mooney of Ohio State, "The Problem of Leadership in the University," Harvard Educational Review, 1963. In the independent constituency each conflicting group on the campus--non-academic, faculty, students--is separately organized and deals entirely with its problems and deals separately with the administration and governing body. One problem encountered in this model is the lack of clear-cut boundaries around the special problems and concerns of each group. In the city council model, each group participates in electing all leaders, including the board of control. In the case of U.T., this would mean electing the Board of Trustees. There are advisory committees at all levels of administration so that the various constituencies can participate in the policy formation. An immediate problem of this model at U.T. would be the Board of Trustees, which is the legally constituted governing body of the University.
Mr. Milton said a final emerging model is the cluster college, which comes back to the community, or town hall, model. The cluster college has come into being primarily because of curricular matters, but it also has implications for governance. The basic idea of the cluster college, or living-learning unit, is that the large institution is broken up into several small units. This gives the advantage of small groups but enables the institution to pool expensive resources such as library facilities. Individual units in universities which are using this system vary in size from 200 to 1000 students with supporting faculty and an administrator. Dr. Milton expressed the opinion that the cluster college seems to be an effort to make the town hall model work in a large institution. The best known cluster college is Santa Cruz, California. A new book discussing the cluster college is The Cluster College by Jerry Gaff.
Mr. Charles Patterson spoke on the subject "Coordinating the University Constituencies." Mr. Patterson was a member of the By-Laws Subcommittee of the Advisory Council to the Chairman of the University Senate, a subcommittee which reviewed the role of the Senate in University governance. The subcommittee began its work with a consideration of the present composition of the Senate and the question of whether the student role should be increased. He stated that the subcommittee immediately ran into the question of what should be the student role and what size representation should be given to the student body in the University Senate. This consideration led to an interest in faculty power; and Mr. Patterson prepared a proposal for an all-faculty senate and in the process realized that there would be a need for a coordinating group where faculty would meet with administrators and with students. The committee developed a tri-partite proposal--a student senate, a faculty senate, and a small University council where several administrators (Chancellor and Vice Chancellors) would meet regularly with the elected presiding officer of the faculty senate, several faculty counselors elected from the faculty senate, and with representation from the student senate. This proposal led to debate on how to decide exactly who was a faculty member since there was some overlap between teaching faculty and administration. The report sent by the subcommittee to the Advisory Council recommended that essentially the present arrangement of the University Senate be changed to consist of a smaller number of administrators than the present 24, with an elected presiding officer in place of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs. It was recommended that the presiding officer be given staff assistance and a reduction of teaching load so that he could fulfill his role as presiding officer for a one-year term in an effective manner. It was also recommended that a University Council be established. This council would be a small group composed of administrators, officers of the Student Government Association, and the Advisory Council of the Faculty Senate. This suggested plan was a compromise worked out after three months of discussion by the subcommittee.
Mr. Patterson said there are presently three trends regarding university governance in the United States. First, there is a general trend toward finding new structural forms for expressing opinion. There has been a tendency to bring in representatives of groups that hitherto have not been represented in university decision making, particularly students and junior faculty. Second, there is a trend toward more visible decision making. Third, most schools have retained separate faculty-student government structures. There is very little evidence of a trend in the direction of unicameral bodies.
Mr. Patterson said it seemed to him that the question before the Senate at this time is how to restructure the existing University Senate so that its role and power are more clearly defined than in the past and its work is given greater degrees of visibility and that a similar process needs to be undertaken with the Student Government Association on this campus rather than trying to merge the two. One of the major problems confronting the University now is to develop better systems of University governance through which to determine what the University can do best, how its resources are to be allocated, and what strategy is to be employed in dealing with the diverse interests in the University. Mr. Patterson feels there is need for a bargaining and negotiating board of some kind. He expressed the opinion that the faculty council recently formed by President-Elect Boling lacks an aura of legitimacy with much of the faculty and student body, even though the members are able, because it is appointed from above rather than being elected from below.
The meeting was then opened for discussion and questions.
In response to Mr. Tipton's question as to when he became interested in University governance, Mr. Gary Crawford said he became interested in the subject when he read "Hill Topics" as a freshman and discovered there was no way to change any of the rules set out in the student handbook.
Addressing his question to Mr. Smith, Mr. Norman asked what the relationship of faculty and administration was in setting priorities on programs. Mr. Smith expressed the opinion that the faculty has the prime responsibility for setting these priorities through the budgetary process and then on items not within a department or college, faculty have been involved in the decisions through committees. While most new programs are faculty-originated, there are times when the administration may see a need and establish a program after discussion with faculty.
Mr. Reddick expressed the opinion that some framework should be set up for continuing the kind of discussion being carried on in this Senate meeting and that there should be more student participation. He said he sensed a lack of feeling of the University community and that separate units can be destructive.
Mr. Bean asked what should be the faculty's responsibility in budgetary matters that are not departmental and used for an example the suggestion that faculty salaries be cut in order to finance the elimination of the U.T. smokestack problem. Verplanck, in reply, expressed the opinion that faculty and students must be prepared to work and make an effort to participate in University policy making. He then made a motion:
that the University Senate include as fully voting members 25 students, undergraduate and graduate, to be selected by some means consistent with the elective processes of this country.
Mr. Tipton seconded the motion. Mr. Graf spoke against the motion, stating he is not in sympathy with the method suggested to increase the student representation on the Senate. Mr. Tipton spoke in favor of the motion and said he thinks the Senate must have an effective body of students in its membership or it is not a University senate. Mr. Gary Crawford suggested that the Senate make a commitment now to put students on the Senate and then decide later how to do it. Mr. Robinson spoke against the motion, stating that he felt the motion suggests a major change in the organization of the Senate without study.
Mr. Verplanck then suggested that he would withdraw his motion and restate it to move that the University Senate accepts in principle the proposition that the student body shall be adequately represented in more than a token way and that it will refer immediately to the Student Government Association the job of determining the recommending to the University Senate both the number and method of selection of the students to join the Senate.
Mr. Marius spoke against Mr. Verplanck's original motion, stating he did not feel the Senate could solve the problem of student representation on the Senate in one afternoon; and he also expressed the opinion that if students come into the Senate in large numbers, the faculty will then have to organize a body to have a place to discuss faculty interests.
Mr. Pollio spoke in favor of having a University Senate including all segments of the University community and suggested that the number of students on the Senate should equal the number of administrators, that pass-fail credit could be given to students participating in University governance, and that the teaching load of faculty should reflect the time spent on governance.
Mr. Nordsieck stated that he would like to make a substitute motion to refer to the By-Laws Committee the matter of restructuring the Senate with the request that it make a report as soon as reasonable and feasible. Mr. Silverman suggested that the Senate could instruct the Advisory Council to extract from the report made by the By-Laws Committee that portion dealing with the composition of the University Senate and bring it to the Senate as a separate report at the next Senate meeting, which will be on June 29.
After further discussion, Mr. Verplanck made a substitute motion
that the University Senate accepts in principle the proposition that the student body, undergraduate and graduate, should be adequately represented on the University Senate; and second, that the Student Government Association is requested to provide the Senate with its views on the number of students who should be members of the Senate and the means whereby they will be selected; and third, that the existing committee report to the Senate at the same meeting that the S.G.A. does its views on the composition of a University Senate.
Mr. Bean seconded the motion.
Mr. Charles Patterson and Mr. Robinson spoke against the motion. Mr. Nordsieck then suggested a substitute motion that the Senate instruct the Advisory Council to bring before the Senate its recommendation on the composition of the University Senate with special regard to student representation in the University Senate.
Mr. Bean stated he would favor the substitute motion if a special meeting could be called in the near future, and Mr. Milliken requested that the report of the ByLaws Committee to the Advisory Council be distributed to members of the Senate three or four days before the meeting. The motion was amended, upon motion of Mr. Bean, seconded by Mr. Fryer, to read as follows:
That the Senate instruct the Advisory Council to bring before the Senate its recommendation on the composition of the University Senate with special regard to student representation in the University Senate, and that a special meeting be held on June 1, and that the Advisory Council be requested to submit its report to the Senate four days in advance.
The amendment and the substitute motion as amended were then passed by voice vote.
The meeting adjourned at 5:50 p.m.
George A. Wagoner
To offer suggestions or comments about this web site, please click here.