Faculty Senate
Vol. 37, No. 7
November 21, 2002


I.  Roll Call.

Present:  Barmore, Barnd, Beck, Brooks, Cravins, Dixon, Gendreau, Gibson, Hoar, Kelly, Krajewski, Majak, Nelson, A., Nelson, L. Poulton, Ragan, Senger, Taylor, Tyser, Wingate.

Excused:  Hollenback, Kernozek, Vandenberg-Daves, Zellmer.

II.  Approval of Minutes.

The minutes of the October 24, 2002, meeting, were approved as corrected:  the last vote count on p. 5 should read: 15-yes, 2-no, 2-abstain.   The minutes of the November 7, 2002, meeting, were approved as corrected: change nearly $70M to read over $2M on p. 1.

III.  Reports.

Chair Senger reported that after the Chancellor’s appointments (Richard Swantz and Charles Martin-Stanley) to the Search/Screen Committee for the Dean of HPERTE, the faculty no longer was in the majority.  The SEC chose two additional faculty (Nancy Navar and Becky LeDocq) to serve on the committee.

The Chancellor’s staff and governance chairs met this past week on issues related to the budgeting process.  The group spent about an hour in discussion and developed the following draft list of general principles for rescission: 

  • Model should include multiple scenarios.
  • No across the board cuts.
  • Avoid “nickel and diming.”
  • View the exercise from a campus perspective.
  • Recognize our role as a “team” player with UW System.  We need to let people know the issues.
  • Sacrifice “short-term” pain for “long-term” gain.
  • Communicate regularly with constituents.
  • Dispel rumors.
  • Expect to become advocates for higher education.
  • Look at each vacancy from the perspective, “what will be the return on investment?”  Continue to invest in quality.
  • To the extent possible, we need to continue “business as usual.”
  • Look for revenue possibilities.

The SEC believes it is vital to engage in such discussions and is appreciative of the Chancellor for forming this group.

There were no further reports.

The agenda was temporarily reordered.

V.  Reorganization of the Medical Laboratory Science (MLS) Program.

Bruce Osterby, Chair of the Academic Planning Committee (APC), presented the committee’s recommendation to approve the restructuring plan of the reorganization of the MLS Program.  By way of review, Osterby reported that last year the MLS program on campus was suspended.  This was due to budgetary concerns in the College of SAH as well as low enrollments in the MLS program.  At that time, the APC and the Faculty Senate supported suspension of the program.  Approval to suspend the program was done with the understanding that the College would return to APC with a restructuring plan or eliminate the program.

Mike Nelson, Dean of SAH, and Karen Palmer-McLean, who is currently serving as director of the program, reported that due to new recruitment efforts, they expect to have the largest entering class since the program’s inception.  In addition to changing the name to Clinical Laboratory Science, the College is examining the possibility of moving the program to the Department of Microbiology.  It is also anticipated that the costs associated with running the program will decrease, in part because of a pass-through fee for services provided by hospitals.

M/S/P to approve the Medical Laboratory Science Program restructuring plan with the understanding that the College of Science & Allied Health will provide a progress report in two years.  (unanimous voice vote)

IV.  Recommendation on Outside Activities Statement.

Chancellor Hastad charged the Ethics Advisory Committee, chaired by Gwyneth Straker,, to improve the accuracy of reporting outside activities by drafting a set of guidelines.  The Statement Regarding Outside Activities:  Describes outside activities from an ethical perspective; suggests a need for unclassified staff to seek approval before the outside activity has occurred; gives the authority for approval to Deans to determine what constitutes a conflict of interest; and may stimulate campus dialogue on the subject so that a greater understanding of this issue may occur.  The Statement does not offer a list of activities considered acceptable or unacceptable as outside activities.  Such a list already exists in Chapter 8…  The statement establishes a policy for prior approval.  Prior approval will allow Deans to make decisions based upon the amount of time spent on outside activities, when the time spent occurs and the amount of remuneration the activity receives.

The committee offers the following observations and recommendations: 

  • Create a convenient mechanism for prior reporting:  Prior approval is dependent upon prior reporting yet UWS reporting form 8.025 does not require the dean’s signature until after the activity has transpired.  The committee recommends a convenient mechanism be created for prior reporting of any activity that might create a conflict of interest.  Prior reporting may be linked with the UW-L campus absence form or a separate form may be constructed.
  • UWS forms:  Anecdotal information suggests some confusion exists regarding UWS reporting form 8.025.  An internal audit conducted by UWS in March 2000 on outside activity reporting identified that the reporting forms may not generate all of the information needed to make responsible decisions regarding reported outside activities.  The report states some activities that do not require reporting may have a potential for conflict while some required reporting of activities may pose low risks for conflict.  The report further states that when time is spent on an outside activity is significant as well as how much time is spent.  Finally, the report suggests that deans would benefit from knowing exactly how much unclassified staff is being remunerated rather than simply whether they receive greater or less than $5000.  UW-L does not have the authority to alter the UWS reporting forms.  It may however find it useful to collect different information when asking unclassified staff to seek prior approval.
  • Campus monitoring:  There is no mechanism in place for UW-L to monitor the nature of outside activity involvement by unclassified staff.  It would be beneficial if the campus had aggregate data on the reporting of outside activities such as the percentage of returned forms, profiles on the types of activities reported as well as the degree of involvement.
  • Campus education:  Accurate reporting can be facilitated by providing chairs and new unclassified staff with information on the intent of Chapter 8 of the UWS Administrative Code and UW-L’s Statement on Outside Activities.  Chair workshops and new faculty orientation may be two mechanisms for conveying this information.  During these guided discussions, the role of the Ethics Advisory Committee could be introduced.  The committee is intended to be a resource for unclassified staff prior to making decisions regarding involvement in an outside activity.  Their role is strictly advisory and should be promoted as such.

The Senate Executive Committee has concerns of whether or not potential abuses or past abuses are significant enough to warrant this process.  The main impact with respect to abusing outside activities, fall on departments and workload issues.

The Ethics Advisory Committee is not super-imposing any standards that are not listed in Chapter 8.  The committee wants to have a conversation – talk it over with the Chair – talk it over with the Dean to make sure everyone is in agreement – its about perceived trust.

M/S/P to table. (voice vote)

VI.  Suggested By-law Change on the Research & Grants Committee.

The Research & Grants Committee recommends the following change to the membership paragraph of the by-laws:

Membership of the committee shall consist of the provost/vice chancellor (or representative designated by the provost/vice chancellor) and eleven faculty members.  Faculty and academic staff with faculty status who submit research proposals during a given year shall not be members of the committee during that year.  The coordinator of gifts and grants shall serve as an administrative consultant to the committee for grants advisory purposes.  The committee shall elect its chairperson.

M/S/P to amend by changing parenthetical phrase (or to his/her designated representative).

This constitutes a first reading.

VII.  Assignment and Reporting of Grades.

Last Spring the CAPS Committee engaged in vigorous discussion over a proposal to change the way grades are reported on a student’s transcript.  Over the summer, the SEC met with proponents of the change, as well as those with differing views, and decided to look into issue further.  Position papers written by Jac Bulk and Aaron Monte, Bob Bilby, and Laura Nelson regarding the grade inflation issue at UW-La Crosse have been distributed for discussion and consideration.  In addition, a chart prepared by Chair Senger illustrating the current variation in grade distributions for large enrollment general education courses, was distributed.                   

The discussion involved many different facets of grading and evaluating students. Some senators noted that there the policies that we have in place do not define what each grade should represent and, in fact, the policies for different departments may tend to imply different meanings. Others felt that different meanings were not as problematic when comparing different departments, but that they can cause real problems when they are used within a department (or two sections of the same course). There was a discussion of grading within majors vs. grading in general education courses, and it was generally agreed that the departments have the primary say within majors, and that the discussion would center (primarily) on the general education courses (courses where departments and colleges “share” students). There was some discussion as to whether there was any problem. The increasing general education gpa (more than 5% in as many years) indicates that while there may be nothing wrong with it (most implied that there was), the grades were increasing. There was a discussion of the “increasing quality of students” followed by a discussion of the need to match the curriculum to the audience. 

Senger summarized:  All interested in students motivated to study disciplines that we hold dear.  Concerned about wide variance on general education.  Nelson recommendations are a good step forward.  Freshmen orientation is a good opportunity to emphasize testing out options. 

Continue discussion at next meeting. 

VIII.  Old Business.

IX.  New Business. 

X.  Adjournment.

The meeting adjourned at 5:05 p.m.

Submitted by
Robert Hoar, Secretary