Minutes of the Faculty Senate

3:30 p.m. – March 26, 2009

Robert C. Voight Faculty Senate Chambers

325 Graff Main Hall


I. Roll Call.

Present: R. Ahmed, J. Anderson, S. Brokaw, D. Buffton, V. Crank, S. Crutchfield, L. Dickmeyer, T. Gendreau, J. Heim, : J. Holman, D. Hoskins, R. LeDocq, A. Loh, C. Miller, P. Miller, B. Riley, S. Shillinger, D. Sullivan, B. Udermann, B. Van Voorhis

Excused: M. Abler, G. Cravins, J. Miskowski, A. Olson

 

II.         Minutes of the Senate meeting of March 5, 2009 were approved with corrections.

 

III.       Reports.

 

            A.        Chair’s Report

            Bids for “Centennial Hall” are coming in and may affect the amount of money for technology in the building. 

            The state budget has resulted in a number of layoffs on this campus.  Two handouts were presented on the Auxiliary Fund raid for statewide financial aid: one, a copy of a letter from the Student Association to Sen. Kapanke on the negative impacts of such a use of the Auxiliary Fund; the other, a copy of the 2009-11 Biennial Budget Fact Sheet from System. 

            A copy of the Academic Staff Council Resolution against any collective bargaining bill that separates academic staff from faculty in bargaining units was handed out.  This issue may come before the Senate.

At the March 23rd meeting of the Joint Finance Committee of the State Legislature in Sparta, J. Heim testified on three things:  1)  the Legislature should protect the University System and Campuses as best as possible; 2)  it is inappropriate to use student money for financial aid; and  3) the Auxiliary Funds formula that disproportionately targeted our campus was not fair.    His three suggestions for alternate sources of money were 1)  Recruitment and Retention Fund ($15 million across the system); 2)  the state gasoline tax fund;  3) ask Foundations to seek out monies to fill the gap.

Discussion of the Discussion of Recruitment and Retention Fund ensued.  This fund targets faculty for retention and recruitment under guidelines stipulated by System.  There were questions about oversight of the funds’ use;  not all campuses have any faulty oversight as UW-L does through PTS.  There were questions regarding the funds use in addressing salary compression:  guidelines stipulate this is not a legitimate use of the funds.  The funds can be used to offer more attractive salaries in order to recruit desirable faculty.  There is some confusion about why certain individuals receive raises from the funds.

 

A Sense of the Senate was taken on the following question:  Do you support using Recruitment and Retention Fund monies for the $25 million financial aid state budget item?

There was near unanimous expression of such support.

 

The Provost has suspended the bylaws of the Dept. of Educational Studies (DES) and restructured the reporting lines of the Director of School of Education.  The SEC voted unanimously to support the Provost on these two actions.  Next Tuesday the SEC will meet with DES members to hear their perspectives.  The SEC took this very seriously, asking the Provost to make the suspension “temporary” and to include a sunset provision.  The concern was that DPI criteria were not being met, and thus UW-L was in danger of losing its accreditation.   Discussion ensued:  this means that the department cannot take any action; 

bylaws for Ethnic and Racial Studies were suspended by a dean and the unit almost did not recover.

 

V.        Update: UWL Chapter 10 Discussions [out of order from published agenda]

 

Motion: to table discussion of IAS recommendations regarding UW-L Chapter 10.

M/S/P.

 

           B.         Provost/Vice-Chancellor’s Report

            No Report.

 

C.        Faculty Representative’s Report

            No Report.

 

            D.        Student Representative’s Report

            The Student Association approved 115,00 dollars of Pepsi funds to be used.  $21,000 has been allocated for academic initiatives that aren’t being covered this year given the current budget climate.  $50,000 is being invested in a community car share program (communitycar.com). 

The Association has passed a resolution in favor of enacting a medical amnesty protocol to lessen the sort of punishment meted out for underage drinking or illegal drug use when a student is found with such substances as a consequence of having called for medical help. 

The Association is sending representatives to Eau Claire for a State Joint Finance Committee hearing; they already spoke at the Sparta meeting of that committee.   The Association drafted a letter to Sen. Kapanke rather than creating a formal resolution on the Auxiliary Funds raid, but they are willing to work on a resolution for Senate to endorse.

 

E.  Ad Hoc Committee on Online SEIs (Brian Udermann) [item not on published agenda]

            The committee has found that response rates are lower for online SEIs than paper SEIs, but the median scores remain same.  Some incentives raise the response rates.  There is no evidence that gathering SEIs online affects the scores of minority faculty any more negatively than on paper.  The committee reviewed relative capabilities and costs of various software packages.  SEI numbers and written comments are covered under open records laws, so tenured faculty should keep them for five years and untenured faculty for six years.   Moving SEIs online might make it easier to access the documents under open records law.  The Student Association is in favor of moving to an online process:  students could type more; it would be more convenient; and there may be some interest in the easier availability of scores for eventual publication.   Students are more interested in raw numbers than in written comments. 

Should the committee continue to work on a recommendation?  Discussion ensued:  Are there any data on the potential effects of online SEIs on junior, nontenured faculty?  How would an online SEI process affect timing issues, given that our current SEI guidelines require they be administered during a particular week?  Could programs or colleges be given a choice of moving online or keeping paper SEIs?  It would be helpful to have a set of guidelines for best practices.

[Note:  A full summary document from this committee is included in the SEC minutes of March 24, 2009.]

 

A Sense of the Senate was taken on the following question:  Should we move towards an online SEI system?  Yes/  No / Undecided

The majority agreed (“yes”) or were “undecided.”

 

            The Chair suggests a pilot program might be useful and requested that questions from departments be forwarded to the taskforce.  The committee could create a survey to gather more information.  It should carefully look at the costs of moving online.

 

            F.  Budget Update (Becky LeDocq) [item not on published agenda]

            An update on GQA positions was given.  46.5 of the 50 planned positions were searched for.   36 of these have been secured, and offers are out on the other 10.5.

 

IV.       Update: Textbook Rental Contract

 

B. Hetzel asked for three faculty nominees for a new Textbook Rental RFP (Request for Proposals) Evaluation and Selection Committee.  The following nominees were taken from members of the Ad Hoc Textbook Rental Committee:

 

Ken Winter

Chuck Lee

Heather Hulett

 

Motion passed to accept the nominees.

 

V.        Update: UWL Chapter 10 Discussions

 

Tabled, see above.

 

VI.       Update:  Student Request for D2L Access for all Courses

 

The Student Association withdrew its informal request for automatic D2L sites for every class.  Instead, students have requested that individual instructors create D2L sites for their courses.  This request was forwarded to the campus via an e-mail from Chancellor Gow.

 

VII.      Old Business.

  

VIII.     New Business.

 

IX.       Adjournment at 4:50 p.m.

 

 

Respectfully Submitted,

 

Susan Crutchfield