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ANNUAL REPORT Faculty Advisory Council, 1978-79

The resemblance of higher education to the automobile industry has been strengthened by the events of the past year. Both are beginning to show signs of fundamental changes. In the past, conspicuous but unimportant cosmetic changes in sheet metal and interior were what manufactUrers put out as new cars each sprain. Each spring we put out lists of news courses added and old courses changed or dropped. Much more slowly and in ways that were less obvious cars and the University were getting better. . . at any rate, they got bigger and more powerful. Now, for many of the same reasons, more substantial changes have had to be made and have had to be made more rapidly in automobiles and in higher education. Becoming smaller is the order of the day, because of energy or baby shortages. The automobile industry has stopped screaming at being dragged into a new era; instead it now boasts of new virtues and new generation cars. Smaller and slower is better.

The University's changeover is not completed but it is on the way. Sheet metal and other cosmetic alterations will no longer do as smaller faculties face reduced student enrollments and voracious inflation. The administration of the University sees these prospects. Each of the past several Advisory Councils has learned about them very quickly. The faculty has not begun to appreciate the condition. How to make sure that the University responds in academically sound and original ways is an assignment that the faculty must take seriously. That is going to be helped by the fact that Councils now have built-in continuity. The term of office is two years so that ordinarily, there will be four new members each year. As a result, the faculty has an opportunity to alter the composition of the Council in the light of changes in points of view that it wishes to have represented. In the past this has been accomplished at the price of having Councils that each year spent a good deal of time in the initial months establishing procedures and a sense of identity. It is hoped that the latter will come more quickly now for it is what influences the character of the discUssions with the president and the Provost and hence the advice they receive. How to manage our affairs instead of arbitrating them, is sure to be the theme of the 80's for this University.

During 1978-79, the President and the Provost brought a large number of items to the Council and the Council raised numerous matters on its own initiative for discUssion. The items varied markedly of course, some being of immediate significance only while others were returned to over and over again. The number approaches the 300 items which last year's Council toted-up for its count. We shall not list them here. A few general matters will instead be discUssed.

Because it was a legislative year, the President and the Provost were almost consumed by the details of getting information about and preparing for meetings involving the Chancellor's 0ffice, the State Board of Higher Education, lobbyists and legislators, and legislative committee hearings. The involvement of the University's administration and staff in these activities has intensified in the past several years as the Chancellor's Office has permitted and encouraged more independent activity on the part of the State's institutions. The result has been a more continuous presence by the University in Salem and elsewhere throughout the state; that means, particularly that the President and the Provost had, more than ever before, to cope with divided attention. We are fortunate that they were able to rely upon the University lobbyist, Charles Duncan, for information and suggestions but, even so, the year was obviously grueling. The President and the Provost were extraordinarily faithful in meeting with the Council, bringing issues to us and responding to issues raised. The University has been well served during this unusually difficult year.

There was much in the way of unfinished business at the end of the Councils term. Fortunately, the unfinished business of one Council will not die from lack of interest by a succeeding Council. The membership carryover provides both an opportunity and obligation for continuity which can only be to the benefit of the University.

We close this report by noting that we became increasingly aware of a growing sense of unease in faculty during the year. The fact that it was a legislative session surely had a good deal to do with it; tensions generally rise at such times. But it is in the objective considerations about the University's circumstances, e.g., computer facilities, building program, teacher evaluation, curriculum review, and shifting student enrollment patterns, and the personal financial concerns of individual faculty members, in which the legislature's actions become critical. The Council hopes that it has ref. ted faculty concerns correctly in its discussions. It is planned to continue the practice of meetings in open session with the faculty for discussion .,n of both general and specific matters; the faculty are urged to attend those meetings so that they may alert the Council about issues and hear from the Council about matters under consideration rather than learning about them at the end of the year. Respectfully, though belatedly, submitted, Faculty Advisory Council 1978-79


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