Minutes of the University Senate Meeting, January 14, 1998
Present: Acres, Baldwin, Belitz, Berk, Boush, Burkhart, Cohen, Conley, Dale, Dolezal, Eisert, Farwell, Foster, Gerdes, Gilkey, Hurwit, Kershner, Kimball, Kintz, Kriegel, Larson, Lees, Luks, McGee, Morse, Olson, Page, Paynter, Singell, Smith, Stavitsky, Tedards, Tublitz, Upshaw, Vakareliyska, Westling, Wood, Young
Excused: Altmann, Chadwell, DeGidio, Ellis, Leahy, O’Keefe, Paris, Stein
CALL TO ORDER
Senate President Ann Tedards called the regular meeting of the University Senate to order at 3:09 p.m. in 115 Lawrence.
APPROVAL OF THE MINUTES
To the query whether there were any changes or corrections to the minutes, Senator Dietrich Belitz, physics, asked that the minutes be corrected to include him among those present at the December meeting. The minutes were approved as corrected.
STATE OF THE UNIVERSITY
Conversation with Dave. President Frohnmayer availed himself to senators as a follow-up to his address to the faculty in the previous week’s University Assembly meeting. The president made a few introductory comments concerning the governor’s task force Report on Higher Education and the Economy, his reaction to it, actions taken so far by the state board in response to the report, and our own progress on the Process for Change project.
The president said that the report looked at both internal and external forces that affect higher education, such as changing technology, increasing use of distance education, and changing demographics, to name a few. In part, the report said the structure of our system needed to be more student centered, more independent in terms of the economy of individual institutions, and needs to be funded in different ways. President Frohnmayer remarked that the report was, in his view, the single best incentive for a greater share of public funding that we have had in the last decade.
Continuing, the president noted that the governor accepted unequivocally nearly all of the task force report. He did not accept, however, two suggestions from the task force: neither the notion that each institution should have its own governing board, nor that there be an independent transition team to immediately implement the recommended changes in time for the next budgeting cycle. Rather, the state board will act to implement the changes with a progress report due to the governor in three months’ time. Changes to be made include the ways that funds are allocated to the campuses. There are three aspects to the governor’s recommended funding pattern: (1) tuition dollars will stay on campuses that originate them – currently, the UO’s tuition dollars help subsidize other campuses; (2) there will be a set amount of money per student that follows that student – currently there is a large variation in allocation of state dollars per student among the campuses; and (3) there will be appropriate funding for specific outcomes in specific programs for each separate campus. This funding formula is made with the proviso that there be no zero sum gain; the governor does not want any institution to succeed at the expense of the others. He is willing to see additional funding allocated to cushion the transition from the current, rather archaic formula of allocating state monies, to the one recommended by the task force.
The state board has responded to the governor by appointing two task forces, one on governance and structure, the other on budget and finance. They expect to have a model of the changes in funding patterns to the governor by May 1998, thus the process is moving very quickly. Senate President Tedards and Ms. Marjorie Woollacott, chair of the Faculty Advisory Council, will involve both the senate and FAC, as well as relevant committees to assure faculty thinking and input go to Provost Moseley and President Frohnmayer. They will be in contact with the state board task forces on budget and finance, and governance and structure, respectively. Concurrently, ten Solution Teams in the Process for Change will begin working, utilizing standing university committees and councils as organizing umbrella groups for task forces devoted to more specific topics and issues defined in phase one of the project. President Frohnmayer concluded his remarks by commenting that the plan is to have the Solution Teams finish their work by the middle of spring term. He then relinquished the floor for an open dialogue with the senate and others in attendance.
Mr. Leland Roth, art history, asked about the projected 5 million-dollar deficit the president referred to during his recent University Assembly address. President Frohnmayer answered that the projected deficit is just that – projected. If we were to use the governor’s newly recommended model, we would gain substantial financial reserves which would abate the projected shortfall. But there is no guarantee that will happen; thus the projections are made in earnest.
Senator Paula Burkhart, research and the graduate school, in suggesting that it would take a substantial influx of funding to achieve equity among the campuses, asked if any consideration has been given to supporting "ill" campuses. President Frohnmayer responded that there is no talk of closing any campuses. The governor has said he does not want any campus to be a loser in the new funding formula, which must mean the infusion of new funds. Once the actual costs of programs on campuses are more visible, it remains to be seen whether there is the political will to maintain more expensive programs. There is some evidence the will is there; for example, the veterinary medicine program at Oregon State University is now back in the general fund after being slated to be cut following Measure 5, then added back on a lottery funding basis. A best guess estimate is that it would require approximately 40 million dollars to "backfill" all the campuses in the higher education system equitably. The president noted that in our current robust economy, and after the "kickers" were paid out, there is a projected ending balance of 400 million dollars in the state coffers.
Senator David Conley, education, noted that the problem is not simply an immediate, short-term fiscal problem; rather, funding is needed for new programs, such as those being discussed in the Process for Change. The president concurred with Senator Conley, saying that the BAS funding model was never designed to promote the development of new and better programs. We will be in a much stronger strategic position to justify petitions for increased funding after we have completed our internal evaluation of what we need to do to provide the best programs to serve our students. With a more stable funding formula, we will be better able to create funds for developing better programs.
Senator Clare Lees, English, asked the president to speak about the challenges we face regarding the relationship between teaching and research, noting there was little mention of research in the task force report. What happens to research in a student-centered model? The president responded that he did not want to give the impression that because much of the attention in the governor’s task force report was focused on undergraduate education, he had forgotten about the important mission of research at the university. One suggestion from the governor’s office indicates that research should be supported to the extent that it relates to Oregon’s issues and problems. Such a concept does not work well with basic research, which is a difficult area to convince legislatures to fund. It must be a part of our total agenda in approaching the legislature for increases in funding. From a purely economical point of view, in terms of balance of payments, the money the UO brings into the state via research grants makes it a major form of economic support for the state. Further, 87 percent of what we spend of those grants stays right here in the region. Part of the efficiencies that we have in providing a quality undergraduate education is due to the cadre of graduate students that assist in teaching classes, many of whom come to the campus as a result of the research nature of the institution.
Ms. Kate Nicholson, art history, asked if during the Process for Change introspection there is a possibility for internally shifting or reallocating funds to offset funding inequities among various departments and programs. President Frohnmayer answered that yes, that is possible. If there are better ways to redistribute internal subsidies, they should be explored.
Lastly, Senator Michael Olson, ASUO, asked if anything has been thought of to retain upper division students. President Frohnmayer indicated that we have a retention rate that is 20 percent above the national average, but we could do better. The evidence indicates that retention is largely based on a student’s "connection" with the faculty and the services provided by staff. There are some world-class programs that have involved upper division undergraduate students in science research projects, some of which have resulted in publications in prestigious journals. Other departments provide rigorous and intellectually challenging work as capstone experiences for undergraduates. The Process for Change project may well develop more of these experiences for upper division undergraduates.
Report from the Interinstitutional Faculty Senate. IFS Representative Paul Simonds, anthropology, reported that several members of the legislature, Chancellor Cox, state board member Esther Puentes, and Oregon Business Council Executive Director Duncan Wyse met with the IFS to discuss some of the issues raised by the governor’s task force report. Mr. Wyse said that there is no attempt to make higher education a series of technical skills schools but there is a shortage of skilled workers, which is impeding Oregon’s growth. We are importing educated newcomers who are taking jobs that would be available for OSSHE graduates if we were able to turn out enough. Additionally, the IFS talked about the barriers to a learner-centered, market-oriented higher education. These are: a compartmentalized view of higher education, protectionism policies, unwieldy budgeting and finance system, lack of clarity of the educational product and its cost, distracting central authority requirements, and constraints within schools.
Mr. Simonds also attended the state board’s task force on governance and structure meeting. Although there are no faculty members on the task force, it was clear that faculty input is desired. The task force believes if we want a system of higher education, we need to change the incentives to better the system, and not just the institutions. Members of the task force are concerned about balancing regional needs, not just rewarding success, and they want a system that intercalates with all the state’s post-secondary education. They also believe they should enhance the notion of a broader definition of education than just skills. Finally, the board felt they should be aware of politics, but should recommend changes that are foremost for the good of higher education. Questions that remain for the task force and board to answer include: how to forecast economic and employment needs in response to industry pressures, how to define a quality education in relation to student needs, and how do community colleges fit into this scheme.
Announcements and communications from senators. Senator Peter Gilkey, mathematics, announced that the Library Committee will meet on January 29th to discuss, among other items, a proposal by the ASUO to increase library hours. President Tedards had several other announcements including a handout listing all currently appointed Senate Committees (also found on the University Senate Web Page), a reminder that the Undergraduate Council election ballots are due to the secretary by January 21st, and that the provost is accepting volunteers for the Process for Change Solution Teams.
Ms. Nancy Deans, chair of the Undergraduate Education Policy Coordinating Council (UEPCC), brought an earlier motion to eliminate double counting courses for group satisfying requirements back to the floor for discussion. The motion is as follows:
Motion US 97-12 -- Elimination of double-counting B.A. foreign language and B.S. mathematics and CIS courses for group-satisfying credit
Courses used to fulfill the foreign language requirement for the Bachelor of Arts degree may not also be used to fulfill the arts and letters group requirement. Courses used to demonstrate proficiency in mathematics or in computer and information science or in a combination of the two for the Bachelor of Science degree requirement may not also be used to fulfill the science group requirement. This rule shall go into effect the fall term of the 1999-2000 academic year.
The motion had been referred back to the UEPCC for greater clarification as to the impact on students’ credit hour requirements in various programs and departments at the university. Ms. Deans provided the senators with a handout summarizing the breakdown of credit requirement for B.A. and B.S. degrees with no double counting of foreign language, mathematics, or CIS for their respective degrees offered by selected majors on campus (with 75 or more specific credits required by the major). Ms. Deans reiterated UEPCC concern that students currently do not have enough breadth in courses to warrant either the B.A. or B.S. degree. She indicated the report showed that most majors have ample time left to complete the degree in a timely manner. Senator Conley began the discussion on the motion by taking issue with Ms. Deans’ comment that the report applies to "most" majors. He stated that the report makes the assumption that students do not make too many digressions in one program or another before settling on a major. Such flexibility in having room for students to make up major course requirement may be true for some programs, but not all. Senator Conley suggested that programs or departments with a large number of requirements for a major are likely to need some time to adjust their course requirements should this motion pass. He asked for an appeal process to be available through Academic Affairs for such instances. Consequently, Senator Conley proposed to amend the main motion by adding a statement that
an appeal process be available to programs that believe this requirement will have a severe adverse impact on the program, and that such an appeal be made to the Office of the Provost for resolution.
Senator Gilkey indicated he was uncomfortable with an appeal process that goes directly to the provost when it concerns a curricular matter. In response, Senator Conley said that the provost need not necessarily make the decision, but that it is a matter of efficiency. There are committees in place to deal with these issues but in the end the decisions are likely to be based on relevant financial implications, thus involving the provost. Vice President Jeff Hurwit, art history, remarked that the final sentence of the main motion indicates that it would not go into effect until fall term 1999, which allows ample time for departments to make changes. Hearing no further discussion on the amendment, President Tedards called for a hand vote, which resulted in 10 in favor of the amendment, 24 opposed. The amendment creating an appeal process failed.
Returning to discussion on the main motion, Ms. Joanna Gray, arts and sciences, spoke in favor of the motion on behalf of the College of Arts and Sciences Curriculum Committee. She noted that the UEPCC spent a great deal of time conferring with various curriculum committees before recommending the proposed motion. The CAS curriculum committee concurred with the UEPCC and supports the motion based on the issue of greater breadth necessary for the B.A. and B.S. degrees. Senator Marion Smith, music, also was in favor of eliminating double counting. Speaking from her own experience when an undergraduate, she found that she later came to greatly appreciate courses she was required to take that she normally would not have elected.
Several student senators spoke against the motion, arguing that students should be able to choose the breadth of their educational experience. Senator Olson noted that there are many students who want to specialize in a particular area and this motion limits their freedom to choose. One ASUO member felt that the current double-counting model streamlined the ability to earn a degree in a timely manner rather than having to take an extra term or two, whereas the proposed motion would simply return to making it more difficult for a student to graduate in four years. Further, Senator Tamir Kriegel, ASUO, admonished Senator Smith’s notion of the value of being required to take courses one would not normally elect because they were "good for you". He suggested that was what happens in elementary through high school. Rather, Senator Kriegel felt students should be allowed to take whatever courses they want, saying after all, they are paying for it. ASUO President Bill Miner added that phone calls he has received from students indicate that they do not like the proposed motion.
Dean Anne McLucas, music, spoke against the motion, saying that without the ability to double count, students in the professional schools such as music may be stretched in their ability to meet the requirements, especially if students are double majoring. She added later that because the double counting appears to be a problem in the foreign languages and mathematics departments, perhaps those departments should add extra courses rather than not allowing other majors to double count courses.
Senator Conley interjected that if the motion passes, it is important for his colleagues in arts and sciences to take seriously the advising that will be necessary to help students formulate their course loads. Although he appreciates the concept of a well-rounded education, it should not occur at the expense of students who may want to change their program of study, nor should it jeopardize community college students who transfer into the university.
Hearing no further discussion, President Tedards put the motion to eliminate double counting for group requirements to a hand vote resulting in 24 in favor and 10 opposed. Motion US 97-12 to eliminate double counting courses carried.
The next item on the agenda was consideration of a motion from the ASUO
concerning extension of the class drop/add period. Action taken by the senate
at its December 1997 meeting referred the motion to its sponsors via the senate
Rules Committee until the required financial impact statement and an effective
date for the motion were forthcoming. The motion reads as follows:
Motion US 97/98-8 Extending the drop/add classes period
Be it resolved that the University of Oregon allow all students thirteen academic days to drop classes and fifteen academic days to add classes at the beginning of each academic term. For academic terms that are shorter than ten weeks, the drop and add deadlines will be applied appropriately.
President Tedards recognized Senator Olson to speak to the motion. Senator Olson yielded the floor to Mr. Miner who explained how the motion came to the floor. Last spring Mr. Miner and his ASUO staff brainstormed issues that they felt were deeply and widely held by students and that were issues they could win, that is, issues that the students would support. As a consequence, the ASUO staff decided it wanted to extend the add/drop deadline from the current six days to drop classes and eight days to add, to fifteen days for either dropping or adding a class. (Note: the final motion presented gave thirteen days to drop a class.) The ASUO felt that this was the amount of time that students needed to get a good feel for their classes before the deadline to drop. The first week of fall term, the ASUO gathered 2,079 signatures in support of the motion. Mr. Miner urged senators to support the measure, saying that a vote in support of the motion is what the students want.
President Tedards asked Senator Olson what the effective date for the motion would be to which he replied,fall term 1998. In addition, the chair drew the senate’s attention to the financial impact statement provided by the Office of Academic Affairs at the meeting outset. Senator Gilkey spoke regarding the financial impact statement, explaining that there is a certain band, or "corridor" of projected student FTE enrollment on which funds allocated to the university are based. If the projected FTE enrollment is not realized, that is, does not fall within the targeted corridor, funds for the total amount of FTE in the corridor are lost from the budget. This fall term, such a loss would have been 1.2 million dollars. The FTE enrollment count occurs during the fourth week of classes. As Senator Gilkey noted, projecting enrollment figures for budgetary allocations is tricky business; missing the target corridor – whether by a lot of students or only a few students – yields the same disastrous budget deficit.
With the financial impact information at hand and a stated fall 1998 effective date for the motion, the chair opened the floor for discussion. Many of the discussion points followed issues raised during the December meeting. Notably, ASUO senators argued for giving students greater flexibility in finalizing their schedules; other senators questioned the pedagogical soundness of students entering and dropping classes three weeks into a ten-week term, and wondered about the possible adverse financial implications.
Beginning the discussion, Mr. Ben Unger, ASUO vice president, spoke in favor of the motion. He described the information on the financial impact statement as scenarios that may potentially result in a budget deficit, but noted the figures were only projections. The more important point is that many students are non-traditional students who simply need and want more time to work through their complex schedules, and six days is not long enough. He believes the data on the financial impact statement is not strong enough to warrant voting against the motion.
Senator Hilary Gerdes, academic advising, went on record as a representative from the Academic Requirements Committee, which had discussed the motion and was not in support. Senator Catherine Page, chemistry, reiterated a point in opposition to extending the deadlines by explaining the near impossibility of a student to step into a laboratory class three weeks into the term and make up the work; such a drop deadline extension would not benefit students who would like to add the class.
Senator Dietrich Belitz, physics, wondered if it would be possible to have different drop and add dates for different classes, to which Mr. Herb Chereck, registrar, responded "no", implying that it would not be feasible. Senator Gene Luks, computer and information science, remarked that the supporters of the motion had not addressed the issues raised in the last meeting; particularly, the point that if students wait three weeks to drop a class, it effectively precludes other students who may want the class from adding it at that late date. Thus, he was not in favor of the motion.
Senator Robin Paynter, library, asked why thirteen days was chosen as the period to drop classes. Mr. Unger said it seemed like a rational and adequate amount of time for students to work out their schedules. The ASUO compared our drop/add period with other institutions in the state and similar peer institutions and this time frame was about the average drop and add time.
Ms. Deans read a statement from the UEPCC in opposition to the motion on pedagogical grounds. The committee felt that extending the deadlines would impact negatively on both students and faculty. Having said that, Ms. Deans went on to say that extending drop/add deadlines was not the way to solve frustrations students experience in choosing appropriate courses. Rather, we need to find better ways to communicate to students what courses are available to them and what courses are like. Vice President Hurwit agreed with Ms. Deans, saying that this issue should be decided on philosophical and pedagogical principles.
Senator Mary Wood, English, then moved to amend the main motion by striking the section about adding classes, and adding a statement that students who do not appear during the first five academic days of the class be automatically dropped from the class. The motion would then read:
Be it resolved that the University of Oregon allow all students thirteen academic days to drop classes. Students who do not appear during the first five academic days of the class would be dropped automatically from the class. For academic terms that are shorter than ten weeks, the drop deadlines will be applied appropriately.
Several points were raised in opposition to the proposed amendment: that this would hurt small classes needing to know the enrollment in order to determine whether to cancel the class; that the financial impact of the amendment was not known; and that there would be no way to fill slots during the first five days that are eventually vacated by students who are automatically eliminated by nonattendance. In addition, by setting the current drop/add deadlines, the UEPCC’s intention was to provided greater access to classes that students needed to graduate in a timely manner by not tying up seats that will eventually be dropped.
Speaking in favor of the amendment, Ms. Sadie Rogers, a member of ASUO, reminded senators that to receive financial aid students must carry at least 12 credits, and to graduate on time they need 15 credits per term. It is unlikely, she suggested, that many students who get into classes will drop them. Nevertheless, it would be good to have the opportunity to do so if it was necessary. Further, Senator Wood said that in her experience, some students overcommit themselves and would like to have the opportunity to drop classes at a later date. A call for the question made by Senator John Foster, sociology, passed. A voice vote on the proposed amendment resulted in few in favor of the amendment and most opposed. The amendment failed.
Senator Olson then proposed amending the main motion to ten days to drop and ten days to add classes. Under the proposed amendment, the main motion would read as follows:
Be it resolved that the University of Oregon allow all students ten academic days to drop classes and ten academic days to add classes at the beginning of each academic term. For academic terms that are shorter than ten weeks, the drop and add deadlines will be applied appropriately.
Senator Olson argued that this change would make the drop/add period about the same as that used by several other schools. He reiterated that extending the drop/add deadline is an important issue among students, and that they need the flexibility in their schedules.
Senator Gilkey again asked what financial impact the proposed amendment would have, to which Provost Moseley responded it would have less financial impact. The provost stated that anything that impacts credit hour loads of students also impacts time to graduation and the financial situation of the university. Average course carrying loads currently are around 14 credit hours. The more time that passes after the start of a course, the less inclined students are to add a class. For a concrete example, if that average credit hour load were to drop to 13.5 credit hours, as was the case four or five years ago, the financial impact would be a loss of about 1 million dollars.
When questioned about the proportion of drops to adds, the provost indicated that only about three-fourths as many classes are added as are dropped. In other words, as the number of days past the drop deadline increases, the number of classes added decreases, making it a more precarious possibility of missing the targeted enrollment corridor. Registrar Chereck noted that some departments routinely take certain classes out of the drop/add system by not permitting students to add after a certain (relatively earlier) deadline without going through the petition process. In addition, having the drop/add deadlines on the same day creates a tremendous flurry of activity on the last deadline day.
Senator Elliott Dale, ASUO, spoke in favor of the amendment saying there seemed to be an underlying assumption that students wait to the last day to drop or add classes, which may not be the case. He suggested there would still be the same rush to settle class schedules, but that the extra few days would provide greater flexibility to those students who were having difficulty doing so.
At this point, Senator Dave Cohen, physics, moved to amend the amendment to the main motion, changing the ten days to drop to eight days. Under the proposed amendment, the main motion would read as follows:
Be it resolved that the University of Oregon allow all students eight academic days to drop classes and ten academic days to add classes at the beginning of each academic term. For academic terms that are shorter than ten weeks, the drop and add deadlines will be applied appropriately.
A member of the ASUO said he believed that ten days was appropriate for the add period as it allows enough time for students to make up work; but he went on to suggest that the drop deadline should be extended to twenty days to accommodate whatever stressful circumstances might arise as students finalized their schedules.
In contrast to this last point, Vice Provost Lorraine Davis stated that the two extra add days beyond the drop deadline were advantageous to students: during fall term, 1,504 classes were dropped on the last drop day (day 6), which was twice as many as on day 5; and on days 7 and 8, 1,674 classes were added. Registrar Chereck reminded senators that last year the Academic Requirements Committee radically streamlined the process for adding and dropping classes. Essentially, as long as the faculty member instructing the class and the department approve of the add or drop, petitions to do either are approved. Thus, a procedure for dropping or adding classes beyond the current drop/add deadlines is already in place and worked well fall term. Assistant Vice Provost Jack Rice noted that last term, 431 classes were added by this petition process. Senator Luks agreed that these relatively new petition procedures provided flexibility to both the students and the departments. He suggested that there are good pedagogical reasons for keeping the drop/add deadlines as they are currently; it is not just for financial reasons. Accordingly, Senator Luks concluded that it makes sense to give the new petition process a reasonable trial period rather than adjusting drop/add deadlines.
Vice President Hurwit's called for the question which passed unanimously by voice vote. The senate was now ready for the vote on the amendment to the amendment, that is, to change the drop deadline from ten to eight academic days and have the add deadline be ten days. By hand vote, 14 in were in favor and 13 opposed. The motion to amend the amendment to the main motion carried.
The amendment to the main motion was now ready for a vote, that is, to change the drop deadline from 13 academic days to 8 academic days, and change the add deadline from 15 academic days to 10 academic days. A hand vote was taken resulting in 17 in favor and 9 opposed; the amendment, as amended, passed. The senate was now ready to vote on the main motion, as amended, which read:
Be it resolved that the University of Oregon allow all students eight academic days to drop classes and ten academic days to add classes at the beginning of each academic term. For academic terms that are shorter than ten weeks, the drop and add deadlines will be applied appropriately.
Again, a hand vote was taken, with 10 in favor and 17 opposed. Motion US 97/98-9 to extend the class drop/add deadlines, as amended, failed.
At this point in the meeting, Senator Olson approached the chair and indicated he wished to make a motion to reconsider the Motion US 97/98-8. He indicated that he had voted on the prevailing side, which in this case was in opposition to the motion. Another student senator seconded the motion to reconsider. President Tedards, after a brief consultation with Parliamentarian Dave Soper, instructed the secretary to note the motion to reconsider. Further, the chair ruled that the motion to reconsider was not in order for this meeting as there was other pressing, new business; however, she advised that the motion to reconsider could be called at the next senate meeting.
Mr. Maurice Holland, chair of the University Curriculum Committee, presented the fall 1997 Curriculum Report. Mr. Holland, noting that there was nothing particularly controversial about the report, asked if there were any corrections or additions. Senator Cynthia Vakareliyska, Russian, provided a correction on page 19, explaining a printing oversight. The effective date for Russian 309 should be listed as effective winter term 1998. Mr. Holland agreed that this was an oversight and accepted the correction. No other additions or corrections were presented. By unanimous voice vote, the fall 1997 Curriculum Report was accepted as corrected.
Hearing no other new business and with the lateness of the hour, President Tedards adjourned the meeting at 5:34 p.m.
Secretary of the Faculty