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Manoa Faculty Senate Executive Committee Minutes of August 7, 2006

Prior to the regular meeting, at 2:00 p.m. several members of the SEC met with VCRGE Ostrtander for informal discussion. The SEC also met with VCAA Smatresk after the SEC meeting. A summary of both discussions follows the minutes.

The SEC meeting was called to order by Chair Tiles at 3:00 p.m.. Attending were Chin, Cox, Harrigan, Kent, Rutter and Staff.

The Minutes of July 31 were approved with two corrections.

Chair Tiles reported that he had a request from the VCAFO to store some furniture for a new hire in the Faculty Senate conference room, but he persuaded the VC that would render the room unusable for its purposes . Also, to an inquiry from Heather Crislip to locate some administrative/clerical support for retired faculty programs, he explained that the FS cannot be called on since there is no fiscal support staff at all. Tiles stated he had been approached by last year’s Chair of the Nursing Faculty Senate regarding an administrative appointment that may not be supported by the faculty, and he commented that the appropriate role of MFS and SEC is to support the unit Senate groups.

Tiles asked for and received confirmation of Pauline Sheldon (TIM) and Ray Panko (CBA) to the GEC.

Tiles asked Jim Gaines for clarification on the system-wide Ethics committee, after receiving a request to nominate a Manoa faculty member to the committee. The SEC decided to postpone discussion of several potential nominees until next week. The SEC asked Tiles to find out the exact charge of the committee and what kinds of matters are referred to the committee so that someone with appropriate expertise can be found.

Tiles reported that he had no new response from the Chancellor’s office regarding her suggestion that SEC and/or other faculty welcome students moving into the dorms on the 17th and 18th of August. The SEC agreed that faculty may not be the best “greeters’ or “suitcase handlers,” but liked the idea of helping develop community. A better interface for students with faculty might be a reception at the end of the move-in day. Tiles agreed to transmit the idea to the Chancellor.

The SEC decided to ask VCAA Smatresk about the proposed summer session calendar changes, noting that no proper consultation with MFS had been done. SEC members would like to open discussion on the calendar for the entire year. Also discussed was follow-up to the “year of the student”. Possibly it could evolve into something more meaningful especially with respect to raising the level of challenge or rigor of classes. Rutter reported that the WASC steering committee is focused on “student success” and there could be some good interface here.

The meeting adjourned approximately 4:15 when Smatresk arrived.

Summary of Discussion with VCRGE Ostrander:

Ostrander distributed copies of Kaunana, a new UH publication about research that his office is producing with support from UH System administration. The purpose of the publication is to raise awareness about UHM research on a national level, which will aid in faculty receiving awards and funding. He noted that one of the problems with the first issue of the publication is that there is too much focus on the hard sciences and he wants to make the next issue a 60/40 split with 40% devoted to humanities and social sciences research. The mailing list includes UH alumni, UH foundation list, and university research offices around the country. A suggestion was made to consider more environmentally friendly materials for future issues, such as recycled paper and soy-based inks.

Ostrander reported on progress of his office stood in achieving the goals put forward in the strategic plan. Ostrander said that he has been insisting to deans and directors that they hire only the best and noted that excellence in faculty is not judged by how much funding they bring in. He noted that the undergraduate research program this summer was a success and will continue next summer. He has assigned people in his office to get a handle on what Manoa is doing in outreach to the community. JABSOM, Botany, the Lyon Arboretum, all have considerable outreach research programs that involve the community. He is focusing the distribution of RTRF dollars to areas of excellence. He wants to publicize the research performed by UHM faculty to the community and to expand applied research.

Ostrander is working on ways to assess research productivity and looking for ways for faculty to report their efforts. The College of Education has a software that they developed and use to track faculty based on self-reporting, which Law School and the School of Architecture have also adopted. Ostrander hopes to move it out to more units.

Edmondson hall has been targeted for renovation of labs as part of the focus to modernize facilities,

In developing the area of advanced research in Hawaiian language and culture, Ostrander is looking at a plan to fund Native Hawaiian scholars who are ABD for a year, so that they can finish their degrees.

A comment was made that the input of research productivity needs to be pulled together into a coherent report. Ostrander noted that the National Research Council rankings require reporting and as it occurs every 12 years now, Manoa could really be hurt if we cannot accurately report all of the research performed by faculty.

Ostrander said that faculty cannot be judged by the same criteria as our mission is teaching, research, and service and different faculty, such as specialists, have responsibilities that weigh more heavily in research or service.

A question was asked about Ostrander's stance that faculty should not be judged by how much funding they brought in. Ostrander said that at Johns Hopkins, though the university brought in a lot of research money, being funded was not used in tenure decisions. He is trying to change the weight that funding has, noting that UHM is 25th in public universities in extramural dollars but many other universities with less funding have better reputations.

Ostrander has been made the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii point person by McClain.

He is bringing in a large exhibit of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings, 70% on paper and 30% oil.

He is looking at space issues and has found that the Biomedical building has unused space in which he has been able to place faculty.

Ostrander asked the SEC to advise on the issue of whether the GSO should be allowed to determine recipients of an awards program in which he has put in $25000, without faculty involvement. He has asked for a report on how the money was spent last year. Some faculty have concerns about how graduate students were selected to receive the awards given for travel to conferences. The SEC members agreed that unless it was found that there were real questions about how award recipients were selected, the GSO should be allowed to operate this awards fund without interference, as part of their professional training.

Chair Tiles brought up a question about the selection of the Graduate Council members. He noted that three to four years ago the Senate pushed to get more faculty senate input on the membership. Tiles proposed that the Graduate Council be replaced by an executive committee elected out of the Graduate Senate, which is comprised of departmental graduate chairs. Some discussion ensued about how widely known the Graduate Senate is as members of the SEC who had been Graduate chairs had never heard of the Graduate Senate. Ostrander will find out what the status of the Graduate Senate is and get back to the SEC about the proposal.

Summary of Discussion with VCAA Smatresk

Smatresk noted that a memo from Chancellor Konan to the President, asking to change the summer session calendar to two 5-week sessions, was not necessary. The President had informed her she could change summer session of Manoa changes without any action needed at the system or BOR level. Smatresk admitted that no broad faculty consultation had been done, although he had mentioned the desired change to CAPP last year. He agreed more consultation was desirable, but it needs to be done quickly in the fall to meet the Outreach College’s publication and promotion deadlines. He will determine a drop-dead date and report back to the SEC. The SEC asked about shortening fall and spring semesters, and Smatresk stated that is more complicated but he is very interested in exploring it. Longer breaks provide advantages for repair and maintenance and cleaning of dorms and classrooms. Also, it would be possible to accommodate short term dorm stays, such as for orientation, with longer breaks.

Chin suggested that Manoa change from a 3-days a week classes (M,W,F) to 2-days a week (M,W or W,F) with longer duration. Or, since there are vacancies for more classes in the afternoons but not the mornings, faculty could be encouraged to schedule 2-day/week afternoon classes on these days, within the current class schedule. There was also discussion of adding more evening classes. Smatresk mentioned he is talking with Outreach about administering all credit courses from the VCAA’s office.

Smatresk explained how ideas for awards come to him. There is no formal process and it would be practical and helpful to develop some. He’d like to see an awards committee with an established calendar.

The departmental management page that Smatresk had promised earlier is almost ready. It will allow people to see various statistics on the departmental level. It will be useful for evaluation, comparison, and to demonstrate outcomes.

Finally, Smatresk mentioned he has invited a retention expert to campus September 18-19. He wants to identify what can be done to make students more successful and happier with their education here beyond what is already obvious (such as insufficient housing, etc.) The SEC discussed the notion of “killer classes” (those classes with high levels of D and F grades). Are these merely rigorous classes, or challenging subject matter? What else is going on? What can faculty do to improve success?


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