Mānoa Faculty Senate Executive Committee
Minutes of July 20, 2009
Present: Wakayama, Zalenski, Ross, Rayner, Daniel, Hippensteele
The meeting convened at 2:40 p.m. in Hawaii Hall 208.
The minutes of the SEC Meeting of July 13 were approved as corrected.
Chair Ross provided a report of the MET meeting. The MET had discussed “bottleneck” classes and how to eliminate them. There seems to be difficulty using the Banner system to identify students who are on wait-lists for classes. The administration is also trying to get data on failed registrations for specific classes from the system as well. More work by IT will be needed to determine this, or alternatively develop a more obvious paper trail. The goal is to facilitate students completing their Gen Ed core in their first 2 years. The committee discussed how various departments are dealing with this issue using prerequisites and over-rides.
With regard to the budget, retrenchments were discussed again. It appears that declaring exigency will happen as soon as practical. It is expected that the budget will be restricted through December when the Council of Revenues issues its next forecast. Even deeper cuts may be necessary at that time. Retirement incentives were discussed. It seems that the ERS is opposed to non-uniform incentives. However, it seems that bargaining unit contract negotiations could overcome this objection. Other cash incentives for early retirement were also explored.
The UH System has negotiated a home mortgage program to help faculty purchase homes. The UH has budgeted $1 million for this, and Colleges may also contribute funds to the program to aid in recruitment and retention in their units. Remaining are questions include which faculty might be eligible for the program. There is a feeling that newly tenured faculty would be better candidates than newly hired probationary faculty, who are not assured of getting tenure.
The new IT building seems to be on track. The committee discussed the potential inconsistency of erecting new facilities in light of our severe budget cuts. Others noted, however, that such building is a form of stimulus and is rightly encouraged.
The timing of MRC Greenwood’s on-duty date was discussed.
The Chair is still working on getting the SEC support for teaching relief, etc. pushed down to the units for spending.
Chair Ross served as the faculty representative on the HI Public TV show Insight. The committee agreed that he represented the faculty well, and that the discussion about
Assessment processes: The committee discussed the proposed process for Assessment provided by the administration. Some questioned why the OFDAS was not being used as the administrative structure, as was previously planned. This would save administrative costs, and OFDAS is perceived as effective and faculty driven. Ross indicated that there are concerns about any system that would mingle or link program assessment or assessment of student learning with faculty performance evaluations.
The Assessment proposal puts the locus of tenure for assessment office faculty specialists in the OVCAA’s office. The committee discussed a number of issues about the proposal, which Chair Ross will convey to the administration prior to any final agreement.
There are many data gathering aspects needed for assessment (particularly post graduate outcomes) that could be better facilitated by a coordinated campus wide system that can be tailored for various programs.
The Chancellor is out of town the last week of July. There are a number of other SEC members and administrators that are also going to be out between now and the beginning of the semester. It may be more sensible to have the advance meeting at the beginning of the fall semester when the committees are impaneled.
However, the committee remains concerned about the lack of a communication plan for UHM. There are a variety of scenarios for dealing with the budget that have been discussed and should be addressed by the UHM. There is also concern that if the meeting is delayed that important decisions may be made in the interim without faculty input. The SEC agreed that we may have to issue our own statements about issues to make sure our message is clearly conveyed.
A special meeting on enrollment management is planned for August 5 from 8 a.m. to noon. Several of the SEC members will be able to attend.
Cancer Research director
The committee discussed the memo received from the CRCH faculty regarding the search for the Director of the CRCH. The SEC agreed to write a memo encouraging the Calendar committee (Lei)
The last time the UHM calendar was discuss was 2002. The Calendar committee is scheduled to meet on the afternoon of August 5. They will consider a variety of alternatives, including longer winter breaks, 4 day work weeks, etc. to save facilities costs as well as streamline the calendar.
The committee discussed what our approach should be to issuing statements regarding the UH faculty’s position about funding the university. In California, the universities have issued some effective statements differentiating them from other state agencies. The SEC noted that there are reports and data available that could be useful in making the university’s case about our importance to the state. The SEC is concerned about the long-term impact on the university of the proposed budget cuts and furloughs. Good faculty may choose to leave. The committee believes that the leaders of UH and DOE should get together to discuss the fact that the current proposals from the governor are an attack on education that will have long term consequences for the state.
Specifics of how and what courses may be cut are an issue. For example, junior and senior level courses that might have lower enrollments may be cut which could hurt graduation rates of students.
The committee agreed to draft some bullet points to discuss at our next meeting to facilitate creating some policy recommendations.
VC Dasenbrock entered the room
Cancelled (“Zeroed”) courses and advising:
There are over 400 courses that have been cancelled for budgetary reasons. Many of these had been taught by lecturers.
An analysis has been done and the data indicate that there are fewer seats being offered this year than there were actual enrollments last fall. This is problematic with enrollment increases, so the VCAA has asked the Deans to go back to look at ways to add seats to classes, such as adding chairs to classrooms, or offering sections to replace retired faculty, or moving classes to larger capacity rooms. He is trying to come up with low cost solutions. The administration had already dealt with some large budget cuts before the Governor’s latest proposal, so some potential solutions were already in progress that may prevent the budget cuts from being disastrous. What VC Dasenbrock is trying to do is develop an inventory of options to mitigate the impact on students.
In the longer run, he would like to develop a more rational way of assigning classes to rooms to fit the enrollment size. In addition, trying to forecast course enrollments going forward could be done more systematically to add section or reduce sections as needed ahead of time. He wants to develop better intelligent systems to facilitate decision making for course scheduling. Most of the issues are in Arts and Sciences. After looking at the data, he believes only about 150 courses actually need to be added to fill student demand.
He will convey this information to the advisory staff so that they can advise students that there are classes available for them to take.
Retirement incentives and covering courses
There are many faculty who are eligible to retire. There are 275 faculty in the UHM system with over 30 years of service, which could save about $33 million if they retired. About 12% of the budget is in salaries to people with over 30 years of experience.
One proposal would be to give such people 2/3 of their 2009-10 salary for teaching only in the fall and retiring in December 2009. This would put those faculty in the same position for retirement pay as if they retired in 2011. The ERS doesn’t like this proposal but could be workable if the UHPA approves.
One danger is that many departments will be short of faculty if all those eligible retire. However, early retirement proposals could even out the flow of retirements between now and 2011 when three full years of the last pay raise will be imputed in retirement benefits. Whatever early retirement incentive is used, we must immediately begin to replace permanent faculty that we will need in a year or two by 2011.
There is also some discussion about an early retirement cash incentive to help people with cash flow to convert years of service to the hybrid plan if they agree to retire this year. It seems that the documents will be available this fall relating to that. There seems to be less resistance from the ERS for this option.
Chair Ross discussed our concern about how all the work can be done if the furloughs go into effect. The VCAA indicated that from a practical standpoint for faculty, the furloughs will be a pay cut and will not likely result in less work. For staff, they will get a pay cut but also days off.
Chair Ross asked about increased class sizes and such and the impact on workload. The VCAA responded that we need to be very deliberate about why we teach the amount that we teach. There is a general argument that if you are a R1 university you teach less because you do research. He agrees that it would be a mistake to ask faculty who are doing research to teach more. On the other hand, there are some faculty who have a low In the short-run, there may be the need to increase class sizes temporarily to deal with budget cuts with the understanding that the increases are not permanent.
There needs to be an examination to make sure that the lower division courses are offered to allow higher enrollments in upper division courses, and that prior practices of arbitrary or strict rules regarding class sizes may need to be examined.
The committee noted that the administrative support for teaching can be lacking which makes it difficult for larger classes to be accommodated.
The VC noted that about half the schools and colleges have formal faculty workload policies and half do not. He will require formal policies to be developed by all units. He has gathered the policies available, and after he looks at them, he will post them on a website. Such policies should be developed in consultation with the unit’s faculty senate. Chair Ross indicated that the UHM Faculty Senate Committee on Professional Matters would be the logical UHM faculty senate committee to coordinate with regarding this. There may also be UHPA concerns on this issue. The VCAA is concerned that the workload for UHM be different than that for faculty at the comprehensives and the community colleges in the UH system.
Although some others outside the university might not understand the issue, the VCAA believes it is better to put our case forward about what we do with regard to workload.
A retreat on enrollment management is planned for August 5. The invitees for this event include some deans and directors, and some UHF people and staff. Up to 30 people may be invited. If some of the SEC cannot attend, then VC Dasenbrock suggested that we might want to recommend a few other people.
The committee suggested that on an ongoing basis faculty from CAP or other appropriate standing committees might be involved in this group. VCAA was receptive to this, and requested that we provide the names of approximately the same number of people as on the SEC. The discussion at the retreat is planned to include about 1 hour discussing data and then the rest of the time discussing goals. The committee on enrollment and planning will then be charged with implementing those goals.
Data and IRO The committee expressed concern that the data we need to make informed decisions are not readily available through the current systems and reports. The VCAA agrees that he has not been able to obtain the data he would normally expect. The committee noted that in the past faculty working groups have been formed to help the administration determine what data should be obtained.
The committee indicated that appropriate data could be useful in Assessment as well as day to day management.
Articulation issues and course numbers
The VCAA mentioned that he has been in discussions relating to articulation with the community colleges. There are current course proposals to change course numbers that might confuse the articulation process. The VCAA agrees that this should be a faculty issue, but requested permission to ask units who propose such changes to consult with their counterparts at the other campuses, and that he be able to provide guidance to those units to prevent confusion in the short run. The committee concurred but requested that policy issues relating to articulation be referred to the General Education Committee.
CAFÉ vs. E-CAFÉ evaluations
The VCAA provided a July 15, 2009 memo from OFDAS proposing moving from CAFÉto E-CAFÉ evaluations. The committee indicated that this issue has been discussed before and there are memoranda relating to it. The committee agreed to provide these memoranda to the VCAA.
The committee also indicated that the issue might be referred to the newly formed Assessment committee.
Grade point requirements for graduation in some departments
There seem to be many departments where there are additional in-major GPA requirements that can prevent students from graduating. The committee agreed that this matter should be referred to the CAP in the fall, and the VCAA concurred.
The committee adjourned at 5:30 p.m.
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