Council of University System Faculty

Council of University System Faculty Senate Chairs Meeting:  Friday, October 31, 2008

A.        Chairman Bill Chapin called the meeting of the Council of University System Faculty (CUSF) and Faculty Senate Chairs to order at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, October 31, 2008 at the University System of Maryland Adelphi. Those in attendance were (17):  Chairman Bill Chapin (UMES), Secretary Joyce Shirazi (UMUC), At-Large Officers Joyce Tenney (UMBC) and Bill Stuart (UMCP); Faculty Senate Chairs Evans Eze (CSU), Robert Kauffman (FSU), Ken Holum (UMCP), Michael O'Loughlin (SU),  Tim Sullivan (TU), Marcelo Cardarelli (UMB), Terry Worchesky (UMBC), Keith Eshleman (UMCES),  Robert Johnson, Jr. (UMES), Bryant Mitchell (UMES); Chancellor Brit Kirwan; Senior Vice Chancellor Irv Goldstein; Associate Vice Chancellor PJ Hogan.       

B.        Introductions of members
Bill Chapin opened the meeting with brief highlights of his background, reviewed the order of the day, initiated the introductions of all meeting attendees, and yielded the floor to Chancellor Brit Kirwan for his presentation.

C.         Report from Chancellor Brit Kirwan:
Chancellor Kirwan expressed appreciation for all attending and welcomed another meeting, if necessary.

1. State of the budget and how it is likely to affect the campuses:
It is impossible to predict. The FY 2009 budget cut 1.5% from our general fund base budget of $1.1 billion state allocations. The system’s overall $4.1 billion budget also includes income from tuition, grants and fees. If this is all there is, then we will survive. The losses up to September and October equal the rest of year, which is a lot. Many states, i.e. SC, NC, NY, are at double-digit budget decreases.  The variables for us are 1) slots -- if it fails, all bets are off and 2) revenue estimates, which are not good. The shopping malls are empty. Consumer spending was down to levels since sometime in the middle of the last century. It is unlikely that tuition will be raised in mid-year. The FY 2010 (next year) is of concern now, as well. Four percent in general fund and tuition were the pro-forma numbers. ‘But after the November election and December revenues, we will see. In response to questions, Chancellor Kirwan noted that the Governor found money to cover the 4% raise in tuition, which students did not see. Furloughs, if ever required, are state-wide, but not necessarily mandated at USM, which could opt for either furloughs or job cuts. Back in 1992 we had furloughs because it was better than laying people off. Furloughs will buy time, but not eliminate the budget problems. Campuses must charge the cost to cover out-of-state students.  This is a judgment made at each campus. One thing we are successful at is that we have been able to allocate enrollment growth money to mitigate the problem. The desire to go to college has increased with a growth of 9000 students over the past 2 years. During down times, college growth tends to go up.  We have pretty strong student demand.

2. The most effective way that faculty on the campuses can provide input for the budget-cutting process:
Macro decisions are made at the Senate level.  There should be good communication between CUSF and the Faculty Senate, and they should have as much autonomy as possible. The Faculty Senate needs to establish a means of communication with the President, Provosts, etc.  The mechanisms should already be in place, but if not Chancellor Kirwan noted that he will remind the Presidents. Most campuses have mechanisms in place, but not for budgetary issues according to Bryant Mitchell and noted it is difficult without the documents for a professional review or sharing of the documentation. Other comments from CUSF and Faculty Senate members noted that for the last State furlough, which was around the Christmas break, university faculty and staff worked anyway. Terry Worchesky added that we need to note that we have just sucked it up and worked anyway.  We need to let the public know that we are good public servants. Another comment pertained to increased enrollment, but the loss of out-of-state enrollments and how to appeal to students in the other States.  Irv Goldstein added that revenue estimates are critical. PJ Hogan followed up noting that with the State budget, which includes K-12, Medicare, mandates, etc., we are 22% of the discretionary budget. However, our cut has been relatively small at 5%. We were obviously given priority by the Governor.  Other comments were that we have the baby boom echo, and that we are competing for a reduced market.

3. Items likely to come up in the upcoming legislative session that will be important for the USM:
The budget is a huge item, as well as keeping our jobs. This is not the year to go with the ORP program changes. Our agenda in Annapolis needs to focus on non-monetary issues. There will be some sympathy for finding other ways to help us. PJ Hogan added that there is a huge unfunded liability for retiree benefits. Unfunded liability shown on the balance sheet is $22 billion of unfunded liability which is funded on a pay-as-you-go basis. So now we need a plan to make good on that.  He noted there was still a $14 billion unfunded liability after a new analysis was done.  The State Legislature has established a Blue Ribbon Commission to develop ways to fund this liability that could include changing benefits.  Jim Sansbury is on that committee representing the Chancellor. They have a final report due in 2009. They are looking at variables such as taking 6 years to get vested instead of 5 years, for example. So far, the exercise was found to not save a lot of money. Despite CUSF’s wish to lower spousal retiree health coverage to 16 years from 25 years, the committee is actually performing analyses that change all new hires from 16 years to 25 years before becoming eligible for health benefits upon retirement. They are looking at other States. The State of Virginia basically drops you when you are eligible for Medicare. So far, it has not saved us a lot of money. The Attorney General’s Office has ruled that pensions are contractual and do not guarantee “health” benefits. However the moral issue is that State employees were hired and told this is what you get. Chancellor Kirwan added that he feels the moral obligation deeply and finds it inconsistent with everything that he has ever seen.  This is something that he will work against. In response to questions Chancellor Kirwan responded that domestic partners will receive health benefits. He noted that this benefit for private citizens must be offered to State employees. PJ Hogan added that he keeps reminding the legislators that this is a very competitive world.  We continue to remind them that the research, faculty, etc., make the institutions and we want to keep them.

4. Preserving textbook decisions to faculty while controlling textbook costs (upcoming conference, protecting ourselves from unfortunate legislation):
Textbooks costs are skyrocketing.  This is even noted in the Higher Education Re-Authorization Act, because it is a problem. Forcing unbundling, posting ISBN numbers, and making pricing information available, are some of the mandates.  The goal is to bring everyone together, which includes faculty, students, publishers, etc., at the upcoming textbook conference. The goal on the federal level has been accomplished.  It is possible that on the USM level something can be done, as well as on a State statutory level. Delegates Rice and Rosapepe have been involved and are invited to the conference. We will not tell faculty how to pick and choose textbooks. In a question and comment, it was noted that the administration on most campuses do not view this as a real problem.  Chancellor Kirwan noted that this will be on the agenda for the next Provosts Meeting.

5. Reporting on cultural diversity and SB 438 from last year (implications for the campuses, how faculty can be involved in the planning since they are likely to be involved in carrying out the plans and in reporting) :
Irv Goldstein addressed this issue and noted that paragraph 1 of the Cultural Diversity Senate Bill 438 is a CUSF issue. MHEC has not come out with the template yet. Doug Gansler, the Maryland Attorney General, said the bill is not properly defined regarding race, gender, age, sexual orientation, etc., and stated that they need to redefine it. We are watching and Irv Goldstein will keep CUSF and the Faculty Senate Chairs up-to-date. Currently the bill is on hold.  Every State and private institution must come up with a plan, but we are waiting on MHEC.

6. Faculty compensation as a dashboard indicator
Chancellor Kirwan stated that we need the same definition across the country, assuming there is a general definition. That way we will see where we are weak. Bill Chapin stressed that “compensation” versus “salary” should be included, which includes parking, cost of living etc.  Chancellor Kirwan added that he would look into whether we can get compensation data besides salary. 

7. Determining “peer” institutions for achievement reporting/funding purposes (Understanding of Augustine’s ideas for long-term funding of higher ed): 
The Bohanan Commission, which once was the Hogan Commission, will try to provide a roadmap by funding higher education in the State. Many folks are involved and USM Regent Norman Augustine is the Chair. He has a lot of clout.  The work is divided into three work groups, 1) accountability, which is how to measure State investment,  chaired by Lawrence Shulman; 2)  capital investment, which involves the adequacy of our funding, chaired by Larry Letow and points to a huge deficit in capital funding; and 4) economic competitiveness/workforce, chaired by Garland Williamson. Norman Augustine will find the appropriate share of the State budget for higher education. Big issues include funding for public 4-year colleges, with a 75th percentile goal, as well as funds for privates colleges and community colleges. His approach is to look at our competitive States and peg our funding to those.  We want to be competitive with them by comparing flagship to flagship, comprehensive with comprehensive, etc. We have been running models to see what it does for us.  For the most part, we come out much better, which means we would get much more money.  This is all being massaged and worked through.  The good news is that it looks like it will work for us financially and politically. Globally, there is a list of 10 States that we lose jobs to, as indicated by information given to us by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.  The Bohanan Commission Report is due in December and CUSF will receive a copy. No institution will end up with less money based on this report.

8. What is "Project 1300"?:
At a BOR meeting, a Regent said he saw the USM strategic plan which shows that Maryland loses a certain amount of its high ability students. These students score at least 1300 on the old SAT, and two-thirds of them go to out-of-state schools. The Regent said that we ought to do better and find a strategy. The newspaper picked it up and turned it into a strategy.  So the Regents are now interested and will somehow follow through. This discussion happened at the end of the BOR meeting. Robert Johnson, Jr. noted that 1300 on the old SAT is equivalent to 1950 on the new SAT. Bill Chapin added that of 6000 students, about 4000 leave the state. Return on investment is the issue even though we get students from other states. He also noted that some States keep two-thirds of their students.

9. Academic programs from out-of-state for-pay colleges (what is happening with MHEC):
Our sense is that they are giving the “for profits” a pass.  MHEC let Strayer University offer a business degree which competes with the USM Hagerstown effort.  DeVry University is bringing programs into Baltimore which conflict, as well.  The MHEC Board will have a retreat to discuss this. We will not let it go quietly in the night.

10. Helping assure better preparation of incoming freshmen (admissions requirements, working with high schools); Getting better-prepared students for STEM disciplines (Where are we going now with the STEM initiative and how will it change the quality of the kids coming to our campuses?):
We are slipping behind the world with college graduates. This is a terrible trend. Maybe lack of alignment of high school graduation requirements is the cause. The P-20 Council must help and put a group together. The State of Virginia offers two diplomas - college ready and one in which you just graduate from high school. Maryland’s standard graduation test is a 10th grade assessment. Ann Moultrie’s Way2GoMaryland website will be helpful because some kids in middle school are not getting the advice they need for college. It will be a source that we would like to add an assessment test to, which will also say which course, if any, a student needs to take to be college ready. A new state-wide P-20 STEM Task Force appointed by Governor, established and co-chaired by Chancellor Kirwan and Dr. June Streckfus, is looking to position Maryland to be a leader in a STEM economy. There is a K-12 element and it also includes a strategy for producing more STEM teachers.

D.        Bohanan Commission Report from Associate Vice Chancellor PJ Hogan:
PJ Hogan noted that there are some things that are not correct in the preliminary report. It takes more than undergraduate desire to make sure that 55% have at least an associates or bachelors degree. To get those “1950” SAT students to stay in MD, we must close the achievement gap, and get the graduation rate at HBI’s close to the TWI’s. It has to be longitudinal. TU has no achievement gap.  Irv Goldstein noted that we know what works, i.e., early warning systems, small class sizes, etc. We can get there and we know where we are going, but now we just need to maneuver it into another plan. Bill Chapin noted that Algebra part I and part II substitutions are done, for example, but students do not have the right background for college. Coming in, they needing remedial work and that is a problem. Robert Johnson, Jr. noted Louisiana and Mississippi and asked PJ Hogan if he was familiar with them and the consent decrees. PJ Hogan responded that Maryland is still under the Office of Civil Rights and has done more than most States in that regard.


E.         Discussion of shared governance on the individual campuses and other campus concerns:
Robert Johnson, Jr. and Bryant Mitchell asked how they could have a review of their campus administration at UMES, if this has this been done on other campuses, and how does the system view these things and processes. Keith Eshleman noted that UMCES did it, but that it was not useful. The last one was done about 3 years ago. He offered templates, etc. that UMES can use. He added that they were not completely successful because they did not get all the information needed. Robert Johnson, Jr. added that perhaps administrators should list all of their successes, etc. for faculty. Terry Worchesky added that their faculty are so ingrained that the administration does not get away with anything without the faculty doing something or without their knowledge. The budget committee at UMBC has 2 faculty members on it and they each vote.  They listen and they act.  He added that if you are in there while the decisions are made, it makes a difference. Their struggle is that they want to leave the administration to the administrators. Bill Chapin noted that all of our campuses are different. Sometimes information is refused. Some Faculty Senate Chairs are not allowed to send information out to all faculty members via email. All agreed that there is an ideal way for faculty to be involved in what is happening on campuses. Terry Worchesky suggested that perhaps we should come up with at least a minimal amount of participation for faculty on all campuses. Others added that beyond the shared governance document, shared governance assumes relativity strong participation of the Deans, and on the department levels. However, it is not uniform from top to bottom, especially at the higher levels.  Marcelo Cardarelli summarized is as un-shared governance on some campuses.

F.         Lunch and Discussions 

G.        Planning for future meetings of the Senate Chairs with the Chancellor and the CUSF Ex Com:
All agreed that we should meet again this academic year. Bill Chapin noted that he will ask Chancellor Kirwan to arrange another meeting with CUSF and the Faculty Senate Chairs this academic year.

H.        Strengthening research in times of fiscal challenge (how do we get to “internationally significant when local budgets for infrastructure support and for time for younger faculty to do research may be very tight?):
Bill Chapin noted that CUSF has not had a committee for research in the past, and now we will have one. There are two separate agendas, comprehensives institutions and research institutions. When times get tight, we have to protect the young and new researchers. We had not done it for 5 years. Bill Stuart added that unionization of graduate students is another issue that could impact things. Keith Eshleman commented that research hits have been hard because of state cuts and research funds tightening; CUSF should deal with it. Bill Chapin said that if things are really bad in December, they will take back more money next year.  We will probably have a tuition increase. We need to be looking at this with the Faculty Senate and your legislators. Bill Stuart added that George Mason University set-up semi-autonomous research, for example, the biology department keeps its own research funding. That is why they are so prominent. They get it at a price.

I.          Other business:Marcelo Cardarelli asked why we are not involved in the legislature, and Bill Chapin responded that we are involved, and gave examples such as the Hagerstown issue last year, textbooks, etc. In addition, he note that Patti Cossard does a great job establishing a presence for CUSF. If there are specific issues, they should be sent via email to us. Tim Sullivan added that if he was a legislator he would be very impressed with students coming to him to be involved, and he would help them with communication.
Joyce Tenney reminded all attendees that on November 28th the Regents Faculty Awards Applications are due and they should come via shared governance.

J.         The meeting adjourned at 1:15 p.m.