Council of University System Faculty

CUSF Meeting of November 19, 2003


Council of University System Faculty Meeting

November19, 2003 at UMBC

Present: Francis Alt (UMCP), Alcott Arthur (CSC), Zane Berge (UMBC), Vince Brannigan (UMCP), Bill Chapin (UMES),  John Collins (UMBI), Mike Garner (SU), James Gelatt (UMBC), Stephanie Gibson (UB), Denny Gulick (UMCP), Frank Hanson (UMBC), Steve Jacobs (UMB), Rosemary Jagus (UMBI), Anthony Norcio (UMBC), John Organ (BSU), Anjali Pandey (SU), Dave Parker (SU), Doug Pryor (TU), Martha Siegel (TU), Court Stevenson (UMCES), William Stuart (UMCP), Joyce Tenney (UMBC), Robert Walthur (UMES), Jay Zimmerman (TU)

The meeting was called to order at ten o’clock. Joyce Tenney, Chair of the UMBC Faculty Assembly and UMBC President Hrabowski brought greetings from the campus. They contrasted the growth of facilities, faculty quality, student services and shared governance at UMBC despite the tight budgetary situation with the public perception that the USM campuses are still over supported. They expressed particular concern lest tuition increases be used as a weapon to drive wedges between the various campus constituencies.

          The minutes of the previous meetings were approved as modified.

          The CUSF Chair, Martha Siegel, urged all the CUSF committees to be active this year and directed every CUSF member to be active sin some committee, since it is through the efforts of the committees that most of the work of CUSF gets done.  In addition, she reminded all members of the three meetings of the Higher Education Special Committee on Affordability and Accessibility (November 20 at UMCP, December 1 at SU, and December 15th at UMBC) since we need to have speakers representing our position at each of these meetings. She also announced that, because of a conflict with the Board of Regents’ schedule, we will hold the April 16th CUSF meeting at UMUC and the June 15th meeting at UMES.

          The Chair reported that the recent AAAC meeting had an extremely full agenda, with particular concern over workload issues: possible support by some Regents for an increase in the course load at a time when our workload is in general poorly understood and when the course loads for the various campus are within the current guidelines but near the lower end. There is similar concern for the preservation of tenure and academic freedom, also topics not well understood by the public (and perhaps some Regents). There also seem to be contradictions in goals of limiting the number of courses that students can take in one semester without increased payments and of keeping student time to degree short.

          The Chair urged all council members to go over the Strategic Plan proposed by USM and to e-mail comments and suggestions as soon as possible.

          Vice Chair Brannigan reported on his testimony concerning the report of the Mandel Commission.  This testimony has already been distributed to the members of CUSF.  He emphasized the need for fast response on our part to attacks of this kind, the danger that the faculty or the administration would be blamed for the tuition increases, and the importance of our responding in ways that are meaningful to the political leaders involved. 

          Under Old Business, Vice Chair Brannigan discussed the process of coordinating our work informing and persuading legislators or our point of view, noting that the legislators seem to be less responsive to details but more to situations directly affecting their constituents.  Chair Siegel continues to work toward our meeting in Annapolis on February 16, hoping that we can coordinate our efforts with the work of the Provosts, and emphasized the particular effectiveness of strong student presentations. In areas of Faculty Workload and of Effectiveness and Efficiency, we must take control of the public discussion: particular evidences of current efficiency and of the negative results of false efficiency should be sent to Martha Siegel. 

          The process of clarifying the ART Policy is proving to be a little difficult.  We hope to have a thoroughly modified and clarified policy available sortly. Dave Parker and his committee will continue to work on this problem.  The corresponding question of a policy appeals to the Chancellor and the BOR will also require further consideration.

          There will be a New Department Chair’s workshop on February 16. Vice Chancellor Goldstein with speak at this meeting.  Martha Siegel will also be speaking to the chairs.  Since we will be meeting in the same building on the same day, we may well have a joint lunch with the chairs.

          Under New Business, the Report of the Tuition Task Force presented a cause for concern, since we need a continued and reliable source of funding, find ourselves in the position that changes in policies such as tuition levels for out-of-state students have unanticipated domino effects on many institutions, and do not want to find ourselves in the position of being blamed for the tuition increases necessitated by legislative budgetary cuts. 

          The ART policy for Librarians is also confused in areas of retrenchments and notice on non-renewal.  We will work on this.

          There has been a suggestion that we coordinate the awarding of the faculty and staff BOR awards.  Given the complexities of the schedules already established for this year, we voted to support a joint awards ceremony, beginning with the 2004-2005 academic year. This will leave us with a year to coordinate with CUSS.

          Joe Vivona, USM Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance, arrived shortly before lunch to give us a presentation on the budgetary process and how it might play out during the next legislative session, particularly in view of the recent appointment of six new Regents and the consequent reorganization of the BOR committees.  Copies of his slides have been distributed to all CUSF members. Considerable discussion followed concerning how we should deal with unfounded mandates and other anticipated budgetary complications.

          John Organ reported on the November 5th vote by the Bowie State University faculty of no confidence in the President of BSU.  As a result, CUSF passed the following unanimous resolution: “CUSF strongly supports the right of the Bowie State University faculty to demand a thorough investigation, at the highest level, of the grounds for the recent November 5th BSU faculty vote of no confidence in the President of Bowie State University.   This investigation should include adequate protection against retaliation for faculty members at Bowie State University, as any such retaliation would be an affront to both academic freedom and shared governance.  Such a thorough investigation is critical to the integrity of the University System of Maryland as an institution.”

          During lunch and shortly thereafter, the CUSF committees met:

          Academic Affairs (Parker, Berge, Zimmerman, Pryor, F. Alt).  A fully fixed version of the ART document will be available for the December CUSF meeting, but the following motion passed: “CUSF supports in principal the changes in the current draft of the ART document and authorizes the Academic Affairs Committee and the Executive Committee to adjust the wording and forward it on the AAAC”.

          Administration and Finance (Brannigan, Garner). This committee will prepare a policy on Appeals to the Chancellor and the Board of Regents, to be presented to CUSF and eventually, through the BOR Education Policy Committee, to the BOR.

          Legislative Affairs (Gulick, Richardson, Walther, Organ Stewart). This committee is collecting and devising questions for a FAC for use in communications with legislators.  They are searching for volunteers for writing various topic areas.

          Membership and Rules (Stevenson, Chapin, Collins).  This committee will consider nominations for new officers during the spring semester.  Now it is considering the rules for reallocation of CUSF representatives.

      The meeting was adjourned at 2:00 p.m.