Council of University System Faculty

CUSF Meeting of February 16, 2004


CUSF Meeting – February 16, 2004

Treasury Building, Annapolis

Present: Martha Siegel (Chair), Dave Parker (Past Chair), John Organ (BSU), Alcott Arthur (CSC), R. Michael Garner (SU), Patricia Alt (TU), Douglas Pryor (TU), Jay Zimmerman (TU), Stephanie Gibson (UB), Lee Richardson (UB), David Hardcastle (UM,B), Paul Thut (UM,B), Anthony Norcio (UMBC), Joyce Tenney (UMBC), Frank Robb (UMBI), J. Court Stevenson (UMCES), Frank Alt (UMCP), Vince Brannigan (UMCP), William Stuart (UMCP), Bill Chapin (UMES), Emmanuel Onyeozili (UMES), Adelaide Lagnese (UMUC), Joyce Shirazi (UMUC), Irv Goldstein (USM), Gertrude Eaton (USM), Joe Bryce (USM), Clifford Kendall (BOR)

The meeting was called to order at ten o’clock.

Regent Kendall reported that there was a possibility that the System might gain more flexibility on position control (‘lines’, ‘pins’) through an adjustment to our status as a public corporation. At the same time, we need to work on resource development, not only with the legislature, but also through donations and corporate cooperation.
In matters of effectiveness and efficiency, and particularly in questions of faculty load, the system and the campuses must take the lead in demonstrating new efficiencies, in getting the community to understand our contribution to the state and, to the extent possible, to understand the way universities work within a national competition for faculty and research support. If we are not proactive in this, others may define needed efficiencies and loads for us.

The minutes of the previous meeting were approved as adjusted (with possible additional technical corrections to be submitted to the secretary later).

All is in good order for the student research presentations to the legislature. There were seventy applicants system-wide of whom thirty-eight were selected. The practicalities of arranging transportation, refreshments (and assuring that the legislators come) remain.

Irv Goldstein reported that, although we have absorbed extensive budget cuts recently, it is nevertheless important that we continue to report new savings and efficiencies to the legislators. In academic areas, the question of time to degree, although complex, is easier to deal with than the question of faculty workload, a topic difficult for those outside academia to understand. Some resolution my come in the long term through the creation of more suitable metrics, but at the moment, we need to work within the given framework.

At the February 6 meeting of the CUSF Executive Committee with Senate Chairs and the Chancellor, the Senate chairs reported that they did want to be involved in the procedure for Systems Appeals to the Chancellor and the Board and that they supported the version that we passed later in this meeting. In the matter of merit pay, there was great variation by campus in the amount of faculty participation in the distribution decision (and in the actually desired distribution). Similarly, there was considerable variation in the current evaluation of administrators, and almost no evaluation of Presidents, as Bill Chapin confirmed in a report later in the meeting. Some institutions who did more evaluation of administrators in the past have discontinued this work, finding it not to be of great effectiveness for the effort involved.

Under Old Business, we unanimously endorsed in principle the proposal for System Appeals to the Chancellor and Board as presented by Mike Garner (with some more word-smithing to be done later and a final vote at the next CUSF meeting) This endorsement facilitates presentation of the document before other groups in the interim.

Joe Bryce reported that the current proposed system budget seems to be safe in the legislature. There are several versions of a bill containing limitations on tuition increases in exchange for guaranteed increases in the system budget, some more favorable in reflecting increases in enrollment or in rolling back some of our recent loses. We need to take responsibility for effectiveness and efficiency so that unworkable versions are not externally imposed. When dealing with legislators, we are encourage to talk about general principles, to report the good things going on and to make the legislators aware of the specific difficulties caused by recent cuts.

Work continues on the Issues Documents. Suggestions for modifications should be sent to the Chair. Stephanie Gibson is working on a consolidated single-sheet issues document for our convenience at meetings with legislators. We need to encourage students and faculty to come to the March 15th rally.

The Time-to-Degree Document will go to the AAAC shortly. There still seem to be confusions about programs requiring more than 120 credits and about the effect of non-programatic factors such as student work and part-time study on time to degree.

The ART document will go to the ACCC. There are still confusions and questions from the point of view of the Attorney General’s Office since the new sections are really replacements for the old ones rather than modifications.

Frank Alt reported that the current inequities among the various retirements systems, e.g., in the area of health benefits for spouses, are not likely to reach favorable resolution in the short run because of the costs of such adjustments. We need, however, to make sure that all faculty, particularly new faculty joining the system, are made aware of these differences. The matter was referred to the Faculty Affairs Committee for further consideration.

The USM Strategic Plan, now including specific references to shared governance in its vision and values statement, has been approved by the Board of Regents in principle. It clearly recognizes that one size does not fit all and that campuses must select those parts of the plan that are relevant to their campus and their mission.

Under New Business, there was considerable discussion of guidelines for the distribution of merit dollars. Since Presidents must find the dollars to cover this unfunded mandate, their desire to control the process is understandable, but faculty need to be part of the decision process. After four years without pay raises, some campuses would prefer to distribute these funds evenly over all the faculty while others feel the need to recognize specific merit this year (and to recognize merit during the years in which there were no merit dollars). The proposed statement on Merit Guidelines, encouraging faculty participation in the decisions process and advocating the use of the bulk of the merit dollars for the recognition of merit was unanimously approved in principle (again with the possibility of later technical adjustments and word-smithing).

The statement on Individual Conflicts of Interest in Research or Development and the Student Learning Outcomes Assessment Report both will go the ACCC. Final reactions and comments should be sent to the Chair.

The meeting was adjourned at about two o’clock.