Council of University System Faculty

CUSF Meeting of January 16, 2007

CUSF Meeting
USM (Adelphi)
January 16, 2007

Present: Bill Chapin (UMES), Joyce Currie Little (TU), Pat Alt (TU), Martha Siegel (TU), Lee Richardson (UB), Joyce Tenney (UMBC), Zane Berge (UMBC), Stephen Jacobs (UMB), Meg Johantgen (UMB), Frank Robb (UMBI), John Gustafson (UMUC), Court Stevenson (UMCES), Robert Larivee (FSU), Dennis Coates (UMBC), Denny Gulick (UMCP), Joyce Shirazi (UMUC), Deloris James (UMUC), Dave Parker (Chair), Vince Brannigan (UMCP), Bill Stuart (UMCP), Paul Flexner (SU), Bobbi Adams (SU), Alcott Arthur (CSU), Brit Kirwan (USM), Irv Goldstein (USM), Joe Vivona (USM)

Greetings from the host were delayed until Drs. Goldstein and Kirwan joined us later in the meeting.

Dr. Parker called the meeting to order at approximately 10:00am. The minutes of the November and December 2006 CUSF meetings were unanimously approved with minor adjustments.

Much of the meeting was devoted to reports on the current status of CUSF, USM and campus activities. Some were discussed in the morning, with additional information provided in the afternoon, when the Chancellor and Vice Chancellors arrived.

1. The Chairs Workshop for this year was canceled because the number of likely attendees was too small. The workshop will be offered again next year.

2. The Annapolis 101 / Student Research Day is rescheduled for Thursday, January 25 in the Conference Room of the Senate Office Building.

3. It would appear that health Insurance (at least of some sort) has been acquired for all full-time contractual faculty members, except at two institutions. It is expected that such insurance will be available at the other two institutions by Fall 2007. We will need to keep following this and pressing to be sure that the work is completed. The problem of retirement benefits for these faculty members is much more challenging because of the large expense involved (and the likely tightness of budgets for the next couple of years). While eventual resolution of all these difficulties will be made with campus-based decisions, particularly since benefit packages tend currently to run at 30% to 35% of salaries, a System-wide policy and System guidance to the campuses would be most helpful.

4. The Joint CUSS/CUSF resolutions from December 12 will result in a joint letter to be sent out.

5. The Regent's Faculty Awards Committee has completed its work in a mammoth one-day session so that the approval process through the Ed. Policy Committee of the BOR can proceed. It might be better in future years if the transmission of all this documentation could be conducted electronically. It might also be well to have a little more flexibility in the categories (so that if there were many strong applications in one are and none in another, we could adjust the awards appropriately): this turns out to be something that we can probably recommend with no objections from the BOR.

6. The CUSF Executive committee will meet with the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor and the USM Senate Chairs here in Adelphi on January 26th. More budget details may be available by that time, since the budget will be released on January 19th. The statewide structural deficit and the extensive promising done in the capital budget last year may well lead to several tight years in which it will be necessary to prioritize a rather smaller list of buildings. During the past twenty years the USM has done quite well in this capital area, but we may have to have a considerable slowdown since the USM budgets are such a large percentage of that part of the budget from which the legislators may legally remove funds and there seems to be no enthusiasm for raising taxes to cover deficits right now. The Hogan Commission is looking into finding a way of smoothing out the roller coaster that higher education has experienced in its budget over the years, some way to work to more stable and predictable budgeting. We could also face a time of tuition freezes accompanied by budgetary increases just large enough to cover mandatory increases in expenses and only a few other items.

7. Legislative bills concerning in-state/out-of-state tuition for undocumented immigrants and for those coming to Maryland as a result of the base closings (e.g. direct government employees, employees of contractors), bills concerning the status of the unions representing staff on our campus, and a bill that may involve the courts as a last refuge for disputes between institutions about new proposed programs that could be considered duplicative (and perhaps a bill requiring some sort of parity of funding for ‘parallel’ programs on different campuses, independent of campus mission or current directions of emphasis) may all be in the legislative hopper. More details should be available shortly. Tight budgets could make work on improving Optional Retirement Plan benefits less likely this year, despite the USM’s recognition of the high importance of this item.

8. The proposed agreement with the Office of Civil Rights is in an unclear status in view of the litigation coming from Morgan alumni and others.

9. The USM textbook committee is currently silent.

10. The Carol Twigg initiatives on the USM campuses are proceeding, with many campuses reporting a desire to try to realize more than one project at the same time,

11. Nancy Shapiro leads the current work on AP tests and their use in the USM. We are considering inviting her to our next meeting to discuss this and related matters.

12. UB is progressing toward offering freshman courses next year. Since it is not clear exactly how many students (perhaps 100?) there will be and how long it might take for this new effort to become a full success, many of the new faculty involved at first will not be on tenure-track lines.

13. Because not all the Regents suggested by the governor last year were confirmed by the Legislature, and because there are three Regents coming to the end of their terms, it is possible that there might be seven new Regents by July 1. We might want to encourage the retention of some of the Regents whom we recognize as being most helpful and successful in their work.

14. The system-wide attempt at enrollment increase last year exceeded its goal - but not all campuses did - but there is not a likelihood of so much money being offered for this purpose in the coming year.

15. We were in agreement with the position taken by the statewide student council on the desirability of domestic partners’ benefits, something which might be possible to achieve because it is not costly but something which might face political opposition.

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