Minutes, Truman Chapter of AAUP
March 3, 2006, 4:30 pm
Meetings are open to all university faculty members.
Faculty present: David Robinson (presiding), Martha Bartter, Roger Festa, James Harmon, Wolfgang Hoeschele, Diane Johnson, Sylvia Macauley, Tom Marshall, Judi Misale, Lynn Rose
1. Minutes of February 3 were approved.
2. Reports on State conference meeting, national AAUP election.
James Harmon, Mark Nordstrom, and David Robinson all attended the annual meeting of the Mo-Conference, which met in Columbia, February 4. They reported on a well-attended meeting, with the usual insights into long-term and anticipated state budget issues. The new threat to funding of higher education is called the Taxpayers Bill of Rights (TABOR), which seems unlikely to be passed during the current legislative session. Legislation requiring the teaching of “intelligent design” might also emerge again, though even the appearance of that seems even less likely for now.
Election of national AAUP officers will be held via mail-ballots to all qualified voters, in good standing with dues, etc. All ballots must be RECEIVED by the vote-counting office by April 17.
3. Dixon’s reform agenda, and Robinson’s meeting with her.
The minutes of the February 3 chapter meeting specified a number of questions and concerns about the push for administrative and curricular restructuring, which Robinson raised in a private lunch meeting with President Dixon. She was familiar with most of these concerns and admitted that timing (or delays in communication) might be something that she could try to improve.
In more general conversation, as Robinson was discussing his own pro-reform views, some of them outside the specific questions from the chapter, Dixon imparted some information. At most universities, the university president is responsible for all personnel decisions, except that involving the president, of course, which is the prerogative of the board. For some reason, in 1994, our Board of Governors decided to reserve to themselves the personnel decisions on three officers: President, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Treasurer (presumably the same as “controller”). Dixon did not elaborate on that extraordinary piece of information, but Robinson has to wonder whether this special Truman situation has not hampered her ability to make needed changes in her administration. How that situation relates to Dixon’s restructuring plans remains a mystery.
4. Sabbatical policies.
In the week prior to the meeting, chapter members Wolfgang Hoeschele and Marc Becker (who will have full-year sabbaticals 2006-07) raised some issues about sabbatical-leave policies, issues that were also raised last year. Essentially what we have determined is that the Board of Governors has set the sabbatical policies, although the VPAA, at his discretion, can augment at least to some of the policies.
Board policy states that, for one-semester sabbaticals, the person with a fall-semester sabbatical is paid based on the salary rate of the previous academic year, whereas the person with the spring-semester sabbatical is paid based on the salary rate of the current academic year. (This assumes that a general pay-raise has changed the rate.) VPAA Gordon explained that, in the past year, he paid both groups at the same basis (the higher, current-year rate) and that he anticipated doing the same in the coming year. So the VPAA can and still intends to augment this policy, in favor of faculty.
On a related matter, people who accept sabbaticals for the full year still have to agree to continue as faculty members for two full academic years (i.e. not retire or take positions elsewhere), or else reimburse the university for the full amount, or prorated portion, of the sabbatical pay plus benefits. We do not know whether the VPAA is in any position to alter this part of the policy.
VPAA Gordon has noted that a faculty committee is meeting to make recommendations on sabbatical policy. These issues and any others could be addressed to this faculty committee, as well as to him directly. (Chapter member Steven Reschly serves on this committee.)
5. David Gruber’s AAUP files.
Laura Gruber recently gave David Robinson three big boxes, containing David Gruber’s AAUP files: personal, chapter, state, and national. She suggested that some of the local files should probably be shredded and that we might want to pass some of the state and national files to officers of the MO-conference. Some of our chapter officers will study the materials, likely during the summer, and make recommendations on the disposition of these materials. We raised the possibility of perhaps starting a chapter archive in Pickler Library’s Special Collections.
6. Adjournment, ca. 6:00 PM