Minutes, Truman Chapter of AAUP
October 5, 2007, 4:30 pm
Meetings are open to all university faculty members.
Faculty present: Betty McLane-Iles (presiding), Martha Bartter, Kathryn Brammall, James Harmon, Diane Johnson, Sylvia Macauley, Judi Misale, David Robinson, Tom Stewart
1. Minutes of September 13 meeting were approved.
2. Old Business
We sent a letter to the President and VPAA (now Provost) last year, asking for clarification of benefits offered to temporary faculty coming to Truman (there seemed to be some irregularity). No reply has been received; Betty will check with them once again.
3. Issues from Faculty Senate: Diane
A. The Faculty Senate Governance Committee is being formed and will meet on October 16 to begin exploring ways that our Senate and councils might adjust to the new administrative structure. In the minutes of our previous chapter meeting, we appointed Diane to an AAUP committee for governance; since Diane is actually serving on the eponymous FS committee, she asked to be excused from the AAUP committee. We decided that, for this very important issue of shared governance, we will designate our chapter officers as our AAUP Governance Committee. As this issue develops, we will be watching closely. Diane wants all faculty (certainly AAUP members) to make their wishes for governance known, particular concerning by-laws that constitute the standing bodies. Several of us volunteered ideas and hopes, referring to models that we knew about or heard about, so each of us needs to send those views and information to Diane and the FS Governance Committee as soon as possible.
B. The Faculty Senate Intellectual Diversity Committee has been formed, and Tom Stewart has agreed to serve (with some understanding that he is a liaison to AAUP–at least someone willing to keep obvious AAUP principles handy in their discussions). Chapter members pledged their readiness to help Tom and this committee to defend academic freedom at Truman and in Missouri.
[Note from David Robinson and Kathryn Brammall: Missouri Association of Faculty Senates (MAFS) met October 8 and 9, and, in concert with advice from the Department of Higher Education, MAFS is asking all public universities to make their academic freedom (intellectual diversity, whatever they want to call it) obvious and transparent in their public interactions (university website, stated policies, etc.). If another bill comes to the Missouri legislature claiming to enforce “intellectual diversity,” we want to be able to indicate quickly and clearly that we already have that covered–no thank you.]
4. Missouri Conference of AAUP: David
A. The Executive Council of Mo-Conference (its officers, essentially) will have their autumn meeting at David Robinson’s home on Saturday, Nov. 10. This meeting plans the agenda for the year, as well as the big annual meeting, usually held in February or March. Since David has to be away at a scholarly conference at our next chapter meeting, Nov. 2, he asks that any concerns and agenda items, things that should come before state and national AAUP, be communicated to him soon. People mentioned one good agenda item for Mo-Conference: the May ruling of Missouri Supreme Court allowing collective bargaining for public employees.
B. Missouri Association of Faculty Senates (MAFS): David and Kathryn
MAFS meets October 8 and 9. Kathryn Brammall is representing Truman’s Faculty Senate, and David will be representing Mo-Conference of AAUP. One of the big issues this year is a piece of fallout from SB389, the omnibus higher-education bill that will bring us MOHELA money and many other (mostly unwanted) things. Truman’s Faculty Senate has endorsed a resolution authored by Candy Young (who will attend MAFS); the resolution calls attention to problems with the Department of Higher Education (DHE) interpretation of SB389 on the subject of “consumer information” on university courses. Essentially, the law required universities to post on a website “some student-evaluation information” about each and every professor.
[Added after MAFS: At the MAFS meeting, Candy’s proposal was not formally endorsed, but the issues she raised and communicated to DHE resulted in dampening of some of the most threatening aspects of the “consumer information” requirement, as well as some extra time for each campus to get a response to this requirement up and running. We will hear more details about this.]
On issues surrounding SB389, which is now law, and HB213 (“intellectual diversity”), which was not passed last legislative session, AAUP and all faculty must remain vigilant. As one chapter member pointedly remarked, we cannot allow the principles of academic freedom and tenure to be eroded by misguided “business models” (emphasizing consumerism and de-emphasizing professional responsibility) that would erode the foundations of our work to educate students, to build the future of our state, the nation, and the world. “Impressive business models” are likely to go the way of Enron.
5. New Business: Betty and others.
We discussed some recent experiences with Disability Services at Truman State University. Faculty concerns arise here because, if, as is sometimes perceived, students with disabilities are not receiving the aid that they need from DS, the instructors of their courses have to do the work of DS in addition to their own, or else they have to stand by as the student’s progress is hampered. It is a serious and delicate issue that, assuming good will all around, still needs careful attention from faculty and administration. Our chapter welcomes any information about how well Truman’s DS is working for and with our disabled students, and whether there are problems in our system that may need some attention.
6. Adjournment, ca. 6:00 PM
Respectfully submitted by David Robinson, acting secretary