AAUP Truman State University Chapter
Minutes, April 5, 2012
Attendance: Marc Becker, James Harmon, Wolfgang Hoeschele, Marc Rice, Peter Rolnick
Electing Chapter Officers for next academic year
After some discussion, this was put off until the beginning of the next academic year. James Harmon, who is retired, would like to pass his job as Treasurer to someone else, which will also require moving the AAUP chapter account to some other account (it’s currently under his name). Before the meeting, Bonnie Mitchell had expressed that she would be ready to take on the Treasurer position.
Reviewing discussion about the guiding coalition with Troy Paino
This discussion had been hosted by the AAUP on March 22. Marc Rice said that he felt that President Paino had been looking for ideas from us, that he was opening up the process for inputs from other constituencies, but that this group did not provide a lot of suggestion (more complaints).
Peter Rolnick mentioned that he had offered two suggestions, which were to get rid of masters programs at the university in order to focus our attention on the undergraduate liberal arts program, and to increase the salaries of those at the bottom of the range while decreasing the salaries of those at the top of the range. This led to some discussion of the masters programs, such as in Music and in Music education; Marc Rice found that the former program really doesn’t offer enough support for its students. However, professors rely heavily on graduate assistants. It might be better for the institution to hire adjuncts rather than to maintain that graduate program.
Wolfgang Hoeschele suggested that, if Troy Paino is looking for big ideas, what about “reinventing the liberal arts”? The liberal arts nowadays are questioned as not being practical, and “practical” is defined as helping people get jobs, to fit in a corporate hierarchy. But this is not what practicality should be about. We are in a period of economic crisis, which implies rethinking of what we do. In order to address the economic, social, and environmental challenges we face, we need to do a lot of innovation – not just technological innovation (which we’re not about, we’re not an institute of technology), but also social innovation. Social innovation refers to how we interact and connect with each other, the institutions we create. This would involve emphasizing service learning, and interdisciplinary projects (virtually every real-world issue is interdisciplinary, e.g., building up a renewable energy infrastructure). In order to do this, we’d have to reduce some of the other things we do, or re-organize them (e.g., so that a group composed of several faculty and a substantial number of students could devote a semester to a shared project, or so that students could be involved in projects lasting several semesters).
This idea was discussed, as to whether it would get support from faculty in departments such as Physics and Music. Peter Rolnick suggested that it’s critical to provide faculty with a feeling of security about their major before they support this kind of change; there needs to be some real reward for engaging in interdisciplinary projects (as opposed to how JINS courses are handled currently).This might be handled as a 10-year plan, with appropriate amounts of support.
Domestic Partner benefits
Next weekend, the Student and Academic Affairs subcommittee of the Board of Governors is meeting, and Peter Rolnick, Cynthia Cooper, Ryan Nely (current student senate president) and Aaron Malin (student senate president elect) will be meeting with them to discuss the benefits of DP benefits. Peter Rolnick said that they plan to do a 3-minute presentation, presenting it as a good business move, and go from there.
Troy Paino is now revising the proposed exigency policy, in response to feedback from the FS committee (including Peter Rolnick), especially regarding the point that faculty should be involved in implementing any exigency plan.
AAUP report on faculty salaries
The AAUP national organization has offered to provide chapters with customized reports based on the survey of faculty compensation at universities across the country, which can provide comparisons with peer institutions. If we want such a report, we have to tell them which peer institutions we want to be compared with. Marc Becker will request a report, with the other COPLAC institutions as comparison group.
Monthly forums and meeting times
This year’s project of doing monthly forums on selected issues was discussed – and everyone found that attendance had been low, and usually did not include people outside of those who are involved in the AAUP anyway. Thus, it was decided to go back to the earlier practice of calling town hall meetings as important issues come up, rather than organizing a forum every month. Also, it was decided not to do a forum on the last day of the year scheduled for that purpose (April 19).
Regarding regular meeting times, everyone agreed that Thursdays at lunch has not worked very well. Several other potential meeting times were discussed; one that those present thought might work better is Tuesday afternoons at 4:30 (minimizing potential conflicts with FS meetings as well as Global Issues which sometimes includes dinners before the actual talk).