February 1, 2008, 4:30 pm
Meetings are open to all university faculty members.
Faculty present: Betty McLane-Iles (presiding), Martha Bartter, Marc Becker, James Harmon, Wolfgang Hoeschele, Steven Reschly, David Robinson
1. Minutes of December 7 meeting were approved.
2. Report on discussions with Dr. Dixon regarding employment/benefit conditions for contingent faculty.
President Dixon is prepared to meet with our chapter to discuss issues affecting contingent faculty. We will invite her to our next regular meeting or, if that timing is unsuitable, to a special meeting. We think that our chapter members will probably turn out for such a discussion. Since Dixon is usually eager to entertain questions/discussion on more than one issue, we will mention our current interests in curricular reform and changes in faculty governance, as well.
3. Query to Dean of Students Gilchrist and Campus Planners regarding Disability Services.
Our chapter president’s letter produced the answer that Brenda Higgins, Director of Student Health Center, is actually in charge of Disability Services, and so we now await a response from her. Several of us noted some improvement with services for our disabled students, as the new semester began. However, there is still need for improved resources, and in particular, we need to keep pressing on better access for those in wheelchairs, because several barriers (doorways, etc.) still plague them.
4. Statewide news: David Robinson
4a. AAUP chapter at University of Missouri, Columbia. This chapter is in strong renaissance, with new AAUP members signing up. Although there seems to have been general administrative disarray for some time, two major issues seem to be driving Mizzou faculty to organize. One is Governor Blunt’s appointment of the new university president, Gary Forsee, the cast-off CEO of Sprint, which has recently written down a loss of $30 billion and is currently seeking congressional immunity for sharing domestic client information with the NSA. A man of no academic experience (after graduating engineering at Rolla), Forsee replaces Elson Floyd, who was very popular with the faculty. The second issue is administrative bungling: recently the provost website put up an online “MU Intellectual Pluralism Report Form,” asking students to tell their “comment, concern, complaint, story: (Be as detailed as possible, including quotes from your instructor where applicable…).” Faculty feel that everything, including the teaching process, is being stripped out of their hands by incompetent and confused administrators. There are several employment lawsuits pending, and the chapter has voted to seek AAUP censure against the University of Missouri.
4b. Missouri Association of Faculty Senates meets February 4 and 5 in Jeff City. Kathryn Brammall will represent Truman’s Faculty Senate. David Robinson will represent the Missouri Conference of AAUP. See agenda and reports at www.mafs.org
4c. Missouri Conference of AAUP holds it annual meeting on Saturday, February 23, University of Missouri, Columbia, Brady Commons B231, 9 AM to 3 PM. All members are encouraged to attend. Special guests will include Kathleen Markie, of the MU General Counsel’s Office, who will address issues of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the new federal court rules on electronic discovery that include emails. Erika Gubrium of the Berkeley AAUP Office will conduct two workshops dealing with issues of intellectual diversity and faculty organizing. This year, no reservation is necessary, but more information will soon appear in the Conference newsletter, to be posted on our chapter website.
4d. ‘Intellectual Diversity.’ Our “old friend,” Rep. Jane Cunningham (Rep., Chesterfield) has been at it again. HB-1315 “The Emily Brooker Higher Education Sunshine Act” is getting early attention, whereas HB-213 died last year before making it to the Senate floor. The House Higher Education Committee holds a hearing on the bill, Tuesday, February 5, 5 PM, Hearing Room No. 1. The president and vice-president of the Missouri Conference of AAUP will be there, ready to testify and to give press releases. The websites below give the official bill and also our lobbying coalition that is battling the ‘Academic Bill of Rights’ and such ‘intellectual diversity’ bills nationwide.
5. New Business: Plans to continue our chapter’s State of the University surveys.
We discussed the possibility of doing the survey again this semester, having skipped last year. This is likely to require a good portion of our next regular meeting (or a special meeting, depending on the outcome of #2 above). We need to identify the “hot new issues” (such as the new administrative structure, changes in faculty governance, curricular reform, etc.), as well as which “old questions” to continue for longitudinal study. Judi Misale’s reign as mistress of our survey will necessarily be ending, because she is retiring from Truman; we need to find her replacement, a similarly qualified AAUP member who can continue this work and possibly even work with Judi on this year’s survey.
6. Note from Treasurer. This year we have to start filing the annual 990-N e-postcard to the IRS. National AAUP has asked all chapters to comply, in order to maintain its status as a tax-exempt, charitable organization.
7. Adjournment, ca. 5:45 PM
Respectfully submitted by David Robinson, acting secretary