AAUP Truman State University Chapter
Minutes, February 2, 2012
Members present: Marc Becker, James Harmon, Wolfgang Hoeschele, Betty McLane-Iles, Bonnie Mitchell, Peter Ronick.
1. AAUP Budget: There are several hundred dollars available in the chapter’s account. James Harmon raised the question how we should spend it. Wolfgang Hoeschele suggested supporting travel expenses, such as of David Robinson when he frequently travels on AAUP business. Marc Becker mentioned the upcoming AAUP workshops on governance, to be held in New Orleans on April 14 (AAUP members have received an email about this from Donna Potts on February 2). Somebody traveling there as AAUP rep should be able to use the knowledge gained productively, for example by disseminating it to others on campus.
Note (WH): although this was not discussed at the meeting, the email by Donna Potts also announces plans for a workshop in St. Louis: “We’re also planning a workshop in St. Louis in the fall, and would certainly like to do the same kind of outreach to chapters in Missouri, Arkansas, and Illinois. We’d love to hear any suggestions you might have for this workshop, and as we get closer to the date, we’ll send a preliminary agenda.” It may be more cost-effective if we send somebody there instead of to New Orleans.
2. University Budget: In his address to the university community, President Troy Paino announced that he plans to appoint a “guiding coalition” or team to propose a “plan, strategy, vision for how to change while preserving who we are,” with representation from a variety of people from all constituency groups. He wants to use part of the reserve fund available to the university in order to compensate for some of the cuts, but only after a plan to reduce expenses has been decided upon and receives broad support (anything else would be irresponsible). He also suggested some ways to reduce costs, for example by having more four-credit courses (where credit hours do not depend simply on contact hours), three-year graduation programs in at least some departments that would increase affordability and make better use of our unused facilities during the summer (e.g., by a trimester system, with some flexibility for professors to teach one or more courses during the summer instead of during the fall or spring). In his address to the Faculty Senate, he also mentioned that the MAE is very expensive, though a good program. He also mentioned that adding an undergraduate teacher prep program would bring in about 200 more students right away.
Some of these issues were discussed – for example, having the flexibility to teach in the summer instead of the fall or spring might allow us to take our vacation or do research work at a different time (can be useful for visiting archives for example). More importantly, it was discussed who is going to be on that commission to suggest how to cut expenses. The conclusion was to suggest to President Paino to appoint somebody who can represent ideas of the AAUP on this matter. To create this list, members present who would be willing to serve in this capacity were listed, and Marc Becker will send out an email to the Truman AAUP membership to ask for volunteers to be on the list.
3. University Conference, February 16: Our proposal for a session at the university conference has been approved:
3:35 pm to 4:30 pm Academic Job Market (McClain Hall 305)
Truman State University prides itself on the high number of graduates who attend graduate school. But what do we tell our students about the dire state of the academic job market, which is often the end goal of graduate studies? This session will begin with a short presentation on the current nature of the job market, and include a discussion of what we can do in terms of advising our students on the realities of academic careers. Can and should Truman State University do more to prepare our students for such careers? What alternatives exist for those interested in following in the footsteps of their faculty mentors? This session will include handouts and a conversation to prepare students who are considering pursuing academic careers.
Participant Preparation Expectations: None
Facilitators: Peter Rolnick, Wolfgang Hoeschele, Marc Becker
Conference Track: Career Planning
In addition to the people listed, Peter Rolnick is going to invite Bob Nothdurft to come to the session to share his knowledge about working at both a 4-year university and at a 2-year college (note: he agreed to come as of February 3).
Wolfgang Hoeschele will compile some information from past issues of Academe to present regarding the academic job market; Marc Becker found relevant articles in Perspectives on History for added reference –
This information will be used to kick off a discussion about the questions listed above.
4. Exigency Policy: As explained by Peter Rolnick, President Troy Paino has now proposed an exigency policy that reflects some of the suggestions that the Faculty Senate committee on this issue proposed, but it lacks certain components:
It doesn’t spell out how to deal with the retention (or lack thereof) of non-tenure-track staff who have been employed at the university for a long time.
It does not make a faculty role essential in declaring financial exigency, or in deciding where and how to make spending cuts.
Peter Rolnick suggested that we push to change that draft on the implementation (rather than on deciding whether an exigency exists) because this involves the core of what the faculty do (for example, determining the curriculum). This was discussed and met with approval among members present.
5. Domestic partners: Peter Rolnick reported about current situation regarding the initiative at Faculty Senate to push for domestic partner benefits. There has been some discussion about whether to ask the BOG to implement it directly, or to ask them to establish a study group to study the issue (favored by Candy Young but opposed by Tom Zoumaras as a way to indefinitely postpone the issue by the BOG). The student rep at the BOG (Luke Freeland) favors the study group approach, because some of the BOG members are very sensitive about this issue, but this could convince them if some of their own come out in support of domestic partner benefits. The group decided that it may be best to go with the study group approach, but set a date in September when they should give their report (giving sufficient time to implement change by 2013).