Minutes, Truman Chapter of AAUP
November 7, 2008, 5:00 pm
Special meeting with Provost Troy Paino
Meetings are open to all university faculty members.
Faculty present: Betty McLane-Iles (presiding), Provost Troy Paino, and 10 more faculty members: Marc Becker (notes), James Harmon, Diane Johnson, Victoria Landrum, Sylvia Macauley, Jason McDonald, Judi Misale, Steve Reschly, Giray Sadik, Rod Tayler
Betty: In the spring we had a good meeting with Dixon. Some of the questions we discussed with her were contingent faculty, benefits for contingent.
Troy: faculty have to be 75% to get benefits, which is higher than elsewhere.
James: unequal teaching loads
Troy: problem of lack of standard definition of full load at TSU. If it is an equated 12-hr load, than this should also apply for temp faculty. How do we give credit for other work? Preparing a spreadsheet of everyone’s work load to get a handle on the issue, and to understand why we have a discrepancy. So far haven’t seen issue w/ part-time faculty. Still attempt to move to 3/3; some have 4/4 or 3/4.
Diane: not intended to be unequitable, but hard to calculate.
Troy: want to be fair, and may need to shift calculations to department level.
Diane: touches on morale issue, esp. w/ unequal work loads. some people are treated like mules.
Judi: problem of lack of written records. In old division structure, lack of written documentation was strategic to divide faculty so they do not know what is happening elsewhere. Encourages Paino to write stuff down & to be accountable for it.
Troy: would like to move toward that. Accustomed to that pattern, esp. since previous institution was unionized, which meant that everything was clearly defined. Want to move to a faculty handbook that lays this all out. Not making promises at this point on work load, because need to study it first. But am concerned about people doing overloads & not getting any extra compensation.
Diane: reviewing tenured professors might be a step in the right direction.
Sylvia: concern of not exploiting temporary faculty, one-semester full-time hire not eligible for benefits. Want to have clear, written, policy.
James: at least written policies have improved over the last 10 years.
Troy: can’t get list of committees on campus, so now is creating a list and will keep list. Probably introducing redundancies because don’t know what else exists.
Betty: other issues were early retirement, intellectual diversity, early retirement, facilities for disabilities, sabbaticals.
Steve: curriculum commission?
Troy: not w.o controversy. a 50pp draft exists, but problem w/ consensus on doc. Now needs to go thru UGC? 5 models, but not filled in or overly proscriptive but general guidelines. Very tentative, but some committee members are uncomfortable w/ it going out. 2.5 yrs old.
Diane: can be huge hornet’s nest, but can also be exciting—time to rethink things.
Troy: haven’t seen document yet, and am curious what is in it. Afraid of what reactions might be. Goal was to get it out by end of October … 2009?
Judi: initiatives that went nowhere over her past 29 yrs here. Current LSP core had holes that were supposed to work out ok, but didn’t. We take on too much at the same time. We lack clear long-term focus. leads to morale problems.
Diane: we have problems w/ process, which leads to abusing people and wasting time. Lack training in academia on how to get things done.
marc: how do you view morale issue?
Troy: universal problem/issue. different, not lower. previous institution had a place and way to vent, faculty knew where to go. open forums. here done informally, leads to conspiracy theories in terms of access, etc. Informality leads to facilitating actions, but can also be abused. downside: slower, and takes more time to take things to meetings. makes things more transparent.
Steve: no procedure to move forward w/ issues.
Judi: problem w/ history of inbreeding. Looks forward to outside person coming in as president.
Troy: need balance of action & respect so as not to throw things off. not here to promote revolution in institutional culture; more of a reformer, to move things forward. Active in union on campus, and worked on both sides of coin w/ negotiations. leads to stronger faculty leadership.
Betty: no culture of fear of joining union?
Troy: no, rather attitude of why not join.
Steve: passionate debates on issues would be an improvement, but here conflict becomes personalized. This is what happened w/ Dixon.
James: before law said that public employees couldn’t unionize, but recent court decision changes that.
Betty: I hope we can have more conversations.
Troy: if you have more ideas for improving institution and structures, let me know.
Sylvia: Would meet & confer work here?
Troy: enjoys sitting in on faculty senate, even tho doesn’t have a voice.
Judi: old school/new school divides. Large group would like to change culture.
Troy: is changing, evolve as new faculty are hired. will happen gradually. too gradually for some.
Adjourned: 6 p.m.
Respectfully submitted by Marc Becker, secretary