AAUP Truman State University Chapter
Minutes, September 3, 2010 Meeting
Attendance: Marc Becker, James Harmon, Wolfgang Hoeschele, Diane Johnson, Betty McLane-Iles, Bonnie Mitchell, David Robinson, Peter Rolnick
1. Faculty plus one benefits
Last academic year, university president Troy Paino promised that he would study our proposals regarding “faculty plus one” benefits and get back to us about them by July (after consulting with various others). He has not communicated back to the AAUP about this. It was decided to send him a gentle reminder that we are still waiting for a response.
2. Job security for contingent faculty
It was discussed whether some kind of protection for faculty on contingent appointments, who are most likely to be adversely affected by budget cuts, should be included in the faculty response to the proposed policy on declarations of financial exigency. We decided to communicate with James Guffey that we want some kind of voice for contingent faculty in this matter.
The AAUP policy on convergence of status from contingent to tenured status was discussed. The policy states that after 7 years of continuous appointments, contingent positions should be converted to tenure lines. Among the large number of contingent faculty in biology, who are needed in order to keep the program running, there is a fear that conversion to tenure lines would mean that there would be open, national searches, in which the currently employed faculty could be at a disadvantage because they have been on teaching appointments that do not allow much time for research. This concern would have to be addressed. [Note that the latest AAUP report on the matter, http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/comm/rep/teachertenure, addresses such concerns.]
At minimum, Truman should keep records of hiring practices, and how many contingent people are hired under what kinds of contracts (e.g., full or part time).
3. Report from state and national meetings, David Robinson
David Robinson attended one national and several state meetings since our last chapter meeting. There has been considerable controversy concerning elections of AAUP leaders, and about the transfer of funds from the national to the state organization. These issues now appear to be largely resolved.
There will be a New Leaders Workshop in Louisville, Kentucky, on October 30. Anyone interested in going should contact David Robinson immediately.
The dues structure for AAUP membership has been changed. Members with substantially less than $50,000 annual income will see their membership dues reduced significantly, which should help in recruiting new members – particularly among contingent faculty who need protection the most.
4. Report on the AAUP Summer Institute: recruitment, Bonnie Mitchell
This is the first of several reports Bonnie Mitchell will be making regarding the AAUP Summer Institute; this one concerns suggestions how to recruit new members into the AAUP. Here are some of the ideas:
a) Give folders with information about the AAUP to new faculty members (16 at Truman this year, mostly on part-time appointments). This has been done.
b) Have a picnic, potentially with games, to get to know potential members.
c) Distribute bookmarks about the AAUP to all faculty members (Bonnie already did this in Society & Environment department; members present picked up more for distribution in their departments or schools).
d) Distribute AAUP buttons or stickers, for example, to put on office doors. Members present picked up some stickers; more are still available.
e) Make sure meetings are posted on the university calendar. Marc Becker already does this; this and the remaining meetings this semester are indeed listed on the calendar.
f) Display an AAUP banner at appropriate events for greater visibility. Bonnie will check whether such banners are available to be ordered from the national organization.
g) distribute AAUP’s Red Books.
h) Send out emails (e.g., about meetings) to all faculty. Our announcement that was supposed to go to all faculty via the Provost’s office was not forwarded. According to the secretary, she was waiting for the go-ahead from the Provost, but this apparently never came. We’ll request that he provide a general permission to send on our emails.
i) Try to get AAUP members on all university committees. We haven’t kept track of this. Wolfgang Hoeschele is on the new President’s Sustainability Action Committee.
j) Offer a reception at opportune times, such as after a Faculty Senate meeting. We decided that after a Faculty Senate meeting is not opportune because most professors are impatient to get home at that time. Maybe something at the beginning or end of the school year?
k) Issue frequent press releases. We already do this when appropriate.
l) Offer brown bag lunches or other fora on pertinent issues. We already do this on occasion. Should we do something at Wednesday lunches (12:30-1:20), the time freed up by the discontinuation of faculty development lunches? Peter Rolnick is going to look for an Academe article available online that might be used to spark discussion, planning for a first lunch forum on October 13.
We might also co-sponsor a Tea with the College of Arts and Letters.
m) Offer awards to faculty for special achievements. Nothing concrete was decided, though some possibilities were discussed.
n) Give greeting cards to parents of students, to inform them about the AAUP and seek to build coalitions with them. Cards could be given to parents attending the graduation of their children. The question was raised whether that’s not rather late – shouldn’t we contact parents when their children are entering rather than leaving college? We discussed doing this kind of publicity at Truman Week or Visit Days, will need to talk with Admissions people about how to coordinate.
o) Attend student government meetings. David Robinson recently talked with them about our proposals on benefits. There’s been no regular involvement.
We also discussed doing some community service event at the upcoming president’s installation event, but did not come to a conclusion about this.
1. Potential budget cuts and new policy on faculty exigency and retrenchment
David Robinson discussed previous discussions with Troy Paino about his proposed policy, approved of having a policy but considered the actual proposal definitely too vague at this point, needing clearer language. The proposed policy was discussed in relation to AAUP statements regarding financial exigency and faculty retrenchment. Some of the terms are vague or poorly defined. Bonnie Mitchell will work on a statement demanding the inclusion of a statement that financial exigency be only declared when it “threatens the survival of the university” (following AAUP language), and that approval of the Faculty Senate be required before the official declaration of a state of financial exigency.
2. President’s environmental sustainability initiative
Not discussed (out of time).
3. Proposed AAUP student scholarship account
Not discussed (out of time).