AAUP Truman Chapter Meeting Minutes, September 11, 2012
Attendance: Marc Becker, José Castillo, Taner Edis, James Harmon, Wolfgang Hoeschele, Betty McLane-Iles, David Robinson, Marc Rice, Peter Rolnick. In addition to the Truman faculty, Tim Geisbuhler from ATSU also attended the meeting.
1. Meeting with Provost, Joan Poor
We decided to invite the Provost to our next regular meeting on October 9; if she is unable to come at that time, we will try to arrange a meeting either at another Tuesday at the same time, or some other time entirely.
We also discussed which topics we wish to bring up with her. David Robinson and Peter Rolnick will prepare points as follows:
a) David: what is AAUP (salaries, research support, partner benefits, contingent faculty)
b) Peter: what are our concerns:
a) faculty role in direction over curriculum, with special reference to online courses (what is special about Truman? How to maintain that? Are we obsessing too much about efficiency and losing sight of maintaining close relationships between professors and students?)
b) faculty role in governance: vision statement, guiding coalition in face of current environment, role (or lack thereof) of Faculty Senate in ad-hoc committees, faculty role in decision-making about whom to hire where
c) contingent faculty: what are the trends; concerns about lack of sufficient tenure-track hires in certain disciplines (how do we expect contingent faculty to make long-term commitments to the university, how can we plan curriculum in advance without sufficient permanent staff to put this curriculum into effect, how can we continue to support alumni if none of the professors who knew them are around anymore?)
2. We briefly discussed domestic partner benefits. David Robinson reported that the Board of Governors has not yet responded to this issue. We are still waiting.
3. AAUP Regional Workshop on the Faculty Voice, St. Louis, November 10.
David Robinson explained that the AAUP has organized a series of regional workshops in other places, including Kentucky, Louisiana and Texas, where organizing was needed. They brought in people from all over the country, including national AAUP leadership, to bring aspects of the national conference to the regions (very few people from the regions attend the national conferences). They were considering to do the next one either in Illinois or Missouri, when “all hell broke loose” in Missouri, with St. Louis University for example getting rid of tenure (they plan to do a re-evaluation of faculty every six years, where each re-evaluation can result in a decision to terminate the contract). So they decided for St. Louis. They are planning to be ready for 150-200 people, but if 50 come they will be happy. David will go.
We discussed whether we want to support somebody to go with the finances the chapter has available ($423). We decided that this is a good use of that money. Betty McLane Iles was the only one to step forward to attend (apart from David), so we will support her trip.
4. Elections of chapter officers
Marc Becker was re-elected as President.
Betty McLane-Iles was re-elected as Vice President.
Wolfgang Hoeschele was re-elected as Secretary
Marc Rice was elected as Treasurer. After 20 years of exemplary service, James Harmon retired from this post.
Sylvia Macauley was re-elected and Taner Edis was elected as Member-at-Large. Taner Edis replaces Peter Rolnick, who stepped down because he is planning to retire at the end of 2012.
5. Plans for the 2012-13 academic year
The points to be discussed with the Provost outline our major concerns. We decided to talk over which of these points to focus on after our visit with her.
It was suggested that we advocate that the AAUP be officially represented on university committees. This happens at MAFS (Missouri Association of Faculty Senates) and at the MU Columbia Faculty Senate, for example.
6. Tim Geisbuhler reported on the state of affairs concerning faculty role in governance at ATSU. Years ago, he had spearheaded the creation of a Faculty Senate at ATSU, using AAUP literature for guidelines. The role of the Faculty Senate at ATSU has since been reduced; it is now more like a dean’s committee. ATSU lacks traditional protections of faculty such as tenure, though the full-time professors do control the curriculum (there are only about 30 professors who work full-time as professors).