Meeting of the Truman State University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)
2015 Febuary 17, 4:30-5:45 PM, at the DuKum Inn
Present: Dawood Afzal, Marc Becker (secretary), Mark Hatala, Marc Rice (presiding)
Next meeting: Tuesday, March 17, 4:30 PM at DuKum Inn
Plans for our big March 19 Town Hall Meeting: CRISIS IN MISSOURI: THE DECLINE OF STATE FUNDING FOR HIGHER EDUCATION. We have confirmed venues and funding. We need to arrange logistics (hotel, travel) for Amy Blouin, of Missouri Budget Project. Marc R. will send out blurb about meeting to local media. We will work on making and distributing posters advertising the meeting.
A faculty member has suggested that there should be special accommodation (similar for students with disabilities) so that an athlete can take exams at a time convenient to her. Because the athlete is on scholarship, it is suggested that she should be treated as an employee. This could be an academic freedom issue: who is in charge of the class, the faculty or athletic department? Is such a policy intended to help with recruitment and alumni issues?
A faculty member flunked a student for plagiarism, and then the Office of Citizenship and Community Standards overruled the professor when the student appealed the grade. Who has the responsibility to make decisions on the consequences of plagiarism? We have a university policy, but it might need to be revisited.
Some faculty members believe that President Paino is trying to subvert faculty governance by forming special committees headed by the deans and by pushing initiatives through without proper oversight. Mechanisms already exist to deal with the concerns raised by his initiatives. There is concern that his argument— things are bad and getting worse—will only provide excuses not to fund sabbaticals, faculty raises, etc. A suggestion was made that we need new faculty to infuse new ideas and blood into the institution.
Chapter president Marc R. will go to Coffee with the President on February 18 to raise issues concerning the process of awarding sabbaticals: the process was not transparent; feedback was not adequate; there was really no accountability, especially in light of the long delays in making decisions; and we need to avoid the competitive structure that seems to pit colleagues against each other or eliminates sabbatical possibilities in certain departments. It was suggested that sabbatical decisions should be made at a local level, perhaps school level, rather than at the highest administrative levels, so that the main decisions are made by people with academic qualifications to do so.
Maybe the Chapter needs to meet with president to talk about sabbaticals, faculty governance issues, and the need to recruit new faculty.