Town Hall Meeting
4pm, November 28th, 2001
Organized by Truman AAUP
The Truman State
University chapter of the American Association of University Professors invited
all faculty members to a town meeting on the functions and vitality of shared
governance on this campus on
members on campus are as concerned about shared governance and the process by
which the current proposal for changes in the summer program was developed as
they are about the details of the proposal. On Thursday, November 29, Faculty
Senate had as a discussion item a resolution from
There are many
other subjects currently under discussion that are at the heart of what we do as
faculty: long-range planning, peer review and faculty tenure and promotion
decisions, the use of standardized student evaluations, and a proposed absence
policy. We invited faculty to join us in a discussion of the importance of the
faculty exercising its responsibility of deliberation and decision in these and
in other academic matters.
framework established by statutes and the Board of Governors, the Faculty Senate
shall be a deliberative and legislative body for academic matters and for
university policies pertaining to promotion, tenure, and leave. In regard to
other issues affecting the faculty and academic community, the Faculty Senate
shall be an advisory body to the Administration and Board of Governors, through
channels established by the Board. Budgetary matters shall be advisory issues.
from the Truman State University Faculty Senate Constitution
has primary responsibility for such fundamental areas as curriculum, subject
matter and methods of instruction, research, faculty status, and those aspects
of student life which relate to the educational process....Faculty status and
related matters are primarily a faculty responsibility; this area includes
appointments, reappointments, decisions not to reappoint, promotions, the
granting of tenure, and dismissal. The primary responsibility of the faculty for
such matters is based upon the fact that its judgment is central to general
educational policy. Furthermore, scholars in a particular field or activity have
the chief competence for judging the work of their colleagues; in such
competence it is implicit that responsibility exists for both adverse and
from the 1966 Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities
summary notes from the AAUP town meeting on shared governance.
About 48 people from 6 academic divisions attended.
Many others expressed a desire to come, but previous commitments or
workload prevented their attendance.
Jan Saffir, AAUP
Welcome to this Town Meeting on shared governance here at
Truman. Because we seldom have a format for faculty across disciplines to openly
discuss the issues relevant to us, AAUP has arranged this meeting to give
faculty members the opportunity to communicate their ideas about shared
governance. AAUP has for years held the position that shared governance
constitutes a cornerstone of higher education, and most institutions of higher
education share that premise. So the issue of governance is not in question. The
question of primary interest for us today is, "Do you feel that the faculty is being represented in
policy making decisions?"
What is the tradition of determining schedules? Setting the calendar?
Calendar is set by Senate.
Not anymore. Senate makes comments, approves parameters.
This has been brewing for a couple of years. This is being sold as a collective, rather than administrative decision.
You have to have good faith effort of administrators to work with faculty. Their job is to make ours easier.
There are other issues besides summer school. Change of school van requirements.
Garry Gordon gave both pedagogical and budget reasons for the change. Faculty Senate was not consulted on either point.
What role do faculty have in deciding how money is spent?
Advice from Senators but no vote. Chair of Summer School Committee. Recommended 10% for a 3-hour course. Asked VP to make a plan and report back to Faculty Senate.
We were most concerned about compensation.
Faculty Senate is supposed to have advisory capacity with respect to budget. We had Dave Rector come to Senate to talk about it: a baby step in getting Faculty Senate involved.
Did Garry present his plan to you?
Yes, but Faculty Senate had no input or chance to modify the plan.
I’m not convinced that Garry has not violated governance policy. His decision is not purely budgetary. He says we need to make a change in the summer program, but he is unpersuasive that 8 weeks is better than 5.
So should faculty have a vote on budgetary issues?
That’s not it. It’s not a budget issue. He claims it’s a pedagogy issue.
He presents no evidence for this position.
Insofar as this issue is in part an academic issue, it should have gone through the usual channels.
At the Social Science Division Meeting, Garry was unable to present any evidence that we did not refute. Attendance policy and other issues require more open discussion. These surprises that come to us as dictums are troublesome. There are curricular and tenure and promotion items.
Garry was challenged by Steve Pollard at the Social Science Division Meeting. Pollard asked if Garry would drop calculus because of a feeling that it dissuaded students from coming here.
I don’t think Garry is violating governance procedures intentionally. He has tough problems to solve—and often makes slow decisions in order to gain input.
Garry said that Faculty Senate asked him to do something and come back and tell them what he had done. Good discussion about the proposal was needed, not a fait accompli. We can’t get in the habit of emergency decisions.
I, too, expected a nice long discussion.
Our committee was concerned with greater equity in compensation. At least some follow-through has occurred.
Don’t want to pick on Garry – but most faculty haven’t been educated about the whole governance procedure. We don’t have an organized voice. We need to insist that issues get considered thoroughly.
Faculty and students had already made summer plans, assuming that the schedule would be the same. The result was disrespectful.
We all have the same goal. I think Garry needs to pay attention to faculty --- and he doesn’t always.
Need to change summer school length to get more freedom for rest of calendar.
Garry’s argument for budget constraints is not persuasive. He claims he’s been talking about this for 4 years…but not to us.
I don’t understand the argument about the budget since summer school actually makes money.
This is the discussion we should have been having.
Garry invited us to think about this as the Summer Program, not just as courses taught but many other things that happen during summer.
He wants to make money on the courses in order to pay for non-course items.
He seemed unconcerned about the classes.
We were offered no rationale. Lots of emphasis on Mon Tues Thurs schedule so that students have 3-day weekends.
Need to protect governance process. We’re all extremely vulnerable if decisions can be made on the basis of no evidence.
The Faculty Senate should only have faculty votes on it. The Executive Committee should be canned.
A cultural comment. We get the governance we deserve. Faculty are apathetic. The administration appoints voices to committees where they know what to expect.
There’s a resolution on agenda on Faculty Senate to return to the old schedule until a university-wide discussion can occur.
Email your senator; attend the meeting if you can. Vote of censure.
I don’t think we should let this get away.
They can’t do this without our cooperation.
The real problem is process.
A gradual dilution of faculty control over the curriculum. Narrow channels of communication between faculty and administration. Need for faculty meetings, which haven’t happened sins Warren administration. On any one issue faculty will be divided. Yet we need some agreement on how policy is set.
We need to anticipate scenarios and make plans accordingly.
I was hoping the AAUP president would say what the chapter could do. Or advise us as to how we could act.
AAUP is a catalyst.
Someone could go to Faculty Senate meeting to represent AAUP position.
AAUP position statement consistent with how governance is supposed to work here. Could go to meeting.
Garry’s own arguments suggest that summer school is curriculum, not budgetary.
Asks us to connect procedural from content issues. The procedure violates the governance process. Faculty senators have a responsibility to vote for the Social Science resolution—turn it in to an action item. It’s more difficult for Faculty Senate to ignore faculty sentiments if faculty show up.
We need to address the make-up of Faculty Senate, because it’s not currently the voice for faculty.
1. Global issue of governance
2. Particular issue of summer school.
But it’s not the duty of senators to vote any particular way…only to represent their Divisions.
We’ve been cut from five weeks at 10% to eight weeks at 6%.
There is an illusion of faculty governance. We’re second class citizens who are supposed to do what we’re told. Research grants, sabbaticals simply cut.
This is not new; it’s just worse.
The divisional structure keeps us apart from each other. Many people are upset, not just us in Social Science.
We need to do something because it’s almost 6pm. We could send Faculty Senate a statement. We could send someone to the Faculty Senate meeting. We can e-mail our Faculty Senate reps. We can ask for all-university faculty meetings in the future.
We can plan town meetings… a couple a semester. We can request more input into planning days before they occur.
We need a follow-up meeting after Faculty Senate meeting. Our job to be vigilant.
The benefit of an all-university faculty meeting is to send the administration a message about who we are.
We could have a once a semester meeting of the whole faculty in the Georgian Room.
But Jack or Garry should not preside.
I want to have a better sense of what’s bothering people in other divisions.
Foucoult on prisoners: they don’t speak to each other, but only the wardens. We’re in those little prison boxes.
We’re not achieving our potential as a university.