AAUP Chapter Meeting, Jan 28, 2022
24 attendees including: Carlo Annelli, Marc Becker, Jay Belanger, Laura Bigger, Kathryn Brammall, Heidi Cook, Anton Daughters, Stacy Davis, Taner Edis, Meg Edwards, Yuna Ferguson (minutes), Todd Hammond Palumbo, Christine Harker, Mark Hatala, Craig Hennigan, Jennifer Jesse, Erin Joyce, Andy Kauffmann, Vickie Mayer, Amy Norgard, Joshua Nudell, Marc Rice, David K. Robinson, Stephanie Russell
- Approved minutes from last meeting, December 2021
- Unequal summer pay issue: Andy Kauffmann and a couple of other AAUP exec members met with Kevin Minch and Provost Gooch on Wednesday, 1/26. Non-tenure-track faculty get paid less for doing the same work than other faculty in summer teaching. JG and KM were receptive of the argument by AAUP and seemed willing to work with AAUP. They recognize that this pay problem also negatively affects junior faculty; suggested AAUP contact Scott Alberts to initiate a process to work this out.
Stacy Davis was a part of a committee about summer pay in 2020 and nothing changed after the report was delivered; SD thinks that for any change to occur, an overhaul of the pay structure is required.
Christine Harker mentioned that some senior faculty teach a lot of courses and make a lot of money, which contributes to this problem. CH thinks that maybe JG and KM want us, AAUP to spearhead this rather than they themselves. One member mentioned maybe there should be a flat fee ($4500-5000 per class) during the summer. As a senior faculty member he is supportive of changing the pay structure. SD: The current limit is 2 classes per term during the summer; expects senior faculty as being resistant to any reductions in their own pay.
Members pointed out that some faculty really are not getting paid enough, maybe the admin is employing a divide and conquer approach between senior and junior faculty. Historically, the summer classes and pay favor senior faculty, but the admin should figure this out and better support junior or temporary faculty.
To move forward, AK will contact Scott Alberts (faculty senate). Mark Hatala offered to help.
Other points: Usually the university makes a profit but the lack of study abroad programs has decreased profit. It was also mentioned that the desire to teach in the summer is different across disciplines.
- FMLA policies for faculty and staff: Laura Bigger is currently chairing FMLA subcommittee of PPC. Met with President Sue Thomas and got the sense that she is willing to revise the policies for both faculty and staff and approved of the committee to work with Dave Rector, Amy Clendennan and others. The committee has a proposal but needs to work with others to get their approval/feedback. The proposal will later be presented to faculty senate and Board of Governors in their April meetings to get initial feedback. The committee will be proposing a broader 12 wk. paid FMLA policy that encompasses various needs for parental, bereavement, leave. Currently working on language to specify policy. There was general consensus in thanking LB and the subcommittee for their important work on this issue.
- The creation of the new associate dean of interdisciplinary studies and its appointment: CH gave an overview of events including sharing an AAUP letter expressing concern. Noted that these events change how things get done without faculty involvement and the decision/appointment are arguably curricular matters.
AAUP met with SA last Friday. SA conceded that the process was not done as deftly as could be, including its announcement to faculty. The meeting also discussed whether Amanda Langendoerfer’s (the new appointed assoc. dean) qualifications, but the more important thing is that hiring was not open.
CH met with AL who acknowledged that the process could have been better. AL had some interesting ideas to improve interdisciplinarity.
It was mentioned that there were no objections to Jeanne Harding’s appointment, but this position was for an interim dean.
Members discussed whether there was a coordinated move to prepare to get AL be included as an instructor of a course taught by multiple faculty before this announcement came out in January. AL was asked to be added as a 3rd instructor of the course without affecting the FTE count of co-instructors. Members voiced suspicions that this was done to demonstrate that AL is teaching faculty.
Members discussed whether the interior politics of the library affected this ad whether this appointment is based on personal reasons. Some members who have worked with AL have concerns about how AL will interact with other faculty and respond to suggestions about interdisciplinary studies. There are concerns about AL’s ability to handle the position’s responsibilities, such as making curricular decisions and guiding students who minor in IDS. Having a director, rather than a half-time associate dean is important to manage the entire IDSM program.
The admin is currently working out the details of AL’s responsibilities and it is possible that work on the specifics of the curriculum will be offloaded to a faculty committee, uncompensated. There’s also talk that school divisions may host IDS minors, which is contrary to the point of minors being interdisciplinary. Members are worried that the new associate dean’s responsibilities have not yet been clarified.
Members asked what faculty can do in response to this issue if it appears that AL will remain as the associate dean of interdisciplinary studies. Some possibilities include supporting our fellow faculty members if AL makes decisions that negatively affect individual faculty and bringing up faculty concerns with faculty senate to get them on record so that future searches are conducted with greater faculty involvement and openness. However, it is possible that JG might argue that AL’s tasks are not curricular, and hence, faculty senate does not need to be involved. Curricular tasks will be handed off to faculty.
AL is currently doing a “listening tour.” AL laid out ideas and asked for feedback at a chairs’ meeting. It seems hard to separate JG and AL’s actions in this whole process. AL seems communicative and willing to approach the position as a facilitator. Seeking feedback but it’s unclear how AL will act on feedback. Given AL’s willingness to talk to faculty, AAUP might reach out to AL to include her in future discussions about this.
Members continued to discuss possible actions by AAUP in response to the Provost’s poor leadership on current and past issues.
One member reported that at a previous executive committee meeting, President Sue Thomas was unhappy with the tone of the AAUP letter. The president wants everyone to approach issues from a place of compassion and understanding and doesn’t want Truman to be seen as a place of conflict between admin and faculty. JG has the style of making decisions quickly, attempting to be efficient. In this situation the details haven’t been worked out sufficiently.
CH proposed two actions that were approved by others in the meeting:
- Propose a resolution that in the future, decisions that affect curriculum must involve faculty input or be made more openly (?)
- Invite AL to a future chapter meeting.