Time: 3:15 p.m.
Place: HMSU, Dede III
Officers: Chairperson H. Hudson, Vice Chair S. Lamb, Secretary Sr. A. Anderson
Senators: J. Allen, V. Anderson, M. Bahr, F. Bell, J. Buffington, D. Burger, P. Burkett,
N. Corey, A. DiSalvo, B. Evans, A. Ford, B. Frank, J. Gatrell, D. Gravitt, E. Hampton,
M. Harmon, D. Hews, P. Hightower, C. Hoffman, N. Hopkins, J. Hughes, J. Jakaitis,
R. Johnson, J. Kuhlman, C. MacDonald, R. McGiverin, C. Montanez, T. Mulkey,
S. Pontius, S. Sharp, V. Sheets, S. Shure, J.Tenerelli, Q. Weng
Absent: K. Byerman, M. Ould-Mey, P. Wheeler
Ex-Officio: President Benjamin, Provost Maynard, Vice President Schafer
Visitors: C. Barton, R. Clouse, S. Loughlin, P. Mikolaj, J. Sanders, J. Smith
Memorials for Edward K. Spann and John Burgess Stabler were read and accepted by acclamation. (Hoffman, A. Anderson) (Hightower, Corey)
II. Administrative Report
1) noted personnel changes in state government following the recent elections;
2) said preparation is underway for a campus memorial honoring President Emeritus Richard Landini—December 3rd is the possible date;
3) the Indiana Commission for Higher Education has approved seven four-year degree programs to be offered by Vincennes University;
4) the Compensation Committee has concluded work and resulting salary distributions will occur in January 2005;
5) annual budget presentations are being planned.
III. Chair Report
IV. SGA Report
V. Fifteen Minute Open Discussion
1) F. Bell made the following statement:
“Yesterday I attended by invitation the meeting of the Indiana Coalition of Blacks in Higher Education that was held at the ISU African American Cultural Center. Before I continue let me say that I do not profess here or anywhere to fully understand the plight of my black colleagues on this campus. Nor do I profess to be prejudice free. I will not here discuss the issues addressed, but instead will share with you my feelings related to the meeting. I came away with a tremendous feeling of regret for not being more active
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in support of my friends and colleagues. I was struck by the courage and hopefulness expressed. There is very much work to be done.”
2) Classroom scheduling: concern and discontent with present system used to allocate classrooms conveyed.
Provost Maynard has asked the Registrar to attend a Senate Executive Committee meeting to explain the classroom scheduling process.
3) ISU Marketing: reflection of past critical sentiments regarding advertisement and marketing of the University with recent observation of improvements.
VI. Approval of the Minutes
Minutes of the October 21, 2004 meeting were approved. (DiSalvo, Frank 31-0-4)
VII. New Business
FAC Select Committee Nominations: approved as forwarded. (Bell, V. Anderson 31-1-2)
VIII. Standing Committee Recommendations
CAAC/Graduate Council: Life Sciences Department Reorganization
Approved. (Lamb, A. Anderson 19-16-1)
S. Ghosh invited to the table by acclamation. (Jakaitis, A. Anderson)
Preceding discussion comments:
“I’d like to make a few comments before we begin consideration of this proposal for the division of the department of Life Sciences. This memorandum of understanding has been extensively reviewed and discussed by both CAAC and Graduate Council, and the Executive Committee, and received strong votes of approval from each body. Prior to that, it was approved by the College of Arts and Sciences Council. Reservations have been expressed by each Senate Committee as well, as indicated in the statements from those committees included in your packets, and I am sure these points will be raised again today by members of this body. I would remind the senators that we are voting to approve or disapprove the proposed division as stated in the MOU. No amendments to it are in order.
As many of you are aware, this proposal is the product of a lengthy, difficult process, which emerged from an even longer and more difficult period of division within the department of Life Sciences. It is not to be expected that the strong feelings generated in this would dissipate with the signing of the MOU. Having acknowledged these facts, I must say that I do not think it useful or appropriate to trace for this body the specific circumstances that gave rise to the proposed division.
We have before us the MOU, let us turn our attention to it. The proposed arrangement follows general recommendations put forth by a panel of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. It allows for the re-organization of faculty and academic programs along disciplinary lines well-recognized by professionals in the fields of the life sciences. Any curricular changes which would arise if the proposal is approved would be developed by the faculty of the individual departments and approved through the usual review process, culminating at CAAC, or the Senate.
Faculty from both proposed departments are members of the Senate, and others are in attendance today who will be able to answer our questions. I would remind the Senators that we have a full agenda; other matters of concern to the faculty at large await our deliberation. So that all who want to may have an opportunity to speak, I ask your
consideration for your fellow Senators, and your understanding that I may recognize you to speak to a point only once.”
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Arts and Sciences Dean Michelfelder:
“…I want to say something about the overall purpose of the reorganization and the reasons that lie behind it.
First of all, about the purpose of the division: In a nutshell, the purpose of the division is to provide greater unity of purpose and more opportunity for academic renewal, professional empowerment, and professional development and productivity.
In terms of the drivers behind this division, let me just give a little history here. We used to have a Division of Sciences at ISU, it had a single chair, and it had all the science programs under it. The Department of Life Sciences was formed at the end of the 1960’s by combining three programs: biology, botany, and zoology. So that was some 35 years ago. Since then, the whole discipline of biology has been transforming itself. There has been a great explosion of biological knowledge. There are lots of biological subfields that 35 years ago did not exist or were not as important as they are today: biotechnology, bioinformatics, neurobiology, conservation biology, genomics, evolutionary biology, and so forth.
In the same period of time, the stakes around biology—what is expected globally, nationally, and statewide—have escalated tremendously. People expect biological research to address issues related to the very survival of humanity. Biology is also expected these days to contribute to the economic development of many states, including Indiana. In particular, life sciences research and development is seen as critical to Indiana’s economic health. You have Biocrossroads, which used to be the Central Indiana Life Sciences Initiative, trying to make Indiana a world renowned leader in bioscience.
So it is a time of great opportunity and great activity for biology and a very exciting time to be a biologist.
But because of all this activity and momentum, you have traditional biology departments across the country coming apart at the administrative seams and seeking new ways of reorganizing themselves.
So that’s what you have going on here: it is no different from what’s going on at many universities around the country, particularly with PhD granting programs in biology. The department here has outgrown its administrative structure; the intellectual capital in the department needs a new way of being organized.
So when I look at the two proposed departments, I see a great deal of intellectual capital, as well as initiative and engagement and social capital. Social capital—that’s that term Robert Putnum used in his book “Bowling Alone” to refer to trust and respect for one another’s work and the glue that allows for a community to flourish.
I do not think it is a secret to say that as it currently is structured the department is on the verge of bankruptcy when it comes to social capital.
But when you take the two proposed departments, there’s a great deal of social capital. The Life Science faculty representing these two new departments believe that their work will be invigorated and their capacity for innovation improved by the division. So in a nutshell this recommendation is made to improve biology education at ISU by creating an administrative structure that reflects biology in the 21st century.”
“Many reasons have been put forward to justify splitting the Department of Life Sciences, but most have not addressed the central issue. The proposed split is not about discipline, because 30% of the members of the new “molecular” Department of Life Sciences (LIFSCI) will be ecologists, and the newly created departments will share a physiology emphasis. The proposed split also is not about teaching or research,
because many courses will be split largely on a per capita basis, and both groups will continue to offer masters and doctoral programs. In truth, the proposed split is a belated response to a longstanding dysfunctioning within the department.
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Indeed, the department began to have serious problems more than nine years ago. At that time, a group of faculty members addressed perceived leadership problems, and the result was a signed written agreement containing promises of corrective actions. None of the agreed-upon corrective actions was implemented and subsequently four members of that original group left ISU and two retired.
Although the department lost faculty, the problems remained. The degree of dysfunction in the department is painfully apparent from the number of written complaints, appeals and grievances that have been filed over many years. Literally scores of issues have been raised, so there is no particular value in delving into specific issues at this time. However, I believe that it would be accurate to state that the majority of the issues relate to the chairperson and that they have almost irrevocably split the faculty into two groups.
This is the situation that Dean Michelfelder inherited when she arrived at ISU and the situation that has continued to the present time. To address the obvious problems in the department, the Dean proposed bringing in an outside review group from the American Association for Advancement of Science (AAAS). The idea of an outside review group was accepted by the majority of the faculty. However, the Dean allowed the department chairperson to develop the review criteria, and the focus of the review was shifted completely away from internal problems. The refocusing of the process led to an initial boycott of the review. Ultimately, the review did focus on departmental dysfunction, because the review group quickly became aware of the degree of rancor in the department. As is detailed in the AAAS report, the review group strongly recommended some type of separation. The report also stated that most of the duties of the chairperson should be delegated to a three-member committee before the process of
separation was initiated. The AAAS group recognized that the chairperson could not govern effectively when he was clearly aligned with one group.
Release of the AAAS report was followed by months of inaction and subsequently by lengthy unproductive negotiations between group representatives. During this time, the chairperson remained in power and problems in the department worsened. As a result, a majority of the faculty signed a vote of no-confidence against the chairperson. Shortly after the vote, negotiations to develop a MOU were initiated by the Dean. The chairperson retained full authority until the MOU was signed. Currently, the chairperson has limited power over assistant chairpersons that lead the partially separated groups.
For today’s meeting, Senators received a summary which states that everyone in Life Sciences agreed that the split was “the only workable option”. Neither our group nor our representative has ever made such a statement. The truth is that the split was simply the option offered by the Administration, and other possibilities were not explored. Faculty members worked with the split option and, through difficult negotiations, developed a MOU that was unanimously accepted. The unanimous vote was not a referendum on whether the split is the best option or even the best, pragmatic option. The vote only says that everyone believes that the MOU is a viable option.
The Senate has a more difficult task. The Senate must decide whether the split is viable and whether it is the best, pragmatic option. I believe that pragmatism is the key consideration. A split leaves unresolved the origin of problems in the current Department of Life Sciences. The absence of a full resolution will be a concern for some faculty, but further picking at wounds that have festered for nine years will not lead to any healing in the foreseeable future. A split is the most expedient way to end infighting that has been fostered within the department. The infighting must stop, because it has drained an enormous amount energy that should have been directed toward innovation in teaching
and research - energy that should have benefited students. Hence, I ask you to support the split, not on the basis of spurious official justifications, but because students should be the first consideration.”
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“The proposal before us is a matter of curriculum, over which the faculty, through the Senate, has "Primary Authority." The stimulus for this proposal, however, is not to address a problem in curricula, but to address a problem in personnel. These people are unable to work together in a professional, collegial fashion. That is an administrative problem, and administrative problems should properly be addressed by the department chair or by the dean. They are not our business.
We are being asked to approve a restructuring of the curriculum to separate those with personality conflicts. Then the MOU tells the "new" departments that they must cooperate and collaborate for at least three years. Separate departments will share facilities and some staff. How is saying "You will cooperate as separate units" an improvement over issuing the same mandate to the existing, combined department?
We all know that the University and College budgets are shrinking, but this "solution" requires new equipment and a "start-up package for the new chair" (MOU 9). Combining the salaries of the two faculty lost last year (one death, one resignation), produces $124,360 (combined salaries + 2%). That amount is clearly inadequate to cover anticipated expenses.
The loss of two tenured teaching faculty, and the funding used to hire an additional chair, produces other questions: Who will teach the courses? Will one or both departments get new tenure-track lines? Will courses be taught by non-tenure-track / adjunct faculty? To my knowledge, none of these questions has been answered.
How are the Indiana Commission for Higher Ed. (CHE) and the governor-elect likely to react? We already have heard about proposed cuts in programs, especially graduate programs. Surely this will appear to the CHE and others as a lack of fiscal responsibility at ISU.
Much has been made of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) report (May 2003), which cost us $22,000+. [The consultants bill at $498 per day, plus expenses.]
The AAAS report offers three options: 1) Stay together – no change; 2) Stay together, but hire a new chair; 3) Split into separate departments and hire a new chair for one of them.
The AAAS Review Panel recommends option (3) after noting certain concerns, among which are: additional clerical staff; no provision for the Science Education Program; need for an interim chair; funding; lack of equipment and supplies; method of assigning course instructors and acceptable teaching loads; and notes that "decanal oversight will surely be required" (6).
The AAAS Report closes with: "In the interim . . . ISU should establish a temporary executive committee . . . [which] could increase the level of communication within the department" (15). This "temporary executive committee," operating openly, collegially, and with a strong mandate from the dean, might have provided an opportunity for the department to heal itself. The recommended committee has not been established.
Conclusion: All of the above would be strong reasons to question the wisdom of creating a new department, even if the proposal were driven primarily by curricular concerns, which it is not.
We should not be supporting a new administrative / curricular unit. This matter should be sent back to the dean's office and addressed as the personnel matter it is.”
Departmental representatives expounded on curricular issues and junior faculty placement within the new departments. Senators were assured students would continuously be served by the division. The Memo of Understanding is the result of a two-year process. The team of consultants from the American Academy for the Advancement of Science previewed and submitted a report recommending the division, May 2003. The suggested date for implementation is January 1, 2005; in three years the MOU would become totally in effect.
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Senators expressed concerns. There may be a negative impact on personnel evaluations of EOB and junior faculty—retaliatory acts. Uncertainty exists on how the liberal studies courses will be divided. There is reluctance that this is setting a precedent—will this affect the outcome of a recent vote within an ISU academic unit asking for new leadership. What are the budgetary implications--cost effectiveness? Reservation expressed regarding the amount of time devoted to implementation of the MOU. Admonition given that contentious departmental environment should be worked through rather than separating the unit.
FEBC: Health Coverage: 2005 Insurance Rate Increase
Recommendation: After a review of the Fall 2004 consultant’s report, the committee agreed the proposed 7% across the board increase was reasonable. The 7% increase includes the estimated 6.5% increase in costs/claims—as well as associated costs resulting from a proposed
“open enrollment” opportunity.
C. Barton shared background data for proposed rate increase.
Approved. (Hightower, Hopkins 32-0-1)
Health Coverage Open Enrollment
Enrollment period would be January 1, 2005—period for future years would be November enrollment and effective date, January 1.
Employee demographics: There are 1,803 current benefits-eligible employees. Currently there are 311 employees with no coverage for a variety of reasons. Others may opt to have the ISU plan along with or in lieu of their spouse’s current coverage due to changes in coverage or cost.
Approved. (Hopkins, Hoffman 35-0-1)
Post Retirement Coverage
Cease post retirement health coverage for employees hired or coming onto the health coverage plan after a specific date; January 1, 2005, to prevent future liability;
Post retirement life insurance coverage will not be offered. Life conversion will be offered;
Will not affect current employees on the ISU health coverage plan;
First step in controlling the post retirement financial issues;
Will assist in funding issues and accruing for future liability;
May be a potential recruitment/retention issue with a few candidates;
The University will work toward a gap plan for individuals who leave ISU without post retirement health coverage.
A data sheet was distributed with employee demographics and cost implications.
C. Barton highlighted the information. The University currently covers health benefits for 1,220 retirees. A trend of double digit medical inflation is creating a large liability for ISU’s self insured plan. Projected costs for continuance of the current plan to future employees indicate it is not affordable. Based on today’s rates, projected lifetime costs based on 10 percent inflation per year would be $314,000 for a single retiree who retired at age 62 and lived to age 85. That cost doubles if a spouse is included. There is concern that this is unaffordable. The current plan provides coverage until there is eligibility for Medicare. The decision has been made to place priority on protecting benefits for current employees.
Senators expressed reservation about creating a two-tiered system for faculty. However, there was acknowledgement that action was needed to protect benefits already extended.
Approved. (Gravitt, DiSalvo 26-7-1)
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Graduate Council: Doctoral Programs Residency Policy
Recommendation: Doctoral study requires an immersion in an academic field and its intellectual community. Doctoral degree-granting units may require a period of full-time and/or on-site study. Requirements will be established by programs and reported to the Graduate Council.
Specifics of current policy relayed.
Approved. (Gravitt, Gatrell 24-8-1)
IX. Old Business
X. Standing Committee Reports
Reports were not given.
The meeting adjourned at 5:21 p.m.