To:           Bob Anderson
                 Chair, Academic Council

From:       Conference Committee on Governance
                 J. Bissett, T. Green, L. Roselle Helvey, T. Henricks (chair), B. McGregor, D.
                 Redington

Date:       February 11, 2000

Re:          Recommendations from the Conference Committee
 

The Conference Committee met three times during January to discuss issues not previously resolved by the Council. During those sessions the members agreed to the following positions.

Part I. Issues Related to Recommendations 1-31.

Recommendation 1: It was reaffirmed that the Council should edit the entire document to feature the new terminology, i.e., "Teaching Faculty, Academic Support Staff with Faculty Rank, and Administrators with Faculty Rank."

Recommendation 4: The supporting arguments for this recommendation (pp. 11-12 of the original document) were altered with the paragraphs listed in Appendix A.

Recommendation 7:  There was agreement to add a representative to the Council from "Academic Support Staff with Faculty Rank." That is, the original recommendation of the subcommittee was supported.

Recommendation 7, prefatory argument. The passage on page 15 ("Even so, there is overwhelming agreement that the presence of senior administrators changes the dynamics of discussion in Academic Council in ways that are not always positive.") was changed to: "Even so, there is overwhelming agreement that the presence of senior administrators changes the dynamics of discussion in Academic Council."

Recommendation 9. The Council determined that the introductory materials for this recommendation should be stated more positively. To this end, the following changes were made:

P. 17, under "Faculty Meeting". The sentence "Among the complaints most often raised are the absence of dialogue at the meetings and the fact that senior administrators lead faculty meetings." was changed to "Among the complaints most often raised is the absence of dialogue at the meetings."

Following sentence: "At the heart of the problem..." was changed to "Part of the problem..."

Following sentence: "The bylaws are explicit in requiring that the President preside over faculty meetings" was deleted.

Following sentence: "After considering possible several ways of dealing with this central problem, the ..." was changed to "After considering several possible ways of increasing dialogue, the..."

Recommendations 10-14: These recommendations refer to structure and processes associated with the Curriculum Committee. After much discussion, there was no agreement on certain aspects of these recommendations. However, there was agreement among our group that the Curriculum Committee should: a) be elected by the faculty rather than appointed b) have its elected members come from the teaching faculty, c) elect its chair from among these teaching faculty members, and d) have student memberships be without vote. The conference committee also supported the position e): that a Chairsí Council should be established as an administrative body to discuss the range of issues pertinent to departments as well as the broader directions of academic affairs policy.

Regarding the disagreements among its members, the conference committee discussed the implications of three different models. The first is the original model from the subcommittee document, i.e., with one representative from each division and five members elected from the faculty at large (i.e., an elected membership of 10 or 11, depending on new divisional structure). In addition, there is a further specification of processes to guarantee distribution of materials to departments prior to consideration by the committee. These are listed in Appendix B.

The second model maintains the five at-large memberships but has two (rather than one) representatives elected by each division of the faculty. With five divisions of the college, this would mean 15 elected members; with six divisions, it would mean 17 elected members. The specification of procedures guaranteeing distribution of materials to departments prior to consideration by the committee (i.e., Appendix B) also applies to this model.

The third model features representatives from each department (one from each department, elected by the department). That is, that model has a number of representatives equivalent to the number of department chairs in the current pattern. However, these members are now elected.

It was agreed by the conference committee that Doug Redington (in consultation with Laura Roselle Helvey) would set forth a clear description of the three positions for the Academic Councilís deliberations.

Furthermore, it is recommended by the conference committee that the Academic Council present these three models to the faculty as a discussion item at the regular March meeting of that body. This discussion would guide the Academic Councilís efforts to understand the full implications of each position prior to its formal presentation of potential changes to the faculty.

Recommendations 15-21. There was a desire for less confrontational language here.

To that end the following specific changes were made:

Recommendation 15. "That the Board of Trustees institute..." was changed to "That the Board of Trustees consider..."

Recommendations 16 and 17: After some discussion, it was decided not to alter the word "evaluate" in each passage. The feeling was that these are all merely recommendations and not dictates to the Board. However, in Recommendation 17, the word "appropriate" was deleted, in case there was some intimation that current practices are not appropriate..

Recommendation 18. The section beginning "Such practices could include informal lunches between the groups, systems of electronic correspondence, inclusion of selected Faculty in Trustee planning activities and task forces, etc. The inclusion of faculty..." was altered to "Such practices could feature the inclusion of selected Faculty in Trustee planning activities, task forces, etc. The participation of faculty ..."

Recommendation 25. (Under "b. Duties"). The removal of duty 4 was reaffirmed. This (the support of faculty completing their academic degrees) is now supported in other ways.

Recommendation 27. Some materials submitted by Deborah Thurlow indicated that there was no external reason (i.e., requirements from accrediting bodies) for this committee be a standing committee. Hence the recommendation in the original report stands as written.

Recommendation 28. The Council was asked to establish principles for the classification of college committees as either standing or advisory committees. As a preliminary set of criteria, the conference committee proposes the following:
 

Standing Committees:

Advisory Committees The conference committee did express some concerns about the proliferation of advisory committees at the college (some of these are listed in the Faculty handbook; most are not) and possible duplication of responsibilities. A particular concern was the use of college-wide task forces to address issues and duties that have been identified expressly as responsibilities of current standing committees.

Recommendation 29. The issue of whether administrators with faculty rank should also be eligible for elected membership on standing committees was discussed. The conference committee reaffirmed the position of the subcommittee that administrators with faculty rank already have a variety of other opportunities to participate in the policy-making process (e.g., Deansí Council, Administrative Affairs Council, etc.) as well as a variety of ex officio positions on standing and advisory committees. For that reason, elected membership was restricted to academic support staff with faculty rank and teaching faculty.
 

Part II. Evaluations of Other Standing and Advisory Committees

The conference committee also decided to look at other standing committees to determine if changes in membership or duties were warranted. The proposed changes are as follows:
 

Library Committee: (Section 9)

                    Head Librarian should have vote.

Cultural and Intellectual Committee, Lyceum Committee (Sections 10 and 11)

It was felt that these two committees seem to have very similar duties. They should either be combined under the terms of the Cultural and Intellectual Committee - or the Lyceum Committee should be moved to advisory committee status. In support of this latter position is the fact that the Lyceum Committee is appointed and restricted to narrow range of activities, performing arts (two suggested criteria for advisory committees). It is recommended that the Council consult with George Troxler or the committee chairs as it moves ahead on this issue. Student Life Committee (section 12) It was felt that description of student membership (a2) should be evaluated by the Council. While the Council should not dictate the pattern of student representation, it was felt that the various categories of representation for students may not be the most useful or appropriate. The conference committee felt that consultation with SGA should occur for this issue. Religious Life (Section 16) Chaplain to have vote. Academic Appeals Committee (section 17) Membership (a2) change: from "One member of the faculty" to "One member of the Teaching Faculty". Graduate Council (Section 19) Provost to have vote
Delete Vice President for Academic Affairs position
Chair of committee to be elected in May from the seven elected members.
General Studies Council (section 20) Director of Writing to have vote. Academic Technology and Computing Committee Director of Academic Computing to have vote

Reword Librarian position from " A representative appointed by the Head Librarian" to "Head Librarian or designate"
 

Committee on Human Participation on Human Subjects Faculty membership here should be restricted to "Teaching Faculty" Advisory Committee: International Programs Advisory Committee

There was a discussion of the propriety of moving this committee to standing committee status, in light of the growing importance of international education at the college.  However, conference committee learned that these matters (i.e., the character and composition of this and related committees inthe international education area) are currently being reviewed by the committees themselves. For this reason, no action was proposed at this time.

However, the committee does recommend that the Council be apprised of this review process and use that information as a basis for further discussions regarding the status of this committee.

.

Part III. Additional Notes/Comments for Council Consideration

1) Regarding Recommendation 3. Although the conference committee was not asked to review this
     issue (i.e., the creation of criteria and procedures for the promotion of academic support staff and
     administrators with faculty rank), there was some discussion of four issues related to this general
     matter. These were: 1) how this set of criteria/procedures would compare to criteria/procedures
     for teaching faculty, 2) how rank gained in one type of faculty status would transfer to another
     type of faculty status, 3) how promotion in rank might relate to tenure/professionalization issues,
     and 4) what role, if any, the PP and T committee should play in these procedures. This
     discussion  is reported as a context to any further discussions of this matter by the Council.

2) As a procedural matter, it was suggested that Council Chair Anderson inform the chairs of
    current committees of proposed changes affecting those committees before the Council brings
    these matters to the Faculty Meeting for consideration and vote.

3) As part of the editing of the final document, the Council should change the term "Faculty" to
    "Teaching Faculty and Academic Support Staff with Faculty Rank" in the descriptions of
    elected committee positions.
 
 

APPENDIX A
 

APPENDIX B
(For Use with Curriculum Committee Proposal, Models 1 and 2)