To:       Elon University Budget Committee

From:   Academic Council

Re:       2004-05 Budget Priorities

Date:    12/03/03

 

The table below puts the faculty survey ranking results in the context of Academic Councilís 2003/04 priorities, as well as the budget priorities for the past two academic years. The top six priorities of the faculty are calculated roughly both by total first and second votes and total votes. 

 

Rankings by 1st/2nd Votes

Rankings by Total Votes

03/04 AC Priorities

03/04 Budget Priorities

02/03 Budget Priorities

 

1.   Teaching load reduction

 

1.   Health insurance

 

 

1.  Increase diversity

 

 

1.   Health insurance

 

1.      Faculty salaries

 

 

2.   Class size reduction

 

2.   Teaching load reduction

2.  Reduce and/or redefine teaching work-load

 

2.   Teaching load reduction

 

2.      Staffing (teaching load, class size, full-time positions)

 

3.   Health insurance

 

3.   Faculty R&D support

 

3.  Improve faculty meetings effectiveness

 

3.   Class size reduction

 

3.      Student scholarships

 

4.   Faculty R&D support

 

4.   Class size reduction (when combined by comments and sub-topics)

 

4.  Facilitate discussion about service

 

4.   Faculty R&D

 

4.      Health insurance

 

5.   Faculty travel

 

5.   Student scholarships

 

5.  Make recommendations on work/family issues

 

5.   Student scholarships

 

5.      Technology improvements

 

6.  Student scholarships

6.   Faculty travel

 

6.  Work to convert part-time positions into continuing, full-time positions

 

6.     Clerical support staff increase

6.      Faculty R&D and travel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching Load Reduction

Consistent with the last three yearsí requests, Council recommends that the standard teaching load for full-time faculty be reduced by one course to 20 hours annually. Council recognizes that this is a costly venture if done in one massive move, so it recommends that the University continue to explore and implement less expensive, smaller, and possibly sequential strategies for reducing teaching load.

 

Class Size Reduction

Class size continues to be a major concern among faculty. Though one may mistakenly think that faculty link class size to work load, faculty continue to frame the need for smaller classes as an academic climate issue.  Within larger classes, it is very difficult to maintain the student engagement for which Elon is widely known and valued. In order to enhance its reputation as a leader in engaged learning, as well as achieve the NewCentury@Elon goal of being a national leader in engaged learning, Council urges the University to make a major financial commitment to class size reduction.

 

Council appreciates the Universityís recent responsiveness to this issue in the form of newly implemented senior seminar caps at 15 and recommends that University continue this effort by considering caps of 30 in upper-division and caps of 33 in lower-division courses. Council also recommends that caps on General Studies core courses be rigorously maintained.

 

New Faculty Lines

As the University works to reduce teaching loads and class sizes, the demand for new faculty lines will increase precipitously. As class sizes shrink, students will be displaced into new sections/course, which will require more faculty, and as teaching loads are reduced, new faculty will be needed to staff the vacated sections/courses. In order to make progress on both of these priorities, the University must make budgetary plans to increase the number of new faculty lines. Although new faculty lines is not one of the top ranked issues by faculty, it must become a priority if the University is to make progress on the previous two priorities.

 

Health Insurance

Health insurance continues to be voted a top priority by faculty. Council recognizes that the University has already made significant financial commitments to improved health insurance by switching health care providers starting January 1, 2004. As the University moves forward with its new provider, Council requests that the University examine the possibility of offering individual coverage available to any spouse or qualifying partner, a policy that would give employees the option of covering a spouse or qualifying partner without being required to pay for a family plan. In general, Council recommends that the University continue to explore options for individualizing employee benefits, including health benefits.

 

Faculty Research, Development, and Travel

As the University continues to move toward a more rigorous model of scholarship in support of and integral to the teacher-scholar model, more time, primarily, needs to be carved out to pursue adequate research. Council requests that the University continue to examine creative ways for increasing the time faculty have to pursue their research. Specifically, Council urges the University to establish sufficient funding for sabbaticals to grant each full-time teaching faculty member a sabbatical every seven years. 

 

In terms of travel to conferences, Council requests that general travel funds be increased to reach the $600 level in the 2003-2004 budget year. Also, Council recommends that faculty be guaranteed full support through separate funds (i.e., in addition to their $600) for one conference at which they deliver a paper, poster, presentation, or workshop.

 

Student Scholarships

Once again, the Council recommends that funds for student scholarships be developed through endowments managed by the Office of Institutional Development to increase diversity, promote retention, and attract gifted students.

 

This priority is consistent with the New Century @ Elon (goal #4, items 7 & 8) and the plan to establish a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.  The Phi Beta Kappa committee reviewing Elonís application expressed concerns over the level of scholarships, particularly the balance between athletic and academic scholarships.  The committee also expressed concern over Elonís ability to attract a body of students qualified for membership in Phi Beta Kappa, and the need for scholarships in this regard.