I. Minutes of previous meetings
II. Report of the Faculty Senate Chairperson
A request was made for the agenda to be distributed prior to the day of Senate meetings. Dr. Börger-Greco indicated that she would do this in the future.
III. Report of the Student Senate President
IV. Report of the Graduate Student Organization
V. Report of the Administrative Officers
President McNairy reported that she has recently been to a number of alumni events. She noted that faculty in the Meteorology program set up a successful alumni event in conjunction with their attendance at a national meeting. She encouraged other departments to consider planning similar events with support from the Advancement Office.
President McNairy distributed a report on budget issues. She noted that it is important that we understand our position and educate the media and public about the need for education funding. The report highlighted that the two main sources of Educational and General Revenue are tuition and state appropriations. As state appropriations have declined over the past 20 years, student tuition has increased in order to maintain an operational budget since the bulk of expenses are fixed costs such as salaries, wages and infrastructure services. She stressed that it is critical that the financial burden on students be kept minimal. President McNairy reported that the PASSHE request this year was greatly influenced by the advocacy of students. The current recommendation from the governor is for 4.5% appropriations increase, but this still needs legislative approval. The Board of Governors will then negotiate any tuition increase. She noted that no increase in tuition now will likely require greater increases in the future. She suggested that an increase of no more than 3% would limit the budget shortfall without adding a large burden to students. President McNairy strongly encouraged faculty members to join students in advocating on behalf of a balanced approach to these issues. She recommended contacting legislators as citizens concerned with support of higher education spending and appropriate tuition increases.
Senator Blazer indicated the need for informing constituents that a combined 4.5% increase in state appropriations and 3% increase in student tuition does not correlate to a 7.5% increase in our budget. It was noted that there are legislators who serve on the Board of Governors who will be involved in both decisions. In response to further questions on budget breakdowns, Dr. Rydell referred senators to detailed reports available on the Finance and Administration website. It was also noted that funding raised through the Development Office is part of the separate MU Foundation that handles investment of these funds to support scholarships. In addition, much of the public considers taxes and tuition as sufficient support of public universities despite drastic reductions in state appropriations. Senator DiBartolomeis expressed concern that programs like the costly centralized SAP system are creating additional costs that will exacerbate budget shortfalls. President McNairy reminded faculty that the Board of Governors, which includes many persons educated in private schools, has the legal authority to implement these requirements. The System presidents have shared concerns about SAP with the Board. President McNairy also stated that IT was doing everything to assure our ability to function under the new system. Dr. Rydell also pointed out that the proposed shortfall presented for 2007-2008 assumes that the 2006-2007 shortfall is paid by one-time funds. She stressed that any permanent increases in revenue or cuts in spending will help reduce shortfalls each year.
Provost Prabhu reminded senators of the status of the inclement-weather days scheduled for April 11-12. These days may only be used to reschedule classes actually missed due to a weather-related delay or cancellation. No other class meetings may be scheduled on these days.
Executive Assistant to the President Phillips
Executive Assistant to the President Phillips distributed a proposal regarding clarification of issues relevant to the Incomplete Grade Policy [see Attachment #1]. She noted that the final form is signed and kept by the course instructor. Once the coursework is completed, the instructor should complete a Change of Grade form to be approved by the departmental chair and school dean. This process is now the same as for changing a grade for any other reason.
VI. Educator of the Year Award
Dr. Sepi Yalda reminded senators that there is a need for establishing a mechanism for oversight of the Educator of the Year Award.
A DiBartolomeis/Igyor motion was made to elect a faculty standing committee to oversee appointment of the Selection Committee and issues relating to the award process. A Mowrey/Edeh motion was made to have the Educator of the Year Award Oversight Committee consist of a Senator Chair, one member per school and one non-school member to be elected in one month and charged with establishing the membership of the Selection Committee and annual convening of the Selection Committee by March 1.
A request from Student Senate President Fayth Balsam for strong student input into this award was supported by faculty senators. Senator Mowrey noted that the Joint Senate Conference Committee has both faculty and student membership and could oversee the Educator of the Year Award.
A Kevorkian/Blazer motion to substitute the motions above with a motion to charge the Joint Senate Conference Committee to establish membership of the Selection Committee by April 18, 2006, convene the Selection Committee annually by March 1 and deal with issues that arise relating to oversight of the Educator of the Year Award was approved without dissent. The Mowrey/Edeh motion to charge the Joint Senate Conference Committee to establish membership of the Selection Committee by April 18, 2006, convene the Selection Committee annually by March 1 and deal with issues that arise relating to oversight of the Educator of the Year Award was approved without dissent.
A Mowrey/Miller motion to commend Dr. Yalda for her dedication to implementing the Educator of the Year Award was approved without dissent.
VII. Election of Faculty Senate Officers
Elections were postponed until the next meeting due to time constraints.
VIII. Faculty Emeritus
IX. Reports of the Faculty Senate Standing Committees
X. Reports of the Faculty Senate Special Committees
XI. Proposed Courses and Programs
(1) CHANGE IN DELIVERY FORMAT
CHEM110: Request for Distance Learning designation was approved without dissent.
XII. General Education Review Committee
XIII. Other/New Business
Aimee L. Miller
Faculty Senate Secretary