Faculty Senate Minutes
March 17, 2011
Call to Order: Chair McCormick called the meeting to order at 4:20 pm; Riggle Room; ADUC. Senator Macintosh moved to congratulate the Morehead State Eagle Basketball team, coaches, assistants, cheerleaders, band and everyone who made the trip to Denver for the win in the first round of the NCAA tournament over the Louisville Cardinals. Senator Wright seconded the motion. Motion passed unanimously.
Senators Absent: Jason Applegate, Ray Bailey, Royal Berglee, Doug Chatham, Tom Creahan, Cyndi Gibbs, Stephanie Johnson, Ann Rathbun, Rodney Stanley, Denise Watkins
Visitor: Charlie Patrick
Minutes: Senator McCoy moved to approve the minutes of March 3, 2011 as submitted. Senator Carlson seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Academic Issues: Reviewed Credit for Prior Document; Very well written, approved by AI
Evaluation: Second reading of two resolutions
Faculty Welfare and Concerns: Second reading of PAc 27
Governance: Senator Royar presented the report written by Senator Chatham, Chair; four candidates for Faculty Regent Election are: Darrin DeMoss, Michael Harford, Eric Jerde and Ron Morrison; committee interest surveys have been sent – if surveys are not returned it is assumed that faculty are willing to serve on any committee; working on a proposal to amend the description of the Registration Advisory Committee; proposal to amend the description of the Graduate Committee is on hold for now – looking at changing descriptions of other committees to accommodate graduate student grievances
Senate Committee on Issues: Will report on status of survey that will be submitted to the faculty in April; looking at PAc 30
Chair McCormick would like to have the Faculty Regent Candidates present during the Open Chair Segment of Faculty Senate at the first meeting in April; a University wide faculty forum will be conducted with the candidates
Revision to the Undergraduate Committee Description was approved by the President and Provost; Computer Competency committee will meet the week after spring break; meeting has been held regarding the Excused Absences Policy which will be going back to the committee for review; results of the last question on the “Are We Making Progress” survey have been completed and sent to the President
Open Chair Segment: Scott Davison presented. Senator Hennen moved that the entire text of Dr. Davison’s presentation be included in the minutes. Senator LaFleur seconded the motion. Motion passed. Below is the text of Dr. Davison’s presentation:
Faculty Senate Open Statement
Scott Davison, Professor of Philosophy
I want to talk about my job, briefly. You may be surprised to discover that I’m an expert in assessment – assessment in my field, that is. In fact, I have internationally recognized expertise in my field. When I was hired at MSU, I competed against hundreds of other people from around the country for my position, and my expertise made me competitive. It was understood that my value in this position depended on what made me different from everyone else, namely, my expertise.
Now I’ve been teaching here for a long time, since 1995, using my expertise in assessment in teaching, service, and professional achievement. In recent years, though, my job has changed dramatically. The university cares more and more about my involvement in a different kind of assessment, the kind that does not involve my professional expertise. This other kind of assessment is all about things that can be measured and counted, and about taking time to leave electronic traces of every activity that can be used to generate comparisons and reports. As a result, my job performance is judged less and less on my professional expertise, and more and more on the traces I leave behind in a number of systems, including Faculty 180, eAdvisor, WEAVE, and so on.
Don’t get me wrong: I think we do have quality problems at MSU that need to be addressed. I just don’t think that this kind of assessment is effective. It rewards people who are good at creating traces of activities; it does not necessarily reward quality work. More importantly, though, I think we are reaching a tipping point where the amount of time we expect faculty to invest in this kind of assessment is getting out of hand. When it is possible to spend as much time during a typical day in front of a screen documenting one’s work as one spends actually doing those things, then something is out of balance. In our classrooms, the cart of assessment is starting to drive the horse of instruction.
In short, I just want to raise a question, to start a conversation. I have ideas about what the answers are to these questions, but I am not here to talk about those – I just want to start a conversation. At what point do we assess the assessment? When will we ask if this is cost-effective, for instance? We spent over a million dollars on the Program Audit a few years ago, in terms of uncounted faculty and staff hours, but did we reap benefits on that scale? We need to ask whether all of this assessment is really worth the investment. I’m sure that there was a legitimate problem to address in the case of each layer of assessment that we have added, and I’m not saying that the people behind this assessment are bad people, but the cumulative effect of these changes is to change the nature of my job in such a way that what makes me special, my professional expertise, is being progressively marginalized.
People will say that I am complaining about my job. I would prefer to say that I want MSU to choose real quality, not just the appearance of quality in activity reports. Some people will say that if I don’t like my job, I should find a new one. I’ve heard this often enough that I actually applied for a job two weeks ago, and I have a phone interview next week. It’s not that I want to leave MSU, though; I just want my old job back, the one that valued me for my expertise in assessment, the assessment related to my field of study.
• Charlie Patrick reported that SACS campus visit will be March 27th – March 30th; Some Senators and Chair McCormick have been invited to interview with SACS
• A brief update on QEP should have been received via email today, which discusses “Clear Thinking” (Consider, Learn, Evaluate, Argue, Respond).
• Gen Ed Council still accepting Capstone proposals
• Dr. Patrick stated that regarding the Exchange Course process that was stopped – the Gen Ed Council reversed a decision and “there is no double-dipping in Exchange Courses”
• Set of advising instructions and list of core and distribution courses are online for your review
• Met with Registrars office – in fall 2011, students will not be able to use the 2010-2011 catalog
• Provost appreciated Dr. Davison’s remarks and stressed that federal funding, financial aid, etc depend on SACS accreditation. The goal is to maintain accreditation and then streamline processes.
• APPR documents will be presented to each chair after SACS visit. Deans will meet with each chair, and then the chairs will meet with faculty.
o Provost will meet on Friday with the faculty on the pilot team and will meet with Misty Hanks and the technology team next week
o Misty Hanks is compiling a cross section of faculty to meet with the Provost the week after spring break
o Requested report from Brent Jones regarding the technical issues of Moodle/Blackboard
o Grant submitted to Gates Foundation for initiative in adult education focusing on distance learning and in collaboration with KCTCS
o Misty Hanks compiling a summary of comments and list of advantages and disadvantage of both systems for the Provost
o Recommendations from all sources will be taken to the President and Cabinet
• Two sabbaticals will be funded this year
• “Are We Making Progress” survey summary is completed and being reviewed by the President – delay in IR is partly due to reporting requirement to CPE
Provost responded to questions regarding several areas and concerns with Data Strategies.
Regent Morrison reported on the BOR meeting on March 10:
• The bylaws of the Board were changed with one negative vote. The restriction that on-campus regents may not serve on the Executive Committee was dropped. Members to the Executive Committee are appointed by the Board Chair
• Approved the revised version of PAc- 11 (Faculty Scholarship)
• Approved tenure with promotion for fifteen faculty members, including three Senators (Lange, Sharp, and You)
• Approved tenure of Dr. Roger McNeil, who will serve as the new Dean of Science and Technology
• Voted to raze two surplus university buildings and turn into green space: The Oppenheimer property (white house immediately above the Catholic Church) and the former WMKY building
• Preliminary numbers on applications and acceptances for Fall 2011 are encouraging thus far, especially for first-time freshmen who have accepted
• In answer to a question from the last meeting, ACT score distributions for entering freshmen are available in the 2009-10 MSU Profile (see page 39)
Faculty Welfare and Concerns:
Senator Fultz presented PAc 27, Tenure Review, for a second reading and provided a background of the major changes which include: supporting documents stay with chair and portfolio moves through the process; re-establishment of the College Tenure Committee and a change in the role of the University Tenure Committee to more of an appellate committee in order to streamline the process. Senator Rogers provided rationale for not reinstating the College Tenure Committee. Discussion followed regarding the re-establishment of the College Tenure Committee. Senator Rogers moved to delete line 209 beginning with “the College Tenure…” thru line 220 up to “The College Dean” and to delete line 226 “The College Tenure Committee” and delete Section 9, Item 2 lines 262 – 266 and Line 276 “the College Tenure Committee”. Senator McMichael seconded the motion. Considerable discussion followed regarding this motion. A suggestion by the Provost that external evaluators be added to the process was also discussed. The question was called. After discussion, Senator Rogers’ motion, as presented, passed by a vote of 16 for and 14 against. Senator Davison moved to send PAc 27 back to the Faculty Welfare and Concerns committee for necessary revisions due the passing of this motion. Senator LaFleur seconded the motion. Motion passed.
Due to the hour, Senator LaFleur moved to remove the resolutions by the Evaluation Committee from the agenda.
Adjournment: 6:00 p.m.