There were over 40 people who attended the meeting. Not everyone attending signed the attendance sheet. Those who did included:
Lori Allen, Dirk Baldwin, Bill Blanchard, Theresa Castor, Linda Crafton, Don Cress, Seif Da’Na, Doug DeVinny, Mary Louise Edwards, Damien Evans, Eugene Fujimoto, Walter Graffin, Jerry Greenfield, Anne Gurnack, Stu Hansen, Marcy Huffendick, Carmen Ireland, Curtis Jackson, Jack Keating, Rhonda Kimmel, Renee Kirby, Wendy Leeds-Hurwitz, Mary Lenard, Kelly McFatter, Bill Miller, Megan Mullen, Bill Murin, Dana Oswald, Bonnie Peterson, Dennis Rome, Mary Kay Schleiter, Charlotte Short, Theron Snell, Anne Statham, Susan Takata, Italia Thompson, Scott Thomson, Christine Tutlewski, Annette Wiesner, Gary Wood, Mary Xiong, Dean Yohnk. Michaelina Young, Leo Zaibert, Evelyn Zepp.
Chancellor Keating called the meeting to order at 3:35 P.M.
The minutes of the Fall Faculty Meeting of November 8, 2006 were approved unanimously.
Prof. Murin moved to go into the Committee of the Whole. The motion was approved unanimously.
Professor Rome, U.C. Chair, assumed direction of the meeting. He thanked everyone for coming, and called upon a few people to say a few words about what their areas have been doing.
Damien Evans of Multi-Cultural Students Affairs talked about efforts to acquaint faculty and students with each other, the Fresh Start Program (working with students on issues such as study skills and time management), the mentorship program with Racine and Kenosha high school students.
Lori Allen of the First-Year Experience Committee/Director of General Education spoke about the various projects on-going on campus, which are trying to find what works with specific groups of students. A format for University Seminar was piloted in the fall. The Seminar was linked with a reading/writing class (academic skills). She also talked about the peer mentors, orientation activities (including the common read), the Laramie Project (a program for at-risk students—those scoring below 18 on the ACT or in the bottom half of their high school class), the Nelson Denny exam (tests reading and writing)—noting that sophomores, juniors and seniors also have problems in these areas.
Anne Gurnack commented upon problems with student behavior in political sciences classes she and Bill Murin teach.
Dennis Rome noted that a group chaired by Steve McLaughlin is working on this issue.
Don Cress, member of that group, noted that the issue goes beyond behavior; there is a lack of commitment to doing things right, to the academic enterprise.
Theron Snell noted the connection between intellectual engagement and action.
Marcy Huffendick noted that many entering students are first generation college students and that they do not know what is expected of them. Many are juggling jobs and families. Non-traditional students, who want to succeed, may not be able to attend classes at certain times or because of sick children.
Curtis Jackson, student president of the Black Student Union, said that students don’t know what is expected of them in college.
Jerry Greenfield noted that the general characteristics of the student population in the U.S. now are not dissimilar to those of our students. He noted that we do a good job of educating students. There is a need to look at the different categories of students—categories at risk due to age, ethnicity etc.
Dennis Rome commented that Academic Staff and Faculty need to work together, to pool the resources we have, in order to enhance student success.
Kelly McFatter noted the changes in the high schools, since the “No Child Left Behind.” They are finding ways to make students succeed, doing things like using rubrics, hand-holding, etc.
Linda Crafton noted that external behaviors are but the tip of the iceberg. The students may have problems engaging with verbal or written information, which then impedes intellectual engagement.
Kelly McFatter stated that Teacher Education can help instructors with strategies on how to approach reading a text, etc.
Jack Keating noted that the students who come from the Racine and Kenosha districts are survivors of tough situations. Less than 50% of the students in these districts even take the ACT. Forty percent of these students are in the bottom two quintiles of poverty. There is a huge range among these students as far as technology—many have no equipment at all at home. How can we accommodate this? They have no idea of the culture expected at an academic institution.
Anne Statham addressed three sets of resource needs. There must be faculty development, to learn about how to address student needs and not simply rely on the Academic Skills people. We have to put more resources behind our low-income students.
We must agree among ourselves on a simple articulation of the special “niche”
offered by Parkside.
Charlotte Short spoke about the “teachable moment”—the students don’t hear anything beyond the first two sentences at Orientation. Issues must be addressed when they come up in the classroom. It is usually a teacher who makes the difference.
Jerry Greenfield said that connections are essential to success in the first year. The TRIO program provides intense, enormous support and is highly successful.
Gary Wood noted that we cannot neglect to provide these students with interesting and challenging experiences.
Theron Snell commented that a lot of our students don’t think that what occurs in the classroom can be fun.
Dean Yohnk stated that five years ago Theater, whose majors must have an ACT of at least 20 and a 2.5 GPA in high school or rank in the upper 50% of their class, lost 50% of their entering class, a shocking event. The department began a program of peer mentoring. Students went through basic training with the department members, and were assigned to incoming new students. Each mentor, a successful student, had 4 students. Since this program was begun, not a single Freshman has been lost.
Leo Zaibert noted that the Philosophy Department would like to teach Critical Thinking, with its potential for engaging first-year students, but that the department only has 2 faculty members and cannot do so.
Jack Keating replied that next year there will be no increase in the budget. After next year, Parkside has asked for over a million dollars for retention—this will be permanent money. Nevertheless, enrollment has been down over the last two years—each student lost means $5000 out of the budget. No money is being hidden—every dollar is out. The last two biennia have meant cuts that leave no softness.
Mary Lenard stated that the large proportion of under-prepared students means that in the classroom students are being asked to perform tasks they are not able to do, or which they can do only after hard work on the part of the instructor. In contrast to this, the way faculty are evaluated and promoted has not changed. Junior faculty, in particular, are not being supported the way they should be.
Dennis Rome noted that both the U.C. and PRC have discussed collecting personnel documents from all departments, order to get some sense of how criteria vary across the campus.
Bonnie Peterson noted that many Academic Staff members are also burnt out, that they are teaching many of these beginning courses, which are difficult to teach.
Mary Louise Edwards noted that the way in which various members of the Parkside community talk about students differs a great deal. She noted the variety of resources which can be called upon: peer resources, academic advising, a TRIO kind of advising, technology. The conference in Oshkosh looked at ways of engaging students with technology from their world: IPODs, text messages, etc. How can students working 30 hours a week with 12-15 credits succeed?
Dennis Rome noted that the U.C. hoped to come out of this meeting with the beginnings of an action plan.
Walt Graffin said there needs to be more flexibility in how faculty are evaluated. He also added that faculty are aware of the situations of their students—i.e. a student without a bed, but do not know how to deal with them.
Jerry Greenfield noted that there is an absence of understanding of what all of us are doing. An action plan should enhance the venues to learn about what people are doing. We do a lot relative to professional development: the Teaching Center, sending people to OPID conferences, etc. A shared sense of what is most important and a way for people to know what is going on are essential. The administration is committed to making things happen, working with all the elements in the university. When more students are creating issues, there is the sense it must be someone’s fault and people start getting angry. We need to find out what is going on in everyone’s area.
Doug DeVinny noted that resources can mean money or “horsepower.” Theater has more of an ideal world, but we can investigate someway to do peer mentoring more broadly. Someone needs to talk to students about critical things—what “bursar” means, etc. We need to find ways to get the students to the goals we want.
Mary Louise Edwards noted that the First-Year Experience Committee is working on training mentors.
Evelyn Zepp suggested a faculty-staff newsletter, which would keep people informed about what committees, departments, etc. are doing.
Bill Murin noted that he used to know a lot more about what other colleagues were doing when we were organized by divisions.
Mary Lenard agreed with Jerry Greenfield about the poor communication on campus, especially between faculty and Student Affairs.
Kelly McFatter said Teacher Education would be glad to respond to anyone with a specific problem relative to student needs/problems.
Bill Blanchard noted that instructional Academic Staff focus on pedagogy and faculty must focus in some part on publishing. These two groups could learn from each other.
Anne Statham volunteered to spearhead working on an “action plan.”
Mary Kay Schleiter suggested a fundraising campaign addressed at helping the deep poverty of many of our students—buying textbooks, helping homeless students, etc.
Jack Keating noted that a fundraising campaign is just beginning.
Lori Allen noted that there are a multitude of modes through which communication occurs—coordination would help.
Anne Statham wanted to prioritize faculty development.
The meeting adjourned at 5:05 P.M.
Submitted by Evelyn Zepp, Secretary of the Faculty