The UW-Parkside Faculty met on Thursday, April 2, 2009 in Molinaro Hall room D139.
Call to Order – Interim Chancellor Lane Earns
The meeting was called to order at 3:35 p.m. by Interim Chancellor Lane Earns. Faculty members attending were Rob Barber, Suresh Chalasani, Norm Cloutier, Herb Colston, Linda Crafton, Laura Gellott, Kathleen Gillogly, Peggy James, Dennis Kaufman, Frances Kavenik, Farida Khan, Traci Lee, Megan Mullen, Dennis Rome, Carmel Ruffolo, Robert Sasso, Scott Thomson, Adrienne Viramontes, and Gary Wood. Others attending included Associate Dean Dirk Baldwin, Dean Donald Cress, Interim Associate Provost Doug DeVinny, Interim Provost Jerry Greenfield, Interim Chief Information Officer Brian Remer, and Director of the Teaching and Learning Center Jim Robinson.
Approval of Minutes
The minutes of the special faculty meeting of February 12, 2009 were approved as distributed. PSF 36/08-09
There was no old or unfinished business.
A motion was on the floor to move to a committee of the whole to discuss matters of general interest according to UWPF 1.04(3). The motion passed by unanimous consent. University Committee Chairperson Dennis Rome chaired the committee of the whole discussion.
1. Interim Chancellor Lane Earns
Chancellor Earns spoke about his reasons for withdrawing his name from the list of candidates for chancellor.
2. Report on Changes in Campus Technology Services – Interim CIO Brian Remer
The search for the new CIO is proceeding. Faculty are encouraged to attend upcoming open meetings with candidates.
Some CTS offices will be relocated as part of the Communications Arts building project. Bob Zimla, Sandy Duveneck, and the Help Desk will all move to the main CTS office, CART 120. Nora Keller will move to a different location in CART 120. Chuck Heirtz and Linda Wawiorka will join Pat Eaton in WYLL to create a Learning Technology Group to support faculty. Chris Robiadek will stay in current space as lab manager. The distance education room will be rebuilt on the WYLL D1 level.
Except for student-use computers, the third year of the three year computer replacement program has been delayed. It may be possible to replace some of the oldest computers.
A project to remove information from old classes from D2L is being planned. D2L users will have the opportunity to export information they want to save.
Jerry Greenfield noted that these changes in the organization of CTS are a result of the recent program review and are intended to respond to faculty concerns about support for academic computing needs.
3. Chancellor Search and Screen – Committee Member Gary Wood
The committee will conduct a few more “airport” interviews before recommending finalists to President Reilly and the Board of Regents subcommittee. A meeting with the President and the subcommittee is scheduled for April 17.
4. Revisions to UWPF Chapter 3 – Dean Donald Cress
Don Cress summarized the changes proposed to UWPF Chapter 3. They fall into four categories; clarification of the roles and responsibilities of department chairs and departmental executive committees, reporting of activities of department chairs, evaluation of chairs and compensation for chairs. An ad hoc group of department chairs has been working on this document. They have worked mostly on changes in the first category noted above. The proposed changes were distributed to all department chairs for comment. Some suggestions were received that now need to be worked into the document.
Laura Gellott asked about an item in the proposal that would change the voting procedures of the Personnel Review Committee (PRC); specifically, it would prohibit a PRC member from voting on a tenure decision for a candidate from his or her home department.
The Dean indicated that most institutions follow a procedure such as the one suggested and that the UW-Parkside policies are unusual in allowing a faculty member to vote twice on a tenure candidate, once as a member of the departmental executive committee and once as a member of the PRC.
Fran Kavenik noted that at a small institution with small departments and small executive committees that are often augmented, it is nearly impossible to avoid these conflicts. She also objected to such a restriction because it assumes that people are not capable of being objective. The traditional practice of the PRC has not been to limit a member’s ability to vote on a candidate from his or her own department, but to strictly limit his or her participation in the discussion of the candidate, that is, PRC members should not be allowed to advocate for or against a candidate based on information that only they have.
A rather lengthy discussion of this issue ensued. The main points and questions raised included the following.
The PRC needs to avoid the perception of conflict.
What happens if the number of voting members is reduced and the vote results in a tie?
The PRC vote is advisory, in any case.
There is a perception among faculty that having a member from one’s own department on the PRC helps one’s tenure case. Departments that have members coming up for tenure actively try to get people on PRC.
It seems like a good idea for the chair of a department with a member coming up for tenure during the next couple of years to serve a term on PRC to learn the workings of the committee.
An awkward situation could occur where an executive committee member has already voted no as a member of the executive committee and then gets to vote again on the PRC.
Dean Cress finally stated that the revisions to the PRC procedures were not critical to the overall revisions of UWPF 3 and Farida Khan suggested that the PRC should have a role in making this decision. Gary Wood added that the PRC procedures are written in such a way that the PRC may amend its own procedures.
The next part of the discussion was about departmental criteria for promotion and tenure. Are departments required to have their own, written criteria? There is nothing explicit about this in UWPF, but not having written criteria certainly violates the spirit of various sections of UWPF, UWS and UW-System guidelines. Some departments defer to what is written in UWPF 6 or to the “The Core of Academe” document. There was general agreement that what a department expects from probationary faculty on the tenure track should be made as clear as possible.
A related question was, should departmental criteria for promotion and tenure be reviewed and approved by the PRC? Those arguing for this proposal noted that there should be some oversight, that the oversight should be by faculty, and that if the PRC did not approve departmental criteria, the PRC would not be bound to honor them when making tenure recommendations. Others thought that the oversight should be the responsibility of the Deans. Those arguing against this proposal said that the PRC already interprets the actions of a departmental executive committee when it reviews tenure cases. The PRC should not also have an undue influence on the procedures the executive committee follows.
Jerry Greenfield summarized the discussion by saying that written criteria important. They guide the annual statements of progress toward tenure. Departmental executive committees need to agree on benchmarks. The criteria do not have to be overly proscriptive or quantitative, but we do need to agree on how we know if someone is doing a good job. He added that PRC is advisory and the administration rarely disagrees with a PRC recommendation, but that could happen more easily if criteria are not clear.
5. Merit Raise Policies and Procedures – Interim Chancellor Lane Earns and Interim Provost Jerry Greenfield
Lane Earns and Jerry Greenfield explained how merit scores are translated into merit pay raises.
The departmental executive committee, the department chair, the Dean and the Provost each assign a merit score. Each score advises the next, but they may all be different. The scores assigned by the Provost are transmitted to the budget officer. For purposes of distributing merit pay, the scores are normalized across departments. No information about changes to the original score assigned by the executive committee is transmitted back to the department. Herb Colston asked under what circumstances the Dean or Provost might change a number. Jerry Greenfield said that in some cases service activities have more value to the administration than they do to the faculty in the department. He also dispelled the long standing myth that the department-assigned scores must average to 3.
If the salary increase in a given year is 2% or less, all faculty receive an across the board raise. No part of the increase is based on merit. If the salary increase in a given year is more than 2%, then 1/3 is distributed across the board and 2/3 is distributed according to a merit formula. The total amount available is determined by department according to the salaries of faculty in each department. Of the 2/3 distributed for merit, half (or 1/3 of the total) is a flat dollar amount based on the merit score and the other half is a percent of salary based on the merit score. The Chancellor is allowed to take 10% of the total salary increase and use it for individual salary adjustments.
There was some discussion about whether the departmental executive committee assigned merit score or the administrator-adjusted merit score should be reported to the PRC in tenure and promotion cases. Some thought that the PRC should work with the departmental numbers because those are the numbers the department is asked to explain. Others thought that administrative changes should be reported back to department chairs and to the PRC.
Don Cress said that his practice has been to report his score back to department chairs in cases where the executive committee assigned score and the chair assigned score disagreed.
As a last comment on the proposed revisions to UWPF 3, Lane Earns noted that there is very specific language describing the responsibilities of chairs but not much for executive committees.
Laura Gellott thanked Dennis Rome for chairing his last faculty meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 4:45 p.m.
Gary M. Wood
Secretary of the Faculty