Professor Kavenik was designated Chair for the duration of the discussion. She called on Chancellor Keating to summarize the history of this policy. He said that the policy was adopted by the Chancellor's Cabinet in June 1997 after consultation with a number of governance representatives. As we now begin to implement our Plan 2008, he would like to obtain more extensive input regarding the policy and is asking the newly created University Diversity Committee to give high priority to re-examining the policy and recommending appropriate revisions. Associate Vice Chancellor Singer said that he felt this was an appropriate time to reconsider the policy. The Secretary of the Faculty said that records from 1997 indicate that the extent of faculty consultation regarding this policy was quite limited.
Asked by the Chancellor to comment on the policy, Mr. Pitts, the Assistant to the Chancellor for Equity and Diversity, described the policy as lengthy and cumbersome. He said that such a policy needs to be concise, adhering to applicable state and federal laws. In response to a question from Professor Shailor, Mr. Pitts said that the inquiry process is the most important part of the current policy because the term "harrassment" is inherently vague and charges of harrassment require extensive corroboration; the complaint and grievance processes simply don't permit flexible investigations. Professor Kinchen said that he appreciates the opportunity to review the policy and hopes that we all take ownership of the revised policy - our policy should proclaim what we stand for.
Mr. Pitts described our institutional affirmative action process as segmented and (consequently) somewhat less effective than it could be. In response to a question from Professor Leeds-Hurwitz, Chancellor Keating said that we need an institutional policy that covers all types of grievances. Professor Saffioti-Hughes said that as we refine the policy we should incorporate our vision into it. She added that the case scenarios in the present policy are incomplete and may be unsuitable.
Professor Khan said that a group of minority faculty has prepared a revision of the current policy, especially as it pertains to the handling of informal complaints. The Secretary of the Faculty offered to distribute the proposed revision through governance channels. Mr. Pitts said the University Diversity Committee will give careful consideration to all suggestions. Professor Leeds-Hurwitz called for widespread circulation of the draft that the University Diversity Committee eventually prepares. Chancellor Keating said that he will ask the Committee to obtain feedback from all campus constituent groups. He added that we need to develop a broad concept of diversity and make a strong effort to educate people about that concept.
Associate Vice Chancellor Singer called for streamlining by minimizing the number of different procedures for different types of complaints. Chancellor Keating concurred, saying that the hallmarks of success in dealing with discrimination were a clearly stated philosophy, effective policies, and simple procedures. Mr. Pitts noted that the discrimination policy could not override certain existing policies, such as those that apply to students.
In moving to rise from committee of the whole and report, Professor Kavenik called for and obtained a consensus of those present that the Faculty would like an opportunity to comment on a draft of the revision that is proposed by the University Diversity Committee.
Chancellor Keating resumed his role as Chair.
Professor Kavenik was designated Chair for the duration of the discussion. She called on Chancellor Keating to desribe the work of the task force he co-chairs on student recruitment/retention. The Chancellor said that we have done well in achieving our enrollment goals and that we now need to do more to retain the students we attract. He has charged the task force with considering ways in which we can better support our students so that they are more likely to be successful at UW-P and less likely to experience frustration. Although the task force has met just once, it has identified a number of issues that will be examined more closely. Can we expand our scholarship programs? Can we improve the delivery mechanisms for any/all student services? What additional services can we provide at a reasonable cost without lowering standards? Are we overlooking any significant student issues? Can we cross-train personnel in the various student service offices? Can we improve parking, especially for visitors? Is a visitor information kiosk feasible? Can we employ the concept of one-stop shopping more often? Should we provide more supplemental instruction? Should we adopt a continuous early warning system? Should we use a common logo on all mailings to increase recognition? Should we provide computer-usage workshops for older students returning to school? Should we increase the number of admissions programs throughout the year? The Chancellor concluded his presentation by inviting anyone who would raise other issues to forward them to him.
Professor Saffioti-Hughes, Chair of the Admissions, Records, and Student Information Committee, said that her Committee is concerned about the number of poorly prepared students who are admitted with little chance of reaching graduation. She said that it is not likely that we can support many of these students and that our credibility in the high schools we serve is eroded by our willingness to admit such students. Chancellor Keating replied that we are not lowering our standards and that we try not to grant financial aid to students with little prospect for success. He added that one-third of our graduates have needed remedial coursework at some point and that we serve a population that some schools have chosen not to serve. Professor Saffioti-Hughes called for reconsideration of the use of a conditional admission status that requires prescriptive advising.
Chancellor Keating said that we need to reconsider our entire approach to enrollment management. Professor Dudycha said that it is well known that the ACT test is not a good predictor of success in college. The Chancellor agreed, saying that we may need to re-examine the validity of the admission criteria we use. Professor Ross called for the development of profiles of students who succeed/fail.
At 4:55 Professor Kavenik determined that the committee of the whole would rise without report and the meeting was adjourned.