Faculty Senate

Minutes

September 16, 2009, 3:30 PM                     Pellissippi Campus, Faculty/Staff Dining Room

 

 

I.          Call to Order                                                 Tom Gaddis

 

The meeting was called to order by Tom Gaddis. Members in attendance: Mark Fuentes (President), Wanda Scarbro (Past President), Dave Vinson (TBR Rep), Rick Barber (BCT), Mae Jean King (BCT), Joe Zitka (BCT), Ken Swayne (EMT), Trent Eades (English), Lawana Day (English), Sydney Gingrow (English),  Marilyn Harper (LA), Anita Maddox (LA), David Keys (LA), Ann Preston (Math), Linda Streebeck (Math), Meg Moss (Math), Ron Bridges (NBS), Michael Lusk (NBS), Brad Rose (NBS), Jean Jackson (Library Services), Tom Gaddis (Business Officer/Division Street), Ashey Boone (Blount County), Jane Stribling (Magnolia Avenue), Jonathan Morrell (Adjunct Faculty), William Gwin (Adjunct Faculty). Guests: Mary Monroe Ellis, Keith Norris.

 

II.        Suspension of Rules of Order                      Mark Fuentes

 

            Rules were suspended for the following:

 

§ Dr. Anthony Wise

Dr. Wise briefly addressed these topics:

–The final 14th day headcount was 10,295, a 17.73% increase, the largest since 1991. This increase strains facilities, including parking. The administration tried to prepare but progress has been slower than expected on the new parking lots planned for this campus and Division Street.

–QEP planning is underway.

–He advised faculty to take advantage of funds available for professional development for the next two years. There will be budget constraints when stimulus funding ends.

 

In response to a questioner asking if stimulus funds could be used to purchase portables for additional classroom space, he replied that one trailer is being purchased. Space for classrooms, labs, and offices is an issue. Rules for using stimulus funds are complex.

 

In response to a questioner asking if it might be possible to change some of the parking lots currently designated as open to faculty, he indicated that balancing student and faculty parking is being reviewed.

 

§ Parliamentarian

Trent Eades has stepped down as parliamentarian in order to more fully represent his department. Donn King has agreed to serve in this office.

 

The appointment was approved with no objections.

 

 

§ Adjunct Faculty Representatives

President Fuentes introduced William Gwin for approval to fill the second adjunct faculty senate seat. Jonathan Morrell is the returning adjunct representative and he is willing to continue to serve.

 

Senate voted to approve.

 

§ Tom Gaddis; Business Officer

A document containing rules of order to be followed at senate meetings (see Attachment 1) was distributed with the agenda. Those attending senate meetings should follow these rules so that business can be conducted fairly and efficiently.

 

III.       Approval of Minutes : Tom Gaddis

            The previous minutes were approved without objection.

 

IV.       Officer Reports:

                  Secretary: Jean Jackson – No Report

 

                  Communications: Ken Swayne

The Faculty Senate web page (http://www.pstcc.edu/organizations/faculty_council) has been updated and is easily accessible.

 

                  TBR Representative: Dave Vinson

A report from the last meeting has not yet been sent out but it was an uneventful meeting.

 

The next sub-council meeting is scheduled in about 5 weeks. In light of budget concerns and the recent discussion about reorganization, Dave sent a letter to members and TBR staff requesting information. He has received no responses from central staff.

 

                  President: Mark Fuentes

          –Enrollment Increase:  Nothing to add to Dr.Wise’s comments.

–Deadline for Grades: The concern of the Record’s Office staff is that all grades are available when the staff needs to process them. After a brief discussion it was suggested that the email from Records noting that grades have not been received from specific faculty not be sent to faculty until after the deadline for submission of grades has passed.

–QEP: It was noted that this is a very important part of the SACS review and that faculty should cooperate with department representatives when assistance is requested.

–Adjunct Issues:

o   Office Space - Space is limited and there is no answer. Try to be flexible.

o   Fee Waiver/Reduction - Not allowed for adjuncts by State regulation.

o   Mileage Reimbursement – This is not currently being done but there is no regulation against it. President Fuentes will seek further information.

–Extended Closure Statement: A statement must be included on syllabi.

–Reorganization of Higher Education/TUFS Position Paper: A final draft of the document by community college faculty senates was distributed Tuesday, 9/15/09. This topic will be revisited during “Discussion.”

–Blount County Campus: No summer classes will be scheduled at Blount County for summer 2010 while the new campus facilities are being prepared for the fall opening.

–Balloon Festival: Volunteers are needed.

–Stimulus Funds: While this funding is available for the next 2 years the rules for use of the funds are complex.

–From Learning Council:

o   Information Services needs to install a new generator. A proposed date for the installation is October 17-20 (weekend preceding and the Mon-Tues of fall break). During the installation, all online services will be unavailable, including locally loaded D2L pages. More information will be made available as decisions are made.

o   Renovation is currently underway in GN225 for the “Next Classroom,” a classroom lab that will allow experimentation using the latest technology for teaching and learning. It is expected to be ready in the spring.

o   Faculty/Staff Listserv: In April, Senate approved a motion requesting that the college cease moderation of the faculty-staff listserv. President Fuentes reported that he expects the listserv to continue to be moderated.  Wanda Scarbro noted that last spring, she individually delivered the motion to President Edwards and the three listserv moderators, Anthony Wise, Peggy Wilson, and Jerry Bryan. She did not receive a response at that time.

 

If there are instances of messages not being delivered in a timely way, notify President Fuentes.

          –From President’s Staff.

o   Dr. Edwards is looking into electronic message boards for the CPAC and the current reader board.

o   President’s Staff is beginning to explore collective hosting of Banner.

o   The new portable will be located near the other portables.

   

V.        Committee Reports:

                  Adjunct Faculty: Jonathan Morrell – No Report.

 

                  Student Scholarships: David Key/Joan Easterly

David reported that dates for the book sales have been scheduled and books are being collected. Boxes are needed; contact Joan Easterly if you can contribute.

 

                  Rules: Mark Fuentes

                  A motion will be presented during New Business.

 

                  Nominating Committee: Jean Jackson – No Report.

 

 

                  Promotion/Tenure: Mae Jean King

Laurie Stapleton will co-chair this committee. The committee will have a planning meeting this week.

 

                  Faculty Development: Ron Bridges

                  There was a good turn-out for the networking opportunity during inservice.

Magnolia Avenue also had a program. A questionnaire polling the faculty for desired topics for professional development opportunities will go out soon.

 

                  Faculty Emeritus: Mark Fuentes

The revised Faculty Emeritus policy (Policy 06:01:05) was approve by President’s Staff in July and is available in Pellissippi State Policies and Procedures.

 

                  Faculty Bill of Rights Ad Hoc: Anita Maddox – No Report.

 

                  Budget Ad Hoc: Wanda Scarbro

                  The revised budget will be available in about 2 weeks.

 

VI.       Unfinished Business: None

 

VII.     Discussion:

Disposal of sensitive material.  Mark Fuentes

There have been inquiries about proper disposal of paperwork that might include student information when the volume is too large for a personal shredder. President Fuentes found that Human Resources and Business Services have a contract with the Cintas Company for secure document shredding. Should we pursue a similar contract? Discussion revealed this to be an issue that does affect many faculty members. President Fuentes will further investigate college administrative recommendations and responsibility.

 

Promotion/Tenure notebooks. Mark Fuentes

It was suggested that the possibility of submitting promotion/tenure notebooks in electronic format be explored. While there are some logistical problems, this could be possible. President Fuentes discussed it with Dr. Wise and Dr. Edwards. Neither is opposed but they asked that he gather faculty opinion. Discussion elicited diverse views. Security of information is a concern.

 

Moved to New Business.

 

Nominations/Election for faculty awards. Mark Fuentes

President Fuentes reported that the Employee Development Committee has tentatively scheduled the awards ceremony for April 22, 2010, the nomination and voting processes will be conducted online, the committee plans to ask the candidates to write something about themselves to be included with the ballot, and adjunct faculty may neither nominate nor vote on candidates for the outstanding adjunct award. There was once again discussion of various possibilities for “improving” the process but no resolution. A motion regarding adjunct faculty participation will be forthcoming during New Business.

 

            Office hours “rule.” Mark Fuentes

The office hours rule is a recurring issue. There was no interest in pursuing a change at this time.

 

            Web load hours. Mark Fuentes

Load hours were set long ago based on physical class sizes. Growth of web classes has complicated the situation. Everyone is aware of the unfairness factor and there is work being done toward evening the numbers. This is possibly an issue to be addressed by Learning Council.

 

            Parking. Mark Fuentes

Since parking has been such an issue for everyone this semester, President Fuentes got some information from Dave Walton regarding current parking at all campus locations (see Attachment 2) and plans for handling the increasing need for spaces. The new portable being acquired will go into the O7 lot, decreasing the number of spaces in that lot. Construction should begin on a new lot across from O7 by December. Land has been purchased at Division Street for additional parking and some of the existing structures on the land have been demolished. Construction there will begin as soon as all the appropriate paperwork and demolition is completed. There are plans for additional lots at Pellissippi Campus and at Division Street when funding is available. On average a parking lot costs $3,000-$3,500 per space. A parking garage costs about $35,000 per space. This is construction cost and does not include cost of the land.

 

            Dual Enrollment (item moved from New Business to Discussion).

President Fuentes was informed that the college is in the process of creating a new position in the Division of Learning to direct the dual enrollment program and cohorts. Creation of this position addresses the concerns expressed about this program.

 

Cars running in the parking lots. David Key

David Key brought forward a concern expressed by a member of his department about the noticeable number of students (possibly also faculty and staff) who sit in their cars at lunch and throughout the day with the engines running, creating waste and pollution. There was discussion but no solution was suggested.

 

Dave Ramsey Workshop. Sydney Gingrow

Sydney read this statement from members of her department in response to a financial planning workshop opportunity announced by Human Resources.

 

“Some English Department members are concerned about the college’s contract with the Dave Ramsey Lampo Group, Inc./Financial Peace University. Even a cursory review of research confirms that Ramsey’s business interests are irrevocably tied to the Christian right. His group espouses religious principles tied directly to Biblical teachings. Even though the Lampo Group offers seminars entitled “workplace training,” material is replete with Christian imagery and instruction.

 

While the English Department favors offering financial planning workshops, it would prefer such training be led by state-sponsored groups, for example, TIAA-CREF, TBR, or TCRS. Department members have expressed serious objections to reimbursing participating employees with state funds for attending workshops that so blatantly skew the division of church and state.”

 

Balloon Festival. Ron Bridges

Volunteers are needed. State employees, not community volunteers must staff gates.

 

VIII.    New Business:

                  Presentation of Nominating Committee. Mark Fuentes/Jean Jackson

Following are the proposed members of the Nominating Committee:

Wanda Scarbro (Liberal Arts)

Martha Merrill (Engineering and Media Technologies)

Bobby Jackson (Mathematics)

Teresa Fulcher (Natural and Behavioral Sciences)

Alex Fitzner (English)

 

Appointees were approved without objection.

 

                  Constitution Changes

 

President Fuentes submitted the following  statement regarding the addition of the Faculty Development Committee to the standing committees listed in the Constitution

 

o   During the July 15, 2009 Faculty Senate meeting, the Faculty Senate approved the addition of the Faculty Development Committee, a new standing committee. Since standing committees are listed in the constitution, the Faculty Development Committee will be added as follows:

 

Article VIII, Section 2, D – Committees established:

      Faculty Development Committee will be added to the list

   

Because the Constitution states that adding new standing committees does not require an amendment to the Constitution, no further Faculty Senate action is required, as per Article VIII, Section 2, B.

 

President Fuentes submitted (from the Rules Committee) the following proposed amendments and editorial changes to the Faculty Senate Constitution and moved that they be adopted. Action on the proposed amendments and proposed editorial changes will occur at the next scheduled meeting of Faculty Senate.

 

o   Proposed Amendments to the Constitution. Note that changed text and additions are in bold.

 

Article IV, Section 1, C:

“Terms will begin July 1 and continue through June 30, two years hence.”

 

                        Article IV, Section 3, A (last sentence):

                                    Senators-Elect meet with the outgoing Senate…”

 

                        Article IX:

“ARTICLE IX: PROCEDURE FOR CHANGES TO THE CONSTITUTION”

                                   

                                    To be inserted before the current text:

                                    Section 1: Amendment Procedure

 

                                    To be inserted after the current text:

                                    Section 2: Changes not Requiring an Amendment

A. Changes of an editorial nature do not require an amendment to the Faculty Senate Constitution. Editorial changes do not change the substance of the Constitution.

B. Editorial changes must be presented to the Senate (as an item on the agenda) at a regular Faculty Senate meeting. Action on editorial changes will be delayed until the next regular Faculty Senate meeting after presentation.

C. Editorial changes require only a simple majority (50 percent plus one) of those present to approve the changes.

D. Editorial changes take effect immediately upon approval of the Faculty Senate.

 

o   Proposed editorial changes to the Constitution. Note that changed text and additions are in bold.

 

Heading:

            Pellissippi State Community College (Technical deleted)

 

Preamble:

            “…of Pellissippi State Community College…” (Technical deleted)

 

Article II:

“…participate in governance of the College: to formulate and/or review…”

 

 

 

                        Article II:

“…delegated to it by the faculty of the College and considers…” (capitalize the “c” in college as it is capitalized everywhere else in the document)

 

                        Article IV, Section 2, A, 3:

“… made by the Faculty President.  (add a period to the end of the sentence)

                       

                        Article IV, Section 3, B:

“The appropriate department dean or Vice President of the Division of Learning ensures departmental nominee(s) of …” (deleted “its” before “departmental nominee”)

 

                        Article V, Section 2, C:

“…the College or the Vice President of the Division of Learning may call a special meeting…”

 

                        Article VII, Section 2, A:

“… the College and the Vice President of the Division of Learning; serves as chief executive officer…”

 

                        Article VII, Section 2, C:

“…duties of the President as needed; and serves one year as Immediate Past President …” (deleted redundant “and serves one year”)

 

                        Article VII, Section 2, D:

“… Parkway campus library; and serves as chair of the Nominating Committee.”

 

                        Article VII, Section 2, E:

“… other relevant documents; prepares and electronically maintains the official membership lists; and serves as administrator of…” (deleted “and” following the first semicolon)

                 

                  Reorganization of Higher Education in Tennessee and TUFS Position Paper

President Fuentes made the following motion:

 

Faculty Senate supports the position stated in theTennessee Community College Faculty Senates’ Position on Reorganization of Higher Education in Tennessee and Response to the TUFS Position Paper (see Attachment 3).

 

Faculty presidents from Tennessee community colleges developed this document in response to a position paper on a possible reorganization of two- and four-year educational institutions released by the Tennessee University Faculty Senates (TUFS) (see Attachment 4). During the discussion, it was noted that transfer of courses between institutions is legislated, so the reorganization under discussion would not affect transfers.

 

The motion was approved without opposition.

 

                  Adjunct Faculty/Outstanding Adjunct and Full-time Faculty Awards

The following motion was made by William Gwin and seconded by Trent Eades:

 

Adjunct faculty members should be allowed to nominate and vote for candidates for the Outstanding Full-Time and Outstanding Adjunct Faculty awards.

 

The motion was approved without opposition.

 

Submission of Promotion Tenure Notebooks  

The following motion was made by Joe Zitka and seconded by Linda Streebeck:

 

Faculty Senate opposes the submission of promotion tenure packets in electronic format.

 

The motion was approved with a vote of 12 for and 3 opposed.

 

                  DSP Requirements

President Fuentes made the following motion and it was seconded by Dave Vinson:

 

Faculty Senate supports the following resolution:

 

Resolution

      WHEREAS, Pellissippi State Community College serves its students by accurately placing them in Transitional Studies and college-level courses; and

 

      WHEREAS, The College has established procedures to ensure that students are accurately placed in their courses; and

 

      WHEREAS, Some students have been given the opportunity to bypass these procedures without the knowledge of Transitional Studies or the relevant academic programs; therefore be it

 

      RESOLVED, That the Faculty Senate urges that all programs follow established procedures regarding the placement of students; and

 

      RESOLVED, That the Faculty Senate objects to any decisions regarding placement of students that are made without consultation with the appropriate departments.

 

 

There was discussion regarding the reason for the resolution. Mary Monroe Ellis spoke to the circumstances, which included the offering of a prep course and a class during the summer that bypassed the procedures and usual approval process for new offerings, and also affected the placement of students. Approval of the resolution would mean that Faculty Senate supports following established procedures.

 

Dave Vinson made a motion that line four of the resolution be amended to read: “RESOLVED, That the Faculty Senate urges that all programs follow established procedures regarding the placement of every student; and…”

 

The motion to amend was approved.

 

The amended motion was approved.

 

IX.       Announcements

Next meeting: October 21, 2009 – 3:30pm – Division Street (TBA)

David Key will deliver a lecture entitled In Response to Industrialism on Wednesday, September 23rd. at 10: 50 a.m. in the Goins Auditorium.

 

X.        Adjourned at 5:50 p.m.


Attachment 1

 

September 15, 2009

 

To:                   The Faculty Senate of Pellissippi State

From:               Dr. Tom Gaddis, Senate Business Officer

 

Re:                   Order of Business at Senate Meetings

 

A parliamentary body is a group of equals duly appointed or elected to represent a constituency.  In order to ensure fairness, equality, and all voices being expressed, a strict order of business must be followed.

 

Please observe the following rules of order at senate meetings:

 

1.         When officer and committee reports are being presented, it is appropriate to ask questions of the presenter, but discussion is not appropriate.  If discussion is warranted, it may be conducted only under the order of a motion, during new business on the agenda.

2.         Senators may take the floor and speak, debate, vote, or ask questions.  When participating in debate, etc., Senators should wait to be acknowledged and given the floor by the presiding officer (Business Officer) or the Faculty President.

3.         When participating in discussion or debating a motion, it is generally not appropriate to speak for a second time until all who wish to have spoken once.  It is important that all that desire to speak indeed have that opportunity.

4.         With regard to debate and discussion, after all who wish to have spoken twice, it is appropriate to call the question, but not required.  Calling the question means you are ready to vote.  It does not close debate.  Moving the question (closing debate and voting on the motion) requires a second and a 2/3 vote to end debate.

5.         Only senators may take the floor and speak, debate, vote, or ask questions.  Guests may not vote and may only speak only by recognition of the presiding officer (Business Officer) or the President.  If a faculty member (who is not a Senator) wishes to speak at a Senate meeting, that member should contact the Faculty President, the Business Officer, or his/her Senate Representatives prior to the meeting to be added to the agenda.

6.         A “Discussions” section is on the agenda before new business.  Here, a topic may be freely discussed without a motion on the floor (please observe a five minute limit on each discussion topic, unless it is the will of the Senate to increase the time).  No action may be taken during Open Discussion (i.e. no motions may be made), but issues requiring action may be conveyed to the Senate as new business for a subsequent meeting.  If you have a discussion topic, contact the Faculty President, the Business Officer, or appropriate department Senate Representatives prior to the meeting to have it added to the agenda.


Attachment 2

 

Hardin Valley Campus Parking Capacities- 5/09

                                                                                   

 

 

Lot #

 

Standard Parking

 

Standard HC Spaces

Van Accessible Spaces

 

 

Notes

O1

172

0

0

 

O2

161

1

0

 

O3

137

0

0

 

O4

298

0

0

 

O5

343

6

8

2 motorcycle parking areas. 

O6

144

0

0

 

O7

132

1

1

 

O8

94

0

0

 

O9

954

0

2

HC spaces for Greenway Trail

F1

173

6

2

 

F2

126

0

6

 

Visitors

30

7

0

3 reserved spaces not in total.

SRC

34

1

2

 

F bldg.

0

10

2

 

Total

2798

32

23

 

                                                           

* Faculty/Staff parking is 11% of total parking available                                                     

*Ratio of student parking to faculty/staff parking is 9:1                                                                  

* Total number of HC accessible spaces required is 37, with 5 van accessible.                                                                                

 

PSCC Campus Parking – 5/09

                                         

 

 

 

Campus

 

 

Standard Parking

 

Standard HC Spaces

 

Van Accessible Spaces

 

Staff Parking Spaces

 

 

Visitor Parking

 

 

 

Other

 

Student to Space Ratio

 

 

Campus Total

Magnolia

191

5

2

24 (11%)

3

3 state spaces and 26 street side spaces

3.2:1

254

Blount

235

2

6

42 (14%)

4

1 motorcycle

3.2:1

289

Div. St.

141

7

2

42 (25%)

3

1 state, 1 motorcycle, 1 mail

7.9:1

198

Hardin Valley

2,798

32

23

299 (11%)

30

10 motorcycle spaces O5, 3 reserved spaces in visitors lot

2.4:1

3,185


Attachment 3

 

Tennessee Community College Faculty Senates’ Position on Reorganization of Higher Education in Tennessee and Response to the TUFS Position Paper

 

The Tennessee community college faculty senates can support many of the objectives endorsed in the TUFS “Position Paper.”  More efficient organization, faculty and student collaboration and exchange, system-wide access to library resources, regional access to graduate programs, better geographical distribution of programs, and the “flattening” of administration are all worthy goals for higher education in our state.  Likewise we can endorse many of TUFS subsequent recommendations such as a statewide catalog and centralization of library functions, interconnected IT systems, a common undergraduate application, and centralization of functions such as benefits, human resources policies and procedures, purchasing, and research administration.  More importantly, Tennessee’s community college faculty senates can appreciate TUFS recommendations for a statewide common general education core curriculum, joint academic programs, and a reorganization that “ensures the ability of faculty and students (both undergraduate and graduate) to move easily without institutional barriers among various campuses.”

 

Where our view differs from that of TUFS is with its recommendation to establish two separate governing systems, one for community colleges and technical schools and the other by merging the Tennessee Board of Regents universities with The University of Tennessee system.  It seems clear to Tennessee’s community college faculty senates that separating the community colleges from the universities would be detrimental to the interests of a great many students and communities across the state.  As of August 31, 2009, of the 178,626 students enrolled in TBR universities and community colleges, more than half of those (90,483) are at community colleges.  While a portion of these students are enrolled in a variety of allied health and technical two-year career education programs, more than half of our students intend to transfer to a university to pursue a baccalaureate degree when they complete their studies at the community college.  To be sure, the community college faculty senates understand perfectly the importance of a higher education system in which students can seamlessly transfer from one institution to another because most of the students in Tennessee who make this transition are community college students transferring to one of the state’s universities.

 

The state’s community colleges have much more in common with the universities than with the area technical schools.  The curriculum of the community colleges and the manner in which students receive instruction and are graded and awarded credits is the same as in the state universities.  While most of our students are in transfer programs, our career education students are also required to complete general education core courses in their degree programs that can be transferred to a university should they decide later (and many of them do) to enroll in a university and pursue a bachelor’s degree.  It is imperative that those in Tennessee who are currently considering the reorganization of the higher education system recognize that community colleges are real colleges offering college-level courses and that the interests and concerns of the community colleges are, and must remain, compatible with the state universities.

Both the Governor of Tennessee and the President of the United States have acknowledged the importance of community colleges to the future of higher education.  They have recognized that increasing numbers of students are opting to begin their higher education careers at community colleges and that this trend will, and should, continue.  It is to the advantage of the state of Tennessee, its students, and the state’s higher education system that community colleges and universities work together so that students can successfully progress from lower division freshman and sophomore general education core courses to upper division junior and senior level curriculums in their respective majors. 

 

In conclusion, Tennessee’s community college faculty senates support efforts to reorganize the administration of higher education in the state in order to make the system more efficient.  We further believe that reorganization should be informed by the following:

(1)   That any process for redesign of higher education in Tennessee have shared governance as an underlying principle, that the active participation of all stakeholders is essential if available expertise is to be fully utilized in the effort to improve system efficiency;

 

(2)   That any higher education reorganization similarly be based upon shared governance principles;

 

(3)   That the close working relationship between the Tennessee Board of Regents community colleges and universities under a single governing board be maintained;

 

(4)   That worthy goals such as seamless articulation of students from one educational institution to another, a statewide common general education core curriculum, joint academic programs, better geographical distribution of academic programs, consolidation of library resources, interconnected IT systems, centralization of a number of administrative functions, and the streamlining of higher education administration suggest that a single governing system for higher education in Tennessee be considered.

 


Attachment 4

 

Tennessee University Faculty Senates

Position Paper on the Reorganization of Higher Education in Tennessee

 

I. Background

Tennessee University Faculty Senates (TUFS), an association of the four-year state university Senates founded in April 2008, represents nearly 10,000 higher education faculty in Tennessee. It is an historic collaboration, involving faculty from the four campuses of the University of Tennessee system and the six universities of the Board of Regents system.

As the statewide reorganization of higher education became a topic of conversation in Nashville in 2009, TUFS sought to make a contribution. This potential reorganization was the central theme of TUFS’ April 2009 retreat at Fall Creek Falls State Park. Two TUFS representatives, Ed Stevens (University of Memphis) and John Nolt (UTK) were appointed to the joint UT/TBR Task Force on Higher Education in the spring of 2009.The purpose of this position paper is to lay out TUFS’ recommendations for reorganization.

 

II. General Principles Endorsed by TUFS

As representatives of the faculty of Tennessee’s public four-year institutions, TUFS’ central purpose is to promote the richest and best possible education for Tennessee students and to provide for Tennessee’s faculty the means to deliver that education effectively. Much can be accomplished toward these goals by the reorganization of the state’s higher education administration, but only if all of us put aside, to the extent possible, traditional

arrangements, political considerations, wrangling over resources, and regional or institutional loyalties.

 

TUFS also holds that higher education should be frugal with Tennessee’s scarce fiscal resources. We seek to avoid waste and unnecessary expense in our teaching, scholarship, creative activity, research and service, and expect a Tennessee higher education administration that is responsive, rational, lean and efficient.

 

III. Objectives Endorsed by TUFS

TUFS holds that reorganization of higher education should achieve the following objectives:

1. More rational and efficient organization. The TBR system, for example, includes two-year community and technical colleges, a foreign language institute and six universities, five of which have doctoral programs. Those on the ground in the TBR system are frequently frustrated by “one-size-fits-all” directives from the TBR administration. A more rational organization might help avoid this.

2. Faculty and student collaboration and exchange. The breadth and depth of talent and expertise available in the TBR and UT systems is enormous, but institutional barriers prevent beneficial collaboration and exchange. Graduate students and faculty from each institution would benefit greatly from the ability to move between one campus and the other, but this would be extraordinarily difficult under current arrangements. Much more along these lines could be accomplished to the benefit of faculty and students if it were facilitated by a common administration.

3. Research informs the education process. Beginning in the undergraduate years, research informs the teaching and learning process. At both the undergraduate and graduate levels, education and research activities of each university should fulfill its mission statement and facilitate accreditations. Regional access to graduate programs is imperative for an educated citizenry and workforce, and should be maintained.

4. Seamless system-wide access to library resources for students and faculty. At present, each university negotiates separate licensing agreements and contracts for library databases and other resources for their library users. This process duplicates efforts across institutions, involving libraries, legal affairs, and purchasing departments on our campuses. Most importantly, it overlooks consortial buying power,

which allows greater access to library resources.

5. Better geographical distribution of programs. Academic programs have grown up around the state for reasons that are often historical or political. The students of Tennessee will be best served by a distribution designed to deliver a rich array of educational services where they are needed. TUFS supports the reinforcement of programs that deliver valuable services well but are not now adequately supported and the elimination of unnecessary duplication within service areas but also the development of new programs where needed. These things require effective statewide administration.

6. Flattening administration. Higher education in Tennessee is administered at too many distinct levels, which are often too far removed from the classroom to appreciate the effects of their decisions on campus administrators, faculty and students. In addition to campus administrations, which themselves can be extremely complex, there are the two systems and their boards of Trustees, and THEC.

 

IV. Recommendations

In order to flatten administrative systems, better serve students, reduce costs and advance the other objectives of reorganizing higher education in Tennessee, TUFS recommends that:

1. Whatever administrative structure emerges from the reorganization ensures the ability of faculty and students (both graduate and undergraduate) to move easily without institutional barriers among the various campuses. It should be easy for students to take classes at more than one campus while respecting prerequisites. There should also be a visiting faculty consortium that allows faculty to work at other state campuses. Achieving these goals will require coordination of academic calendars.

2. With respect to libraries, there should be a statewide catalog, centralized vendor contract negotiation, and centralized purchase of library resources, which facilitate broad access.

3. There should be a statewide common general education core curriculum.

4. Institutions should have interconnected IT systems.

5. It should be easy to develop joint academic programs that use resources from multiple state institutions.

6. Application for undergraduate admission to all state institutions should be centralized, leaving recruitment and acceptance to individual campuses.

7. Centralization of the following functions should also be considered:

Benefits - insurance, medical, retirement, etc.

Human resources policies and procedures

Purchasing

Research administration.

8. As a further cost-saving measure, the proportion of campus budgets used for administration should be regularly examined.

9. There are several good ways to organize the governance of higher education in Tennessee. However, we suggest establishing a separate system for the community colleges and technical schools, and merging the Tennessee Board of Regents universities with The University of Tennessee system. The administration of the resulting university system should be located in Nashville. We recommend that each campus in the new system have a local advisory board that is unpaid, self-perpetuating, and dedicated to the interests of its local university. University faculty senates should be involved in all stages of the development of this new system.