ACADEMIC SENATE RETREAT MINUTES

 

 

DATE:         August 29, 2002

 

PRESENT:    Sandie Rietz                                    Randall Gloege

                  George Madden                               Connie Landis

                  Keith Edgerton                                Alan Davis

                  David Gurchiek                                Paul Bauer

                  Matt Redinger                                 Doug Brown

                  Mark Hardt

                  Janie Park (ex-officio)                        Christina Sprague (ex-officio)

 

ABSENT:     George Benedict – excused

 

                  John Cech (ex-officio)                        Joe Michels (ex-officio)

                  Randy Rhine (ex-officio)                     George White (ex-officio)

                  Dan Zirker (ex-officio)                       Terrie Iverson (ex-officio)

                  Curt Kochner (ex-officio)

 

GUESTS:     Ronald Sexton, Chancellor

 

 

PRESIDING: Keith Edgerton, Chair

 

 

Keith Edgerton called the meeting to order at 11:15 a.m. on August 29, 2002 in the Bridger room of the SUB.

 

Randall Gloege announced that George Benedict had heart bypass surgery this summer, but is recovering remarkably quickly.  He will be teaching a full load this fall.

 

I.       Senate Points & Problems

 

A.  The Year Behind Us, The Year Ahead.  Keith Edgerton stated that Sandie Rietz generated a lot of positive energy as last year’s chair, and he would like to keep that momentum going.  The Academic Senate should remain a vital part of the University.

 

B.  November BOR Meeting.  Keith Edgerton stated that the Senate set November 21 as the final deadline for catalog submissions for the upcoming 2003-2005 Undergraduate catalog.  However, November 21 is also the date of the November Board of Regents meeting.  One of the vice chairs will be required to chair this meeting, as the Chair will be at the BOR meeting in Missoula.

 

A question was raised as to the changes in faculty-Regents interaction.  In the past, the faculty had approximately 30 minutes to talk with the Regents in an informal setting.  Now the faculty may (changes are not settled yet) have a representative sitting at the University table for the entire meeting.  It was cited that this faculty representative should cycle through all the colleges so all groups on campus are represented.

 

II.      Budget Discussion – Chancellor Sexton

 

Ron Sexton stated that he would like input from the Senate on different budget scenarios.  The cuts done by the Legislature were fairly confusing, and lacked planning.  The University, therefore, needs to mitigate that lack of planning.

 

More than likely, the University will see a cut in full time funding for Montana resident students.  This will impact FTE, but not necessarily head count, as most students will move to half-time.  Dr. Sexton also stated that we can make a move to more private funding, but this cannot be done in a short period.  A transition like that will take time.  He asked the Senate to think about when we should begin to look at tuition.

 

Keith Edgerton stated that the Senate will take the firmest line possible to not impact academic programs.  It was also noted that the Legislature continues to give the University system less and less money, and yet it is still functioning.  It appears to the Legislature that the University system never needed that much money to begin with.

 

Ron Sexton then asked the Senate to think about what message MSU-Billings should convey to the Regents.  We must tell them what programs are hurting from the cuts.  However, the Regents will raise the bar for minimum graduation rates for programs, so the programs below that line will be cut.  Dr. Sexton stated that he would rather the University choose which programs to cut, rather than using the Regents’ formula.

 

Ron Sexton also noted that the biggest area of growth will be 2-year programs.  The students who then graduate from these programs will be geared to succeed in a 4-year program, should they choose one.  Building 2-year programs is essential.

 

It was noted that we need to prove that the University system produces revenue for the state.  However, there is a large gap between the University world and the business world—the world the Regents deal with.

 

It was then noted that the Legislature understands they have an obligation to the public education system.  The Legislature needs to recognize they have a responsibility to the higher education system as well.  Dr. Sexton stated that getting involved with local legislators is an excellent step in that direction.  Also, anyone outside the University who would write an editorial in support of MSU-Billings should be encouraged to do so.

 

Ron Sexton also noted that the Regents should make tuition higher at Bozeman and Missoula, because they have more opportunities.  They then assume that some of that funding is filtering down from Bozeman to Billings.  Unfortunately, this is not the case.

 

It was also noted that faculty should work to lower the costs of books for students.  Book packets that come shrink-wrapped from the publisher cannot be sold back, so this practice should be avoided wherever possible.

 

It was suggested that a more quick-strike system for programs would be beneficial.  An ability to create and close programs quickly would increase MSU-B’s flexibility and ability to handle budget cuts.  It was noted that quick programs would have to be built with fixed-term positions (non-tenurable).  Those private companies that are aiding in funding the College of Health Professions demand that only fixed-term faculty are used.

 

Ron Sexton stressed the importance of communicating with local legislators.  They are always invited to campus events, and they attend regularly.  This is an excellent opportunity to speak with them about our concerns.

 

III.     Program Closures and Review – Provost Park

 

Janie Park stated that since 1996, the Board of Regents has set graduation levels for programs (averaged over 3 years).  Dr. Park noted that there are 10 programs not meeting the current requirements at MSU-Billings.  More than likely, the Regents will raise these levels even higer.

 

Dr. Park stated that she gave Dr. Sexton one program and one minor to cut, as well as a list of programs to be put on notice.  She stated she will not be naming names of programs at this time.

 

Janie Park also asked the Senate if they know of any programs that are meeting the graduation standards, but should be cut.

 

It was noted that some programs have a graduation cycle of 10 years or more.  Dr. Park responded that the Board of Regents only cares about the last three years.  As many have stated, Dr. Park noted that the Legislature wants to see “the blood on the wall.”  The most difficult part of defending a program against cuts is going before the Legislature to explain the impact of that cut right next to someone who can’t get their medication because of cuts in healthcare.

 

Dr. Park also noted that the one program she has listed as expendable is so intermixed with other programs that cutting it will save very little money.

 

An issue of integrity was also mentioned:  What if a faculty member graduates a student just because one more graduate was necessary to meet the Board’s requirement?

 

It was then noted that a long list of possibilities (i.e. programs) attracts more students.  Dr. Park reiterated that a dynamic and flexible system for new programs is very important.  New programs must be started quickly, and programs that are no longer graduating many students cut or folded into other programs.

 

Janie Park also stated that her office will be emailing out the Academic Master Plan soon, and she would like feedback.  It was suggested that ASFAC (the Academic Senate/Faculty Association Coalition) would be an excellent source of feedback.

 

A.  Learning Outcomes, presented by Sandie Rietz.  Sandie Rietz began by presenting her chart, which all present Senate members were asked to fill out and bring back to the September 12 meeting.  The chart lists eight topics to be discussed.  They are:  (1)Desired Outcomes, (2)Systems Obstructions, (3)Systems Supports, (4)Suggested Initiatives, (5)Assessments (instruments/protocols), (6)Proofs (artifacts/evidence), (7)Tying Outcomes to Assessments—Tasks, and (8)Timeline.  Dr. Rietz stated that this chart will be used first for the General Education program, but will be modified through the Senate’s efforts for use on any program.

 

Dr. Park stated that NorthWest requires any program over 30 credits to have outcomes and assessment.  Also, the deadline for completing this task is the end of the 02-03 academic year.

 

Sandie Rietz then noted that Gen Ed is a process, not a product, and this worksheet may be the best way to approach it.  She stated that the College of Education and Human Services did something similar for NCATE, and they seemed quite pleased.  Dr. Rietz also noted that it is possible to go from outcomes to assessment, but all the steps in between make that move easier.

 

Ž Motion by Sandie Rietz, seconded by Matt Redinger, that the Senate members fill out the chart (described above) for the General Education program and bring it to the September 12th meeting, at which point further action will be taken.

 

Ž Motion carried.

 

Janie Park then stated that she would like to see the Senate take a major leadership role in outcomes and assessment.  If help is needed, the Deans and Dr. Park will be there with support.

 

The meeting adjourned at 1:30 p.m.

 

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