The Faculty Committee on Committees (CoC) held an organizational meeting on Monday, September 8, 2008, in Main 212. In attendance: Itty Abraham, Sue Greninger, Nancy Kwallek, Dominic Lasorsa, Stephen Martin, Glenn Masada, Alba Ortiz, Marilla Swinicki, Robert Wilson, Kenneth Ralls. Marilla Swinicki was elected vice chair of the committee.
The second meeting of the CoC was held on Friday, January 23, 2009, 12-2 p.m. in WMB 2.102. In attendance: Sue Greninger, Nancy Kwallek, Dominic Lasorsa, Glenn Masada, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, Kenneth Ralls, Janet Staiger, and Vice Provost Terri Givens.
The committee continued a dialogue started by last year’s chair, Ken Ralls (mechanical engineering), with Vice Provost Terri Givens on the handling of committee appointments. The committee discussed a number of promising proposals regarding management of committee appointments, improvement of faculty participation on committees and making the nomination process more efficient.
The following issues were raised and addressed: (1) whether clinical professors should be eligible to serve on committees; (2) how to make committees have more impact; (3) how to find the best candidates for committee membership.
||Whether clinical professors should be eligible to serve on committees. One concern is that faculty who have voting rights and who then change their title to clinical professor should be made aware of the loss of their voting power. Sue informed the committee that the Faculty Rules Committee is addressing this question. Earlier this week, Chair Dominic Lasorsa (journalism) asked Faculty Rules Committee Chair Hillary Hart (civil, architecture, and environmental engineering) to keep the committee informed of her committee’s progress. Dr. Hart said her committee is preparing a survey to be given to chairs to find out what non-tenure-track faculty titles they use. Last year, the Faculty Rules Committee considered the question of extending voting rights to clinical professors but decided not to propose any changes. Then-chair Philip Varghese (aerospace engineering) said one major concern was the disparity across departments in the number of clinical professors (e.g., pharmacy, 165; nursing, 78). Dr. Hart agreed to keep the CoC posted of what the committee does this year regarding this issue.
||How to make committees have more impact. It was pointed out that too often the University creates an ad hoc committee to address a problem that could be handled by one of the existing committees. For example, the Faculty Welfare Committee could have handled the gender equity issue. It was noted that the representativeness of the existing committees is sometimes an issue. It was suggested that when the representativeness of an existing committee is an issue that a special committee could be forged that would consist of the existing committee supplemented as necessary to achieve the desired membership. It was recommended that the Faculty Council Executive Committee and the CoC interact more closely with the provost’s office so that the provost is more likely to use the committee structure to get things done. It was proposed that there be more linkage between the provost and the committees generally. It was suggested that each committee annually needs a clear project to handle. It was recommended that the Faculty Council chair tell each committee chair annually what tasks the committee should consider tackling. It was asked whether there are some committees to which we need to give more responsibility. It was proposed that committees should get annual reports from those campus entities to which they are related so that the committees will be more familiar with the issues that concern them. It was suggested that we might call them “boards” instead of “committees.” It was recommended that the committee chairs have an annual orientation and that this could be handled by the CoC; it would cover how to get support from the Office of the General Faculty and the Faculty Council, scheduling help, etc. It was suggested that we have a follow-up meeting with Vice Provost Givens to review the number of committees and their sizes. It was proposed that we might have a hierarchy of committees to groom faculty to move up the committee ladder. It was recommended that we have ex-chairs serve as ex officio members of important committees, as a consulting group.
||How to find the best candidates for committee membership. It was suggested that faculty need to hear from the administration that committee work is important. It was suggested that the CoC go to the department chairs (or deans where no chair) annually and ask them to nominate faculty. It was suggested that the CoC should receive feedback annually from committee chairs on attendance and participation of members, which we could use to help select committee members. It was suggested that we ask the provost to tell the deans how important committee work is. It was observed that when faculty do not take a strong interest in committee work then staff members can take control of a committee. It was proposed that each Faculty Council member be asked to nominate four or five faculty for committee memberships. It was recommended that one way to increase diversity on the committees would be for the CoC to approach the various specialized centers on campus and ask them to nominate faculty. It was asked if the CoC could identify ways to convince the deans of the importance of having their faculty serve on committees. It was suggested that the committee chair and the Faculty Council chair jointly meet with the provost to request that he go to the deans to get their support for encouraging their faculty to serve on committees. It was suggested that each department annually give an award for outstanding service to the University, with some monetary award and public celebration. It was recommended that we ask the Faculty Council chair to send a letter to the chairs and deans to put into committee members’ files. It was proposed that we ask department chairs, budget councils, and deans to give more weight to serving on University committees when evaluating a faculty member’s service. It was recommended that the CoC ask the University Co-op to give an annual faculty service award and reception, as it does for research and teaching.
The third meeting of the CoC was held on Friday, February 6, 2009, 12-2 p.m., in WMB 2.102. In attendance: Sue Greninger, Nancy Kwallek, Dominic Lasorsa, Glenn Masada, Kenneth Ralls, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, Janet Staiger, and Kevin Carney, assistant to Vice Provost Terri Givens.
It was announced that the Faculty Council Executive Committee was planning to change the mission of the Faculty Rules Committee (A6) to include governance.
It was decided that the committee chair would draft a letter to department chairs to solicit their recommendations for committee appointments. Faculty Council Executive Assistant Debbie Roberts offered to assist.
Kevin Carney, assistant to Vice Provost Terri Givens, provided the committee with an overview of the process employed by the vice provost’s office in selecting faculty members for committee appointments. He suggested that additional helpful information that we might provide the vice provost would be data on the performance of existing committee members eligible for committee reappointment. It was suggested that the CoC could solicit these data from the current chairs of the various standing committees. It was suggested that committee chairs be encouraged to keep meeting attendance records which could be shared with the CoC which, in turn, could use it to help nominate faculty members for committee membership.
Ms. Debbie Roberts provided a timeline for the process of selecting standing committee members and members of the Information Technology Advisory Committee.
On February 7, 2009, nominations were solicited via email for electing next year’s chair. Nominations were to be sent by February 13 to Ken Ralls, Sue Greninger and Nick Lasorsa. Nick Lasorsa was nominated and elected.
The fourth meeting of the CoC was held on Friday, March 6, 2009, 12-2 p.m., in WMB 2.102. In attendance: Nancy Kwallek, Dominic Lasorsa, Kenneth Ralls, Elizabeth Richmond-Garza, and Janet Staiger.
The CoC identified faculty members to nominate to 17 of the 20 Standing Committees of the General Faculty needing appointees. Following the meeting, the chair prepared a nomination ballot which was distributed via email and that each committee member used to nominate faculty members to the remaining three standing committees needing appointees, to the Information Technology Advisory Committee, and also to rank-order the nominees to all 21 committees that needed appointees.
On April 7, 2009, the CoC chair submitted to Vice Provost Terri Givens the CoC’s recommendations for appointment of faculty members to the Standing Committees of the General Faculty and to the Information Technology Advisory Committee.
The CoC thanks Debbie Roberts and Jen Morgan for their dedication and help in many ways, including keeping the committee chair informed about everything that is pertinent to the CoC and preparing the lists of nominees for the various committees.