MINUTES OF THE REGULAR FACULTY COUNCIL MEETING OF
March 22, 2010
IV. REPORT OF THE CHAIR.
A. Report on College Governance.
Chair Staiger presented the findings of a survey of deans about college and school governance policies and procedures that she conducted following a FCEC discussion of the issues that arose when the College of Liberal Arts proposed changes in the language requirements last fall. See Appendix A for the PowerPoint slides.
Chair Staiger said the results of the survey indicated considerable variation in the policies and procedures used by the colleges and schools in the approval of curricular changes that are forwarded to the Faculty Council for its consideration and action. Because the FCEC has been concerned about how faculty governance operates at the college and school levels and the extent to which faculty members are aware and participate in the review and approval of curricular proposals, the study resulted in the development of the following three minimum standards: an annual college or school faculty meeting, a curriculum committee with some system of faculty governance or protest, and recent approval of the procedures by the voting faculty of the college/school.
The survey’s finding indicated that the following eight of the eighteen units on campus met all three of the criteria: graduate school, architecture, business, geosciences, information, nursing, public policy, and social work. Four units were only lacking recent faculty approval of policies and procedures (education, engineering, law, and liberal arts). Two units were exempted for good cause (continuing education because it is largely self-funded and undergraduate studies because it is new and its governance policies are currently under development). Three units reported that they were working toward meeting the criteria but were delayed for various reasons and needed a deadline extension (pharmacy, natural sciences, and fine arts). One unit had been asked to reconsider its position (communication).
President Powers prefaced his comments by saying that recurring concerns of the FCEC have been the following; (1) ad hoc committees or task forces are frequently appointed to resolve matters that are being or could be addressed by Standing Committees of the General Faculty and (2) most of shared governance of the University occurs via the administrative channel involving departments and colleges/centers. In either case, he said the administrative channel is involved with issues before they come to the Council, and many governance issues, such as hiring and tenure, do not involve the Council. He said he thought the project initiated by the executive committee to identify governance processes within the colleges and schools was important. Even if the deans do not agree with every suggestion about governance matters, he said he thought determining how governance was occurring should be taken seriously. Chair Staiger thanked President Powers for his support.
Professor David Hillis (integrated biology and past Faculty Council chair) said he thought the minimal standards were actually set out in Regents’ Rules and asked what the next step should be to bring the College of Communication into compliance with the minimal standards. President Powers responded as follows:If it’s an issue of actually not being in compliance to the Regents’ Rules, the provost and I will make sure that people are in compliance with the Regents’ Rules. What I do want to point out, I don’t think people are not remembering when we voted on these processes, it doesn’t mean that somebody’s not in compliance with the Regents’ Rules. I think they are in compliance with the Regents’ Rules, and if they’re not we’ll make sure that they are.
When Professor Hillis said he thought the College of Communication did not meet any of the three criteria, President Powers replied he did not think lack of compliance with the criteria meant a unit was out of compliance with Regents’ Rules, and he felt the issues could be resolved. Chair Staiger said she thought Professor Hillis was suggesting that the Faculty Council is unable to operate in terms of processing legislation from a unit when its governance process is not known.
When Professor Brian Evans (electrical and computer engineering) asked if there were any interdisciplinary degrees or activities falling within two units that could be impacted by the minimal standards, Chair Staiger said she did not think so. She said she assumed both units would proceed to make curricular changes if such a program existed at the undergraduate level. President Powers asked if there could be governance issues at certain research centers that function at the level of a college and report to a vice president. Chair Staiger said she thought most research centers offering curriculum were located within a college/school, but she would be willing check on any programs that were suggested to her.
Chair Elect Dean Neikirk (electrical and computer engineering) proposed the following motion:
Colleges/schools should meet the three minimum standards or the Faculty Council will no longer process approval for their proposed curriculum changes. These minimum standards are (1) The college/school will hold an annual college/school meeting; (2) The college/school curriculum committee will be either elected by faculty, or, if appointed by chair or dean, the unit’s proposed curriculum changes will be circulated to the full college/school faculty for approval on a no protest basis; (3) The college/school governance process and procedures will be approved “recently” by the college/school’s voting faculty.
Chair Janet Staiger asked for a second to the motion, and there were several Council members who seconded the motion in unison. President Powers asked if a statement could be added to the motion saying the Faculty Council can waive Council consideration in individual circumstances. He said the waiver would prevent an individual Council member, who opposes a proposal, from hamstringing the Council when a majority of the members want a proposal to move forward. Professor Hillis said he did not think the addition to the motion was needed because, according to Robert’s Rules of Order, a body has the right to waive its own procedures by vote. Chair Staiger asked if there were any more comments or questions. Since there were none, she called for a voice vote, and the motion was unanimously approved. Chair Staiger said her preference was to work with President Powers to gain compliance with the standards.
When Lauren Ratliff (student representative, Senate of College Councils) asked whether or not student participation in the approval of curriculum changes had been solicited, Chair Staiger said “no” because students had not been given a major role in curriculum matters similar to that of the faculty. She suggested that the Senate of College Councils and Student Government lobby to have representation on the college/school curriculum committees either with or without vote. Chair Staiger said the survey information from each of the colleges/schools would be posted on the Faculty Council web site so everyone could see what had been received.
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