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2013-2014 Annual ReportEXISTING FUNCTION: To address the matter of recruitment and retention of minority students and to advise the Faculty Council and the president on constructive solutions to alleviate the problems of recruitment and retention
C-10 Recruitment and Retention Committee
PROPOSED NEW FUNCTION: To review University activities, programs, and initiatives, which affect recruitment and retention of minority and disadvantaged students, and to advise the Faculty Council and the president of significant findings and of any actionable items.
Concerning the EXISTING FUNCTION: This committee was formed some thirty years ago when this University was beginning to value diversity as an integral part of a university education. Over the ensuing decades, external restraints on University actions, such as reverse discrimination judgments, the “10-percent” rule, or enrollment pressures, have forced this institution to adapt. Various outreach, financial aid, and on-campus-integration programs have been created. Examples include Gateway Scholars, Longhorn Scholars, Sanger Learning Center, and UTurn—even leading up to the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University vice president level. The professionals running these programs deal with “the matter of recruitment and retention of minority students” continuously, they have good ideas and some resources carry them out. Of late, especially under President Powers, the central administration has gone to great lengths and considerable expense to defend academic diversity. It would seem that a volunteer standing committee would have very little chance of offering new constructive solutions. In short, this committee has outlived the circumstances that led up to its creation.
In its present form, Standing Committee C 10 Recruitment and Retention should cease to exist.
Concerning the proposed new function. We believe that there is still value in academic faculty input into recruitment and retention programs aimed at minority and disadvantaged students. Many of these programs operate semi-autonomously, answering only to the administrative structure of the University. In most cases, they do excellent work, and recruitment and retention programs would not be what they are if faculty members were micromanaging. Nevertheless, occasional consultation with representatives of the general faculty, accompanied by appointed staff and upper‐level students, should be a good thing.
In the last few years, graduation rate pressures and enrollment management initiatives have led to the creation of the School of Undergraduate Studies and such things as special financial aid packages and summer orientation programs. These programs have consequences for students at all levels, but most are designed for disadvantaged students, many of whom are minorities. It should also be within the purview of a committee of academic faculty to review these.
C 10 Recruitment and Retention should be reconfigured to this role.
Vision: Acting under the proposed new function, this committee would select a small number of these programs, enrollment management initiatives, or specific operations of the School of Undergraduate Studies for review and consultation each semester. A subcommittee of at least two faculty members, along with appropriate staff and students, would survey the normal operations of its assigned program. In interviews with the professional staff, they would review the program, its success and its weaknesses and give an academic perspective. In rare cases, it would be incumbent on the overall committee to take appropriate action, but on a case‐by‐case basis. The committee should also be available to review formation, combination, or elimination of these programs.
The intent of these reviews would be to foster consideration of disadvantaged and minority students. The attitude of the review should be encouraging and formative, rather than excessively quantitative and judgmental. Program professionals would be encouraged to think of the reviews as opportunities to share the work they do for disadvantaged and minority students. They should expect to receive constructive advice from an informed, impartial, panel of reviewers.
The constitution for the committee should be rebalanced to stress academic faculty.
Conclusion: The original function of the Recruitment and Retention Committee is very proactive in that it says, “advise…on constructive solutions”. Over the years, this committee lapsed into a moribund state, proposing few novel solutions and being ignored when it did. The proposed new function would elevate the committee from moribund to oversight status and, infrequently, to a reactive status. The committee may again be a useful component of faculty governance.
Llewellyn K. Rabenberg, chair