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January 8, 1993

                         Commission on Faculty Affairs

                                    Minutes

                                January 8, 1993

 

  Present: F. Carlisle, S. Crumwell (for J. Buffer), D. de Wolf, L. Eng (for

  R. Martin), M. Norstedt, F. Pierce, W. Williams

 

  Visitors: J. Cain, L. Geyer, P. Hyer, C. Morton

 

  The meeting was called to order at 1:20 by David de Wolf, the chair of the

  committee.

 

  Announcements: 1.) Marge Murray has resigned from CFA, and a replacement

  will need to be elected at the next faculty senate meeting. 2.)  One member

  of CFA cannot come to meetings at the regularly-scheduled time. Please send

  D. de Wolf a list of alternative meeting times. 3.) The resolution concern-

  ing termination procedures for research faculty has passed the Commission

  on Research and will be discussed at the next meeting of CFA.

 

  Agenda: the agenda was adopted.

 

  Minutes: the minutes of December 18 were read and approved.

 

  Old Business: 1.) P. Hyer reported that the draft resolution on the compo-

  sition of the EO/AA had been modified to include a disabled student. The

  commission voted to forward the amended resolution to university council.

  2.) The final version of the draft resolution on faculty grievance proce-

  dures was distributed. It has been placed on the university council agenda

  for the meeting of January 18.

 

  New Business: the remainder of the meeting was devoted to a discussion of

  the Virginia Tech Future Professors Program. D. de Wolf began the dis-

  cussion by expressing concerns about the legality of the program and then

  turned the meeting over to C. Morton. He replied that the program is one of

  many ways meant to increase minority faculty at Virginia Tech, and he also

  said that the selection process would involve the faculty, the appropriate

  dean, and the provost. He also said that he had spoken to K. Heidbreder

  about the legal aspects of the program. At this point, J. Cain said that he

  saw no legal problem with the program. He compared this program to the Tar-

  gets of Opportunity Program but suggested that the two are not exactly

  analogous because the latter program is open to anyone regardless of race

  or religion. He suggested that broadening the new program to all "disadvan-

  taged" persons would provide a great deal of leeway, and he cautioned that

  the program must not appear discriminatory.

 

  D. de Wolf then commented that the funding for the program was in doubt be-

  cause it was to be included in an amendment to the upcoming budget, but the

  amendment might or might not be passed, that the legislature might even

  force us to fund the program out of already-assigned FTE positions. N.

  Shumsky asked if the program is to be funded separately or out of existing

  resources. F. Carlisle replied that the budget would not be amended before

  CFA had acted, and P. Hyer explained that the budget amendment called for

  three special positions to be funded apart from the university faculty

  pool. L. Geyer added that an unnamed legislator wants to include the pro-

  gram in the legislative package but that the terms are unclear. His goals

  might be broader than this program, and the funding might be available for

  other purposes.

 

  F. Carlisle than made two points. First, EO/AA goals are arguable, but they

  are university policy. Second, the question is how to implement those

  goals. This program is one mechanism, like the Targets of Opportunity pro-

  gram, and the issue is practicality. The Future Professor Program is one of

  several mechanisms for increasing the pool of minority faculty. It will en-

  able departments to provide for the education of minority candidates and

  bring them back to Tech as faculty. He also said that no department is com-

 

  pelled to bring specific individuals back; the program enables them to do

  so but does not require them to.

 

  C. Morton added that university policy requires departments to acknowledge

  race, religion, and sex in considering candidates, and that imbalances in

  the faculty must be corrected. Although the university does not have a

  quota system, it does have goals and procedures.

 

  N. Shumsky then commented that there seems to be a difference between the

  program as written and F. Carlisle's remarks. The written document seems to

  require departments to guarantee a tenure-track assistant professorship to

  candidates who complete the program whereas the provost seems to indicate

  that this is only an option. It seemed to N. Shumsky that two widely-

  accepted goals (university excellence and faculty diversity) are conflict-

  ing with each other. He wanted to know which takes priority.

 

  C. Morton replied that excellence unquestionably does. It will be possible

  to find outstanding candidates who will meet the university's standards for

  permanent teaching positions. He opposes any kind of "ghettolike" program

  and does not support any lowering of standards.

 

  W. Williams commented that as drafted the program commits departments to

  offering a tenure-track position to participants and departments therefore

  have to hold positions in abeyance for several years. He also added that

  when departments conduct searches they usually identify women and minori-

  ties in the candidate pool, that these individuals are frequently among the

  best candidates, and that this program will preclude bringing these indi-

  viduals to campus. In fact, the program might cause departments to hire

  candidates who are less qualified.  Therefore, the program might discrimi-

  nate against the most-qualified candidates.

 

  P. Hyer responded that the problem we face is the inadequacy of the candi-

  date pool. Competition to hire qualified women and minorities is severe,

  and the program is designed to ensure that candidates exist. D.  de Wolf

  noted that an alternative model exists -- a scholarship program for minor-

  ity students. P. Hyer also noted that departments are reluctant to hire

  their own students and that this program trains students away from Tech but

  brings them back.

 

  L. Eng commented that the program can be seen as making an investment which

  always contains an element of risk. We need to construct the program to in-

  clude appropriate safeguards and limit the risk. If we do, in fact, make

  sure that candidates meet our usual standards, they might well accept posi-

  tions elsewhere. W. Williams agreed and asked if we should pay to increase

  the size of the candidate pool for other schools.  F. Pierce suggested that

  we could look at the program in two ways -- one that we are increasing the

  number of minority faculty at Tech (the self-interested point of view), the

  other that we are increasing the total number of minority faculty (the

  altruistic point of view). C.  Morton agreed that there are no certainties.

  This program will have to be very selective and must identify, groom, and

  support superior students with some sort of "quality-control" implemented.

 

  F.Pierce then suggested that the program be modified to add an additional

  "filter." When a candidate receives his/her degree, the appropriate depart-

  ment will be allowed to review the individual's credentials, re-evaluate

  his/her record, and then decide whether to offer a tenure-track position.

  He added that he does not equate satisfactory progress with quality and

  pointed out that the program will still be exceptionally generous. L. Eng

  rephrased this to say that the program will essentially enable a department

  to buy an "option" on a person's services. F. Carlisle asked C. Morton if

  he accepted the idea of adding another step to the decision-making process,

  and C.  Morton said that it should be done in some form. He supports a

  process that will increase "quality control."

 

  M. Norstedt then requested that the program be thoroughly reworked and made

  the following points. First, the definition of who is eligible to partic-

  ipate be specified precisely. Second, the program should consider the

  provost's remarks and allow departments to re-evaluate candidates when they

  have finished their programs. Third, the payback period should be re-

  thought to avoid discriminating against individuals in disciplines with ex-

  ceptionally long doctoral programs.  The provost agreed with the concept of

  revising the program to provide this filter and suggested that it be for

  "up to three years" to discourage students from prolonging their studies.

  L. Eng and F. Pierce concurred with the final filter idea and asserted that

  the qualifications of job candidates should be no less than those of other

  candidates.

 

  D. de Wolf then asked W. Williams to work with P. Hyer and C. Morton to re-

  vise the program. He also pointed out that our major goal should be in-

  creasing the pool of minority PhD's and that that goal is not being met. He

  also reiterated that this program seems to exclude people from the pool of

  those being considered for positions and therefore contradicts the goal of

  increasing the size of the pool.

 

  Adjournment: the time for adjournment having arrived,  the Commission ad-

  journed at 3:00.

 

  Respectfully submitted,

 

  Neil L. Shumsky

  Secretary

 

 

 

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