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Governance Minutes Archive

March 17, 1992

      The folowing minutes were officially approved on 4/14/92.

 

 

                               Faculty Senate

                                  Minutes

                               17 March 1992

                              32 Pamplin Hall

 

     I.   President Leon Geyer called the Senate to order at 7:00 PM.

          Visitors Peggy Rasnick (Staff Senate) and John Ashby

          (Spectrum) were welcomed.

 

     II.  Roll Call

 

          A. Present:    Feret, Flick, Geyer, Kerns, Marriott, Webb,

                         Wright, Dugas, (for Wang), Barker, Falkinham,

                         Ficenec, Holtzman, Hult, Miller, Murray,

                         Olin, Simmons, Snoke, Williams, Fern, Hicks,

                         Rakes, Clowes, McDaniels, Brown, Crittenden,

                         deWolf, Hasselman, Jones, Barbeau, Beamish,

                         Norstedt, Beagle, Carrig, Eng, Saunders

 

          B. Absent:     Bunce, Vinson, Howard, Poole, Sorrentino,

                         Tideman, Webster, Michelsen, Neu, Pierce,

                         Walker, Asche, Parsons

 

     III.  Announcements (President Geyer)

 

       A. The Senate officers will meet with the President and the

          Provost before the next Senate meeting to discuss faculty

          representation to the Virginia Tech Foundation and the to

          the Board of Visitors.

 

       B. Faculty association presidents will meet on 27 March to

          discuss college governance.

 

       C. All members of university committees will be asked to serve

          another year in order to implement the transition to the new

          governance system.  Commission members with unexpired terms

          will serve out their terms.

 

       D. The University Interim Budget and Planning Committee has

          been active.

 

       E. There is an explanation of the Electronic Village project in

          the Cabinet minutes.  The Cabinet considered that, at

          present, the UCRC is the group that should monitor the

          project for faculty.  Once the concept stage is past, formal

          faculty representation may be appropriate.

 

     IV.  Program

 

       A.  John Hillison, Past President, Address to the Senate

 

          1.   President Hillison outlined some of the Senate's

               accomplishments during the past few years:

 

               a.   The promise of greater shared governance, both

                    with the reorganization of the governance

                    structure and the participation of faculty in

                    committees such as Interim Budget and Planning.

               b.   Excellent informal working relationships with the

                    Board of Visitors, the development officers, and

                    the alumni board.

               c.   Service to other faculty, especially the

                    contributions of the Faculty Review Committee, the

                    Ethics Committee, and the Reconciliation

                    Committee.

               d.   Improved public relations through Spectrum news

                    coverage and columns.

 

          2.   Among things yet to be done, Hillison cited:

 

               a.   Extension of the Senate model to college and

                    department level governance and to other senates

                    in the commonwealth.

               b.   Formal faculty membership on the Board of Visitors

                    and the Board of the Virginia Tech Foundation.

               c.   Recognition and reward for faculty serving on

                    university commissions and committees, especially

                    grievance committees.

               d.   Continued public relations emphasis.

 

          [The full text of Hillison's address was published in

          Spectrum, 26 March 1992]

 

          3.   On behalf of the Senate, President Geyer presented Past

               President Hillison with a plaque recognizing his

               service in Senate leadership.

 

       B.  Minnis Ridenour, Executive Vice President and Chief

           Business Officer

 

          1.   University budget report

 

               a.   Almost all new items must be funded from increased

                    tuition.  About $28 million in tuition has been

                    authorized, with the understanding that out-of-

                    state students must pay 100% of their costs.  In

                    response to a question regarding out-of-state

                    students, Ridenour emphasized that the

                    authorization was based on full payment, but that

                    the final schedules for graduation tuition/fees

                    were still being worked out.  The package will be

                    in place by 3 April.

 

               b.   Refunding of the Equipment Trust Fund.  Since

                    1987, Tech has received more money from the fund

                    than any other university/college.  This year we

                    will receive $8 million, which will be used to

                    replace outmoded equipment.  Because of present

                    low interest rates, the fund's outstanding bonds

                    can be refinanced while still keeping the debt

                    service requirement in line with what was planned.

                    Tech will have to pay a portion of the debt

                    service in the future from tuition and fees, not

                    from the general fund as before.

 

               c.   Salaries.  There will be a 2% restoration in

                    salaries for faculty who were on the payroll in

                    December 1990, for all classified staff, and for

                    graduate students serving in converted faculty

                    positions.  We do not know about the other

                    graduate students.  There is a possibility that

                    all faculty might be factored into the amount

                    received, but the details are unknown.  This is an

                    across-the-board 2%; no merit is involved.

 

               d.   The university presented one budget amendment:  to

                    restore $9.2 million to the Extension budget.  We

                    received $3.2 million for the first year and $2.6

                    million for the second, leaving us short by $3.4

                    million.  We would have received more had money

                    been available, and we will ask for the difference

                    next year.

 

     Question: Regarding the budget in general, were the efforts of

               students and faculty to influence the legislators

               successful?

 

     Answer:   Yes, although it's not immediately apparent.  The most

               positive result was the authorization of general

               obligation bonds, which could bring $46 million to us

               for building projects.  The students conducted

               themselves very well in Richmond.  We need greater

               cooperation with other universities in order to make

               the case for higher education.

 

     Question: In view of the construction projects, will we be asked

               to take over some of the debt service?

 

     Answer:   No.  If the bond issue passes in November, we will

               receive the money from the Commonwealth.  However, we

               do have to fund one-half of the cost of research space.

               We will have to provide about $7 million for the

               Architecture/Engineering Building and some of the

               funding for Major Williams.  The intent is that this

               comes from overhead, but it would be difficult to get

               this amount in two-three years.  The university is

               working with the state to develop a revenue bond

               package to raise the $7 million.

 

          2.   Smart highway

 

               a.   The direct link (alternative 6) would cost $108

                    million.  The Christiansburg-Blacksburg bypass

                    (alternative 3A) would be about $40 million.  The

                    transportation bond package contains some funds

                    for 3A, which would free up money for alternative

                    6.  About $5.9 million in federal funds have been

                    appropriated for "smart technology" for highways;

                    some of this would go to the project.  The

                    university has received about $250,000 from

                    General Motors for research on vehicles and

                    highway systems.

 

               b.   Senator Kerns explained that the bond package has

                    $28 million for alternative 3A.  A 2-cent gasoline

                    tax is also involved.

 

          3.   Hotel Roanoke

 

               a.   The university is negotiating a final agreement

                    with a new developer.  We have the right to return

                    the hotel to N and S, but this is not being

                    considered.  The university is putting money into

                    development as a loan to pay up front costs.  The

                    asset to the university is $14 million.  We have

                    the right to sell the hotel if we like, but our

                    intent is to reopen the hotel.  It is an effective

                    way of carrying out the public service mission of

                    the university.

 

               b.   The university is only putting money into the

                    project that can be repaid.  We would consider

                    abandoning the project only if it could not be

                    funded.  We will know this in about a year.

                    Roanoke City has made a major commitment; we are

                    seeking gifts from major corporations.  The hotel

                    is a $32 million project; the convention center,

                    $12 million.  The university contribution to the

                    convention center ($2 million) would be paid back

                    from conventions.  This is a minimum risk project

                    for the university.

 

          4.   Off-campus Centers

 

               a.   Northern Virginia Graduate Center.  The Telstar

                    facility, shared with UVa, is too small.  The

                    universities are working with local governments in

                    northern Virginia to find a way to get a permanent

                    facility.

 

               b.   Southwest Virginia Center for Higher Education

                    (Abingdon).  This is a joint project among the

                    local community colleges (freshman-sophomore

                    instruction), Clinch Valley (junior-senior), and

                    Tech and UVa (graduate).  The general obligation

                    bond package includes $9 million for a facility.

 

          5.   Growth in administration.

 

               The university's internal program structure considers

               instruction, public service, research, student

               services, academic support, and general administration.

               Tech has a greater percentage of money in instruction

               than any other school in Virginia, and than fourteen

               other schools in the southeast.  A study is underway as

               to how we compare nationally regarding the level of

               institutional support.

 

     Observation:   Perhaps some of this information could be shared

                    through Spectrum and other sources.  This might

                    help get around the impression that there is

                    "creeping administrivia."

 

     Observation:   There is a lack of observed change.  We see a

                    reduction in faculty and staff, but a similar

                    reduction in administration is not perceived.

 

     Answer:   We can share this information.  The only new positions

               authorized last year were faculty positions.  There is

               a much higher turnover in administrative/classified

               positions, which accounts for the ads.

 

     Observation:   Perhaps there is a lack of understanding about

                    reassignments as opposed to new positions.  The

                    reassignment of Paul Gherman is an example; no new

                    position has opened in the University Libraries as

                    a result.

 

     Observation:   The definition of "administration" and "faculty"

                    seems to be a problem.

 

     Answer:   Instruction includes faculty and department heads.

               Academic support includes all the deans, "deanlets",

               the library, LRC, etc.  The central administration

               includes student services, institutional support, and

               the physical plant.

 

     Observation:   The overhead item in contracts and grants has been

                    steadily growing.  Some see this as a part of

                    administrative growth.

 

     Answer:   The colleges are the direct recipients of the

               overheads.  A portion of the money could be used to

               reimburse the accounting office, personnel office,

               etc., but we have not chosen to do that.  The only

               administrative growth in this area has been in the

               Office of Grant and Contract Administration.  Our focus

               is to put the money back into the basic mission of the

               university.

 

     Question: In view of the fact that not all universities measure

               faculty/administrative ratios in the same way, can we

               really feel comfortable in comparison with others?

 

     Answer:   I believe the university addresses the administrative

               allocation process in a reasonable way.  We are doing

               more work than ever with the same number of positions.

 

     Observation:   Faculty interest in this area may come about

                    because faculty do not know what administrators

                    do.  It is difficult to find out how many

                    administrators there are.  Some positions are

                    necessary, but there seems to be a proliferation

                    of middle managers and hemi-demi-semi deans.  What

                    do they do?  How can we get information about

                    these positions?

 

     Response: Ridenour spoke about how his time is spent.  He would

               be glad to have a faculty member spend several months

               with him and other administrators to learn how many

               important university projects and programs are

               developed.  Faculty should raise questions about

               positions they don't understand.  He and the Provost

               are willing to discuss these matters as they relate to

               their supervisory areas.

 

     Question: Some faculty members have been told by Gordon Davies

               and others that faculty should be writing to

               legislators and others about the situation with the

               out-of-state graduate students and other problems

               related to research and teaching.  Isn't this the role

               of administrators?

 

     Answer:   Yes.  The role of the administration is to support and

               carry the message;  this is not a part of a faculty

               member's normal work.  It's best to invite legislators

               and state officials to the campus where they can see

               the efforts being made and learn what is coming out of

               university research.

 

     Question: Could you publish statistics showing the rate of growth

               of faculty salaries and administrative salaries?

 

     Answer:   135% of the average faculty salary is the overall

               authorization for administrative salaries in the state.

               The Tech percentage is 114 or 115%.  That statistics

               are something that could be worked on.

 

     Question: Is it the case that there is decreasing legislative

               support for Tech?

 

     Answer:   No, the support has grown, if anything.  There was

               tremendous legislative and grass-roots support for the

               Extension amendment.  We were seen as serving the

               entire state.  We need to become more visible in the

               area of research.

 

     Question: Has there been any success in reducing the amount of

               duplication of paperwork between the universities and

               Richmond?

 

     Answer:   Yes, we have been given more local authority in

               personnel classification and purchasing.  Two years ago

               the legislature asked for a pilot study on the

               accounting area.  Working with UVa, we showed how

               decentralization could work without double-checking.  A

               bill on decentralization was introduced but killed; our

               efforts will continue.

 

     Question: There is a feeling that revenues generated by off-

               campus activities are not flowing back into the

               programs.  Has the administration looked into this?

 

     Question: The library at the NOVA Graduate Center is inadequate

               in relation to the number of students.  Why isn't money

               being put into it?

 

     Answer:   Has not heard these concerns raised before.  Most of

               the money should be going back to the programs.  He

               will look into these matters.

 

     Question: What is the status regarding the restructuring of

               communication rates?  Will the restructuring go into

               effect 1 July?

 

     Answer:   Has been working on some of the details, but the budget

               process is not complete yet.  He does not know if the

               program has been approved yet.

 

     Question: Would you support the requests for faculty

               representation on the Board of Visitors and the

               Foundation Board?

 

     Answer:   He needs to know more about the rationale.  The

               Foundation Board is an external board, which makes it

               somewhat different.  He serves as an officer to the

               board; maybe there could be a similar slot for a

               faculty member.  He understands the faculty's concerns,

               but the staff level of participation was greater than

               that of the faculty.  The board is self-sustaining.

 

          President Geyer thanked Mr. Ridenour for his presentation.

 

     V.   The motion passed for the adoption of the agenda

 

     VI.  Approval of minutes

 

          A.   Faculty Senate minutes of 11 February 1992 - approved

               with corrections.

          B.   Prior to the approval of the 25 February minutes, the

               university calendar was discussed.

 

               1.   Where is the proposed calendar?  CFA has a copy,

                    and a copy has been given to John Ashby for

                    publication in Spectrum.  Comments can be directed

                    to Jim Wolfe.

 

               2.   The minutes provided a good summary of the

                    Senate's concerns.  Because CUS is the responsible

                    commission, perhaps these could be circulated to

                    the membership and the calendar issue put on the

                    agenda for the next meeting.

 

               3.   Representation on the committee was questioned, as

                    were the guidelines for calendar construction.

 

          C.   Faculty Senate minutes of 25 February 1992 - approved.

 

          D.   Senate Cabinet minutes of 6 March 1992 - accepted with

               minor corrections.

 

     VII.  Council, commissions, and committees

 

          A.   University Council (Senator Falkinham)

               Council passed the new undergraduate core requirements

               at its 2 March meeting.  A memo has come from the

               Provost regarding the composition of the implementation

               committee.  The committee will have a member from each

               college.  The Senate will select three representatives,

               the Provost appoints two.  The committee can expand

               itself to cover all areas of concern.

 

          B.   Commission on Undergraduate Studies (Senator Murray)

               Senator deWolf asked about plans to waive or change

               university admissions requirement.  Senator Murray

               reported that the Admissions Review Subcommittee had

               been reconstituted to investigate these matters.  The

               subcommittee is discussing a wide range of admissions

               policies, but the sense of the group is that the

               Algebra II requirement will be retained.  President

               Geyer pointed out that questionnaires on admissions

               have been sent to all the college curriculum

               committees.

 

          C.   Commission on Faculty Affairs (Senator Williams)

               At the 6 March meeting, the commission considered a

               Provost's Office proposal for a new category of

               instructors.  Instructors, after an initial year, would

               receive an appointment in the form of two-

               year contracts.  (This is in no way comparable to

               continued appointment, which is outlined and defined

               in the Faculty Handbook.)

               The proposal was received favorably,

               with some sentiment to extend the plan to part-time

               instructors as well.  CFA will act on the proposal on

               Friday.

               1.   The concept of tenure is not affected.  The

                    instructors would not stand for tenure.  It

                    provides a measure of job stability for this

                    segment of the faculty, and meets the needs of the

                    instructional staff.

 

               2.   At present, full-time instructors cease to be full

                    time after six years.  At that point, they

                    continue as part-time instructors with little

                    reduction in teaching load and loss of their

                    benefits.

 

               3.   Is there a way to keep this from being abused,

                    say, as a substitute for hiring tenure-track

                    faculty?  Are there safeguards?  The possibility

                    for abuse is present and is happening.  However,

                    if a department sacrificed research faculty

                    positions for instructors, the standing of the

                    department would fall.  Nonetheless, this is a

                    matter of concern, particularly in times of

                    financial difficulties.

 

               4.   Senator Hasselman pointed out that instructors

                    currently make less than graduate assistants in

                    his college.  Their status is that of "no fringe

                    benefits and slave labor."  Other senators praised

                    the dedication of the instructors, many of whom

                    have received teaching awards while working

                    without benefits.  The university owes the

                    instructors (who are a majority of women) much

                    more than they get.  They are our colleagues and

                    deserve the security and stature the proposal

                    might provide.

 

               5.   If the proposal goes into the handbook, the rank

                    will be as extra-collegiate instructor.  The

                    definition for lecturer will also be changed.

 

          D.  Supplemental Grants Committee (Senator Barker)

               This committee awards grants for travel to

               international meetings, using money provided by the

               Foundation.  The criteria for the award are documented

               acceptance of a paper and presentation at an

               international meeting.  The committee is reluctant to

               award grants for travel to eastern Canada or Mexico.

               The amount of the awards shrinks as the academic year

               goes by and the committee now works with a shortfall.

               The Senate is asked:

 

               1.   to request additional financial support for the

                    program from the Foundation.

 

               2.   to request that the committee predict the maximum

                    number of awards and attempt to equalize the value

                    of grants.

 

     VIII. Unfinished business

           There were no items of unfinished business.

 

     IX.   New business

           A.  Nominations for Senate officers (Committee on

               Committees)

               President:  Senator Geyer

               Vice President:  Senator deWolf

               Secretary:  Senator Norstedt

               There were no additional nominations from the floor.

               The election will be held at the next Senate meeting.

               Further nominations can be accepted.  Candidates should

               be prepared to make presentations at that meeting.

 

          B.   Senate Resolution 1991-1992A (Support for Domestic

               Travel)

 

               1.   Senator McDaniels moved acceptance of the

                    resolution for discussion purposes.  The intent of

                    the resolution is to ask for Foundation money to

                    establish a fund to provide domestic travel grants

                    for junior faculty.  This would be separate from

                    the Supplemental Grants program.

 

               Discussion:

                    a.   Perhaps Supplemental Grants should be

                         mentioned in the preamble.  Without this, the

                         resolution could be misread.

 

                    b.   The intent of the program is admirable, but

                         the consensus from the

                         Foundation/administration is that the money

                         is not available to support this project and

                         Supplemental Grants.  We need to prioritize.

                         Possibly, we could restrict the level of the

                         request to about 25%, which would make the

                         program more realistic at this time.

 

                    c.   In principle, there is probably no reason why

                         Supplemental Grants need to be restricted to

                         foreign travel.  The procedure favors senior

                         faculty, even though the guidelines are

                         supposed to favor junior faculty.  If

                         Supplemental Grants were unrestricted, the

                         junior faculty could be at a disadvantage.

                         However, recommendations could be made to

                         restructure the Supplemental Grants program.

                         The Supplemental Grants program is

                         important - for some it is the only source

                         for international travel funding.  We must be

                         careful not to destroy it.  Could we request

                         that Supplemental Grants receive more money,

                         and that a portion of that increased pool be

                         allocated to junior faculty?

 

                    d.   Senator McDaniels pointed out that this was a

                         request for a five-year period only.  It's a

                         new initiative to help our colleagues.  We

                         should ask for it and let the Foundation turn

                         us down if they wish.

 

                    e.   Supplemental Grants is considered as an

                         entitlement for the faculty.  Would this

                         proposal also be considered that way or would

                         it be competitive?  Are there other areas

                         that need funding more than this one?  The

                         Foundation's interest in giving money for

                         foreign travel is to showcase the university.

 

                    f.   We're asking for membership on the Foundation

                         board and for $200,000.  Maybe they'd rather

                         give us the money.

 

               2.   After further discussion, Senator Falkinham moved

                    to table the resolution.  This was approved, and

                    Senators were encouraged to discuss the matter

                    with their constituents.

 

     X.   There being no further business, the meeting was adjourned

          at 10:10 PM.

 

                                   Respectfully submitted,

 

                                   Marilyn L. Norstedt, Secretary

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