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November 16, 1993

  VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE AND STATE UNIVERSITY

  Faculty Senate Meeting Minutes

  Approved:  7 December 1993

 

  16 November 1993

  7:00 p.m.

  32 Pamplin Hall

 

  Senators Present:

    Anderson, Armstrong, Badinelli, Barbeau, Beagle, Brown, Bunce,

    Carrig, Creamer, de Wolf, Dyck, Fern, Ficenec, Gregoire, Hardell,

    Holtzman, Jacobson (For Howard), Hult, Gerkin (For Lambur), Landgraf,

    Martin, McKenna, Mullins, Norstedt, Olin, Pierce, Pinder, Richardson,

    Riley, Rojiani, Scigaj, Sherman, Shumsky, Sumichrast, Tze, Vinson,

    Williams, Zhang, Zink

 

  Absent

    Bambach, Benson, Cramer, Foy, Giles, Graham, Greenberg, Jones,

    McDaniel, O'Brien, Sanzone, Shires, Webb

 

  Guests

    John Ashby, Editor, Spectrum

    Gregory N. Brown, Dean of the College of Forestry & Wildlife Resources

    Peter Eyre, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine

    Susan Brooker-Gross, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies

    Edmund Henneke, Acting Dean of the College of Engineering

    Elyzabeth Holford, Assistant Dean of the College of Education

    Patrick R. Liverpool, Vice Provost for Outreach

    Peggy Meszaros, Dean of the College of Human Resources

    Robert A. Paterson, Interim Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences

    Peggy Rasnick, Staff Senate Representative

    Richard E. Sorensen, Dean of the College of Business

    Louis A. Swiger, Dean of the College of Agriculture & Life Sciences

 

 

  1. The meeting was called to order by President David de Wolf at 7:00

     p.m.  Visitors were welcomed.

 

  2. The agenda was adopted after several modifications proposed by

     President de Wolf.

 

  3. Announcements:  President de Wolf made the following announcements

     related to activities of the Senate.

 

     SGA held a rally against further cuts in the state's higher education

     budget.  President de Wolf spoke at the rally.

 

     The Senate officers met with Provost Carlisle on October 22, 1993.

 

     President de Wolf recently spoke at a meeting of the Virginia Tech

     Foundation.

 

     Senate officers Shumsky and de Wolf participated in a meeting to

     refine structures in the University's governance system.  Some

     progress was made.

 

     The Senate officers met with presidents of the College Faculty

     Associations to discuss qualifications desired in the next president

     of Virginia Tech and to discuss how faculty input should be included

     if programmatic reductions are necessary due to further reductions in

     state higher education funding.

 

     President de Wolf participated in a Faculty Review Committee training

     session on November 10.

 

     Last weekend President de Wolf met with the University's Board of

     Visitors.  Details of the meeting were not discussed with the Senate.

 

     University Vice President Thomas G. Goodale is directing a

     reorganization effort of Cooperative Education, Placement and

     Counseling.

 

     A brief report on a speech by James Madison University President

     Carrier was given.  This speech suggested that the JMU Faculty

     Senate abolish itself.  President de Wolf is investigating the

     circumstances surrounding this incident.

 

 

  4. Program:  President de Wolf explained the format for the meeting

     program and requested the College Deans to address the Senate.  Each

     Dean was asked to explain how his or her college was addressing

     issues discussed in the Faculty Rewards Project.

 

     L. Andy Swiger, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life

     Sciences began his remarks by applauding the work of the Faculty

     Rewards Project.  He explained that his college has a long history of

     recognizing teaching, research, and extension activities by faculty.

     Unlike most colleges, Agriculture and Life Sciences explicitly

     allocates faculty time to each of the three parts of the University's

     mission.  However, Dean Swiger noted that contributions measured in

     terms of refereed articles and the acquisition of research grants has

     been over emphasized.  Agriculture and life Sciences is currently

     attempting to achieve a better balance between the three parts of its

     mission.  He noted that his college's faculty association agrees that

     progress is being made in this matter.  Dean Swiger stressed the need

     for unit leaders (department heads and deans) to know individual

     faculty members so that each person's contributions can be

     understood.  After understanding the contribution of a faculty

     member, a unit leader can look for data to support his conclusions.

     He said he knows which faculty are the best researchers.  However,

     he finds it more difficult to measure research achievements.  Dean

     Swiger noted the difficulty of using external reviews for teaching

     and research performance measurement.  He stated that he agreed with

     the specific ideas in the Faculty Rewards Project related to salary

     savings.  However, he said that he disagreed with removing the time

     limit on promotion and tenure decisions.

 

     James J. Buffer, Dean of the College of Education, was unable to

     attend; Assistant Dean, Elyzabeth J. Holford addressed the Senate.

     She stressed the College of Education's holistic approach to

     education and it's integration of research and teaching.  Assistant

     Dean Holford discussed a training program offered by the College of

     Education which has participants from several of the University's

     colleges.  She also reported on a restructuring effort within the

     College of Education which she feels is consistent with an important

     issue in the Faculty Rewards Project.  This restructuring effort is

     deigned to provide greater faculty participation in governance

     without requiring excessive time from faculty.  She promised that

     the University would see a restructured College of Education within

     the next few months.

 

     Edmund Henneke, Acting Dean of the College of Engineering, said that

     his remarks should be interpreted as personal comments rather than a

     representation of the views of the College of Engineering because he

     has assumed his position so recently.  He said that he would address

     the Faculty Rewards Project by highlighting efforts in the College of

     Engineering which relate to each of five assertions included in the

     report.

 

     Assertion A of the Faculty Rewards Project calls for recognizing the

     importance of the three principal roles of faculty.  Acting Dean

     Henneke said that the College of Engineering has always valued

     teaching and provided examples which supported his claim.  He

     referred to the importance of research within his college as self

     evident and he related its role to providing funds for the financial

     support of expensive equipment required for teaching within the

     engineering curriculum.  Finally, he said that engineering prefers

     to speak of outreach programs rather than service or extension.

     Acting Dean Henneke specifically took issue with action item 3 under

     Assertion A.  He said that promotion and tenure committees at the

     department and college level should not be required to represent all

     three roles of faculty at the university, especially if this

     representation would require recruiting members from outside of the

     college.  He said that the three roles should be represented at the

     university level.  In addition, he said that department heads are

     often in the best position to help faculty achieve promotion and

     tenure and that it was in the interest of the faculty to have them as

     members of these committees.  He stressed the need to provide

     flexibility to colleges in regards to these matters.

 

     Assertion B refers to the need for maintaining the university's

     standing as a research institution.  Acting Dean Henneke agreed with

     this assertion and further agreed with the action item calling for

     restructuring the overhead recovery structure.  He believes that the

     system which was in place a few years ago was better because it

     returned more money to the colleges.

 

     Assertion C calls for linking faculty resources to productivity.

     Acting Dean Henneke found this very appropriate.

 

     Assertion D recognizes the appropriateness of alternative

     teaching/learning strategies.  Dean Henneke spoke of on-going

     activities in the College of Engineering which are consistent with

     this assertion.

 

     Finally, Dean Henneke agreed with the need for new modes of

     allocating resources to faculty rewards as proposed in assertion E.

     He provided examples of items consistent with this assertion such as

     travel money and space.

 

     P. Eyre, Dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine, praised the

     Faculty Rewards Project and said it is consistent with a

     restructuring which his college underwent years ago.  He also stated

     that it showed an "incredible misunderstanding" around the

     university.  Dean Eyre explained how funding for the College of

     Veterinary Medicine was different from most other colleges because

     about one half of its funds are outside of the instructional budget

     (i.e., they are not "208" funds).  Each year, faculty members are

     given explicit assignments of teaching, research, and service which

     are consistent with the needs of the college and which take into

     consideration the desires and skills of each faculty member.  Dean

     Eyre stated that his college says that the three roles are equal but,

     "trouble is, we do not really believe they are equal".  Dean Eyre

     also spoke of the integration of departments within the college.

     He discussed the use of both peer and student teaching evaluations

     as well as customer evaluations of service received at the teaching

     hospital.  He reported that in the College of Veterinary Medicine,

     department heads do not serve on promotion and tenure committees and

     no faculty member is allowed to serve simultaneously at the

     department, college, and university levels on these committees.  In

     conclusion, Dean Eyre said that the College of Veterinary Medicine

     was already doing many of the things suggested in the Faculty Rewards

     Project document.  In general, he supports the ideas although he does

     not support every item.

 

     Peggy Meszaros, Dean of the College of Human Resources, said there

     was nothing in the Faculty Rewards Project report with which she

     disagrees.  She said that faculty want a greater voice in governance

     and she reported on her colleges attempt to accomplish this through

     a newly formed council composed of administrators, faculty, staff

     and students.  She spoke of the difficulty of evaluating teaching and

     her college's attempt to address it through the development of

     "teaching portfolios".  She asserted that there is a need for

     cultural change at the university to increase the perceived

     importance of teaching.

 

     Robert A. Paterson, Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences,

     said that he had been invited to address the Senate about the effects

     of the Faculty Rewards project on his college.  He said that it was

     only possible to provide proper rewards after proper evaluation and

     he hoped the Faculty Rewards Project would promote discussion on what

     is important in each area:  teaching, research, and service.  He said

     the he recognized that research was not synonymous with grants,

     publications, and meeting presentations.  However, a relationship

     exits between them.  He endorsed the concept of a teaching portfolio

     as a better way to evaluate this part of the university's mission and

     he also stated the need for more dialog concerning how teaching

     should be evaluated.  Interim Dean Paterson said that service is the

     most difficult part of the mission to evaluate.  He spoke of the

     importance of recognizing differences between the colleges and of

     his efforts to address some deficiencies in the ability to evaluate.

     These efforts include a new, improved definition of service developed

     by a college committee and a survey taken to determine the

     impressions of alumni concerning advising.

 

     Richard E. Sorensen, Dean of the College of Business, praised the

     report and said that it is consistent with many of the key goals of

     the strategic plan recently developed by the College of Business.

     He also reported the role played by faculty in developing the

     College's strategic plan.  Dean Sorensen said that the Faculty

     Rewards Project report shows that there is a lack of trust by faculty

     toward administrators.  He referred to the use of a review process

     for administrators as a way for faculty to help control

     administrators.  Finally, Dean Sorensen said that he believes we are

     trying to do too many things and that our goal should be to focus on

     what is most important.

 

     G. N. Brown, Dean of the College of Forestry and Wildlife Resources,

     applauded the effort that went into the Faculty Rewards Project.  He

     said that throughout his personal career, many of the ideas in the

     report have been talked without any real action taking place.  He

     said that for the first time, a real effort is being made to take

     action.  The College of Forestry and Wildlife Resources is very new

     at Virginia Tech and Dean Brown said that this gives the college more

     freedom to undertake new directions.  Dean Brown addressed several

     action items under the assertions of the Faculty Rewards Project

     report.  Related to assertion A, Dean Brown recognized the importance

     of innovation in teaching.  Under assertion B, he said that too much

     emphasis is placed on the inputs to research (such as grant money)

     rather than on the output of research.  He discussed the need for

     careful evaluation of research.  Under assertion C, he said that the

     control of funds should be primarily under the control of the

     departments.  He also expressed strong support for Assertions D and

     E, to the extent allowed by university policy.

 

     At the conclusion of these opening statements, President de Wolf

     opened the floor to questions for the deans.

 

     Question:  Senator Shumsky noted that a great deal of effort has

     been put into the Faculty Rewards Project as a means of creating

     change.  The deans have expressed support for the project and have

     also asserted that their colleges have been taking the actions

     suggested by the report for a number of years.  He asked the deans

     how these facts could be reconciled.

 

     Answers:  Dean Paterson said that he had spoken of the beginning of

     a process to arrive at the state called for in the report.  He also

     emphasized the need for better evaluation methods.

 

     Dean Eyre responded that there is no paradox.  He noted the diversity

     of different units across campus and suggested that the report

     has "brought lots of pieces together."

 

     Question:  Senator Riley asked the deans to state what long-term

     changes would be made in response to the report.

 

     Answer:  Dean Henneke said he feels the colleges should be proud that

     they are already moving in the direction called for by the report.

     He said that it helps focus efforts already underway.

 

     Question:  Senator Shumsky noted that in addition to general

     assertions which are almost universally accepted, the report contains

     controversial ideas and very specific proposals and recommendations.

     He asked the deans to discuss these specific proposals.

 

     Answers:  Dean Henneke agreed that discussion was necessary.  He

     noted that hours of discussion rather than minutes were needed.  He

     also said that the deans had met with David de Wolf and Susan

     Brooker-Gross a couple of weeks ago for such a discussion.

 

     Dean Brown said that there was not much controversial in the report.

     He also said that its recommendations must be endorsed by "the powers

     that be".

 

     Question:  Senator Riley asked what actual changes would take place

     in response to the report.

 

     Answers:  Dean Swiger said that the process of change started some

     time ago and the report is actually a capstone of the process.

 

     Assistant Dean Holford said that the best result would be that the

     university community believe that the three parts of the mission

     really are equal.  So far, this is not believed.

 

     Comment:  Senator Bunce noted that anyone who receives high marks on

     teaching evaluations and brings in significant funded research is

     promoted.  However, he said that one-on-one activities such as

     advising are difficult to document and are not rewarded.  He

     suggested that no effort is made to evaluate this important type of

     activity.

 

     Question:  Senator Barbeau asked if any effort is made to contact

     alumni five to ten years after graduation for the purpose of

     evaluating teaching.

 

     Answers:  Dean Eyre reported that the College of Veterinary Medicine

     spends a "huge amount of time" doing this.  He said the results are

     very important in promotion and tenure decisions as well as in salary

     adjustments.

 

     Assistant Dean Holford said that the College of Education does this

     type of evaluation on a more limited basis.  She suggested that

     doing it more uniformly would be better and stressed that it is

     consistent with her college's holistic view of education.

 

     Comment:  Senator Bunce reported that according to a recent survey,

     advising is not highly rated by alumni.  He suggested that it needs

     more prominence in job descriptions.

 

     Comment:  Senator Pinder stated that the university is a long way

     from implementing the suggestions in the report.  He disagreed with

     the assertions by the deans which suggest otherwise.

 

     Response:  Dean Henneke disagreed with Senator Pinder saying that

     more work is needed but much positive results can be shown as well.

     He noted that improvements were especially needed in advising.

     However, he provided examples to support his claim that the College

     of Engineering takes teaching very seriously.

 

     Comment:  Senator Holtzman said that currently, college promotion and

     tenure committees often overrule department committees.  Assertion

     number 1 says that it will be rare for a college committee to

     overrule a department committee.  This is radical.

 

     Comment:  Senator McKenna stated that the deans are stressing

     various strengths while the senators are stressing various

     weaknesses.  Senator McKenna stressed a need for cooperation and

     learning from each other.

 

     Comment:  Senator Richardson said that asserting that the three roles

     of the university are equal will diminish research.  He said that

     research is more difficult and serves the commonwealth better in the

     long run.

 

     Comment:  Senator Bunce said that rating the three missions will

     cause trouble.  He stressed the need to recognize strength in

     diversity.

 

     Response:  Dean Sorensen compared the report to a strategic plan and

     noted that strategic planning takes years to accomplish.  He said

     that it was unrealistic to expect the deans to provide a detailed

     response to the report in such a short time.  Dean Sorensen also

     remarked about the difficulty in evaluating service activities.

 

     Response:  Dean Brown elaborated on the difficulty in evaluating

     service.  He said that it should be understood to include activities

     such as consulting and applied research.  He contrasted service with

     teaching saying that teaching can be more easily bounded.

 

     Question:  Senator de Wolf asked to what extent departments will

     achieve greater autonomy.

 

     Answer:  Dean Sorensen reported that in a recent meeting of the

     Business Advisory Council, departments within the College of Business

     were compared to fiefdoms.  He did not think even more autonomy was

     a good idea.

 

     Question:  Senator Olin asked each dean to clarify the difference

     between a department head and a department chair.

 

     Answer:  Dean Eyre said that the title and its meaning vary by the

     culture of the college.  He also noted that different cultures were

     not necessarily bad.  He noted the limited degree of autonomy in

     departments in the College of Veterinary Medicine and suggested that

     a democratic process was still present.

 

     Question:  Senator Scigaj asked why the College of Arts and Sciences

     has such a small number of teaching awards?  He noted that the

     difficulty in obtaining one is frustrating.

 

     Answer:  Interim Dean Paterson said that many years ago, the college

     had many more awards.  This promoted a feeling that there was little

     value in receiving an award.

 

     President de Wolf thanked the deans for addressing the

     Faculty Senate.

 

  5. Faculty Senate minutes of October 19, 1993 were approved without

     changes.  Cabinet minutes of November 1, 1993 were accepted.

 

  6. Council, Commission, and Committee Reports had been distributed

     electronically.  A brief discussion period was held concerning

     these reports.

 

     Senator Ficenec asked for another Senator to represent him at the

     next University Athletic Committee meeting.

 

     Senator Olin asked for clarification about the actions being taken

     with regard to "extraordinary promotions".  Senator Shumsky responded

     that the Commission on Faculty Affairs was discussing this topic.  He

     reported that no subcommittee had been formed and no specific

     proposals had been presented.  The basic philosophies include

     specifying procedures in the faculty handbook or treating procedures

     in the handbook as the normal ones and allowing other procedures

     (which may not be written) to be applied under unusual circumstances.

 

     Senator Olin requested input from interested senators on two items

     under consideration by the Commission on Graduate Studies and

     Policies.  One proposal would provide departments with graduate

     student funds and allow them to distribute the funds in any way

     consistent with the department's needs.  Another proposal would

     require outside review of dissertations.

 

   7. New Business

 

     a. Faculty Rewards Project Discussion

        Susan Brooker-Gross addressed the Senate about the project.  She

        stated that a change in culture was necessary for teaching and

        outreach programs to "feel" equal in importance to research.  She

        suggested that we have been very successful to have built up a

        research institute and should be proud of the at fact.  However,

        she noted the need for change at this time.

 

        Dr. Brooker-Gross noted that faculty mobility was an important

        issue which had not yet been discussed.  She suggested that the

        kinds of change called for in he Faculty Rewards Project are

        taking place at other institutions and unless we change, our

        faculty could be less mobile.  She also spoke of the need to

        discuss how much variability is acceptable within one institution.

        She noted the need for accountability at every level.

        Responsibilities must be clearly defined.  Faculty involvement

        and better evaluation methods are necessary.

 

        After Dr. Brooker-Gross's presentation, the floor was opened for

        questions and comments.

 

        Question:  Senator Brown noted the inward focus of the document

        and noted that resources available to the university often

        depend on how it is perceived from outside.  Will this inward

        focus hurt us?

 

        Answer:  Dr. Brooker-Gross responded that the external environment

        is shifting and we are staying in touch with it by changing.  In

        addition, she noted that faculty must still be competent in all

        areas and that the document does not say more teaching and more

        service activities are necessary.  The document says that faculty

        should be rewarded for their activities.  Hopefully, appropriate

        rewards will improve the quality of the activities.

 

        Question:  Senator Shumsky asked what next, was going to happen to

        the document.

 

        Answer:  Dr. Brooker-Gross said that the document's future was

        undecided.  She welcomed advise.  She noted that the document

        contains both broad reaching policy and specific statements.

 

        Comment:  Vice-Provost Liverpool noted that some universities are

        cooperating on similar projects in an attempt to achieve parity

        with regards to the evaluation of faculty.

 

        Question:  Senator Beagle noted the specific action item calling

        for an increased role of computers in instruction.  He related

        this item to the university's "Faculty Development Initiative"

        and asked how groups of faculty would be selected to participate

        in the initiative.

 

        Answer:  Dr. Brooker-Gross responded that the goal of the

        initiative is to allow every faculty member to attend on a four-

        year cycle.  Initially, some preference will be given to

        departments with little history of computer usage.

 

        Question:  Senator Beagle asked if departments would be allowed to

        choose the type of equipment used when participating in the

        development initiative.

 

        Answer:  Dr. Brooker-Gross answered that the initiative will try

        to supply the type of equipment and support which will be useful

        to the department.  The department will be consulted.

 

        Question:  Is there funding for the initiative?

 

        Answer:  Dr. Brooker-Gross answered that there is sufficient

        funding planned to purchase a computer and provide training for

        every faculty member.

 

        Question:  Senator Scigaj asked if there are plans to ask

        every department head and dean to sign the Faculty Rewards Project

        document, indicating acceptance.

 

        Answer:  Dr. Brooker-Gross said that this was an open question.

        She expressed satisfaction at the degree of support for the

        project expressed by the deans.

 

        Question:  Senator Barbeau noted the need to get beyond the

        discussion phase and asked how the recommendations would be

        implemented at the department level.

 

        Answer:  Dr. Brooker-Gross said that there is an explicit

        assertion of what must be done at the department level.  People

        are working at all levels as the project evolves.

 

        Comment:  Senator Richardson said that adopting the suggestions

        in the report would reduce the quality of students at Virginia

        Tech.

 

        Response:  Dr. Brooker-Gross responded with an example of another

        University (Syracuse) which required large student enrollments for

        funds.  This university focused its efforts on becoming more

        "student oriented" and has been successful in achieving enrollment

        goals.

 

        Question:  Students come to Virginia Tech because it is a research

        institute.  If the culture is changed, will they continue to come?

        We are giving in to our critics too much.

 

        Answer:  Dr. Brooker-Gross said that the choice of words is a

        problem.

 

        Question:  Senator Badinelli reported that the College of Business

        has been asked to increase its outreach efforts by 400%.  Such an

        increase is only possible with a dramatic change in the rewards

        system.  Senator Badinelli asked Dr. Liverpool if there was a need

        for such a "ground shaking change".

 

        Answers:  Dr. Liverpool responded that university outreach

        programs include extension and some aspects of teaching and

        research.  The university looks at outreach as a scholarly

        activity rather than exclusively as service.  The point of the

        Faculty Rewards Project is that people are doing these things but

        not getting rewarded.

 

        Dr. Brooker-Gross added that people should be evaluated for what

        they do.

 

        Senate President de Wolf noted that some areas will decide that

        research is most important and will concentrate on it.

 

        Comment:  Senator Scigaj noted that some adjustment in

        responsibilities is being considered.  Possibly, faculty will be

        asked to do more teaching.  The Faculty Rewards Project report is

        consistent with changing responsibilities.

 

        President de Wolf thanked Dr. Brooker-Gross for her discussion.

 

 

     b. President de Wolf presented the Senate with a resolution

        clarifying administrative and professional faculty representation

        within the university governance system.  The resolution had been

        discussed at the October Senate meeting.  The revised wording of

        the resolution addressed concerns expressed by Senators at the

        October meeting.  After brief discussion, the resolution passed.

 

     c. President de Wolf reported to the Senate that several committee

        vacancies exist.  He provided information about the specific

        openings and asked Senators to contact him with nominations.

 

 

  8. Adjournment

 

     There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 9:50 p.m.

 

  Respectfully submitted,

 

  Robert T. Sumichrast

  Secretary, Faculty Senate

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